“The worst thing to call somebody is crazy; it’s dismissive. ‘I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy.’ That’s bullshit. These people are not crazy: they strong people. Maybe the environment is a little sick.” –Dave Chappelle
We’ve all developed nicknames for a person in our life. Some are cute and affectionate, like “baby,” “honey” or anything else you’d call an S.O. Some exist out of sheer laziness, such as, completely random example, calling a red-head, freckled kid “ginger” or someone sharing the name of a TV character “Danger” as a regular reminder of a cheesy 60s program and shitty 90s movie with Joey Tribbiani and Sirius Black.
But on a basic level, some are made expressly to demean and belittle someone’s existence and identity. Take former baseball player Richard Allen. His family and friends called him Dick. This was well documented as his preferred name; however, media persisted in calling him “Richie,” commonly a boy’s name to degrade his stature as a successful ball player who happened to be black in the 60s and 70s. He fought back, insisted on being called “Dick,” endured a “Rich” phase and ultimately won back his individuality. One kid in my high school wore glasses, sported an indistinct brown mop of hair and a nerdy personality. A classmate called him “McLovin’,” and at least one teacher intervened because of the distress caused.
This all leads to Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. Yes, Crazy Eyes does abnormal things compared to average person—folks don’t usually pee on a floor or repeatedly hit themselves in the head after messing up in a holiday pageant. But in the pen and outside of it, she’s been cruelly treated. The look she gave Piper after hearing Larry describe her on NPR wanted me to give her a hug. In the sad flashback to her past, we saw that, unsurprisingly, her little sister Grace’s friends eviscerated her the only way a six-year-old clique can, calling her weird and labeling her “the other.” At her high school graduation, when she prepares to sing in front of her class, she breaks down, repeatedly hits herself. Though obviously possessing a disorder, it’s been a rough going for Suzanne, and no one’s given her a break. She comes off creepy, but she’s got a heart of gold and childlike enthusiasm for life’s joys, from her little sister’s birth to dandelions, literal or Chapman-esque.
And when Vee does something as simple as calling “Crazy Eyes” her real name, she’s won over. In about three days, Vee, possibly ulterior motives aside, treats her as an equal human, a friend, even a surrogate daughter. “I see you,” the new Litchfield elder stateswoman says. “You’re a smart, strong black woman. Everybody around here underestimates you. Not me.” Poussey, Taystee and Black Cindy relegate her to clock duty during their rounds of Catchphrase, but Vee insists on including her at the end. Sure, she manipulates her into scavenging hidden cigarettes and whispering sweet nothings, but given the past we’ve seen thus far, it appears she does have legitimate interest in Suzanne.
Speaking of her, Vee just returned to the pen, and she’s already making moves, scoring cake from Gloria for stale cigarettes (something that will definitely come back around) and beginning to woo Taystee and her friends. She’s also a friend/foil/adversary/something to Red, who after being resigned to looking her age, demands Sophia re-dye her hair so she can appear powerful to a similarly strong woman (a fantastic bit of acting by both Kate Mulgrew and Lorraine Toussaint when they ultimately meet). They pine for the old days of prison, and though she attempts to sway Red she’ll take it easy, the Russian calls her on the lie, and they laugh it off. A worthy adversary…
More happened outside of Vee’s growing crew. Morello discovered that her beloved fiancé Christopher is no longer promised to her, getting hitched to another. Though it crushes her, the manner in which she spoke of their relationship with nothing to show for it could mean she was a bit deluded as to what the reality of what would happen between the two of them. Nonetheless, the news crushes her, ultimately seeking refuge in the arms of Nicky (who surely misses her as a partner given the disappointing encounters she has in this hour).
Also, Piper’s back! Not in the best of spirits, though. And she has a new frenemy in Brook Soso, a new, naïve, unstable inmate (sound like someone when she just started out?) who has an affinity for friends with nature names (hers, of the babbling water variety; best friend, Meadow; bunkmate “Dandelion,” natch). After enduring the horrors of Chicago, Chapman gives approximately zero fucks and will not deal with any BS, of the cow feces or roommate variety; she’s finally less Park Slope yuppie and more hardened felon. But even she deals with her typical self-awareness issues, from Nicky calling out her egocentrism to being eternally grateful that Suzanne beat her up to make it appear that Pennsatucky did the dirty deed, ultimately salvaging her from further prosecution. But Sue’s head is up and won’t let Pipes sweet talk her way back into being her movie date. Nothing was the same in Litchfield.
- The Daya/John stuff didn’t do much for me besides showing their tenuous relationship. Folic acid sounds important for a baby, but the dynamic wasn’t hitting this time.
- Larry met up with the City Post reporter, who’s working on the Litchfield investigation. He somehow finagles his way into helping become a source while the writer wanted Piper.
- In case you didn’t realize, Pennsatucky got new teeth. The girls aren’t too fond of her return, as Leanne thought last week.
- Nicky’s journal with notes on inmates’ sexual ratings may have been the best joke of the episode.
- Howard sets Larry up with a doctor on a blind date, someone who says, “A guy without ambition as at the top of my list.” Step right up, Larry!
- Sophia: “I knew them bitches was lyin’ when they said you left her looking like Omar from The Wire.”
- Piper: “(Alex) is the wolf that eats the lamb.” Nicky: “You can’t blame the wolf. Lamb’s delicious; that’s smart eating.”