“Orange is the New Black” opened episode 5 of Season 2 with a scene that had us holding our noses. Apparently the plumbing in “Spanish Harlem” is spewing out human feces instead of fresh, clean jail-water. Gloria brings her girls around the block to infiltrate Vee’s bathroom and as predicted, a fight breaks out. But eventually it’s the head chef who wins the battle after Black Cindy offends the correctional officer by calling her “sister.”
“Never call a black cop sister,” Poussey says after her friend gets a shot.
“Low Self Esteem City” then cuts to a flashback featuring Gloria. Finally fans got to see how this tough mama found herself locked behind bars. But her story is sadder than it is rebellious. Gloria worked at a convenience store where she scammed for food stamps. She also sold spiritual candles on the side. But eventually the police catch onto her scheming-ways when a disgruntled patron sells her out.
This all occurs while Gloria’s boyfriend continuously beats her. It’s not until he smacks one of her kids does she decide to leave him. But instead of the police coming into the store to whisk him away in handcuffs, they arrive to bring Gloria to Litchfield.
But don’t worry, her terrible beau gets what's his when he breaks into the store to steal the cash Gloria’s been squirrelling for her kids. As he’s about to leave he somehow manages to lock himself in a room full of lit candles and burns to death along with the cash. Ironically, her boyfriend is the one who installed the automated-locking door himself.
Gloria’s storyline is woven throughout episode 5 with present-day clips, such as Nicky and Big Boo’s ongoing “Bang Off." The duo is competing to see who can score the most while in prison – including guards.
Nicholas seems to have her eye on Fischer, the friendly correctional officer. But when Nichols finally puts the moves on her she gets denied – big time. This then sparks Fischer to take an initiative in her job, which is when she starts listening in on phone calls. This is no bueno for Gloria’s girls considering Fischer knows how to speak Spanish.
After getting called a “3 out of 10” in the girls’ game, Piper then takes another blow when she finds out her grandmother is dying. Her mother and brother break to news to her on their visit through while playing game of “20 questions.” Piper then reaches out to Mr. Healy, who is having his own troubles at home with his Russian wife, to ask for a furlough to see if she can leave Litchfield for a day or two to say goodbye to her beloved grandmother. Surprisingly, Healy processes the papers but warns Piper her chances are slim.
While Piper puts on a hopefully smile Vee puts on her mask of manipulation to get Taystee and Watson in the custodial crew. That meant giving up their poop-free bathroom to Mendoza and her crew. Red, the woman with the newfound green thumb, warns the chef that she’s making a grave mistake.
What did you think of episode 5? Was your favorite part of “Low Self Esteem City”? Ours was finding out the name of Caputo’s band.