This week, Piper continues to work on her prison newsletter. She seems to be getting more into the actual business of putting together a publication, rather than investigating wrongdoing at the prison, but perhaps she’s playing the long game. It’s a good moment to be in the investigating business, as Figueroa is putting pressure on Caputo to crack down on the contraband coming into the prison. Now that there are two smuggling streams thanks to Vee and Red, there is way too much illicit stuff for it to stay under the radar for long.
Caputo gives the guards a shot quota, effectively mandating that they write up a certain number of inmates per week. For the crime of being his ~perfect woman~ and maybe dating the alcoholic mess Luschek, Fischer has an even higher quota to meet. When she dresses him down for being unfair to her, and creating an environment where the inmates feel like they can get in trouble at any time, thus disincentivizing them to follow the rules, he fires her on the spot. He clearly regrets it, but he can’t go back on his word. Farewell to you, Fischer! She’s apparently taking the knowledge that one of the inmates is pregnant with her, so it will be interesting to see if she passes on that information or someone else figures it out. In the meantime, guess who Figueroa thought would make a good hire to replace Fischer? That’s right, Mendez is back in all of our lives.
This episode’s flashbacks belong to Miss Rosa, so we get a lot of cool scenes of her robbing banks with her crew in the 70s wearing cool sunnies. One of the robbers who gets shot during her first heist is her husband, and she’s devastated that he’s gone…until she takes up with one of the other surviving bank robbers. He dies too, and she starts to think that she might have a curse on her that makes all of the men in her life die. Or it could be that you’re robbing banks, Miss Rosa, but whatever gets you through the day! She gets so into the bank robbing life that her last boyfriend, the third man in the crew (and the only one still living), can’t keep up, and when she goes on a solo mission she gets thrown in jail. But he lives! So that’s something. Rosa tells him that she loves the smell of money and is going to miss it in prison. Since she’s been in there for decades by the time we meet her, it has to have been an awfully long time.
In the present day Healy has to deliver the news that while the doctors are recommending a new treatment for her cancer, the Department of Corrections isn’t going to pay for it, effectively letting her know that she’s going to die. When she goes back to the hospital for chemo with her teenage pal, he realizes that she’s casing the joint. Old habits die hard, I guess. They plan to steal the wallet of a particularly unpleasant, closet-alcoholic nurse, and Rosa masterminds the plan while the kid does the actual stealing. They net $63 dollars and Rosa throws him a $20 for his trouble, to his dismay. Later on she spots him crying in the hallway with his mother and she insists on going over to him, telling him that he’s been struck by the curse — all the men in her life die. It turns out that his tears are joyous: he found out he’s in remission. Rosa is psyched for him and goes back to Litchfield in marginally brighter spirits. Also there to comfort her: the bills from their hospital robbery, which she sniffs happily as she lies in her bunk.
Piper finds out that she got the furlough she applied for, and she’s immediately the target of a ton of resentment from the other inmates, almost all of whom applied for furlough for equally valid reasons and were denied. She can’t handle being hated for her good fortune, and she goes to Healy to demand that he give the furlough to someone else. He tells her not to make a martyr of herself and that, in his quest to be a better man, he had the opportunity to move her application along, and she should be grateful. Piper makes a big speech in the cafeteria about how it’s not fair that she’s the scapegoat for all of the white privilege the inmates have encountered in the world…and gets pie thrown in her hair. By Suzanne!
To make matters worse, she excitedly calls her mother to make plans for her brief trip to the outside, only to hear that her grandmother has already died. She is genuinely devastated, and clearly thinking about how she would have been able to be there if it weren’t for her sentence. “I missed it,” she says, crying. It’s a bleak reminder of the way time moves forward in the real world, even as it stands still in the universe of Litchfield. Speaking of people with real problems, Soso is refusing to wear deodorant or shower, the former out of a belief that deodorant causes cancer and the latter as some misguided form of passive resistance, I suppose? When the meth heads who work in the laundry room are telling you that you’re rank, it’s maybe time to bathe. She lies down on the floor in an act of “civil disobedience” when the guards try to make her to go to the bathroom, which results in a collective eye roll. As one of the female guards supervises, Soso takes a shower, sobbing like she’s being tortured the whole time. I might be a bad person, but that was hilarious. Oh, and Polly and Larry had sex. Have fun on your furlough, Piper!