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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Recap: What’s Love Got to Do, Got to Do With It?

There are far too many cliches (including the one in the title above) that relate to love and what it does to us silly human-types. But the fact of the matter is, love can often be a tool to use for the incredibly ruthless and/or desperate, as are many of the women in Orange is The New Black. In the series’ sixth episode of its second season, “You Also Have a Pizza” (best title for anything, ever), a.k.a. The Valentine’s Day episode, we got a look at exactly what that entails for everyone involved at Litchfield.

Love, naturally, means different things to different people. For Piper and Larry, love is clearly about opportunity more than anything else. These two. What a disasterpiece they are, eh? What with Larry’s decision to try and nip the City Post journalist’s story for his own gain, and his attempted please-be-my-prison-mole coercion tactics. Theirs is a love of convenience, not actual love, and they both are pretty clear about all of that as evidenced through their actions. Piper claiming (rightly) that Larry likes to suck up other’s light and use it as his own; Larry (also rightly) telling Piper that she’s not the goddamn sun so she needs to slow her roll. “I think you mean mausoleum.” “Don’t tell me what I mean!” These fucking two! The asshole is strong in both of them. THEY ARE SOULMATES, PEOPLE.

For Red, love is about family… and also forming mutually beneficial relationships. Her little greenhouse hobby is actually/of course a cover for smuggling things into Litchfield. Her son has managed to find the exit for the discovered drain pipe and shimmied his way all the way through with presents for everyone! Clearly all of this is setting the stage for some sort of epic war between she and Vee, right?

It’s no wonder Red’s becoming semi-aligned with the ladies of Spanish Harlem — be it through a hole in a fake leg or a hole in a fake greenhouse, they’re both working these whole other holes (see what I did there? har har har). First Aleida made Bennett do some of her dirty work by bringing contraband in through his leg (risking everything but NBD because selfishness!), which naturally made the other girls quickly glom on with requests of their own.

For Vee, love is clearly about its manipulative gains. Vee has always been quick to clue into what people love (or want to love) and use it to her advantage. Continuing in this way while simultaneously vying for the title of “Best Worst Villain on TV,” she managed to manipulate Taystee into throwing away her cushy library job that she loved in order to join custodial and get in on whatever shiesty scenario she’s got percolating. And how did she do that? By using love, of course! Guilt-tripping Taystee about all the times she helped her from, basically, the dawn of their relationship.

And when it comes to Taystee, love is a lot of things, but it most usually affects her out of obligation. She’s a loyal and big-hearted woman, this one, and because of that she is easily manipulated by those she perceives to love her. I mean, for as sweet and kind as her reaction to Poussey’s advances were, you could tell by the look on her face she just wanted to make it not awkward — she considered P’s feelings over her own, as she seems generally wont to do all the time.

All of this further ices out Poussey from the posse: she with, perhaps, the most complicated relationship with love. For her, love is overwhelming, all-consuming, but also clearly dangerous, as we learned in her backstory. While stationed with her family in Germany, P met and fell in love with a German girl. In the midst of their romantic coupling, Daddio-Mega-German walked in and WOOPSIES — now Poussey’s family has to leave the country. (And she had been so looking forward to staying there, too!)

This sends Poussey into a bit of an emotional tailspin. Feeling as though she ruined things for her family who were, by the looks of it, very excited to settle down once and for all, Poussey confronts the homophobic German army captain (GEE what a shocker!) about her love for his daughter. Once he confirms their love affair is exactly what’s forcing them home, she very nearly pulls out a gun — a move her father, thankfully, was there to keep from happening (phew). Because MAN OH MAN would that have been bad, bad, bad.

Just as she did with her German girlfriend, P’s coping mechanism for lost love implements what I call The Henderson Method: acting cruelly in order to push the thing you once loved away. Because defense mechanisms.

But not all the relationships here are flawed or unsettled in some way. Just look at Flaca and Maritza, who, for all intents and purposes, care so much about one another that they’d make out just to give each other the feeling of intimacy. These two in particular are not women who are used to being without a lot of affection (as evidenced by their many Valentine’s Day stories). So they gave each other what they needed, a little bit of love, and laughed it off before anything got too weird and complicated between them. It may not be love, but they’re taking care of each other in their own way. People forget how important being shown affection is to one’s mental well-being.

Odds and Ends:
- Fischer eating the dick cookie: gonna need a GIF of that hilarious moment, Internet.
- In case you were wondering, yes: Healy and Caputo are still big ole misguided messes.
- For the trailer brigade, love is clearly about being adored. LOOK HOW FAST Leanne took over as head bitch once they kicked Pennsatucky out.
- “Did you just call me Hillary Clinton?!” Oh Pennsatucky.
- I will say, for all the shit I give Larry, his coupling with Polly makes a lot of sense.
- That said WHAT IN THE SHIT ARE YOU DOING, LARRY? Piper’s not here to see you act all brazen and defiantly un-moon-like so what’s the goddamn point in planting one on Polly so hastily other than, oh wait, you’re selfish?
- I want Lorna and Suzanne to become best friends.
- Also/seriously Suzanne is the best.
- I cannot believe Daya and Bennett get away with as much as they do.
- Do people not notice that they’re constantly talking to each other?
- Honestly, him bringing man-on-man porn into the prison — and getting caught, which is key to this scenario — might be the best thing he could do for himself in terms of a cover.
- Because honestly it’s only a matter of time before SOMEONE catches on to these two. Right?
- WHEN ARE WE GETTING THE RETURN OF THE PORNSTACHE I KNOW IT’S COMING, I KNOW IT.
- Is it weird that I love Pablo Schreiber on this show even though he’s clearly the grossest?

If you want to check out our other recaps for the season, click here!

Are you caught up on this episode of OITNB? Tell us what you thought about it in the comments (or on Twitter)!

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