OITNB Recap: A Junkie's Lament — Plus: Which Inmate Attempts Suicide?

Warning: The following recap contains spoilers from Episodes 6 and 7 of Orange Is the New Black Season 4. (ICYMI: Check out our season premiere recap.)

Orange you glad you aren’t currently doing time at Litchfield?

Our sincerest apologies for the pun, but it’s a more than appropriate question to pose as we reach the midway point of Orange Is the New Black Season 4, which has already featured Nicky’s relapse, Sophia’s attempted suicide and Chapman’s brutal “branding” following her inadvertent establishment of the prison’s #WhiteLivesMatter movement.

oitnb-season-4-nicky-stellaMIGHT AS WELL GET STONED | Nicky tossed her sobriety away faster than Lorna and Vince said “I do.” Not that we’re defending her return to heroin, but she wasn’t given much reason to think clean living was worth a damn. Stuck in Max where she spent her days split between janitorial duties and narcotics anonymous meetings, the inmate was completely alone, save for one conversation with Sophia down in SHU and a one-time hookup with Stella (returning guest star Ruby Rose), who she quickly cut out of her life when she learned she was doped up on skag. She also pushed Luschek away, who finally came to visit her only to clear his conscience.

Nicky finding out that Sophia had attempted to take her own life was enough to push the former junkie back to her drug of choice. After all, her last interaction with Sophia was denying her a blanket after the wrongfully isolated prisoner was put in a cell without a bed. Her return to using was immediately reinforced upon her exit from Max, as she found the fix she needed courtesy of notorious shower pooper Angie.

oitnb-season-4-piper

THE ULTIMATE BURN | Chapman did what she had to do to protect her employees once the guards became privy to a used panties business, but were still unaware that there were two operations in play. Little did she know that snitching on Maria would extend her competitor’s sentence by three-to-five years.

Our pragmatic protagonist, who was already feeling like she had lost all of her friends due to her business, was in for an even ruder awakening once Hapakuka turned on her and helped set up the trap for Maria to force down her enemy and burn a swastika into her arm as punishment for all that’s gone bad for her since the formation of the Litchfield Safety Task Force. (Be prepared to wear a lot of long-sleeve shirts upon your eventual release, Pipes!)

MIND GAMES | As Healy would explain to Lolly, his equally paranoid mother lived as though she was trapped inside an episode of The Twilight Zone, “locked in a fake world that no one else was apart of even though it looked exactly the same.” The same can be said for the paranoid inmate, whose time in prison was proven unjust courtesy of heartbreaking flashbacks that showed her regression from promising journalist to unemployable schizophrenic. Though his attachment to the prisoner is clearly unhealthy, their bond has allowed the Powers That Be to explore a case of two people who probably shouldn’t be employed or jailed at Litchfield given their unhinged psyches. (On a related note: How early is too early to start campaigning for Lori Petty to receive an Emmy nomination in 2017?)

THE NOT-SO-PICTURE-PERFECT PLAN |  Caputo’s attempt to have proper enrichment classes for the inmates failed about as hard as Taystee’s attempts to secure a photo of Judy King for Us Weekly. The warden’s assistant teamed with Suzanne, Cindy and Alison in an effort to make some “retirement plan” money, but even after successfully snapping a photo with the perfect focus and resolution, Alison’s contraband phone died and they were left without a way to retrieve the pic. And it’s too bad: Following the leak of Judy’s racist children’s show, there’s no telling how much a tabloid would have paid for a photo that looked like Cindy was reacting to her use of African-American and watermelon (!) puppets.

OK, it’s your turn: How are you feeling at this point in your Season 4 marathon? Is everyone not named Lolly getting exactly what they deserve? Grade the first half of this season in our poll below, then sound off in the comments. (And please keep in mind that for the sake of those who don’t binge at warp speed, discussions should be about Episodes 1-7 only; subsequent recaps will focus on later developments.)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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19 Comments
  1. webly3 says:

    The first few episodes were good, but the episodes after about 4 or 5 are all amazing. I was very upset with what happened to Nicky and Sophia, but I’m also glad that the show still showed what happened to them instead of going the route that the show did with Miss Claudette.

