Orange is the New Black Review: "Hugs Can Be Deceiving"

(Episode 2.03)

TV Reviews Orange Is The New Black
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<i>Orange is the New Black</i> Review: "Hugs Can Be Deceiving"

Lo and behold, there are two new HBICs at Litchfield prison. Piper has become a myth, a legend. The rumors about her fight with Pennsatucky have upped her to boss level, but in reality she’s still little ol’ Piper. Or as Sophia eloquently puts it, “I knew them bitches was lyin’ when they said you left here lookin’ like Omar from The Wire.” It needs to be said that there were just so many excellent quotes (like that one) from “Hugs Can Be Deceiving.”

And then there’s Vee. Everyone is affected by Vee’s arrival, which tells us how much of a big deal she will likely prove to be. Taystee is furious, Red is something, and Crazy Eyes is like a 10 year-old child again. She wants to please Vee, and she melts and swoons when Vee tells her something she’s probably never heard before—that she’s a beautiful, intelligent black woman.

Episode two of OITNB gave us little glimpse into the American adoption system with flashbacks to Taystee’s childhood (remember her “Beautiful” rendition?”). Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” also has her own experiences in the system. Unlike Taystee, she was adopted by a lovely family. But being the oddball (in more ways than one) proved to be traumatic on its own level. Her white mother basically demanded that everyone in their well-to-do town see and embrace the amazingness that was young Suzanne, for fear that they would give her a complex if they treated her differently from the other girls. Of course, Suzanne develops a complex trying to live up to her mother’s hopes for her and the pressure that comes with. This complex partly explains her obsession with Piper, and also explains why she ends up punching her little Dandelion square in the face in the midst of the fight with Pennsatucky. Twice.

“Hugs Can Be Deceiving” is about substitutes. Dayanara doesn’t want a bunch of spinach, she wants to take prenatal vitamins like a normal expecting mother. The new inmate wants Piper to be just like her former BFF on the outside, Meadow—fail. Suzanne sees that she has substituted her rage at her mother and her childhood community with misdirected rage at Piper. Vee tries to use the most delicious-looking confetti cake with chocolate frosting to win back her daughter-figure, Taystee. But there’s no substitute for an apology, and once she gives it, Taystee forgives her, and the inmates live like queens—if only for a moment. Everyone loves Vee… except for Red, who clearly knows some things we don’t. And there’s Gloria, who realizes those cigarettes were circa 1983.

But if Vee actually succeeds in giving Suzanne a new ‘do, she’ll be on god-level in my book.

All in all, another strong episode. The weak link has to be Larry’s completely uninteresting storyline. The woman he went out with was funny (“Stop pretending that your podcasts work”), but he really feels irrelevant in this universe.

Stray Observations

I love that the game of Charades is all shook up now.

“Two in the pink, one in the…” what?!

“This is not how I imagined prison to be.”

Pennsatucky done got all high n’ mighty since she got her teeth fixed. Pretty girls are the worst.

“There’s so much blood rushing to the front of my head, I feel like a tic!”

“I wanna be better than my Mom. I want this baby to have everything.”

Have we mentioned we love Red? We love Red.

You don’t go Jessica Simpson when you got Rihanna.” Lorna’s’s engagement has hit a rough patch. You know, the kind of “rough patch” where the engagement is over because you’re in prison and your fiancé marries someone else.

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.