Orange Is the New Black: Orange Black or Bleak: S2 E4 “A Whole Other Hole” (Netflix)

Orange, Black, or Bleak S2 E4 “A Whole Other Hole”

As a formerly incarcerated person, I have decided to do a deep-dive on 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.

Apologies, I was really tired on Thursday night and typed Moreno instead of Morello several times...(sigh)...apologies. I feel like I covered some important content in that recap, but I was sloppier than usual.

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

5 Things About Season 2 Episode 4 "A Whole Other Hole"


Had a great time at the Michigan Counsel for Prison Reform legislative day in Lansing May 11th. Thanks to Representatives Ronnie Peterson and Dave Pagel (and their excellent staffs) for allowing me to discuss criminal justice reform with them. 

S2 E4 "A Whole Other Hole" is about:

* The story of how Morello (Yael Stone) came to prison (one of the most heartbreaking stories IMHO).

* Red's attempt to create a new base of operations for her and the Golden Girls.

* The start of a contest between Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) and Nichols (Natasha Lyonne) to see who can have sex with the most inmates at Litchfield. In case you were wondering about how much Piper (Taylor Schilling) has accepted her dark side, she engages in trying to trade SoSo (Kimiko Glenn) to Boo for a blanket.

* Vee's ongoing attempts to build her team to take over the block. In particular, after Poussey (Samira Wiley) refuses to go into business with Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) selling hooch,  Vee turns Taystee (Danielle Brooks) against Poussey.

* The introduction to Rosa's story. Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat) is driven to get cancer treatments at a hospital outside of Litchfield and starts to make friends with a young man getting chemo sitting next to her (Rosa robbed banks). 

* Sophia (Laverne Cox) gives the girls a lesson in human anatomy.

The title "A Whole Other Hole" refers to the fact that there are both a vagina and urethra in a woman's anatomy.

5. Mirrors

Morello checks her makeup in the decorative set of mirrors near her bunk.

Fun fact:

Inmates don't have real mirrors in prison because they could break the mirror and use the mirror glass as a weapon.

Instead of real mirrors, you have terribly dull "mirror substitutes" that hardly provide you with a reflection at all (they are particularly terrible for shaving).  

4. "I Moved Twice, She Always Found Me"

Poor Morello, she is a nice person (most of the time), but a nice person with a fatal flaw. 

I cannot tell you how many people I met in prison like Lorna Morello, people who are perfectly nice human beings except when they come up against whatever their fatal internal defect is. Usually, the fatal flaw is an anger management problem but with Morello, it seems to be tied up in delusions, hallucinations. and serious boundary issues.

You have to be really careful around people with extremely short fuses and learn to read the signs that they might be getting irritated.

When I reflect on these folks now, I feel so bad for them, they were just built poorly for living a peaceful life. It always amazes me how cruel we are to people who seem to be built with or who have found mental illness.

For some reason, we treat them as if they are to blame for conditions that are clearly beaten into them, learned from birth, or genetic.  I get that we might need to lock some people up for the safety of society, but I don't get why we treat them like animals for conditions that they are just as confused and sad about as anyone else is.

One thing I do have to complain about here, there is no way that the CO's would just leave Morello in the van while Rosa was getting her treatments (literally zero percent chance). In fact, there is no way Morello would be driving the van to the hospital in the first place. 

Could Morello drive on the complex, or with supervision immediately outside the complex? Yes.

Could she drive to the hospital? No way. There is just no way that this could happen and if it did, there is absolutely no way she would be left alone in the van for hours.

Prison administration does, however, take inmates to a hospital who are dealing with things for things that they cannot handle within their own medical system (I had a friend who had an eye surgery at an outside facility).

Oh, and by the way, even if Morello had been able to drive off with the van, she would clearly have been caught. Not only did she leave a prison van outside of Christoper's house, and leave prints everywhere (most likely), but she also did stuff that only she would do (stealing the bridal veil etc.).

And when she was found out, Officer Fisher (Lauren Lapkus) would have been fired and Morello would have been charged with about ten new crimes including attempted escape, she most certainly would not have been returned to a low-security facility.

3. "No Programs for Those Put Out To Pasture"

There were actually gardening programs at the prisons I was incarcerated in (and some even had greenhouses).

As I mentioned in Season One, sometimes this even allowed us to have freshly grown vegetables periodically (and even some hot peppers every once in a while).  Not that we were supposed to have them but people on the grounds crew would occasionally smuggle vegetables into the unit and sell them to us. 

One of my gripes in prison was that they would allow the gardening program to grow vegetables but not for prisoner consumption (they sold the crops to food banks).  I am pretty sure that they could have reduced the prison medical bills by allowing us to eat vitamin-rich foods.

2. "Everyone In Here Is In Such A Bad Mood All The Time"

During Season 1, Piper starts to accept that she was responsible for her crime and that she belongs in prison.  

At the end of Season 1, Piper starts to believe that she is, deep-down, criminal minded. In other words, Piper used to think that she was a good person caught in a bad situation and now she is starting to believe that she is a bad person who just happened to get caught.

For whatever reason, instead of recoiling from what she did to Doggett (Taryn Manning), she has started to embrace it and even enjoy it. By the end of this episode, she is trying to sell SoSo to Big Boo just to get her blanket back.

What I am saying is that Piper might soon be getting an FTW tattoo (Fuck The World) 

Boo says it best, "You really are a terrible person Piper."

1. Bunk Assignments

At all the prisons I was in the counselor made the bunk assignments. So, I have a hard time believing that Healy (Michael Harney) would put Piper and Red (Kate Mulgrew) in the same room.

In case everyone forgot, Healy hates Piper (he would always give her the worst possible bunk assignment).

Now that said, other people at Litchfield might think that being assigned to room with red would be a bad thing, but Healy likes Red. Even if he thinks Red would make life rough for Piper, he would be unlikely to stick Red with Piper.

Counselors can be very vindictive about bunk assignments. When the officers got angry with my bunkie at St. Louis West they moved me to get back at him (we were good friends).

Unlocking The Gates


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). 

Today's Comment Question is:

"If You Could Release One Litchfield Prisoner, Who Would It Be and Why?" 

Leave a comment, let people know.  Or, if you have questions, I respond to 100% of my comments! 

Today's book is Maria Gottschalk's book "Caught."