  2. NM says:

    Definitely enjoying this season. It’s been great. I’m only disappointed in two things:
    1. Piper’s ego getting the better of her. She’s become somewhat unlikeable this season and the impression I got from the season three finale was that she’d go badass. Instead, she just became arrogant.
    2. The return of Stella (Ruby Rose) was extremely snooze-worthy. The character sucks and quite frankly, Ruby can’t act. I just find her annoying altogether.

  3. leo says:

    I haven’t finished watching it, … click bait!!

  4. ballardgirl63 says:

    NOT liking the Judy King storyline at all. Shark jump if the writers aren’t careful. Liking Lolly storyline a lot (Suzanne seems less crazy and more eccentric in comparison), liking Piper getting what’s due to her for her opportunistic, bullying, and budding racist ways..

  5. Bob Lamm says:

    I’ve seen the whole season. No spoilers coming. It was outstanding. There’s much I’d love to say, but I don’t want to give away anything. I’ll just say this: I urge everyone to watch the show to binge it as soon as possible. There’s a crucial writing choice that people should actually see while watching rather than read about first. And word about that writing choice will get more and more public very soon.

    • Kevin H. says:

      I definitely agree that Lori Petty deserves an Emmy for her arc this season. She was really amazing and really gave some insight into Lolly.

  6. MMD says:

    I’m not enjoying this season as much as others because there are too many characters and too little interaction between the core cast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying it, just feel like there are too many characters and story-lines on the go. I’m currently watching episode 11.

  7. flowerduh says:

    I finished the whole season yesterday and this season is by far the best! It’s dark and the guards REALLY need counseling but I love all of the characters!

  8. It was nice to see Piper finally get what was coming to her. She’s not the protagonist in this story.

  9. Ann says:

    Did Cindy make a reference to Homeland with that Iraqi wedding comment? (ep 4)

  10. I’ve finished season 4. Season 3 almost made me give up on it. I am so glad that I didn’t because season 4 is flawless. It’s by far the best season so far. No spoilers, however I’ll give you this…be prepared.

  11. Antoinette says:

    No spoilers buuuut….I was happy, sad, mad, distraught and confused watching these episodes. VERY DARK season but cant wait until next year. Also I need some resolution on something that Happened in season 3 that is still the elephant in the room situation :)

  12. Candace says:

    Just a warning for those of you who ever read articles on Buzzfeed and are not caught up on the new season. There are two users who keep posting a major spoiler for the end of the season in the comments of every OITNB article on the site. I had a very unpleasant surprise this morning.

  13. abz says:

    You know TVLine staff, if I usually come across spoilers accidentally, I get upset for a minute and then I try to move on. It’s to be expected when I come to a TV news site and I put most of the blame on myself. However, when it comes to the Netflix shows specifically where entire seasons are released at once, I wish you guys would at least be a little considerate. At the time of this posting, it had barely been a week since the season premiered (only two days in fact). That’s why I’m a huge fan of the way the AV Club site handles things when it comes to reviewing the Netflix shows. They have the full season reviews for people who binge-watched right away and want to discuss and then they have the episodic reviews for those who are unable to watch all at once and they monitor the discussions in the comments to prevent spoilers of future episodes for those who haven’t caught up yet.
    I mean the least you guys could do is not give away major spoilers in the headlines/photos. In this headline, it asks which inmate attempts suicide, but then you go ahead and put Sophia’s picture right next to it. Please explain how that makes sense. Why ask the question if you will give it away in the picture?

    • I have to agree. All I did was google OITNB and their headline for episodes 8-13 came up and now I know what happened without even having to click on it.Pretty upsetting.

    • Michelle says:

      Then why look it up if you dont want to know what happens? To me, it seems like you should already be aware that you might stumble upon spoilers for the show.