As protagonists go, Piper has always been super annoying. The choices she makes are infuriating. Her privileged naiveté makes you want to throttle her. And Piper was at her peak annoyance level in “Appropriately Sized Pots.” (I have this whole theory that the character of So-So was created just to distract us from how annoying Piper can be).
Piper’s furlough to see her dying grandmother gets approved. The only problem is—nobody gets furlough. Ever. Sophia didn’t get one when she wanted to see her dying father and make peace with him. Laverne Cox’s delivery of “But grandmothers, they’re important too,” was heartbreaking. It takes a cafeteria revolt to make Piper realize that perhaps, just perhaps, she’s receiving special treatment. She then tries to tell Healy that she can’t take her furlough—but Healy is hearing none of that. Getting Piper’s furlough approved is his one small victory.
And Healy needs a victory because the episode kicks off with him telling Rosa she won’t be getting the recommended surgery because it hasn’t been sanctioned by the department of corrections—it’s been deemed too expensive. Continued chemo will be the only option for her. When Healy tries to comfort her telling her no one knows the future, she responds, “Doctors know the future. They think I need surgery.”
While Rosa’s flashback was entertaining, it wasn’t the most interesting—primarily because the other flashbacks have given us insight into the characters that we didn’t already have. But Rosa’s backstory was exactly what she had said it had been. She had robbed a bank and the two men she had loved died in the process of the robberies. She believed herself to be cursed—her kiss was the kiss of death.
Far more intriguing were Rosa’s scenes with her adolescent chemo buddy Yusef. The two plot to steal money out of the nurse’s purse. “You’ve been casing the joint?” he marvels. When Rosa learns that her friend has gone into remission, she cries tears of joy and tells him, “Enjoy your life, shit pot.” Maybe her curse has been broken? Rosa is also accepting her fate—she will not go out in a “blaze of glory,” but rather die a slow, painful death in prison.
Caputo, still smarting from being spurned by Fischer (although you have to wonder if Fischer even knew Caputo was hitting on her), abruptly fires Fischer for trying to say that the shot quota is harming the relationship between the inmates and the guards. The firing leads to a great scene between Nicky and Fischer where Fischer laments, “I had medical and dental. I was paying off my Kia.” But Nicky knows that being fired is the best thing that could happen to Fisher and, after offering her career advice, tells her “pack your shit and get the f—out of here.”
When Caputo has an epiphany that Red might be playing him with this whole greenhouse thing, he rushes into the garden and begins dumping all the plants. But Red, always one step ahead, has already moved her entire stash to the kitchen.
Caputo is a man with the responsibility of being in charge, without actually the ability to be in charge—he’s thwarted by Fig above him, and the prisoners who are smuggling contraband and hiding pregnancies below him. He has the authority to fire Fischer but apparently not the authority to replace her. The episode ends with the epic return of Pornstache, whom Fig has rehired.
When Piper calls home to make plans for her furlough, she learns that her grandmother has passed away—she missed getting home in time to say goodbye. Even her white privilege couldn’t help her with that.
Other thoughts on “Appropriately Sized Pots:”
•Fig is a horror show but I love her put0downs. “You have a ‘love is’ cartoon crush on her.” She tells Caputo about Fischer.
•I’m surprised that we still haven’t had a major Sophia storyline. Sophia is one of the most fascinating characters on the show and a fan favorite. But this season, she hasn’t had much to do but style other inmates hair.
•I’m kind of surprised Lorna hasn’t been caught or at least questioned about her visit to her “fiancé” Christopher. It wouldn’t be that hard to put together the time she was out on van duty with the time someone broke into Christopher’s house.
What did you think of “Appropriately Sized Pots?” Talk about it below.
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.