They Kill People In Here: Orange Is the New Black S4 E13 “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again” (Netflix)

Orange, Black, or Bleak S4 E13: “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again”

So, this is it, the end of the journey (at least until Season 6) If you have not seen all 64 of my other recaps, here is a link to the complete guide.

Thank you to everyone who reads these recaps and a special thank you to so many of you who have followed this odyssey since the very beginning.

Hopefully, you have checked out my podcast “Decarceration Nation” (see above).  Our last episode was an interview with Lauren-Brooke Eisen an expert in private prisons. If you haven’t found the podcast, you can subscribe from iTunes or from Stitcher or any podcast aggregator.

If you have not watched OITNB before *Spoiler Alert*

Some Things About Season 4 Episode 13 “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again”

 Netflix

Netflix

OITNB S4 E13 “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again” was about:

* A beautiful flashback to Poussey’s wonderful New York City adventure before she was arrested for possession with intent to distribute. I really enjoyed seeing her out in the world having fun, it helped make my feelings more bittersweet instead of just bitter.

* Caputo’s response to Poussey's death held hostage to MCC’s attempts at PR spin. This results in Poussey’s body being left in the cafeteria sitting on the floor for almost a full day and from Poussey’s family being notified.

* Piscatella being relieved from duty and sent home on suspension for the weekend. Caputo intimates that he knows of a troubling incident in Piscatella’s past (see S5 recaps).

* Bayley trying to come to grips with what he did. He runs into Piper and asks her to explain to the women that he did not intend to kill Poussey.

* Piper dealing with Alex’s ongoing attempts to take responsibility for the death of Ayden.

* Suzanne trying to take responsibility for what she has done by punishing herself. Ultimately, she somehow causes a bookshelf to fall on herself (the books being symbolic of Poussey) and gets sent to medical where she is put right next to Kekudio (who she beat up).

* Norma singing to SoSo (only the second time we have heard this) and SoSo getting drunk and wandering around Litchfield.

* Red trying to distract her family members while preparing for what she sees as a gathering storm.

* All of the remaining CO’s cosigning on the notion that Poussey came at Bayley with a knife, making sense of Daya’s later statement that all CO’s being “Pieces of Sh*t”

* Nicky and Morello working through some of their issues and Morello honestly accounting for her own mental health struggles in regards to jealousy and Vinny.

* Another problematic interaction between Donuts and Doggett. Apparently, Douts is incapable of seeing intimacy as anything other than forced sex although he is fighting his worst instincts. In other news, he is thinking of leaving his job as a correctional officer.

* Taystee and her crew attempting to cope with the death of Poussey. Things start getting dangerous when Jenae punches Sankey and everyone starts to weapon-up but what pushes everything totally over the edge was Caputo exonerating Bayley and, in essence, blaming Poussey’s death on the inmates.

* Humps bringing a gun into Litchfield (so that he can take care of the inmates if they get out of line). This results in him trying to pull the gun during the start of the riot but getting it knocked out of his hand. Daya ends up with the gun and points it at Humps as the season ends.

They Kill People In Here

I just want to remind folks that when Red and Taystee (at separate times) suggest that prisons and jails can be deadly that it is not just hyperbole. The jail I was incarcerated in while I was waiting to go to prison has had eighteen deaths since 2012 and prisons are absurdly dangerous too.

Some folks will say things like “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime” but I bet most of those people have never done a day of time in their life, don’t realize how over-punitive and regulatory our society has become, and probably haven’t done much honest reflection about the things they have done in their lives that could have resulted in prosecution.

Regardless, most of us who have done time believe that the punishment is not being able to leave. Unfortunately, way too often the punishment becomes something much worse like extortion, violence, even death.

“Just Not Credible”

Last week someone in the Reddit Orange Is the New Black forum made an argument I have been making here for a few years now. Caputo is really not a good person, he pretends to be a good person, he goes through the motions of being a good person (and often says the right things)  but when push comes to shove, he is almost always on the wrong side.

The riot that forms the basis of Season 5 started well before Humps took a pistol into Litchfield. It started when Caputo decided to look after himself with MCC and to stop looking after the women of Litchfield. It started with Caputo making Piscatella Captain and not checking into his background until it was way too late. It started with Caputo looking the other way when MCC insisted on untrained or lightly trained officers. And it was sparked by Caputo taking CO Bayley’s side and explicitly saying that any stories from the inmates, who are “convicted felons,” are not to be trusted because the women’s voices are “just not credible.”

Regardless of what you think of Bayley, what he did was negligent homicide. He certainly did not intend to kill Poussey and he was being attacked by Suzanne at the time, but he was responsible for what happened. I believe that he is one of the nicer people at Litchfield, that he had zero intent to kill Poussey, and that he was still responsible for killing her.

I absolutely do not think he should be brutally punished, but I do think he should have to be accountable for his actions and that he should never have been a correctional officer absent better training. That is on MCC and that is on Caputo.

Suzanne

Speaking of complicity. The MCC and Federal Bureau of Prisons would be complicit with Poussey’s death on two separate levels:

  1. The failure to properly vet and train their correctional officers or monitor the officer's behaviors (see Humps being allowed to walk through the metal detector with a gun).

  2. Allowing someone with significant mental health issues to be unsupervised in a regular prison environment.

Look, I am the biggest Suzanne fan in the world, but what the last episode demonstrated, more than anything else, is that Suzanne just is not capable of dealing with the stressors in general population.

I do get that the BOP did not create the show, but this is a substantial and real problem in prisons and jails where a very high amount of prisoners are suspected to have untreated mental health and addiction issues.

Okay, let’s forget about Suzanne before the incident. Can anyone explain why Suzanne, who was the prime cause of Bayley’s overreaction, is still walking around in the general population? Shouldn’t she either be in SHU or Psych after having a psychotic episode that instigated a killing?

Few things I have seen on OITNB have made less sense than seeing Suzanne walking around Litchfield trying to take revenge on herself during episode 13.

Sorry For Your Loss

So we had another school shooting this week followed by another long string of politicians saying <insert politician name here> My thoughts and prayers” are with the people of <insert town here>.

It is unfortunate that “sorry for your loss” has become shorthand for an appropriate minimal necessary commitment to taking appropriate action after a tragedy. There is a nice juxtaposition of the prisoners (who all offer condolences backed up with physical proof of their empathy) and Caputo who says it but doesn’t even call Poussey’s family until shamed into it and who betrays Poussey be fully backing CO Bayley).

In my opinion, the correct move would have been to blame it on both the poor training and on CO Bayley’s inappropriate response to the incident. But whatever the correct response, We need to stop deferring to shorthand expressions of “appropriate” grief which sound good but really mean nothing.

Last But Not Least

Some people consider Season 4 a bad season. I find S4 hard emotionally but incredibly important. In many ways, it comes closest to dealing with the most relevant questions facing prisons today (namely the privatization of prisons and privatization of prison functions).

It was very nice of OITNB to share Poussey’s beautiful NY adventure as the counterpoint to seeing her murdered and dead on the floor.

Covering all 65 episodes of Orange Is the New Black has been one heck of an adventure. Thanks again for all of your support!

Orange Black or Bleak will be back for S6.

Unlocking The Gates

 Netflix

Netflix

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