In the penultimate episode of Season 1, things really start to get shitty for pretty much everyone, but most especially Piper, Yoga Jones, Taystee, Mendez and Claudette.
But first, on a totally random and lighthearted note- can we talk about how Morello must have the best metabolism in the entire world? She's constantly eating. Constantly. And probably not working out that much, and still manages to make a tan jumpsuit work. Speaking of food, Cal is the only person on the outside of this jail I care about. Whiny Larry, who is pissed that Piper is having sex with a hot lesbian while he enjoys luxury living and Cal's home cooking and dandelion wine, can stuff it. I want to hang out and watch the recently engaged Cal and Neri have some heated arguments by way of foreplay.
Larry finally realizes that Piper is the most interesting thing about him and then he also goes to the jail and gives Piper an ultimatum. Either she marries him right away, like while she's still in jail, or they are done. He can't deal with being in this confusing state where she's off fucking a girl and engaged to him. He wants real commitment. That's a big old neon sign that he really just doesn't get his future wife at all. The only good thing to come out of the Larry nonsense is that a reporter heard his interview. Said reporter calls Natalie (who is in charge of the day-to-day operations) to ask about the budget cuts that he caused the lack of staffing and the adult ed and track to be closed. He says that in the past five years the budget for Litchfield has increased by over two million dollars, and wonders where all the money went. She hangs up on him, but the shiny new Mercedes she's driving points to her being all kinds of corrupt.
But back inside Litchfield for a while, where it's depressing as all get out and there's no special potassium infused dandelion beverages available in Red's kitchen. Not that Red may have a kitchen for much longer. I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's take a step back, Daya gets Mendez to have sex with her again, and then Red's crew conveniently gets Caputo to overhear the loud noises in the utility closet and catch them in the act. Mendez gets suspended and is totally miserable about it. Bennett feels sorry for his pathetic co-worker, and goes out to for drinks with Mendez. Turns out, Mendez is most miserable about the fact that he won't get to see Daya. He thinks they are totally in love and wants Bennett to pass love notes to her. AWKWARD. Made only more awkward by the fact that Daya cops to getting Mendez ousted "for the baby". So Bennett actually shocks me and takes Mendez's tidbit about Red being the drug smuggler to Caputo. Red (who is brokering a conversation in Russian and English between Healy and his mail-order wife) is hauled off. Her thoughts pretty much sum it up correctly: "That little bitch Mendez. Couldn't go down like a man."
With Mendez being suspended, Caputo tells Susan needs to pick up the slack. He wants her to stay out of trouble (which makes her reveal that she's not gay) and insists she needs to be harder on inmates like Sister Ingalls who tried taking some breakfast out of the cafeteria. When she protests and wants to treat them humanly he tells her: "Even the cuddly looking ones have done some shit."
Cue finding out how one Yoga Jones landed in the lockup. Janae wants to know what Yoga Jones has cancelled her yoga classes, and Yoga says she's feeling bad for letting her temper get the better of her. Then we find out that Yoga Jones used to be a mild-mannered weed grower (who didn't smoke pot but loved to drink), minding her own gardening business until some stupid deer started eating her profitable crop. So she got a gun so she could shoot the stupid stoned deer who had a taste for the good stuff, and then shot and killed a little kid by accident. Not the backstory I was expecting. I had predicted she was the type who chained herself to a tree to save it, or maybe killed a whaler. Not that she was a drunken lady with a shotgun taking out a small child.
So now Yoga's looking for something to bring her out of her funk, the way that booze used to. Janae finds a nail and an electrical outlet, and Yoga gets a good old jolt and looks almost dead for a second before she wakes and says she loved it. She's got serious thrill issues.
Piper attempts to make nice with Claudette, and even polishes her fingernails for her. It's really sweet. Claudette wants real meals and is happy to have someone waiting on the outside. But then her appeal goes south, and Susan picks the wrong time to get a backbone. Claudette charges the wispy guard and chokes her, and then immediately gets hauled off to maximum security. And it only takes about five seconds before people start ransacking Claudette's stuff. Apparently when you attack a guard, you don't get to come back to your cell. Ever. Much less get your belongings. Nasty things are done with her photo of Denzel Washington. The hot pot is in high demand, and after being horrified, Piper claims an afghan for having to deal with Claudette's snoring.
