For the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black, Spencer Kornhaber and Sophie Gilbert are discussing the series via recaps, taking turns to analyze one episode at a time. Spoilers abound; don’t read further than you’ve watched.
Episode five, “We’ll Always Have Baltimore”
Read the review of the previous episode here.
Last episode, we saw very specific version of screwed-up gender attitudes in the form of Counselor Healy; this episode, we got a much more general look at stupid sexist nonsense. Women were treated as objects to be ogled, fondled, and used, while also often being denied the dignity of being treated as a full people—what else to make of Maxipads being labeled “inessential”?
Maritza’s story summed a lot of the episode up. Once upon a time, she used her cunning and a sob story to con nightclub patrons. But of course there was a more lucrative approach than empathy: “Get off the pity angle. Go straight for the dick, it’s the better play.” She did just that by following the instructions of car-thief kingpins, who likely abandoned her after she landed in the horribly awkward position of being in the passenger seat next to men she’d told competing lies to.
In the present, she could only perform her legitimate prison job in the driver’s seat of a van while being catcalled by the passengers who supposedly protect her. She turned their piggishness to an advantage, offering her body for the creep doing pat-downs so as to cause a distraction for the new panties-smuggling cartel. But when the guards came across the man at the pickup and Maritza convinced them he was just the gardener, it was a reminder—as the lead creep C.O. pointed out in Spanish—of the brains behind the beauty she’s so frequently been made to rely on.