Tuesday, July 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Orange Is the New Black' - Nicky Tries to Help Red, Lorna and Shani With Their Pain in 'The Thirteenth'

Netflix's Orange Is the New Black - Episode 7.10 "The Thirteenth"

While Piper reconnects with faces from her past, Alex revisits her own romantic history. Linda puts Tamika on notice. Caputo owns up to his misdeeds.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.

"The Thirteenth" was written by Merritt Tierce and directed by Erin Feeley

It's so difficult to communicate to someone else that you're in pain. It's also hard to see when someone is in pain and needs your help. Nicky could see that something was going on with Red. She needed immediate medical attention. She gets a diagnosis here. Nicky is there to share in the brutal reveal that she does have dementia. Her life will only continue to deteriorate. Sure, it may get better by treating some of the underlying issues right now. But it's fate that can't be avoided further. That is so incredibly tragic. Red herself doesn't want to accept it. She doesn't wish to believe that she is in pain and can no longer do what she has always loved. But she has to. She has a strong support system that is there to help her. That stands in sharp contrast to Lorna. Nicky didn't see that her friend was in pain over the tragic death of her son. She is still in the dark about exactly what is going on with her. Right now, it's all about dealing with the reactions from the guards and being in medical. She was found in the chicken coup and was assaulted because Dixon feared for his life. It was the absolute wrong response that inflicted more damage. And now, she can barely walk and communicate. Nicky feels compelled to be there to support her friends. That just means leaving Shani when she too is going through her own crisis of being forced out of the country. Everything is building to tragedy for Nicky. She feels like the stable friend who needs to support everyone else. She is willing to do that even though she feels guilty for not noticing all of this earlier. But those issues have come to the surface now. Meanwhile, the narrative overall feels like it is heading towards immense tragedy. Ward experiences her first lockdown here. She believes she handled it well for the most part. And yet, Linda still yells at her and condemns the various programs she has started. Ward can talk about the cost efficiency of providing these programs for the inmates. She understands the precise services she is giving to the inmates and the benefits for their personal health. But she can't let anything else happen. If another scandal erupts, then she will be fired. That's a warning shot that absolutely signals that something tragic is about to occur. It may mean that all of the good will and hope established by this season will quickly go out the window. Ward's potential replacement likely won't be as compassionate as she has been. She knows how to see the inmates as human beings. But her programs are failing. She has to accept that. The GED teacher has quit and Caputo believes he has to resign. Caputo at least comes to the clarity that there is still so much personal work he needs to do in order to lead this restorative justice class. He can't preach trying to accept one's own fault in the pain of others without living by example. He hasn't put the effort in to see just how abusive his prior actions were. He isn't as strong an ally as he likes to believe he is. But that could be the end of this class altogether. The prison has Luschek leading the GED class. That's unfortunate and puts even more pressure on Taystee to succeed as a tutor. She sees the value of the program when others don't. But that too creates a pressure cooker where one misstep could lead to disaster. Separate from all of this is Piper and Alex continuing to drift apart. Now, it wasn't all that necessary for the show to bring Larry back. Piper really didn't have any unfinished business with him. It just feels like the show going through the motions while also signaling something new and exciting in Zelda. Meanwhile, the Alex flashbacks try to justify her current behavior regarding McCullough. She is attracted to the broken woman who needs fixing. She can't provide that for Piper and is instead focusing on something new so she doesn't get hurt. That's not healthy in the slightest. But it may be perfectly reasonable that these bonds in prison just can't survive outside of that environment. That may be what Piper and Alex have to accept. It just feels like the show is straining to get to that point.