It was this episode when I realized that everyone who is jailed on this show has the most amazing spouse/partner of all time. You've got Larry who proposed to Piper after finding out that she was going to jail. There is Red's husband who is just so adorably loyal. And now we see Burset's wife. Before Burset completed her full transformation to the fabulous transgendered woman who we see standing naked and admiring herself in the mirror today, she was working as a fireman (and wore lovely lingerie under her heavy-uniform) and was married and raising a son. While her wife was super understanding about her desire to be a woman (even she did make a request for the penis to be kept), her young pre-teen son was less than understanding. Especially when the son saw his two mom's kissing, and a former coworker of Burset saw her in public. Also, her son seems to be the one who turned in his father-turned-mother for credit card fraud. It's all quite devastating and just beginning to scratch the surface of this complicated character, but seeing Burset's wife gamely struggle to help her dress less like trashy Hannah Montana and more like a classy lady was perfectly beautiful.
Not so lovely is what's happening for Burset now that she's in jail. She has to deal with increasingly disgusting Mendez and his pornstache. When Burset is denied her estrogen medication (that will keep her from going into menopause and losing her expensive and hard-won body), he offers to let her suck his dick in exchange for some help. When questioned by Bennett about his desire to get with Burset, he explains that he's excited about the prospect of a perfect, surgically crafted vagina and the fact that "she used to have a dick so she knows what it likes." When Burset turns him down, she appeals to Healy who can't control Natalie's new regime to cut back on unnecessary medications and medical visits, so she tears the head off one of his collectible bobbleheads and swallows it whole. At the doctor she's told she could have kidney or liver problems (unrelated to the bobblehead working its way through her system) and can't have medication for months at least, she flips out. She even desperately tries to get her wife Crystal to smuggle in drugs somehow. But in the most supportive (and yet stern) way possible, Crystal tells Burset that if she does that their son will have to parents in jail. She's not wrong, so it seems like hot flashes and hairy chins are coming Burset's way.
In Piper flashback land, we're shown how she met Alex. Kudos to the makeup department here because they both look just so fresh and young by comparison to how they look in present day. Alex was in a bar where recent Smith grad Piper was trying to get a job by lying on her resume about real life experiences. And while conversations inside lock-up between the former lovers are beyond tense (Piper accuses Alex of naming her to get a lesser sentence), Alex so has Piper's number: "You were just this boring little girl from Connecticut who wanted to feel bad." Even Piper's brother could have told us that.
Speaking of Piper's brother, we get to meet the amazing Cal thanks to Larry. Because while Larry says that he is only coming every other weekend so that he can have a life, the odd non-prison weekends are spent helping one of her family members fix the roof of his shabby trailer in the woods. Cal lives happily off the land and is pissed that his sister is in jail, because now their mother is paying attention to him and he can't just smoke weed, grow beans and screw an underwater welder as he pleases. In his one truly amazing scene, he also informs Larry about Edging, the process of self-pleasuring and stopping right before climaxing. This is helpful, as Larry nearly had phone sex (filled with food euphemisms) with Piper but she wasn't totally aware of that fact. She mostly just wanted him to tell her about the delicious Whole Foods products he got, while also lecturing him on not using the recycled bags and trying to get him to pump his father for information on Alex's sealed testimony. Larry is so far a fuckin' saint. I'd have let her calls go to voice mail if she was going to harangue me the entire time she was in jail.
Piper also tries to boss Polly around, as she's upset that her enormously pregnant business partner isn't exactly proactive about getting new business and that she fired their assistant without clearing it with her. As Polly points out, it's not like she can easily clear things past her, but Piper is off in Piper land completely thinking the entire world revolves around her. Polly, also up for sainthood, drove Piper's mom up to the prison for a visit. And mom comments on Piper's missing chunk of hair and laments the fact that Piper waited to have kids.
But Piper's really got bigger problems, and they are mostly in the shape of Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren. Suzanne thinks that Piper is her wife after she accepted the jalapenos, and even goes so far as to throw a piece of pie at Alex to defend her new bride. Piper tries hard to avoid Suzanne, but even when she goes out to test out her new sneakers in the yard, Suzanne is stalking her. It turns out that Piper's new wife even tried to get Healy to put them in the same room together (hence the" Lesbian Request Denied"). But Piper finally does get a room assignment, in "the ghetto" with Miss Claudette, a longtime resident who goes through roommates quite quickly. She's extremely persnickety when it comes to how she likes her room organized and doesn't like any clutter of any kind. So when Piper finally tells Suzanne she's not her prison wife, and Suzanne decides to make a late-night visit to Piper's room to use it as toiletâ€¦ suffice it to say that doesn't go over so well with Miss Claudette.
In other random prison news: Piper has to adjust to going to the bathroom in a stall with no door and she also is told to shower at 5 AM to beat the rush; There's a rumor that Miss Claudette hasn't pooped in the many years she's been in lockup; Alex had to rub Red's feet for 45 minutes in order to get her food privileges back; Diaz also gets a roommate, a pregnant girl who hates that Diaz draws anime; Piper's commissary money comes in and she buys Burset foundation, a cup for Nichols and a pair of flip-flops to replace her maxi-pad sandals; and lastly, we learn that the women steal all manner of penis-shaped vegetables from Red's kitchen in order to use them as dildos.