One critique that Orange Is The New Black has received since its first season premiere last year is that it’s not realistic enough for a series set in a prison. At first glance, the Valentine’s Day episode “You Also Have Pizza” seems to be emblematic of this problem. Women in prison, each happily and romantically (and, yes, explicitly) defining “love”? It feels like someone is shooting one of those corny weddings, and it just seems silly at first. Even as Dayanara and Bennett pretend to be a normal couple getting ready for the big holiday, something about the whole thing rings untrue. But in the end, Poussey’s back story and that crazy old lady’s escape made this another irresistible—if flawed—episode.
In some of the most memorable scenes, things get very Blue Is The Warmest Color up in this episode—if BITWC were set in Germany and centered on an interracial couple. Poussey’s scenes with her former girlfriend are beautiful, and still manage to keep that classic OITNB humor (i.e. their failed scissored sex position attempt). What’s great about this back story is that we still don’t know exactly how Poussey ends up in prison, but we see that she drinks when she needs courage, and she’ll totally try to pull a gun on your Dad if he uses his military position and power to end your relationship. Poussey was a military brat, and once her father’s senior found out she was sleeping with his daughter, he quickly re-assigned Papa Poussey (yup, I said it) and sent their family back to the States.
This episode works to highlight Poussey’s struggles as a gay woman in love with another gay woman, and as a gay woman in love with her straight friend. Taystee is still doing Vee’s bidding, and it’s difficult for Poussey (and the rest of us) to witness. There’s just no way this drug smuggling in prison thing will end well. Lorraine Toussaint continues to be brilliantly vicious as Vee, hissing at Poussey that Taystee will never, ever love her. She’s got the whole ghetto dorm on lock now, and it looks like she’s definitely running the show.
The notion of Piper starting a newsletter feels a bit silly at first, but I like that she’s digging around, and she’s playing into the fact that Healy wants to be good cop again. That shot of him comforting Pennsatucky was an endearing moment—one of many that we saw in this episode. There was Red trying like hell to get her crew back, Flaca and Maritza hilariously making out, then laughing hysterically and choosing their friendship instead. Sure, things got a little cheesy in “You Also Have Pizza,” but we’ll take it. And Piper’s final note on love, in which she compares it to “coming home” felt about right for someone who’s both trying to make a home in an impossible environment, and trying to hold on to some semblance of the home she’s left behind.
Daya got a V-day card from Pornstache? Oh boy…
Flaca: It’s like getting into a bath but the water is like warm, chocolate pudding. And The Smiths are playing, “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out; There’s mood lighting all over, and there’s like five dudes massaging you.
Maritza: And you have a pizza.
Flaca: She’s right. You also have a pizza.
Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor at Paste, and a New York-based freelance writer with probably more babies than you. You can follow her on Twitter.