“Orange is the New Black” recap (3.7): Tongue-tied

Orange is the New Black deserves praise for many things; chiefly among those is the diversity and talent of its ensemble cast. This show is filled to the brim with talented actresses and actors that keep our finger on the “play the next episode” button. Television has always been a character’s medium, but OITNB has really changed the game in terms of creating complex and flawed characters. This is due in no small part to the talented writers, who fill even the smallest characters with rich personality. Seriously, is there any other show that gives such pathos and depth to its background players?

Which brings us to Norma Romano. Sweet, quiet Norma wakes up and goes about her business, which now includes performing morning blessings along with peeling potatoes. As she is bombarded by inmates looking to her answers, Freida references The Wizard of Oz when she asks if Norma is a good witch or a bad witch.

or1Another bullshit day in Suck City

The guards sit through a sexual harassment video, while O’Neill rubs Bell’s shoulders. Everyone is giggling at the video when Caputo yells at them to knock it off, specifically a baby-faced guard I’m calling Gerber. Caputo is flummoxed by the corporate system, and concerned that with these new rules he can no longer jerk it in his office.

Over in Pantyland, the inmates talk about panty sniffers, and Black Cindy says that the internet has made it okay to fly any kind of sexual freak flag: panty sniffer, brony, furry, Faberry—the internet welcomes you! Now take off your pants. As she accidentally turns a pair of panties into a headband, Piper steals another pair.

or2 Look, I don’t know why every straight girl on Facebook is obsessed with me. They just are.

In the kitchen, Gloria is having a stressful day. She’s lost Flaca to Pantyland, her son Bennie is coming for visitation, and now she’s stuck with Red. She sends Red to peel potatoes with Norma, and promises she’s keeping an eye on her. Red is psyched to be reunited with her OG friend Norma, and they peel potatoes together.

or3 OMG Baby Norma is so cute

We flashback to the 60’s, where a baby-faced Norma attends a spirituality workshop led by a hippie named Guru Mac. He asks why Norma is at the meeting, and she can barely form a sentence due to her terrible stutter. He assures her he hears her, and places his thumb over her third eye. We see Norma’s relief at not having to speak and her comfort in being accepted and understood.

or4And that’s how I got into Dianetics. Now who’s ready for some auditing?

Berdie has read Suzanne’s writing exercise and deemed it pornographic. Suzanne defends the piece, saying, “It’s not just sex…it’s love, with two people connecting…with four other people and aliens.” Everyone’s a critic. Taystee sees Suzanne throw away her story, and encourages her to keep writing. After all, even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling got rejected from publishers!

or5 Now imagine the entire thing…on roller skates.