The focus of Episode 2, “Looks Blue, Tastes Red,” is all on Taystee. Originally Taystee wasn’t supposed to have as big a role as she did — remember how she was released? — but both the character and actress (Danielle Brooks) made such a lasting impression that Kohan thankfully wrote her back in. I’ve always been eager to learn more about Taystee. She was a foster child (and an extremely smart one) who met Vee at an adoption event and later found that her math skills (along with her creativity and knack for crafting) helped with the drug business.
Taystee has always wanted to be legitimate. She stays in prison because she doesn’t know how to exist outside and because she doesn’t have a family to go to — in prison, she’s found her “forever family” — but she still dreams of making it out again and going straight. During the prison’s career fair (which basically exists so Natalie can pretend that Litchfield is full of programs that make sense of the huge budget she blows on herself), Taystee takes it more seriously than any of her fellow inmates. Poussey helps her tailor the outfit while Taystee studies up on how to rock a job interview. She’s heard an obviously false rumor that the last winner of the career fair was hooked up with an actual job and Taystee really believes this could happen to her. I’m immediately reminded of something Miss Claudette told Piper last season: “Hope is a dangerous thing.”
She gets her hopes up and thoroughly impresses the interviewer, effortlessly winning the contest. But there’s no real prize, just a few extra bucks on her commissary and a fucked up speech from Natalie. In the span of a few seconds, Taystee goes from happy and hopeful to heartbreakingly disappointed to nonchalantly forcing herself to shrug it off — Brooks is amazing in this scene. The kicker is at the end when Vee shows up in the chapel. “Oh shit” indeed.
Cliff Notes on the non-Taystee happenings in E2: