The flashbacks for episode five feature Flaca in all her goth glory, and as her mother prepares to sew a Calvin Klein label onto a no-name patterned dress, she tells her daughter, “People believe what you tell them.” That advice influences this whole episode because there is some serious delusion floating around Litchfield, and it’s more than Red not understanding that her look is off-putting. (Though we do have to give Piper a point for implementing her new social skills.)
There’s an announcement of a new job assignment in Litchfield that reportedly pays a dollar an hour, but what exactly it entails no one is saying. To further entice the inmates, the new management company running the prison has the ladies take exams to be chosen. But rather than an aptitude test for a new unspecified job, the exam is more like a personality test with true or false questions like, “Ideas are more important than real things.” As it turns out, the test is just bullshit from the internet.
But the questions actually incite some introspection among the girls and they being to measure their own lives by the standards of the test. Flaca defends her answer when she believes it’s true that people are basically moral, saying that while she is indeed in a room of felons, she thinks that “people want to be good… but they just fuck up.” I’m not sure what “good” Flaca was intending when she was selling fake acid to her schoolmates, other than making some extra cash for a new pair of flatforms, but at the very least she wasn’t actually trying to hurt anyone. The fault of a pretentious teenager’s fall from a three story building because he pretended he was tripping was hardly Flaca’s, though if she didn’t sell them the fake acid he wouldn’t have done it in the first place. People believe what you tell them.
Another delusion belongs to Norma, who is graduating herself from Gloria’s School of Santeria and becoming a practitioner of her own. She is visited by Soso, who admits she’s in a “pretty dark place,” and would like some help by the gentle mute guru herself. Norma’s silence is the best situation for someone in need of guidance; there’s no judgment coming from her mouth, only understanding radiating from her eyes so people can interpret what they want through her. Soso’s right when she says, “This is your thing. You give people this meaningful stare and people project their feelings onto it.” Even the awareness of Norma’s “gift” doesn’t change the impact on Soso. She feels better, and the delusion continues.
But as Crazy Eyes says, “It’s good to have something to believe in.” Whether that’s Santa Claus, “giant drunky squirrels”, Norma, or the idea that all people are basically good. Everyone has a coping mechanism, some are just a little weirder than others.
– With Cesar confirming that Bennett’s house is empty, he seems to be really, truly gone. In lieu of this news, she tells Pornstache’s mom that she can adopt the baby. I’m holding out hope Bennett will make a triumphant return to rescue Daya and their child.
– Alex is getting increasingly more paranoid that someone has been sent from the outside to kill her. Every new face is taking her a little closer to the deep end.
– Alex may or may not be full of it, but Piper should do a better job of being understanding.
– As the less interesting plot lines of the corporatization of Litchfield continue, the officers are starting to lose hours. It’s not that I don’t care about them as people, but I’m not sure that I care more about them than the inmates.
– How the hell does Leanne know German?!
– So Red was really leading Healy on. All she wants to do is get back into the kitchen. Healy’s a shmuck but I feel bad for him every time someone does or says something bad to him.
– Turns out the new job is basically a sweat shop to manufacture underwear. At least we know Flaca will be good at it!
– Best line of the episode: “That squirrel is not giving one shit.”