Orange is the New Black: Season 1 Episode 4, “Imaginary Enemies”

We pick up moments after we left off, with Piper attempting to clean up Crazy Eyes’ pee with maxi pads. Miss Claudette spends the whole time berating her for not disinfecting and for letting crazy “infect” them, but Piper argues back that these are not solutions. The flashback story for the episode is Miss Claudette, who was brought to the United States as a young teen from Haiti (I think) and basically sold into indentured servitude. Her courier, Baptiste, takes pity and becomes her friend, a friendship that lasts well into adulthood when she becomes the woman running the house herself. When Baptiste introduces his friend to his beautiful, young, new wife, Miss Claudette is heartbroken. When one of her girls comes back from a job (they work as maids to “pay off their debts”) covered (and I mean COVERED) in bruises, Miss Claudette kills the client who beat the girl, then meticulously cleans his house. In the present, Miss Claudette is informed she may be eligible for an early release, but she turns down the offer of a lawyer to look into it. An unexpected letter from Baptiste changes her mind. His wife has died and he wants to visit.

Piper gets a new job assignment in the electric shop. Her first job is to rewire a lamp, but despite the guard’s insistence on doing the minimum amount of work possible and the tightly-controlled tool checkout system, Piper manages to accidentally steal a screwdriver and leave it outside in the pocket of her sweater. Since a screwdriver is “considered a deadly weapon,” all hell breaks loose. The women in the electric shop are all patted down by male officers, who cop feels every time the warden’s gaze is averted. Piper’s already discovered her mistake when a “random bunk inspection” is ordered. Fortunately, said inspection consists of Pornstache being a dick and throwing everything around without actually looking for anything, so he misses the screwdriver, which Miss Claudette stowed in the lunch cooking on her hot plate when she realized what was happening. Now Piper just has to figure out how to smuggle the screwdriver back into the electric shop, which is hard when the guards are patting down every prisoner in the area. She stops the counselor and talks to him just long enough for the guards to pass her by, but isn’t able to get back into the shop. So instead she stores the screwdriver in the single worst hiding spot she has access to – underneath her mattress. It is, after all, not only the first place anyone would look but also a place that is unequivocally hers, so she could not claim ignorance. The guards get their asses handed to them, so they do another bunk toss. It’s not until Pornstache is actively looking through their bunk that she admits to Miss Claudette that she still has the screwdriver, so they’re both shocked when he declares their bunk clean even after looking under the mattress. Piper decides maybe she’s just losing her mind, but either way the problem is solved. Miss Claudette informs her otherwise. Piper demands some slack, but since she doesn’t imply that she won’t follow Miss Claudette’s rules, only that she needs more time to learn them, Miss Claudette simply admires her pluck. The guard finally buys a replacement screwdriver and sneaks it in to solve the problem, so no one finds out that one of the bigger, scarier women now has it to use as a dildo, wrapped in a rubber glove.

Mercy, one of the inmates, is finally getting out. She’s leaving behind a complicated social structure of current and ex-girlfriends, but Red sets her up with contacts for a job at a restaurant and she gives away her possessions. Red tells a cautionary tale about not being nice to her ex-girlfriend, who has a history of making girls stay by arranging behavior violations just before they’re supposed to get out. Mercy’s girlfriend throws her a going-away party, complete with poems from other prisoners and music for dancing. Miss Claudette catches her trying to plant drugs in Mercy’s bunk so she’ll get sentenced to more time and convinces her it’s a bad idea.

Mercy’s current girlfriend asks for Piper to help write a request for an appeal, and soon everyone is asking for help. They are, of course, falsely accused, each one. Piper asks them to leave their papers with her, but it’s not until Miss Claudette kicks them out that they actually do. Piper would like to say no on legal matters, but the other women need help so clearly that she can’t turn them away. When Mercy gets to put on normal clothes and actually walk out of the visitation room through the front door, everyone gets to see that it’s possible and starts getting their individual hopes up.


About Generation Coax

I am an aspiring TV writer, amateur photographer, and craft hobbyist.
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