Orange Is the New Black: Orange Black or Bleak: S5 E7 “Full Bush, Half Snickers” (Netflix)

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E7: “Full Bush, Half Snickers”

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.

Not too much has happened to report on since Thursday. Hard to believe I am just over half way through Season 5 already. In honor of the upcoming holiday, Happy Fourth of July (for those of us here - I hope next year is better - and for those of you abroad - I hope we are better next year).

I do want to continue to encourage people to Tweet @JeffBezos (if you have Twitter) asking him to please fund an “in-reach to hiring” employment education program for incarcerated people. I honestly have no idea if anyone has done this yet, but I certainly hope so.

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

5 Things About Season 5 Episode 7 "Full Bush, Half Snickers"

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OITNB S5 E6 “Full Bush, Half Snickers” is about:

* Red and Blanca planning and implementing their ongoing (and insane) plan to trap Piscatella. Oh, and Blanca got a Flaritza makeover (and keeps feeding Red drugs).

* Cindy and Alison intervening to help Suzanne who is starting to unravel without her routine and her meds. Ultimately, Cindy decides to borrow the CO’s from the Latinas so that they can keep Suzanne entertained.

* Piper convincing Taystee’s crew to create an art project in memory of Poussey which ultimately results in SoSo creating a living library of art.

* A really entertaining discussion of which house each of Taystee’s crew would be sorted into (Harry Potter style). Unsurprisingly, Piper is sorted into Slytherin (Taystee is Gryffindor and Alison is Hufflepuff).

* Frieda and the OG’s chilling in the bunker discussing drugs and sex. At the very end of the episode, Gloria gets a call in the bunker from her family letting her know that her son has been in an accident.

* The Nazis unite with some of the Latinas in order to create an impromptu coffeehouse which is ruined (like most everything else) by Leanne and Angie.

* Lorna continues to unravel, especially after Vinnie visits only to bail out entirely after he hears that Lorna is pregnant. Alex and Nicky get “Flaritza Makeovers,” resulting in Nicky hooking up with a random girl right in front of Lorna (and Alex and Piper attempting to hook up too).

* The deepening of the relationship between Von Barlow (actually Linda from purchasing) and Big Boo. After Boo buys her an arts and crafts project necklace and defends her from a robber, they hook up.

* Daya starting to create art out on the yard.

* Doggett trying to genuinely meet her community service obligations but her efforts are blocked by Leanne and Angie (of course they are).

“Full Bush, Half Snickers” was both a line from a poem by Skinhead Helen and an inmate hustle. Early in the episode one of the random inmates started a business braiding vaginal hair (can’t make this up) the price for her “service” is “Full Bush, Half Snickers”

5. “I Used to Have Imaginary Friends”

It is very true that Suzanne would be likely to unravel as her brain chemistry was left without medications and she was left without her routine to rely on when she was having the “bad feelings again.”

I have to admit that I was kind of confused by why Taystee couldn’t take a break from her very important discussion of who was sorted into which house at Hogwarts in order to deal with Suzanne’s crisis. But the truth is that if nobody knew what her medications were and they cannot recreate her routines, it is unlikely that any of them could help Suzanne very much.

However, and I mean this with love, it is cruel and somewhat irresponsible to send Cindy to “deal with it.” Don’t get me wrong, Cindy is one of my favorite characters but is also one of the least likely people to act responsibly. I certainly don’t mean that she doesn’t mean well or that she doesn’t love Suzanne (she clearly does) but her long-term tendency has always been to take the shortest possible route between responsibility and getting back to having fun and talking shit. And even though I think she has really been changing her ways, it doesn’t mean she has the history or experience to be dealing with a crisis like this one (witness that the very first thing she does in establishing a new routine for Suzanne is to take all of Suzanne's candy).

But even more important, no matter what else is going on, it is just not like Taystee (even an emotionally distraught and angry Taystee) to abandon Suzanne to one of the other girls. Taystee is upset because her friend Poussey was killed but she is going to ignore her other friend when she is most in need? Now it is theoretically possible that Taystee, like many Redditors, blamed Suzanne for Poussey’s death but she sure hasn’t even remotely expressed this to date.

My suspicion is that Taystee is starting to be so lost in her own grief and anger that she has no way to express it and is starting to escape into her "job" (negotiating) so that she does not have to live entirely in her immense sorrow. The dangers here are that she really isn't dealing with her grief (which will fester) and that she is also not acting like herself. 