Taystee was also there in time to see Claudette get taken away. And sadly, she's not just there as a visitor, she's landed herself back in jail. Poussey gives her a lot of grief for not making something out of her life, and not appreciating the freedom she was granted when so many others haven't seen their kids and have missed funerals. Taystee tells her about the horrible conditions she was living in, and said she had no place to live and couldn't afford to pay outstanding prison fees. "Everyone I know is poor, in jail or gone. I know how to play it here. Where to be and what rules to follow. I've got a bed and I've got you. I really missed you. I didn't mean to let you down." Sniff. Sniff. As for how she got tossed back in jail so quickly… it involved a can of Rockstar and 100 paper clips.
Still in the aftermath of Larry's scathing interview, Piper's cleaning bathroom floors at random hours of the night. While there she sees Suzanne who uses cleaning like therapy. She's happy, the CO's are happy, "That is called symbiosis." Piper tries to apologize, saying that she told Larry about "Crazy Eyes" before she knew her. Suzanne sadly says, "It's OK, Dandelion. I used to spend a lot of time thinking how I could make you love me. The answer is you're not a nice person. You're a mean person. You're all dried up with the puff blown off." I love it when people call Piper out on her shit. It will just never get old.
Alex also is excellent at this game. When Piper asks about the state of the union with the fiancée, Piper reveals that she knows that Alex turned her in, but she's totally fine with it. So Alex pushes her to have sex in the industrial kitchen with lots of margarine. Piper finally cracks, and they have a conversation about why Alex turned her in. "I was still pissed at you for leaving. For my mom. So yeah, at that moment I was probably just like 'fuck you.' I'm not proud of myself."
After some more apologizing on Piper's part: "I'm an emotionally unavailable narcissist who abandoned you when your mother died." The two cutely talk about the future. "Are we gonna move to Vermont and open a pottery studio and wear Tevas?" Piper is still torn between her two loves so Alex gives her a choice: Babies and bathroom remodeling with Larry or sex on a beach in Cambodia with three strangers in drag. Piper admits she loves Cambodia, but that's before Larry doles out his marriage proposition. And also before the imminent death threat that Tucky's put on Piper's life…
So, Tucky. We get her backstory which involves her doing a lot of meth and getting knocked up repeatedly by her boyfriend. After one pregnancy, the boyfriend jokes that they stop doing drugs (they laugh maniacally) and talk about how she could keep the baby so they could get some free food. And we see a lot of Taryn's boobs in flashback. It's like we're watching HBO. When she goes to the abortion clinic, the nurse makes a crack that this is the fifth time she's done this and that she should have a punch card so the sixth one would be free. Tucky purposefully strolls out of the clinic, grabs a gun out of her boyfriend's truck, walks past a whole bunch of anti-abortion protestors and goes in and shoots the sarcastic nurse.
A sharp-dressed man in a suit shows up to defend her and tells her a lot about religion and says that her legal fees are being funded by "the grace of God and all your friends." When she walks into the courtroom, she sees a whole bunch of anti-abortion supporters who could not be happier that she shot an abortion clinic employee. In present day, we see the same lawyer talking to Tiffany about her recent time in psych. She reveals that Piper played a terrible prank on her and she's since lost her faith. When she says she can't possibly forgive Piper (even though Piper also helped get her out of psych) he tells her that God wants her to be a bigger person and forgive as she's been forgiven.
So she goes to Piper to make amends, of sorts, and makes Piper pray with her (Sister Ingalls is quite amused). Tucky claims that Piper needs to get right with God, and the only way is through a baptism. Piper almost goes along with it, but at the last minute says she can't just do something she doesn't believe in. I agree with Piper on this point, but this is another scenario where Piper needs to remember she's in jail and think about the consequences before she acts. Maybe if she'd enlisted Sister Ingalls help earlier, instead of leading Tucky on, this could have been avoided.
Instead she goes on about her belief in science and how she thinks religion exists to make it easier to deal with "random shitty things" and how she wishes she could go along, but she can't. She runs off to see Larry in the visitor area. Tucky's response to her minions? "She disrespected me. I'm gonna have to kill her." Yeah. Kill. As in dead. Not just make her life miserable by not feeding her for a few days. Kill her because she didn't want to be force-fed a religious ceremony. She's terrifying and totally unstable. That fancy lawyer earned his salary for sure by finding a way to keep her in this nice prison instead of a maximum security facility.