Watson arrives back from the dreaded SHU (Segregated Housing Unit) after she was sent there in relation to the screwdriver incident. She and Chapman have to fix an electrical problem in the ceiling which means crawling around in a very small space. Chapman takes this time to be overly nice to Watson, offering to make her earplugs out of pillow cases and all sorts. Watson is onto Chapman – no one is that nice for no reason. She realises that Chapman was the cause of screwdriver-gate and she’s not happy, but says she’s not a snitch.
Later, continuing with the DIY, Chapman is standing on a ladder and fixing a light. She’s getting better at it. The new guard, Fischer, holds the ladder for her. I can’t decide if Fischer is endearing or slightly creepy. She and Caputo have a weirdly flirtatious conversation about dog names – fingers crossed this isn’t the start of another romantic subplot. In a conversation with Chapman, Fischer says she recognises her and they realise that Chapman used to shop at the store where Fischer worked – Chapman used to forget her bags every time and then run out to the car and get them so Fischer had to re-pack her bags – she clearly (and understandably – as someone who has worked on the checkout) found it quite irritating.
Even so, Fischer sympathises with Chapman: she says ‘the only difference between you and me is when I made bad decisions I didn’t get caught.’ This seems to be quite a key idea explored in OITNB – a lot of what we know so far of the inmates’ convictions seems to be rooted in them making bad decisions, rather than being fundamentally bad people. Though I’m sure this is not the case for all characters. It will be interesting to see if there’s any characters whose crime (when eventually revealed) will make us re-evaluate their character completely. I mean, I know Claudette killed a man but her motivation was to stop him abusing one of her girls – obviously not a sensible reaction but you can at least see that her crime didn’t come from a wholly bad place.
One inmate whose past I’m desperate to find out about is Yoga Jones – what the heck did she do to land herself in jail? Old YJ and Watson have a bit of a standoff this week actually, as YJ tries to calm Watson down as everyone is getting quite cross with her doing her fitness regime in the middle of the night. Watson responds by trying to make YJ angry – asking her what she did to get put in prison – ‘you kill a kid?’ I distinctly hope that YJ did not kill a kid, but after the reveal of Ms Claudette’s casual kitchen knife murder who knows what to expect.
This week’s flashbacks belong mostly to Watson, and they reveal that her conviction is definitely a case of making bad decisions and getting caught. She was a high school track star, who was all set to get college scholarships based on her running abilities. But despite her extra-curricular success, she can’t get a boyfriend or hang out at high school parties – the guy who’s clearly running the show asks her to leave the party, saying that she could have something real and shouldn’t risk messing that up by hanging round with these sorts of people.
On her way out, Watson meets a troublesome young chap who gives her the male attention that’s been missing from her life. Later flashbacks reveal that he becomes her boyfriend and they develop a habit of going on the rob together. As they make a getaway after a robbery, she obviously outruns him by miles and he tells her to slow down and stop showing off. As she stops, she gets caught by the police, while her boyfriend slips away unnoticed.
Although Watson clearly isn’t innocent in these robberies, like so many of the inmates’ stories, you feel sympathetic for her despite her conviction. From her behaviour in prison, we can see how much she regrets throwing away her track career for the sake of hanging out with some boy.
We’re also treated to a brief flashback from Healy – it’s the first episode where we get a flashback from one of the prison workers. Healy is eating dinner with his wife and mother-in-law who are speaking in Ukrainian despite Healy’s request of ‘English at the table.’ Their subtitled-chat reveals that this might not be a longterm marriage as the mother-in-law tells her daughter: ‘Two more years for a green card.’ How the heck did Healy get himself into that one? And is it in any way linked to his irrational fear of lesbians? Probably not, but we shall see.
In the outside world, Larry is out for drinks with Polly and Pete – they complain about their lives and Larry ends up whining to the barmaid that he can’t chat her up because his fiance is in prison. Hm. I know it’s hard for Larry with Chapman being inside, but would it be okay to suggest that, well, Larry is being a bit of a douche? For one thing, he’s agreed to write an article for the New York Times about Chapman being in prison, despite the fact that she is clearly not okay with it.
After Larry informed Chapman that Alex didn’t name her in court (even though she did), Chapman is feeling guilty and wants to smooth things over with Alex. But Alex is having none of it, which is a bit rich considering she knows full well that it’s her fault that Chapman is in prison. Alex seems way more interested in chatting to Nicky and they seem to have a bit of a rapport going as they play dares and share stories of how their involvement with drugs got them into trouble AKA into prison. At the moment I’m not a big of Alex, just saying.
The first WAC meeting with Healy causes Chapman to realise that this doesn’t really give them the power to make any radical changes – Healy says that due to budget issues they must choose between their proposed changes or having coffee and doughnuts in the monthly meetings – everyone opts for the latter except a disappointed Chapman.
Despite this, Chapman is succesful in her campaign to re-open the running track – she gets Fischer onboard to implement it. Watson is loving life now that she can run again, but tells Chapman that this doesn’t make them even. Meanwhile Healy is not impressed – has she now made an enemy out of him?