We move from focusing on Piper to Taystee and get to see her life before prison.
Review (with Spoilers)
After a rather dull episode watching Piper go through her usual fish out of water issues, we are back with the old crew and catching up. Though, for the most part, the focus is on Ms. Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (Danielle Brooks), as well as her mother figure Vee. Someone who is a big draw for me for the actress who plays her, Lorraine Touissant, has increasingly been showing up in my media viewing. Between being on Being Mary Jane, albeit briefly, and The Fosters, I am quite excited to see her get a regular role on a show and see what she is fully capable of.
Topic 1: A Mother’s Intuition – Daya, Aleida, Gloria, and Red
With Daya (Dascha Polanco) going through one of the many issue which come with pregnancy, like constipation, she seeks Gloria’s (Selenis Leyva) advice on what to do, which naturally leads to her odd concoctions being used. This though is kind of weird to Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) since not only is she Daya’s mother, but she has had kids, obviously, so why isn’t she consulted? Thus leading to some slightly bad blood between Aleida and Gloria because Aleida doesn’t appreciate Gloria trying to be Daya’s mother, even if Daya feels more comfortable with her. But, in the end, when Daya finally poops, both claim victory for between Gloria’s concoction and Aleida stealing some yogurt and giving it to Daya, her 5 day constipation issue is over!
As for Red (Kate Mulgrew), with her being ostracized she finds herself stuck with the senior citizens of the prison. A change she doesn’t gravitate to, but more so accepts for she is forced to be humble as her family seems unable to put money in her depository and she is forced to eat Gloria’s food. And while it seems Red wishes to sit alone and sulk as she eats, the seniors surround her and help her find reasons to laugh. If just for now.
Topic 2: Guess Who’s Back/ Career Day – Pennsatucky, Larry, Taystee and Flaca
With Pennsatucky out solitary, there is a need to visit Healy (Michael J. Harney) to get checked up on. Well, at least it seems like that is why they originally were to have a little chat. In reality, he wants the whole situation with Piper to not bite him in the ass so he threatens Pennsatucky to keep quiet. Something which she isn’t willing to do just based on his threats, so to keep quiet she bargains a new set of teeth. Which she badly needed.
Then comes Larry (Jason Biggs). His drunk in love self still isn’t over Piper and brings her up in every conversation he has, much to the annoyance of any person involved. But, and maybe it is just me, with him visiting Polly (Maria Dizzia), who is pretty much overwhelmed by her kid, talking about moving on, and seeing her breasts and repeatedly staring, something tells me that he may very well try to pull something. Now, whether Polly rejects him or not is a whole different story.
Leaving us with part 1 of our time with Taystee who, with career day going on, is quite excited. If just because she is under the impression that by winning career day she can have a real job when she gets out, and maybe a more stable environment than what happened last time. Which, naturally, Poussey (Samira Wiley) is all for because she considers them like sisters, and it especially helps that she is going against Flaca (Jackie Cruz) and there is this whole us vs. them thing which leads both Poussey and Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) to support her with all their hearts. Something which we find out is sort of in vain for as we learn from Mrs. Figueroa (Alysia Reiner), there is no job waiting if you win. At most, you get $10 and a congratulations. Which really seems to only be given to Taystee because she was making a stink out of not getting anything and with a reporter doing a story which Fig believes could get the prison more money, the last thing she seems to want is an unhappy, but exemplary, prisoner.
Topic 3: Blast From The Past – Taystee and Vee
Like with Piper’s episode, we see quite a bit of what happened before the focused on character, in this case Taystee, did before prison. For Taystee, she was a foster kid in a group home until Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) scooped her up. From there, she seemingly didn’t get into Vee’s drug business, but did work at a local fast food restaurant and try to make something of herself. Unfortunately though, working fast food didn’t cut it, so before Vee ended up cutting her out of her life, for reasons I didn’t fully get, she finds herself becoming Vee’s book keeper.
And though Taystee is undoubtedly the focus of the episode, Vee damn near steals the spotlight. Those familiar of Toussaint on The Fosters will surely see her character on that show and this one as similar. Both can say and do the most mean-spirited things like they never developed a filter, and yet it seems like anything said or done doesn’t have malice. They just feel the need to speak their peace and with that they feel like they can move on, as everyone should. But being that Vee is in the drug game, naturally there are complications. For example, Taystee’s would-be brother dies and as much as she sees some semblance in a mom with Vee, RJ was a true brother to her. His death shows a more maternal Vee who, despite some past problems with Taystee, lets it be known that she is there for the girl. Making for quite the introduction of a new character.