Orange Is the New Black: Orange Black or Bleak: S2 E12 “It Was The Change” (Netflix)

Orange, Black, or Bleak S2 E12: “It Was The Change”

As a formerly incarcerated person, I have decided to do a deep-dive into the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black to help explain some of the things that folks watching the show without a felony background might not catch.

I am back! I really needed a week off from writing Orange Is the New Black recaps. It had been three months straight writing two Orange posts a week. Glad I did it, but I was getting seriously ‘Orange Exhausted.’

Okay, I have two episodes of Season 2 to finish, then I will start Season 3. I am going to post one Orange Is the New Black Post a week from now on, instead of two. I had been posting on Thursdays and Sundays, but I may change the day (so look out, once I pick a day I will stick to it).

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

Some Things About Season 2 Episode 12 "It Was The Change”

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I need to get some new logos and art (will work on that for next week).

OITNB S2 E12 “It Was The Change”” is about:

* More of Vee’s backstory, mostly backstory showing how quickly she can manipulate and then turn on anyone (even the people she supposedly cares about). Vee even turns on RJ who she raised since she got him out of foster care and ends up having him assassinated by a rogue police officer (right after she has sex with him).

Vee ultimately exiles Taystee for sticking up for Poussey (after Poussey destroys most of Vee’s tobacco stash).

* Litchfield dealing with an approaching storm which ultimately causes flooding and forces the entire prison to move to the cafeteria for the night. Fig runs away to host a fundraiser for her husband's Senate career and ignores the crisis entirely leaving Caputo to handle the fallout. Fig also finds out, at the fundraiser, that her husband is having an affair with one of his male staffers. Fig also let the upkeep on the pumps and generator lapse making everything worse.

* Red dealing with the fallout after Taslitz stabbed a stranger instead of Vee (by accident). Red realizes that Taslitz tipped Vee off and that now she and her crew is at risk.

* Piper trying to deal with being told last episode that she is to be moved from Litchfield to a facility in Virginia. She is particularly upset because she has connected again with Alex but Alex will not be able to visit her in Virginia. Several other inmates, like Maria, are at risk of being moved as well to cover for Fig trying to get rid of Piper (who she blames for the audit she is deservedly facing). Anyway, Piper decides to use the cover provided by the storm to check out the Assistant Warden’s office to find evidence of Fig’s embezzlement.

* Bennett and Daya trying to come to grips with Bennett's refusal to own up to what he has done and face the consequences so that later they can honestly be together and raise their child. I think I have mentioned how much I hate this plotline many times before, so I will not dwell.

* Healy finally lays out his entire theory of anti-feminism and anti-lesbianism for Doggett. He mansplains to Doggett that patriarchy is why she gets free cookies from him. Awesome (sigh). This is also the first time we learn that Boo’s real name is Carrie Black (well, Healy calls her ‘Black’).

“It Was The Change” refers to Vee hitting menopause.

“Ruiz Has A New Baby”

Piper mentions this to Morello as another reason why Fig moving her to Virginia and using other inmates as cover really sucks (I don’t want to spend too much time revisiting how totally insane it is that any prison official would tell an inmate weeks in advance of a move).

So, when last we talked about Season 2 I was discussing how normal it is for prison administrations to move inmates from facility to facility as a means of silencing or punishing them (most often, this happens to successful inmate lawyers).

What I didn’t mention is that as horrible as this is for ALL inmates (and it is awful), it is even worse for inmates who have kids. Obviously, this can be particularly tough for mothers and for new mothers (and around 60% of women in State Prisons are women). The largest growing segment of prisoners in America is women and only Thailand imprisons a higher number of women than the United States.   

Imagine being located close to your children, who often come to visit you, and then find yourself uprooted with little notice and moved to an area where visiting is less or totally impossible. Unbelievable cruelty. Bad for the inmate and bad for the children.

Even for the ladies (and other inmates) allowed to stay close to home, in-person visitation is increasingly being reduced to video only visits.

It is probably easy to reduce all prisoners in your mind to caricatures of serial killers (sub-humans beyond the necessity of compassion or empathy). But, for the most part, the people I met during my time in prison were just flawed and complicated human beings trying to make sense of a what they had done and of finding themselves stuck in a prison cell.

There are a TON of inmates just like Maria Ruiz stuck in the real prisons across the United States and a ton of kids living with the double penalty of not being able to see their incarcerated parent and having to face the social shame of having a parent who is incarcerated.

I have said it before and I am sure that I will say it again, prison should always be the absolute last option society uses (not the first) and when it is used it should be as short as possible and with as much support and programming as is possible so that returning citizens are prepared for life when they come out.

“You want to assassinate someone? Vision is a basic requirement”

Red says this to her crew after Taslitz messes up the hit on Vee because she didn’t wear her glasses. It could equally apply to Red who falls for the same ‘Okey Doke’ from Vee yet again.

Hard to imagine why Red would ever trust Vee again or leave herself vulnerable to Vee’s trickery (You want to assassinate someone? Vision is a basic requirement).

As you may recall, Vee originally lured Red into her confidence by acting like she was weak and then waiting until Red wasn’t paying attention and had her goons brutalize her. This time, Red almost kills Vee and then lets her go falling again for Vee’s “truce” act and then gets sloc’d for her troubles.

In other words, I am not entirely sure why we need backstory about Vee being duplicitous but it was really well done (Lorraine Toussaint is an amazing actress). A Sad end for RJ, he seemed very nice for a drug dealer.

Anyway, I get why Red doesn’t kill Vee (Red isn’t a killer) but I don’t get why she trusts Vee enough to believe in Vee’s offered truce.

Personally, if it was up to me, I would have sent Frieda to deal with Vee. As much as I like Frieda, hard to believe she wouldn’t get the problem fixed.

Swimming Pool?

I think most of you reading this know I finished the Season 5 recaps a week ago. It seems really sloppy to me that Caputo mentions, as a joke here, that the prison might soon be getting an espresso machine and a swimming pool.

I don’t mean that to be a spoiler, but if it is, I apologize in advance.

Can I also mention again how much I hate the Fig embezzlement storyline? Everyone would figure this out without much problem, the contractors would know and the Bureau of Prisons would figure it out.

I am not saying that Federal contractors are particularly competent, but they can handle basic budgeting and auditing. I am not even saying there isn’t skimming and corruption, just that it can’t happen on the level she is pulling off.

The reason?

The Assistant Warden can appropriate funds but does not actually have the cash transferred to them or to the prison.

Impossible.

Also, I am not entirely sure how Piper got into Fig’s office but I can let that one slide.

Okay, this wasn’t the meatiest episode ever, mostly set up the coming final confrontation between Vee and virtually everyone else.

Unlocking The Gates

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I am a member of a Criminal Justice Reform organization called Nation Outside (The Voice of the Formerly Incarcerated) but I am not speaking for Nation Outside in any official capacity.

If you are interested in criminal justice reform or are formerly incarcerated yourself, please consider joining the fight (if you are a Michigan resident - you can sign up by clicking on the hyperlink above).

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“How Would You Take Down Vee?"

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