Ever since we first met Suzanne/Crazy Eyes (let’s agree to only call her Suzanne from now on) in the first season, I’ve been dying to know more of her backstory. It was a wise move to save some characters’ backstories for Season 2 as it really upped the anticipation. I had high hopes for this episode and it didn’t disappoint. The greatness of “Hugs Can Be Deceiving” is in the way it chooses to tell Suzanne’s story and how her past fits in with her present predicament in prison but it doesn’t just hand us all of the answers. It’s a carefully told story about her childhood and her mental illness yet it doesn’t reveal exactly how that landed her in jail, and that’s perfectly fine.
The bulk of the flashback involves Suzanne’s childhood — and major, major props to the casting director on Orange because child Suzanne was on point. Last season, we caught a quick glimpse of her white, adoptive parents that seemed to contradict everything that we know about her. “Hugs” forages even deeper into this family. After adopting Suzanne, they have a miracle child that throws Suzanne more off balance. There are failed attempts to socialize Suzanne such as bringing her to the birthday party of a younger girl where her relatively dark mind upsets the rest of the partygoers. Later, she is slated to sing at her high school graduation but her stage fright freezes her and she starts hitting herself, similar to the during the Litchfield Christmas Pageant in Season 1’s finale. We also get the reveal of what happened in the yard: Suzanne intervened by punching Piper which resulted in it looking like a fair fight between Piper and Pennsatucky. Suzanne saved Piper, albeit accidentally.
I’m a fan of the smaller scenes that exist throughout Orange Is the New Black, that show the ways the women try to find ways to pass the time. There’s a scene when a group of inmates play Celebrity and they’re happy, having fun, and busting chops. For a second it’s as if they aren’t even in prison — they’re in a dorm room, perhaps — but then the loudspeaker is heard in the background and I’m reminded of the severity (and longevity) of the situation. The Celebrity game is also a clever way to show the way Suzanne is still excluded in prison and how her peers are wary of setting her off.
Vee understands that Suzanne’s different and knows she can use this to her advantage. Suzanne is seeking a comforting figure to reassure her that she’s fine and to stop her from letting her mind get the best of her. Vee is willing to take on that role, not for Suzanne, but for her own bigger plan.
Cliff Notes for the non-Suzanne happenings:
- There is the introduction of a new character, Brook Soso, a terrified but bubbly young woman who never seems to stop talking. “This is not how I imagine prison to be at all,” she says.
- Piper returns to Litchfield, grateful to see many of her old friends, even if Suzanne wants nothing to do with her. Also, she scares the shit out of Brook.
- Morello, via a phone call, finds out that her fiancee is getting married to someone else — on her planned wedding day.
- Annoying Larry is still trying to use Piper’s jail sentence as a way to selfishly further his journalism career. When a reporter asks him to help get in touch with Piper, Larry offers up himself instead. He also goes on an awkward date.
- Red has a past relationship with Vee though we’re not entirely sure how. Whatever it is, she suddenly becomes insecure and has Sophia give her a makeover.
- Daya is concerned about getting the proper vitamins she needs for the baby and Bennett realizes that he can sneak them in through his false leg.
Episode 204: “A Whole Other Hole”
Honestly, Morello never stood out too much in Season 1. Aside from her accent, at least. She was a great character but her woes about planning her wedding (and her shitty treatment of Nicky) paled in comparison to what everyone around her was dealing with. “A Whole Other Hole” added some much needed and very fucked-up depth to her character. From what we know about Morello, she’s engaged to Christopher although he’s stopped visiting her in prison.
The flashback sets up her crime as fraud that allows her to buy all these expensive items of clothing but it’s a bait-and-switch and a truly shocking one. It turns out Morello is sadly delusional: She was never engaged to Christopher — they only went on one date — and instead she has formed a whole fake relationship in her head that results in stalking, threats, and a homemade bomb. This isn’t the Morello that we thought we know and it’s great storytelling.
Back in the present, Morello’s distraught about Christopher’s upcoming nuptials. She drives the van for the hospital and while Susan and Rosa are in the hospital, Morello steals the van and drives to Christopher’s house. It stretches believability a bit, sure, but it manages to be crazy, intense, and tragic all at once. Morello steals a wedding invitation. She tries on the veil. She takes a long bath and eventually falls asleep and has to rush out the window when Christopher arrives. She steals a teddy bear and the prison guard has no idea what just happened.
Cliff Notes for the non-Morello happenings:
- Oh, I love the Female Anatomy Lesson plot in this episode! As it turns out, so many of the inmates are completely unaware of the blueprints and workings of the vagina and spend a bulk of the episode trying to figure out with the help of Sophia, and hand mirrors, and eventually a health class-like lesson. Plus, prison guard Scott’s rapt attention while they discuss where the clitoris is? Hilarious.
- Piper gets assigned to bunk with Red and goes around the prison collecting her stuff from the other inmates who thought she was gone forever. She lets Suzanne keep a picture of her and Larry. She fails to get her blanket — originally Miss Claudette’s — back from Boo.
- Vee is becoming too interested in the prison’s contraband and where it’s coming from.
- Red finds a tunnel underneath the greenhouse (seems like a big prison oversight to me!) and starts a gardening project.
- Larry and Polly are getting a little too close, pretending to be married with a child, and if this is where I think it’s going? Destroy Larry, let’s never see him again.