The unique thing about “40 Oz. of Furlough” — besides the fact that the episode has the best title of Season 2 — is that the flashbacks take place entirely in prison. This episode’s focus is on both Red and Vee, revealing their past connection while going back to when the two first met while serving time together. Their relationship has been built on distrust since day one, and we finally learn why.
Vee is immediately interested in Red’s connection to the kitchen vendors, but Red doesn’t want to break any more rules. Yet she gives in and begins sneaking in contraband through the kitchen, practically beaming with pride when Vee approves. Her moment of glory is short-lived, though, because soon Vee takes over the entire operation and has her crew give Red a brutal beatdown.
In the present, Red has finally gotten her little gang back together after a nice family meal in the greenhouse. They have all forgiven her for the events of last season, which is good because Red’s going to need all the allies she can get if she’s going head-to-head with Vee. Big Boo is looking out for herself, though, and blabs to Vee about Red’s secret tunnel.
Piper’s furlough adventure is so interesting and momentous that I can’t just relegate it to the bullet points. Piper reunites with Larry outside the bars, but everything feels off — she even rings the doorbell instead of walking right in. They almost immediately begin to argue. Piper goes to her grandmother’s wake, where every relative seems stunned to see her. At the house, Piper guzzles wine and tries to seduce Larry. They attempt to have sex in the bathroom, but he blurts out an admission that he slept with someone that she knows (he doesn’t admit that it was Polly). “You decide to tell me that with your flaccid dick in my mouth?” Piper asks incredulously. They break up, again, though this time it seems to be for real.
It’s a great scene for a number of reasons: it’s both sad and funny, it gives some closure to a wishy-washy relationship, and it deals with the fact that Larry is basically a terrible guy who viewers hate. There doesn’t seem to be a great reason as to why he’s still around — even the drama he provides pales in comparison to the dramatics of every other character or scene — except that he’s still tied to Piper, even if that string is loose and annoying. But this is a way to get rid of him and set up his future with Polly. Hopefully, neither Larry nor Polly will appear in Season 3.
Cliff notes on the non-Vee and Red happenings:
- Healy is seeing a therapist but mostly just following her lead to get an idea of how to communicate with his inmates. It mostly works with Pennsatucky.
- Pornstache is back to terrorizing the ladies of Litchfield, but, weirdly enough, Bennett is also losing his shit, overwhelmed with frustration due to Pornstache’s return. He tells Caputo that Daya’s pregnant.
- Soso starts a hunger strike to protest the prison conditions.
- Poussey and Taystee are still at odds, and it’s destroying my heart to watch it all go down. Taystee is now delivering drugs, not just cigarettes, and hands Nicky heroin.
- The funeral for Piper’s grandmother seamlessly turn into a wedding for her brother. Piper also checks up on the restaurant Red asked about, but it was closed down. In one great, if not on-the-nose, later scene, Piper scarfs down a cheeseburger while downing a 40 of Colt 45.
Episode 210 — “Little Mustachioed Shit”
“Little Mustachioed Shit” picks up, once again, the saga of Piper and Alex. The backstory explores the early stages in their relationship, when they were happy and couldn’t keep their hands off each other… except Alex also had an ex-girlfriend who tortured Piper, punching her in the face and leaving a flaming bag of dog shit on her porch.
Piper returns to prison and lies to Red about the restaurant being in great condition. She also received another letter from Alex and doesn’t know what to do with it. Truth be told, most of the Alex/Piper stuff is no longer very interesting, especially in this episode. The insight into their early relationship isn’t bad, but it doesn’t really add much depth to what we already know about these characters. We know that Piper was totally seduced by Alex’s charms, and we know that Alex can be totally manipulative.
As for Piper and Larry, last episode she claimed she didn’t want to know who he slept with, but now she needs to know. Polly visits and Piper slowly deduces that it was her but plays her cards close to her chest. After the visitation, she takes out her anger by repeatedly punching the wall in her cell. Red wisely offers up advice: “You don’t drink poison and wait for it to kill your enemy. Stop hitting walls and plot your revenge.” Piper just does that. She manages to leave a flaming bag of shit on Polly’s porch.
Cliff notes on the non-Piper/Alex happenings:
- In the great Red vs. Vee war of 2014, Vee now knows about Red’s secret tunnel and wants in. But Red’s still pissed at Vee, of course, and even more so now that she knows Vee is the one who gave heroin to Nicky, almost causing her relapse.
- Fig grills Daya on the pregnancy, encouraging her to admit that she seduced him. “You officially destroyed a man’s life,” Fig tells Daya.
- Healy has started a “Safe Place” group for inmates to go for help and recruits Pennsatucky to get other people to go.
- Poussey and Taystee’s differences have come to yet another head, with Taystee attacking Poussey for growing up as a “bougie bitch.” Poussey gets hammered off some prison hooch and stands up to Vee, only to be viciously attacked by Crazy Eyes.
- Christopher visits Morello in prison to let her know that he’s aware she’s the one that broke into his house, even if the cops don’t believe it’s at all possible. It remains a stunning season for Morello’s character, struggling to keep up appearances while trying not to completely break down.
- And Pornstache is fired for good.