Orange is the New Black’s third season kicked off with an episode set on Mother’s Day at Litchfield prison.

‘Orange Is The New Black’ Recap

Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning), still on van driving duty, takes guards Bell (Catherine Curtin) and Maxwell (Lolita Foster) to the store to get some decorations for Mother’s Day at the prison. The far calmer Pennsatucky tries to make small talk with the guards that gets cut off after Maxwell jokes about Pennsatucky and her boyfriend sharing a crack pipe. “Crack’s for coloreds,” Pennsatucky observes blithely, before correcting herself. “African Americans. Crack is for African Americans.” The odd trio then muses about Rosa, baldness, fertility and Tebow before buying a piñata and St. Patrick’s Day candy for the inmates’ kids to celebrate Mother’s Day.


Back at Litchfield, Red (Kate Mulgrew) is making her return following the attack that nearly left her dead. Alex (Laura Prepon) is back too. She’s ended up back at Litchfield after getting caught being in possession of a gun, thereby breaking her parole agreement. Alex, who has no idea that it was Piper who tipped off her probation officer, gladly accepts the pills Red had been holding onto.

Gloria (Selenis Leyva), who still has control over the kitchen, has been offering her magic services to the other inmates. When Poussey witnesses her doing something with an egg, she tells her she wants in. With Mother’s Day approaching, she’s been missing her own mother, who has passed away, and is desperate for a way to connect with her. Norma (Annie Golden) and Gina (Abigail Savage) are also exploring faith, and have been hosting seances after dark in the yard. When Taystee (Daniele Brooks) finds out Poussey (Samira Wiley) has an interest in the supernatural stuff that some of the others have gotten into, she warns her not to, saying she’ll end up like Cedric Diggory.

In preparation for Mother’s Day, Sophia (Laverne Cox) is doing the mothers’ hair. When Morello comes by, she tells Sophia that she has four children and therefore needs her hair to look perfect. Sophia soon learns that she’s lying and tries to kick her out, but agrees to do a quick styling after hearing Morello’s pleas, saying, “I got a soft spot for the pathetics.” Also getting ready for the Mother’s Day festivities are Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Luschek (Matt Peters), who are discussing how they’d kill themselves as they work. When Piper asks to change the subject, Lushek informs her that Alex is back at the prison.

During lunch, Piper spots Alex across the cafeteria and sees her bruised and battered face. She plays naive about how Alex could have ended up back behind bars, and then takes her to the chapel to talk. Piper keeps up the ruse as Alex cries to her about how stupid she is for winding up back in prison. Instead of taking the blame, Piper puts it on the system. “It’s the system. You just got caught in the system,” adding, “At least we’re in the same web; we’re in it together.”

As for Big Boo (Lea Delaria) and Nicky (Natasha Lyonne), they’re still working together on selling a massive stash of heroine. Nicky, who is having a hard time with the idea of selling it, would rather talk about Big Boo’s mother’s day costume. “I’m a wacky clown; I don’t need symmetry,” Big Boo says before calling Nicky out for stalling. She wants to move the plan forward, but little does she know that Red is closing the tunnel with concrete.

When the children finally arrive for Mother’s Day, all of the inmates are outside – either to hang out with their children or help out with activities – except for Suzanne, who’s been banned. One of the inmates uses her baby’s diaper to sneak in drugs, which she takes in the port-o-potty while the infant writhes in the nearby grass. Gloria, meanwhile, is dismayed when she realizes that her eldest son didn’t come. But she becomes irate when her younger son tells her he’s been skipping school.

Daya (Dascha Polanco), who has yet to give birth to her and Bennett’s baby, looks around nervously at all the children. Making the rounds, Caputo (Nick Sandow), aware that it was Bennett (Matt McGory) that got her pregnant , spots him chatting away with Daya’s family. After sweeping it under the rug, he’s irate to see him being so careless and tells Bennett to stay away from her. He calls him a “poor deluded f–k” when Bennett argues that he’s in love with Daya. Sophia, meanwhile, hangs out with her son and bonds with him over the best way to shave and how to navigate the world of girls.

As for that piñata, without a stick, the kids can’t break it open. Growing frustrated with their futile punches, Bell takes her baton to it until it bursts open – but no one filled it up with the St. Patrick’s Day candy. “Oh my god, this is such a metaphor for their lives,” observes SoSo (Kimiko Glenn). Pennsatucky, off by herself, has a mock memorial for all of her unborn children. Crying over their popsicle stick graves, Pennsatucky finds a friend in Big Boo, who references Freakonomics to tell her that by terminating her pregnancy she’d “spared society the scourge of your offspring,” which surprisingly does work to lift her spirits.

As the younger kids continue to play outside, Red meets with her grown sons and husband inside. They ask her when they can start sneaking things in and out of the prison again, and are surprised to hear her say that she’s shut that operation down and that she wants to focus on getting out of prison and getting back to their store. Speaking of the store, she wants to know who is manning it while they’re all there. No one has the heart to tell her it’s closed, but Red can see through their assurances.

Orange is the New Black’s entire first season was released on Netflix Thursday night.

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