Orange is the New Black: Episodes 3 and 4 *SPOILERS*


First off: Spoilers. Lots of spoilers. If you don’t like it, skip on past.
ALSO, please be aware of the content of the show. There are a multitude of triggering scenes. Ill be avoiding very graphic descriptions here though.
Finally, If you haven’t read 1 and 2 yet, you should. Laura did an excellent job.
Now, to the review….


Episode 4 may be one of the greatest character profiles of any show I have ever seen, and the combination of episodes 3 and 4 gives a beautiful contrast of queer[1] narratives. Between the strength of Boo’s determination to be herself, and Nicky’s determination to avoid herself, I found myself gaining a new appreciation for both of these characters. I also gained a greater sense of annoyance towards Piper. Oh Piper… While you act as our protagonist, I am beginning to wish you were never arrested. Not because I want you spared the struggles of Litchfield, but because I just don’t want to see you anymore. Anywho, on to better stories.

While we already had a Character Spotlight for Nicky (WAC Pack), it really only gave me only a understanding for her addiction, and not her character. But because of “Empathy Is a Boner Killer”, I now understand how deeply her character is dominated by her relationship with her addiction. While her complicated relationship with heroin in Litchfield originally seemed to be driven by an urge to escape the reality of her prison life, in “Boner Killer” we see that she was much more escapist on the outside, despite much more privilege and freedom. Her earlier actions, especially when she completely dismissed her friends who were paying for her actions to pursue the next high, first made me disgusted by her. Yet, as I reflected on her, I grew appreciative of her strength of will to live soberly for most of the series, even if she needed to keep close to it.

And yet she still screwed up.

Not in selling the stash, although I rationally understand this is a far worse act, but in betraying her compatriots. By doing so, she opened the door to her ultimate downfall, and while I do miss her, I am almost happy she is gone for the near future. I am glad we don’t have to watch as she relapses to the apathetic character she sees her “true” self as. Although I dismiss the concept of a “true” self, both Nicky and Boo are evidently driven by this quest. But where Nicky is ultimately destroyed by her quest to be a “bloodhound for oblivion”, Boo’s drive is much more constructive.

No other character on the show could go from picking up someone in a bar…

Boo flirting with a femme woman
Image via Netflix

to violently…

Boo screaming and threatening  at a boy
Image via Netflix

Very Violently…

Boo threatening boy.
Image via Netflix

Attacking someone and still maintain my favor as a character.

And yet Boo does.

Boo began the show as an aggressive, possessive, violently inclined character. She sold out Red, abused her relationship with Little Boo, and nearly killed an ex-lover with a screwdriver. And over the course of the series, I still think all of these things are true, but in a different way. Now, I empathize with her search for maternal approval (In Red then Vee) even when it is unhealthy. I sympathize her search for intimacy in a world where she has to fight for it. And I understand how in a world where she has to fight for everything with everything she has, she has become so used to fighting.

While in earlier episodes, she began a relationship with Pennsatucky with cloudy intentions, she soon becomes Pennsatucky’s best, if only, friend. And when in “Finger In The Dyke” she attempts to scheme money from the hateful sleaze of the earth, she eventually stands true for what she knows is true. She stands tall for what she is.

A Butch Lesbian.

So often in our media Butch queer women are seen as something to look down on– As flawed. As wanna-be/almost men, or self-hating women. But Boo is unapologetically herself. From the time she was a girl who fought against wearing a dress, to when she stands up for herself and her people against an idiotic passer-by, to when she calls a religiously-driven bigot out, she is an Amazing Butch Cynosure[2].

In her youngest appearance, she exclaims “I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody”, and she holds this true, in spite of her culture, her family, her sex drive, her dying mother, and in “Finger In The Dyke” in spite of her own desire for wealth.

And so I think Boo became my favorite Episode of Orange Is The New Black. #FreeBoo

Oh yea, I should also mention that Caputo convinced a company to buy Litchfield so that it doesn’t shut down, Lorna is having a quiet breakdown, and Healy thinks SO HIGHLY of his wife: “I just want this corpse to be sleeping in the same bed as me,”.

Oh yea, and Piper is being awful (big surprise, I know), yet her and Alex are doing pretty OK, having love sex rather than Hate sex. But I really cant seem to care about her anymore.


[1] While we don’t know Nicky’s sexual identity, she strongly embraces a queer performance, and the actress has stated that the character prefers women, and Boo’s Lesbian identity is strongly signaled.

[2] Cynosure is my word of the day. It means “something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest,etc.”

Images via Netflix – Orange is the New Black – Finger In The Dyke

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