A History of Healy’s Mommy Issues on ‘Orange is the New Black’

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It occurred to me during this episode (the appropriately titled “Dr. Psycho,” named for the comic book villain that hates women) that Healy would be a more sympathetic character if he weren’t so resentful and didn’t view every set-back as though the universe were out to get him. Also if he weren’t so painfully socially awkward. Cream can cause a lot of mucus? Really dude?

The little amount of backstory we got for Healy before this episode consisted of his mom throwing an ashtray at his head and a priest vomiting on him on the steps of the church. He has a lot of reasons to distrust people. This episode we see him with his dad, trying to understand the difference between the “lesbian disease” and the disease his mom had that made her hear angels. Both are considered curable, at least one through electro-shock therapy. Healy’s mom’s behavioral issues got a bit less erratic through shock therapy, but her preference for hearing the angels and not getting shocked in the head led her to abandon him.

Healy’s abandonment issues manifest most in that he doesn’t understand why people (really just women) don’t accept his help. Countless times on this show he’s tried to take an inmate under his wing, and exactly as many times they’ve dismissed him. He forms a more significant bond with helpless women than they do with him, as though a piece of his mom is in Piper or Tucky or Red or Judy, and now Lolly. Healy goes on a date with a woman even though he was her social worker, and the same night assumes an old, homeless woman was his mother because he wants desperately to see them get better. The problem is that he wants it less for them than he does himself. Even in the flashback, as the homeless women gets up to leave, he insists: “Stay with me. Stay with me. You think somebody else is going to help you now?” And, as usual, she leaves.

I’ve always thought Healy’s casting was pretty perfect because of Michael Harney’s basset hound face, but it’s especially poignant now that we know Healy’s dopey optimism is genuine. Maybe before this episode he could be Dr. Psycho, Hater of Women. But he doesn’t hate women. He hates the way he can’t help them. Caputo was closer to a solution when he told Sophia, “You have to help yourself. You have to meet me halfway.” But Healy isn’t the level-headed Caputo, and Lolly will likely disappoint him just as all the rest have.

And more!

Best line of the episode: “I just want to make sure you’re not raping her is all.” I cheered. This scene had me riveted. Tucky’s biggest test was to make it through this exchange without Boo guiding her, but she fucking did it. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud of a fictional character.

Thank you!: SOPHIA!!! Finally! I love her resolve. And because of Sophia, Nicky! WHAT!

Questions: Will Nikki be back?!?! Is Lolly safe from being killed if she’s not in Psych? Will Aleida get out and make up for all her former bullshit?

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