‘Orange Is The New Black’ Premiere Recap: Piper Is Relocated To Chicago
“Thirsty Bird” opens with Piper being released from SHU (Special Housing Unit/solitary), where she has been whiling away the time ever since punching Doggett’s face in. However, she’s taken outside and put on a bus, and the guards won’t tell her where she’s going or why; not even when she’s taken on a plane. Without knowing what’s going on, Piper is terrified that she may have killed Doggett; no one will tell her what has happened, the reason for the locale change.
There’s a huge thematic difference between the beginning of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2; in Season 1, Piper got to have a pre-prison party with her friends and fiancé, where she was reminded of how loved she is, and she got to enter prison on her own terms. In Season 2, Piper couldn’t be more utterly alone, in the dark, and confused.
On the plane, we meet an inmate named Lolly (Lori Petty), to whom Piper reveals her fears that she may have killed someone, but, “[Doggett] was coming after me and she was not gonna stop,” and as such, Piper was taken to a dark place in the face of Doggett’s craziness.
In a flashback, we see a young Piper going with a friend to an R-rated movie — Dazed And Confused — and unspeakably anxious about it. While out, she sees her father with another woman.
Back on the plane, male inmates have arrived onboard, and it’s predictably chaotic until they land in Chicago, where they find themselves at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Chicago. Piper, still terrified and unsure of why she’s been moved at all, must go through the fingerprinting and demeaning — and public — squat-and-cough ordeal all over again.
‘Orange Is The New Black’ Premiere Recap: Piper’s Back To The Start
Piper doesn’t get off on the right foot with her four new roommates after she accidentally steps on a cockroach they had been training to race. Her new situation is pretty grim — she gets an hour of recreation per day with two roommates who basically want to squish her like Piper did their cockroach, and one who, blessedly, warned Piper off from revealing her time of birth to the fourth inmate who decides, crazily, that she and Piper may be a perfect match due to their horoscopes.
In Piper’s flashback, she reveals to her mother, Carol (Deborah Rush) that she saw her father kissing another woman, but her mother is more upset about the fact that Piper saw an R-rated movie and who simply won’t address the fact that her husband was cheating. It was more important to Carol that she keep up appearances, as just moments before she was more concerned with the next door neighbor’s paint job than anything else. It’s pretty revealing of Piper’s current situation; how she found herself seeking a little adventure — and a little honesty — with Alex (Laura Prepon) once she graduated from college.
In the prison yard, a fight breaks out between Lolly and some other inmates, and as she’s being beaten on, she looks to PIper, betrayed; Piper is just standing there, unwilling to get involved. She may have learned her lesson, finally, about keeping her head down and not getting involved, and is certainly not interested in playing a hero. However, sticking to the sidelines flies out the window when she spots Alex in the yard. It’s reminiscent of Season 1, when Piper saw Alex out of the corner of her eye, and almost thought was hallucinating the woman who had put her in there.
‘Orange Is The New Black’ Premiere Recap: Alex Urges Piper To Perjure Herself; Piper Was Taught To Lie At A Young Age
Later, Piper trades her four-day-old underwear with a male inmate in exchange for sending a message to Alex, who reveals that Doggett is alive, and that the reason they’ve both been transported is to await the trial of Alex’s old boss, Kubra, who has been extradited from Europe. Alex implores Piper to lie on the stand, to say she’d never met Kubra, lest he exact “sick, deep revenge” on them both. If Piper doesn’t lie, Alex will.
Back to Piper’s flashback, she is telling her grandmother about her mother projecting her anger with her husband onto Piper. Her grandmother tells her that, “Sometimes it’s not a matter of right and wrong. It’s about making a choice that will cause the least amount of pain to others — keeping things to yourself, sitting on information and feelings, and living with your secrets.” This moment was a turning point for young Piper, who had, before now, believed in the black-and-white; it’s when she learned the necessity of lying from someone that she loved and trusted. Telling the truth wasn’t really a priority in her family, as long as everyone smiled pretty for the Christmas photos. It’s understandable, then, why she was so drawn to Alex, who had been so dangerous, and so fiercely honest about it.
Piper’s soon-to-be father-in-law, Howard (Todd Susman), is Piper’s lawyer, and tries to insist that Piper not lie for Alex. However, as she always does, Piper gets sucked into Alex’s drama and lies on the stand for her, claiming that she’d never met Kubra. “She was the love of my life,” Piper said on the stand. “She is what I paid attention to. Who I paid attention to. Everything else was background.”
‘Orange Is The New Black’ Premiere Recap: Alex Betrays Piper Once Again; Whose Fault Is It?
After the trial, Piper apologizes to Howard to disappointing him, but he’s beyond disappointed and has entered the realm of pissed off — “Disappointed me? You broke the law. Again.” And it’s not just that she broke the law, it’s that she did it for Alex, out of her love for her, once again. Howard takes off.
The next thing we see is Alex in her street clothes. “It just happened so fast,” Alex tells Piper. “What the f*** did you do, Alex? What the f*** did you do?” Season 2 of OITNB begins much the same way Season 1 did — with Piper in prison due to her own stupid mistakes, and her willingness to trust Alex — who’s always looking out for #1 — in the name of love. Not only did her choice to keep information to herself hurt her, which is what her WASP-y upbringing taught her to do, but it also caused the most amount of pain to others; her perjury will likely only compound her sentence, and once it gets back to Larry (Jason Biggs) that it was lying for Alex that got her there, it’s difficult to imagine that their relationship will get back on track any time soon.
Alex is possibly as diabolical as Piper is naïve, and I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season will play out. How about you, HollywoodLifers? What did you think of the premiere of Season 2? Who’s more to blame, Alex or Piper? Do they deserve each other? Will you be binge-watching or watching bit by bit? Let me know your thoughts below!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner