Unlike Piper and Nicky in previous episodes of season three, who are on their way to understanding that they are their own worst enemy, “Finger in the Dyke” presented us with a character whose problems don’t come from within, but actually stem from other people.
We are treated to a flashback of an adolescent Big Boo, being forced to wear a (hideous) dress by her mother and being told by her father to suck it up in exchange for a root beer. One has to imagine that this was not the first or the last time this happened, and the girlish clothes obviously didn’t stick because Boo’s next flashback involves her at an undetermined age, looking as butch as ever. The discrimination toward her outward appearance is something she has had to battle her whole life, and the anger that fosters manifests itself while she’s about to take her femme date home with her. She threatens to kill a young kid who called Boo and her date dykes, and left him running in fear down the sidewalk. Her date explains that she can’t blame the kid when she’s the “poster child for all things butch.” To deal with her parents’ berating is one thing, but to receive criticism for her appearance from a fellow lesbian is the real disappointment.
Her insistence on a lack of a dramatic origin story to explain her vitriol is slightly untrue, but still telling of Boo’s nature. She says she’s “just a big old dyke who refuses to apologize for it.” In forging ahead with her DGAF attitude, she has refused to allow anyone to determine how she feels about herself.
Presumably some years later, she goes to see her dying mother, but her father stops her from entering the hospital room on the grounds that Boo’s appearance would just upset her. Boo tries to defend herself by positing, “Don’t you think she could’ve spent some of that time accepting me for who I am, instead of mourning every fucking thing that I’m not?” But her father lectures her on how her outer appearance is simply a costume, much like the suit and tie he had to wear five days a week as he went to work. “No one gets the privilege of being themselves all the time, Carrie,” he says.
While the costume logic may make sense to a straight white male because his identity is never in question, he can’t understand that Boo’s outward appearance is inextricably linked to who she is as a person, and that appearance is consistently met with criticism and prejudice. A similar argument was made to Sophia by her wife in season one, when she asked Sophia not to take the final step in transitioning. To everyone else, Sophia looked like a woman, but she couldn’t be happy until every part of her on the outside matched her on the inside. Boo leaves without saying goodbye to her mother, while also proclaiming, “I refuse to be invisible.”
In the present, Boo gets the great idea of fleecing the same Evangelicals that fund Pennsatucky’s commissary… by pretending to have turned straight through God. After Bible lessons from Sister Ingalls and a “hetero” makeover by Sophia, Boo meets with the Reverend of Pennsatucky’s bankrolling church to find her way onto the payroll. Sure, she can bullshit about how prison has rehabilitated her, she can even deal with the “f” word, and she probably would’ve been able to stick through being referred to as a “thieving dyke” until he tells her they’d need to cover up her “BUTCH” tattoo. So she cursed him out and was escorted out of the visitation room, and subsequently assigned to extra work duty. But at that moment, a few extra dollars wasn’t worth the price of being made invisible.
– Boo and Pennsatucky’s relationship has evolved in such an organic way. Tucky’s still the same person at her core (at least when it comes to her racism) but Boo’s logic has been able to make its way in. At this point, their relationship is the healthiest one on this show.
– Soso’s spirit is not what it used to be, and her ex-BFF Meadow is exactly what I thought she’d be.
– I do not know what’s happening with Red. I think she’s stringing Healy along but she’s also not showing any signs that she is. This doesn’t seem like her.
– And now we know Piper’s birthday is June 7th. Should’ve pegged her for an indecisive Gemini.
– Whether it’s true or not, Caputo told Daya that Bennett is totally gone, not coming back. I really hope that’s not the case. I know her family is difficult, but I don’t think he’s that shitty of a guy.
– Though, he could have been saying that because of the corporate big shots taking a tour of Litchfield, assessing if it’s worth buying it. Their focus is all about bureaucracy and cutting costs, rather than the welfare of the inmates.
– The best moment of the show was the surprisingly emotional one with Taystee and Crazy Eyes. What an intense scene.
– Best line of the show: “Everybody knows my people are stage managers.” As someone with a theatre degree, I can’t disagree with that statement.