In a show where the inmates of a prison are the heroes, it’d be very easy to make the superiors the bad guys; the incompetent, uncaring antithesis to the inmates’ journeys. The hard thing to do is construct a show where the audience cares about both sides of the spectrum, and OITNB laid the groundwork in the first two seasons to do exactly that. As much as I’m still unsure of the degree of focus that should be placed on the prison staff, that focus is creating a lot of meaningful layers.
Caputo’s arc has always been tragic. He had always been one to take the high road, to do the hard thing for the sake of morality. There are some people who do the hard thing so that they can take the credit and make themselves look better than others, but it’s hard to be that cynical in Caputo’s case. Even as a teenager who could’ve just been doing the stand-up thing for a girl’s affection, it’s clear that there is no self-fulfilling prophecy with Caputo; he just wanted to be a good person.
Unfortunately, so much self sacrifice led to an unsatisfying life for him. He wound up at Litchfield for the health benefits because he took on the task of being a father to a child that wasn’t his. But taking on that responsibility was not asked of him and his volunteerism ultimately went unthanked when his girlfriend left him for the child’s real father. Caputo’s frustration culminates in resentment, and the tragedy is that his girlfriend is right when she says, “You can’t spend your whole life holding the door open for people and then being angry when they don’t say thank you. Nobody asked you to hold the fucking door.” The world is not out to get Caputo, but his aptitude for doing the honorable thing has left him vulnerable to the world’s abuse.
In most cases, I’d root for a character like Caputo to wise up and start being a little bit more shrewd. But his place as the caretaker of so many inmates that we care about is one that needs to be preserved. He is inmates’ voice when new MCC regulations threaten their wellbeing, and new, worse threats come each episode. (He is also, apparently, the Marius to the French Revolution that is the C.O.’s campaign to unionize.) So as far as I’m concerned, he can keep hate-fucking Fig to create that small leak in his “overinflated resentment balloon” so long as the rest of the characters on the show remain cared for. Someone has to do it, and it may as well be Caputo.
– KILLER cameo by Rosa! What a treat!
– Angie was so close. But her admission that “freedom is weird” was a nice reminder of what Taystee experienced in season one: prison sucks, but getting out doesn’t necessarily make it better.
– Piper had a hard one this week, but I agree with Alex that this whole thing is getting way too out of hand.
– And I’m so glad Alex broke up with her. They’re no good together when they’re not mad at each other.
– We’ve likely seen the last of the Timehump Chronicles thanks to Healy and his overzealousness.
– I really hope Berdie isn’t gone forever! She’s such a badass.
– This episode again proves that Boo and Pennsatucky’s relationship is the best thing this season has had to offer. Boo’s tactics may have been harsh, but it’s the only thing that could get through to her.
– Best line of the episode: “Poor Russell Crowe. He sings like a dead carp getting a blowjob.”