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Orange Is the New Black “40 OZ of Furlough” Review (2×09)

21 Jun

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Relationships can dissolve at any time, and sometimes, what you thought was a connection turns out to be merely a manipulation, a way to grasp hold of your feelings and eventually dig a knife right in. We see that in abundance in “40 OZ of Furlough”, a simultaneously hilarious and thoughtful episode that puts the wheels into motion for the season’s endgame.

The title refers to Piper’s furlough, one that starts off exciting and hopeful—and very, very strange, if Mr. Cal “I Will Hold a Wedding at a Funeral” has anything to say about it—but ultimately ends up with Piper sitting off by herself, eating a burger and having a drink. Earlier, in a funny and poignant (even for Piper-Larry) scene that marks the end of their relationship, any hope of reconciliation is extinguished. And well, that was inevitable anyway, because prison’s changed Piper; her family doesn’t seem to understand that, but Larry does. Throughout the episode, she’s subjected to scrutiny from a group of people who’ve become anything but her family, outsiders who don’t understand that, as I said in my premiere review, prison’s becoming the norm now.

In Litchfield, Vee and Red are struggling over that norm, trying to implement their respective plans to grab power (and the title of “Queen Evil Person of Litchfield”). Red believes that, for once, everything’s back to normal when she gets her family dinner, but little does she know that Big Boo turns on her afterward by selling her little secret out to Vee. Things are slipping away from Red, and the fact that her shop outside is revealed to be closed only emphasizes the all-encompassing nature of prison. There’s really nothing to go back to, as Piper finds out.

Reality always hits you in the face the next morning, as Rosa says, and in this episode, reality’s starting to hit people like Poussey in the face. It’s telling that Taystee calls her “pussy” in this episode, as it’s reflecting the influence Vee has had over her. It’s heartbreaking to watch as Poussey recognizes their friendship slipping away, her family taken over by the person at the top of the food chain, the person who’s now bringing heroin into Litchfield.

Everything’s slipping away, and even someone like Bennett is forced to overcompensate when Pornstache shows up; Bennett explodes and has to be calmed down by Pornstache–when he has to calm you down, that sure says something–and at the end of the episode, he tells Caputo that Mendez is the father of Daya’s baby. Shit’s about to go down, and I can’t wait to see it happen.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-The Red-Vee flashbacks are very entertaining, but for me, they lack a little complexity. It’s certainly interesting to see the two and how their relationship developed, but I was expecting a bit more.

-Healy is now playing therapist. This…is something, alright.

-The Golden Girls can be pretty terrifying.

– “Really? You decide to tell me that with your flaccid dick in my mouth?” “It was a semi.” “Do not defend your boner to me right now.”

-Piper cringing off to the side as Cal gives his wedding speech is priceless.

-Brook’s now going on a hunger strike, which is her taking action, but also her being Brook Soso.

-The Cal “no touching” scene is hilarious. Oh, Arrested Development, what influence you’ve had.

Photo credit: Netflix, Orange Is the New Black

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