FOOL ME ONCE... continued
One of the things I like about this show, which isn't apparent the way I slice and dice these reviews, is the segues between branches of the story. How Tiffany being counseled by the Good Looking Stranger to forgive as she had been forgiven, slid into the flashback on her crime.
I like how the next scene in a bar where Pornstache is confessing his deep feelings for Daya to her REAL lover Bennett, is followed by the scene where Piper discusses her male lover Larry with her female lover Alex.
Before you ask me "in what universe does Piper think that conversation is appropriate", lets review why she's at Alex's bunk at all.
It was the prayer.
The prayer in the common room before Tiffany and Sister Ingalls.
Remember I said, "it was a pretty good one." Well, I define good by whether the prayer changes the audience... and this one certainly did. It changed Piper herself, it opened her eyes to how she's been behaving over the last 24 hours, last 2 weeks, maybe even the last 8 years.
Dear... Mr. Christ?
(Sister Ingalls looks up from her crocheting)
Dear Mr. Christ. I know that umm, I've done some things recently that have not been, um, up to your standards... and I feel pretty ashamed.
(Her eyes have been closed and hands clasped since the 2nd "Mr. Christ".)
: Its really easy to point fingers... And I've done some things lately that I feel pretty lousy about. And I'm wondering if maybe you could make things right between us...
(Which "us" Piper?)
Piper: (Eyes still closed)
If I could be forgiven, that would be really... um...
(She sits back in her seat, eyes still closed, hands still clasped)
: ... that would be really comforting. Amen.
Chapman lets out a big sigh, and slowly opens her eyes to see Tiffany. It takes her a few seconds to process where she is, what she's doing, and before she can, Tiffany is up out of her chair, hugging the woman and planning her baptism. Piper still isn't "all there" when Sister Ingalls offers her critique and as we leave the scene, Piper is slumped in her chair, deep in thought.
I think she's trying to figure out the question I posed above... "which us" does Piper want things to be "right" between?
So from that common room prayer, we went to the bar to watch Pornstache profess his love for the woman who is possibly carrying Bennett's baby, and Bennett can't say anything except "Fuck!" when he reads the love note
Mendez wants passed to Daya. And from the bar where one lover had to listen to someone moon over his secret paramour, we go to the white suburbs, the barracks where Alex lives.
You were right. (Alex looks up from her book)
About Larry, you were right.
(Alex closes her book on long distance running... what a great metaphor for Alex' life, eh?)
I think that I've lost him... (she indicates the spot on the bed next to Alex
) Can I?
(Alex waves her over, then looks down into her lap, gathering strength for yet another angst filled Piper conversation about her OTHER lover. Would Piper ever ask Larry if she could vent her soul over ALEX? I think not. Alex lifts her head as Piper sits down, but stares straight ahead, away from Piper.)
Piper: (Piper isn't looking at Alex either)
So all of my cards are on the table. (Alex looks at her)
Everything. I'm an emotionally manipulative narcissist who bailed on you when your mother died.
And I'm a ruthless pragmatist who sold you out and then lied about it. (Piper finally turns to look at Alex)
The conversation goes on from there, at a level I doubt she's ever had with anyone else much less Larry, which is probably very telling. Now she's about to do something she rarely does, talk about what she needs, really needs
my life now, twice, over you. So, what's the endgame here? When we
get out of prison, what's the plan?
(Alex shrugs and looks like she's about to ask her own question, but Piper is on a roll)
Are we going to move to Vermont and open a pottery studio and wear Tevas?
That sounds more like Santa Fe.
I'm being serious. Are you going to get a Job?
Uhummm. (She looks away from the unpalatable suggestion)
Like a regular
(I love Alex's face at this part, and her little head shake. Is that a "no" or is that an "OMG?)
I mean... I can't even imagine what
that would look like!
Piper lays a final card on the table, the future card that says she will NEVER come back to prison and FINALLY Alex seems to wake up and let some steam out from under her collar.
Listen, I am not
planning on going back to doing illegal
shit. I'm not planning
anything. I don't know what's gonna happen. And that's
the point of being with me
. If you wanna have babies and remodel your bathroom, then please go. Do
. If you want to do X
on a beach in Cambodia with 3 strangers in drag... I'm not saying its going to happen... but it could.
The "awestruck 23 year old that fell in love with the seductive, transgressive older woman" looks out from this 32 year old's soul and sighs.
: I love Cambodia.
: (Smiles back)
A sweet moment, interrupted, as always in prison, by bad news.
Nicky has come to warn Piper to sleep with "Both eyes open tonight."
Morello has driven Miss Claudette back from her court appearance. Her appeal was denied.
When we see Miss Claudette walking through the corridors like a zombie, all you can think of was her advice to Piper months ago not to give hope to Tricia and the other women trying to file appeals from behind these bars. She had no reason to leave prison before Jean Baptiste's first letter, and he became the only reason to keep living, to keep breathing behind these walls as she waited for the appeal to be processed. When the hope of joining him outside of prison was dashed, she was bereft... and in the middle of her bereavement walked a green corrections officer who was told to treat these women as nonpersons, as sheep to be herded harshly from one pen to another... and that was what sweet Fischer tried to do. And that was how she became the face of everything that was wrong in Miss Claudette's life and maybe even a way to shorten her own life by choking to death this sign of authority standing before her.
It was a heavy moment, watching the guard pull Miss Claudette down the hall, hands cuffed behind her back warning her that she was "going to Max" next.
Miss Claudette didn't care anymore.
We watched with Piper and Alex and Nicky and several other women at the drama being played out before them, and as they looked down the hall to their right, a new inmate in her bright orange prison uniform entered from the left to stand next to Piper.
Not just stand next to Piper... she picked up her forearm and leaned on the much taller woman's shoulder like they were old friends.
Because they were
What are we looking at?
Everyone turns in shock... and awe... and Piper?
She just smiles as if she's finally seen the sun after a long bleak night