“Nobody cares,” is one of the most accurate lines from this episode. Miss Rosa is a terminally ill cancer patient with a collection of dead husbands and—like the other Litchfield prison inmates—a fascinating back story that we can’t to watch unfold. But she’s right—nobody cares about a woman in prison. This is what makes Orange Is The New Black a revolutionary series. Jenji Kohan has taken a forgotten, marginalized group of the American population and made us care about them. Now, how did she pull off that Jedi mind trick?
Well, as any good writer knows, you must humanize your characters. In “A Whole Other Hole” the Litchfield inmates suddenly turn into all of the women who ever experienced Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and were never quite the same afterwards. A whole world seems to open up when you discover that your body has a whole other hole, and watching the women go on this complicated journey makes us a feel a bizarre connection to them. While it is a bit of a stretch to imagine an inmate actually taking time to draw a diagram and “teach” a mini-course on the reproductive organs (and the various pressure points of pleasure therein) like Sophia dead, we’re willing to suspend our disbelief for the sake of this hilarious plot.
Lorna Morello’s character is also humanized—and complicated—in this episode. For me, this is the first character backstory to truly surprise me on OITNB. Obviously, we’ve been given plenty of fascinating narratives on the series, but Morello’s really came out of left field. Well played, OITNB writers. Well played.
Early on in the episode we see that Lorna is losing it. But we don’t know how bad things are until she takes a look at that map and high-tails it outta there. Initially, she comes off like a spoiled brat and nothing more. While characters like Sophia, Red, and Taystee committed crimes out of a certain necessity, it feels like Lorna just really doesn’t want to pay for those Prada shoes. But then we see that, somewhere along the way, she has absolutely lost it. Maybe it’s that wild and crazy household, but something sends her over the edge and we learn that her “fiancé” was never hers. She went on a date with him one time and finds herself on trial for stalking and harassing him shortly thereafter. The relationship, the wedding we’ve been watching her plan since the first season—all completely, entirely in her head.
Even though it’s all made up, we feel for her crazy ass! Especially because we don’t know the whole story when she first breaks into Paul’s home. The seating chart is like a Litchfield shank in the guts. We watch as she dons the veil she has no business wearing, just like she used to rock Dolce & Gabbana threads she had no business stealing. It’s all a mask—the red lipstick in the morning, the perfect curls. The episode leaves us with many questions as we still don’t know what she’s hiding.
This episode also further confirmed Piper’s new status as Litchfield gangsta. She goes off on everyone, getting her stuff back from the other inmates, and even tries her hand at some light-to-heavy pimpin’. Red’s got something under her sleeve with this new “gardening” scheme, and OMG what is going on with Polly and Larry? Playing house? This can’t be good.
“Chang, she got that tiger balm. But don’t put it on your lips. Or your eyeballs.” Thanks, Crazy Eyes.
I’m not sure about the correct spelling of this word, but it needs to be said: “clitorference.”
Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor at Paste, and a New York-based freelance writer with probably more babies than you. You can follow her on Twitter.