Saturday, 25 June 2016

Orange Is The New Black, S4 - Episode Five: 'We'll Always Have Baltimore'

Events are really coming to a head now.

Caputo goes to a conference with Linda, where we meet her nemesis, Kip Carnighan -- this was a real treat, because he's played by one of my favourite actors, Chris Sarandon. Sadly, he's not in it much, but we do get to see MCC scion Danny Pearson (Mike Birbiglia) again. Now a full-time protestor, he starts an altercation during Linda's panel, and warns Caputo that Linda is even worse than his dad. Caputo ignores the advice and complete his descent into full-on douchebag, as he gets down with Linda.

Flaca's bestie Maritza Ramos (Diane Guerrero) has been in the background for the last couple seasons, generally popping in for comic relief, but in this episode Guerrero gets to stretch a bit. Now responsible for driving the prison van, she tries to help Maria get her new product out of the prison.

Meanwhile, Taystee takes Caputo's absence as an opportunity to surf the web, while Susan and Morello try to solve the mystery of the 'squatter' who keeps defecating in the showers.

On the Piper front, she forms a relationship with Piscatella (Brad William Henke), the new CO in order to thwart the Spanish, playing on his fear of gangs to get the COs to racially profile Maria's girls. Piper then tries to organise a massive snitch against her competition, and inadvertently creates a 'White Power' gang. Great job blondie! 

Best one-liner: "You know what gets me so hot, is when guys compare me to breakfast. And when they talk about me like I'm not even here. How 'bout you call me 'that oatmeal in the front seat' and I'll be so yours" -- Maritza Ramos

Flashback: Maritza Ramos (Diane Guerrero). As stated in the beginning, she's been minor comic relief since Season One, and this is the first time we get some real insight into her character. Thankfully, after the rather dark flashbacks we've had in the last few episodes (even Soso's, while funny, is really dark), this is a nice respite, and a good showcase for Guerrero's comedic chops.

Starting as a cocktail waitress who engages in small time grifting, Maritza gets involved with a team of professional con men.

They run a scam where she has to pretend to be a salesperson at a high-class car dealership so she can get clients (preferably horny old rich guys) to give her their information. She then pretends to be their spouse, gets permission to take the car for a spin and then boosts the car.

Everything goes off without a hitch, except the salesperson she gives the ID to jumps in the backseat to explain the car's features. Instant SNAFU. The back-and-forth in the car is excruciating. I wound up pausing as the clueless salesman asks them about their 'relationship'.

Funny and tense, it is more of a caper, with a hilariously random conclusion. It also dovetails nicely with Maritza in the present: treated like a silly child, it is her idea to get Maria's product out of the prison, and her quick thinking which saves the operation when it nearly goes tits up. She is not the dumb not-blonde people think she is.

Final thoughts: A fun episode that ends with a blackly comic punchline. A previously minor character gets some solid character development, and our lunk-headed lead starts a race war. Bring on Episode Six!

For previous episodes

Episode 1 

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

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