Orange Is The New Black: Season 2, Episode 2

OINTB is not fucking around in season two. They are here to 1) teach you some lessons about life and 2) entertain the HELL out of you. That this series manages to be so funny and yet so unrelentingly grim often feels like a reflection of life itself, snatching moments of joy and transcendence from the grinding apathy of everybody else, all the time. Or maybe my vitamin B is just low today.

Taystee is one of the brightest spots and most beloved characters on OITNB. As soon as I realized the second episode, "Looks Blue, Tastes Red" was Tastee-based, I felt a shiver of gratitude: to the writers, to the actress Danielle Brooks, to the universe for letting us all be here at the same time.

We learned Taystee grew up without a family, a precocious but isolated child of the system until she found Vee; a grand dame played with matchless presence by Lorraine Toussaint. What OITNB focuses on flawlessly in the episode is that Taystee's path into the drug world is not paved by greed but community. Vee, the neighborhood dealer, cooks and cares for her like a mother in addition to offering financial security.

In the current storyline, Taystee bends over backwards to win a staged Career Day and succeed within the rules of the institution, acing a mock interview with Phillip Morris, but she's shot down by the head of the prison, who sneers "I'm not your Mommy" just as it's revealed Vee is now in jail... in orange.

Also:

1. Pennsatucky got some much-needed new teeth for clamming up about Healy walking out on her attack on Piper. All eyeballs are grateful.

2. Red's roots are such a travesty that the gray-hairs attempt to recruit her.

3. More mother motif: Daya's mom and kitchen maven Gloria go head to head battling over who can loosen her stools after a gripping bout with constipation.

What did you think of Taystee's back story?

[Images via Netflix]

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