I did, however, enjoy all of the CO’s keeping Suzanne company but whatever else is going on, Suzanne will need serious help and she will need it very soon.

Let me also say that Uzo Aduba is just an amazing actress, at times her depiction of Suzanne just makes me want to break down crying (and I never cry).

4. “Did You Want To Go To The Poo?”

I am kind of confused as to why the CO’s were playing along once they were let out of the bubble. Pretty sure at least three of them are ex-military which means they could cause some serious problems when un-penned.

Sure, they are not fully clothed and still massively outnumbered but they have to know that the inmates cannot afford to lose their leverage and invite an all-out assault by hurting more hostages. My feeling is that they could easily grab a few inmates and use them as human shields pretty easily.

3. “In Russia, We Do Not Have ‘Happy Meal,’ We Have Unhappy Meal”

Pidge and Ouija find some coffee in the officer’s lockers and they start serving coffee to the inmates. Later, they find out that Brandy Epps was a barista and they start to work together to make their version of a coffee house (Apparently, Epps was on the cover of "Barista Magazine" two times before she was arrested for poisoning the coffee of African-Americans and Jews).

Somehow, against all odds, the existence of a coffee house starts to relax tensions between the inmates particularly during a set of performances including:

Sankey singing Green Day’s “Time of our Lives” but with slightly altered prison appropriate lyrics.

Skinhead Helen reciting the poem “Full Bush, Half Snickers” (here is my transcription):

Full Bush, Half Snickers

Revolting Women, My Sisters

Stand United, Better Guards

Yummy Snacks, Nicer Yard

Maxi Pads, Cleaner Showers

Voices Screaming, Fight the Power!

Finally, Ouija (her character’s real name is Carmen Aziza) does pretty spot on impersonations of Lorna, Nichols, and Red.

Sadly, like always, the Meth-Heads ruin everything by stealing the remaining coffee while everyone is busy watching the performances. Once the coffee runs out, everyone in line gets pissed and the entire coffee area devolves into a prison-wide melee.

An aside, I do get tired of the ongoing casual racism of the Nazi’s, I also got tired of it in prison, so I guess it is true to the characters. I still hate it.

2. “Fucking Bond Villain”

I won’t lie, as much as I find Blanca hilarious, I am getting really tired of Kate Mulgrew’s characterization of “Speed Freak Red.” Maybe it would be more accurate to say that I am still having a really hard time understanding how after only a few days of abusing speed Red’s entire personality and ethical system has changed 100%.

I am not suggesting that Red is a saint but now I am supposed to believe that she would cut a guy’s fingertip off just so that she can continually access his cell phone in order to enact the dumbest plan in the long history of dumb plans on television?

To recap the plan, they are going to pretend to be Humps and send a text to Piscatella to lure him into the prison so they can “trap him” Home Alone style (no seriously, they actually planned it to work like Kevin against the “wet bandits” (Let us not forget that Piscatella is at least 6’5, murderously vicious, and most likely entirely criminally insane).

So, we are supposed to just accept that Red, who has been one of the most consistently ethical and thoughtful characters on the show for four full seasons, is now a total idiot and a speed freak?

Sorry, the Red storyline just isn’t working for me this season.

1. “Snape Was a Slytherin”

You might not believe this, but the Harry Potter books are actually extremely popular in prison (you basically cannot find them in the library because they are always checked out).

I actually had a friend who sent me the set and I loaned them out liberally (I had already read them). I was very lucky to have friends who sent me a huge number of books (my library was probably better than the actual library and I shared liberally).

As crazy as it sounds, I remember several times sitting around with other inmates talking about all the happenings at Hogwarts. I am myself a pretty big fan of Harry Potter, which maybe should be embarrassing, but it really isn’t (J.K. Rowling wrote a great series of books).

If you have ever read my Game of Thrones recaps, my interest in that series started because I read the entire Game of Thrones series three times in my three years in prison (in addition to about 100 other books).

In fact, when I was first arrested (in 2010), the first book I ever read in jail (before I even got sentenced to prison) was the first “A Song of Ice and Fire” book “A Game Of Thrones” which just happened to be sitting in my cell (crazy luck).

Anyway, that is it for this week, see you next Thursday! Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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).

Today's Comment Question is:

“What Aspect of Season Five Did You Like the Most and Hate the Most?"

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