Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Orange Is The New Black, S4 - Episode Twelve: 'The Animals'


Poussey is dead.

Thanks to the internet, I was aware that she died, but it still hit like a punch to the stomach. And the way it went down just made it even more tragic.

Poussey was the most consistently sympathetic character on the show. She had her lapses -- like everyone else -- but she never sank to the same levels as Nicky or even Piper. She was smart and self-aware enough to recognise when something was not right (Vee) and if she faltered (her drinking last season), she had a solid support structure that could help her out (Taystee primarily).

Poussey was a great character, and Samira Wiley was a terrific, extremely empathetic presence. On a show filled with extremely flawed and despicable people, Poussey stood apart.

Let's get through the plot.

The white, black and Latina inmates decide to form an alliance to get rid of Humphrey -- soon the target of their scheme has shifted to Piscetella, the main cause behind all the discontent.

Caputo learns about the previous day's antics from CO Bayley and is PISSED. Initially, you think Humphrey's bacon is cooked -- but then Piscetella turns up.

Piscetella has had Caputo's number from the beginning, and in any contest between them, he would come out the winner. This scene really cements how far Caputo has fallen -- it s ultimately his absences from the prison, and his inability/unwillingness to be hands-on with imposing order on the new guards, which have been responsible for the problems going on in Litchfield.

Instead of kowtowing to MCC and Linda, he forgot what his job was.

Having removed himself, and fired all of his former allies, Caputo is powerless. Piscetella is able to blackmail Caputo into impotence.

Following this humiliation, Caputo finally goes to the one person who can understand what he is going through: Fig (Alysia Reiner). Never thought I would be happy to see her again, but look how times have changed.

In typical fashion, what should be a moment of respite for Caputo turns out to be more hell: he finds out that the new dorm at Litchfield is for the NEW batch of prisoners. Ugh. Season Five is going to be GREAT.

The episode ends with the inmates going on strike to force Piscetella to resign. As we've already seen, Piscetella sees anyone who is not one of his men as an enemy to be crushed.

And that's when Poussey died -- chocked to death by an incompetent guard with no training while the other guards did nothing.

Best zinger: "I betrayed everything I believed in for water with bubbles and soft sheets!" -- Yoga

Flashback: Baxter "Gerber" Bayley (Alan Aisenberg), the young rookie guard. 

These flashbacks gain even more weight when he -- however inadvertently -- killed Poussey.

We see him as a kid, getting arrested for trespassing and underage drinking, losing his job for giving too many free ice creams to pretty girls, and then egging houses. 

Real simple, dumb stuff that emphasises how immature he is.

Bayley just comes across as a silly little boy -- not bad necessarily, but susceptible and clumsy.

By the end of the episode, Caputo's warning that the prison will change him sadly comes to pass.

Bayley is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's barely an adult, and is completely out of his depth in Litchfield.

Final thoughts: What a gut punch. Poussey's death overshadows everything leading up to it, but this episode really cements the conflicts and pressures which have been building since last season's cliffhanger.

For previous episodes

Episode 1 

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9 

Episode 10

Episode 11

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