​Orange Is The New Black: Season 2, Episode 13

A couple of outside investigators show up to investigate the attack on Red, sidestepping Caputo and anybody else who tries to actually help them, because they are there to get marching orders from Figueroa, who is of course the worst.

Caputo, frustrated, makes time to grill Piper on her office thievery during the storm, and before you know it he's bounding into Fig's office, ready to take her down. Of course, life has already done just that, thanks to her marriage disintegrating, so he plays the situation for all it's worth, including a humiliating blowjob, before explaining that the Warden already has all the proof he needs to fire her forever.

It takes a while to reveal that Red's not dead, just in medical next to Sister Jane, so Vee spends a the early part of the episode running around trying to rally her forces before she finds out that somebody (Nicky, turns out) has stolen her stash of heroin in order to get her locked down so everybody in the prison can feel like they're in just their regular amount of danger from before Vee showed up.

Also looking to take Vee down are: Everybody. There's Norma and Gloria, who do a magic spell, and Vee's former crew, who reform without her once Vee scares Black Cindy half to death with her intensity... But only after going along with her plan to sacrifice Crazy Eyes to the investigation. Suzanne eventually gets confused about where she even was during the attack, and Healy gets that electric guy to manufacture evidence that exculpates her. This was a harrowing sequence of events, because even with all four of Vee's former groupies demanding that Crazy Eyes be set free, it still takes a mocked-up lie told by a white guy to convince the investigators.

Meanwhile, Vee has escaped through the greenhouse tunnel, but at least Crazy Eyes isn't going to an even worse place than Litchfield, and in the process gets to do more of her Crazy Eyes stuff than she has all season. It is unbelievable to me that we got so little of import out of Suzanne, after all—Pennsatucky too, not that I'm complaining—but it's funny that their best moments all take place in the last two episodes, after a whole season of basically not doing anything at all. Why would you have a Uzo Aduba and then not use her? Makes no sense at all.

Daya continues to be an absolute irrational nightmare, finally convincing Bennett after a thousand episodes of bitching to turn himself in for impregnating her, which still isn't going to do anybody any goddamn good. (Can anybody explain her point about all this to me? I sincerely don't get it, and I think there's probably something I'm missing, but Daya this season just... Ugh.) Caputo, worried about proving himself as Fig's interim replacement, shuts that whole stupid idea down immediately, and Bennett is charming and quick-witted as usual, and eventually Daya pulls her ass together to the degree that she is ever able to, and I guess they are having a prison baby. Bennett suggests "Frank" if it's a boy; if it's a girl my first thought is "Leighton."

Sister Ingalls agrees to eat something if Red will admit who attacked her, which, even though it comes to naught, still gets that nutcase to eat a muffin. Caputo immediately comes into the picture, hyped about solving problems—and scared about the mass of nuns parked outside the gate protesting her treatment—and Jane makes quite a production of "finally eating" due to his immense managerial capabilities. Meanwhile, that one guard that nobody cares about is down with the nuns, yelling at them about Catholic school BS, and I guess if you like banjolele parody tunes about nuns, probably you'd enjoy that part even if I thought personally that it was dumb.

Larry and Polly visit Piper for her best scene of the season, in which she takes out a ton of aggression on them that barely even has to do with them, but yelling at Larry is God's work no matter where the impulse comes from. Alex visits as well, letting her know that things are sucky in Alex-land and that she is probably going to skip town just to be safe. So then Piper calls the new happy couple to ask for a favor: Report Alex to her parole officer for skipping bail, and get her sent back to Litchfield, where they can finally be together slash find new ways to rip each other apart molecule by molecule—the only time either of those assholes is happy—next season.

Morello has a nice moment with Piper, then—after talking herself out describing Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in vivid detail—shares another with Rosa on the way back from chemo. Suddenly struck with the enormity of Rosa's impending death, Morello leaves the keys in the van long enough for Rosa to steal it, ram the gates, scare the shit out of some nuns, run the holy fuck over a hitchhiking Vee, and then morph into her younger self for one last great hurrah before dying.

​Orange Is The New Black: Season 2, Episode 13

And so what if "Don't Fear The Reaper" is playing? It was a very solid ending to a fairly great season. For Rosa especially, freedom and abandon have always been tied to risk and death, so for her it was full circle. We see, over the last 2.5 hours, a number of inmates counting out the remaining length of their sentences—something that isn't usually done, it seems like—in order to show the relativity of their various stays. Even Brook Soso gets to have a bookending moment in which she finally explains to (a hilariously over-it) Piper that they will never, ever be normal again and she realizes it now.

For all of Piper's "Jail has Freed my Inner Wolf Woman" stuff, it's nice to see her look at this broken-down version of Soso and realize that, while we are all who we are and the stories that got us here, some stories take pieces out of us, too. People like Piper and Brook, they'd love think that every rainbow has its preceding rainstorm and that all experiences are in some way empowering or nutritive, but it was about time for Piper to realize that suffering is something she has the privilege of ignoring so very much of the time that it feels like a retreat or a level-up, a story she's telling herself, when really it's awful, and best avoided:

How much of Morello's suffering has made her a wiser person? How much of Rosa's suffering is a gift from God? How much pain is Nicky supposed to deal with in her lifetime? Do you want to be a Sister Jane, dining out on your misery until it means nothing, or do you want to be a Brook, who had to actually beg the world to hurt her enough to give her some amount of perspective? No. It's animistic, a logical fallacy, to believe for one second that fate, or karma, or even a loving God have any interest in mistreating us. Any place you got to through pain, you could have reached with work and will.

We don't fear the Reaper, but we don't thank him either. The world is much more vast, and lovelier than that.

[Images via Netflix]

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