Orange is the New Black Review: We’ll Always Have Baltimore (Season 4 Episode 5)

Orange Is the New Black, Reviews

What is it called when you get a group of like-minded people together, particularly a group of people who share a common profession?

A convention! Or, as this episode points out, potentially an unintended prison gang.

And when it comes to Orange is the New Black the convention features a bunch of corrections offers talking about ways to improve the prison. Most of the ways they plan to improve it seem dangerous (things like laser guns) or just plain silly (like ice cream called “Prison Slop”).

This whole episode calls attention to an important aspect of prison life: the quality of inmate care. The ridiculous nature of CorrectiCon just spotlights how the inmate’s care isn’t a priority.

Let’s remember: these aren’t hardened criminals. They have slipped on a banana peel and ended up down this hole they have to call life.

Now they all wear the same prison uniform and they are trying to make something of themselves and correct their choices.

Think back to Season 1, when Healey talks to Piper about the GED program being suspended because there is toxic mold in the classroom–that was back when Litchfield was a non-profit facility and Natalie was embezzling funds.

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Now that Litchfield is a privatized prison, their quality of care hasn’t changed. Now they’re dealing with overcrowding, shortages of maxi pads, and still no GED program.

The absolute absurdity of CorrectiCon is a waste of industry dollars that no one in the business seems to want to acknowledge.

Linda from MCC talks about going for the swag and they visit “hot booths,” walking by a display of menstrual cups that could actually help the prison’s bottom line.

CorrectiCon is a terrible display and it is not funny when placed against the image of Aleida studying for her GED. She’s sitting in the library trying to understand trigonometry.

Aleida is a character that could benefit from some of the programs that Litchfield cut and hasn’t added back. She’s getting out soon and she needs skills so that she can get her children back.

Seeing her in the library studying means that she’s trying, and with Soso tutoring her she may be able to make the most of the rest of her time in prison. It would be even better if Caputo brought back the GED program.

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In the end, this episode is an honest critique about how prisons are run. Bringing Caputo into the corporate world is eye-opening, but disturbing at the same time.

Perhaps they should stop outfitting Litchfield like Fort Knox and actually try to rehabilitate their prisoners. Something this prison has sucked at since the first season.
Stray Thoughts:

  • Maritsa is a boss! One of the things I like about Orange is the New Black is its ensemble cast. There’s no character off limits for flashbacks. I was curious as to what landed Maritsa in prison and I was very intrigued by her career as a con-woman. Now I am not going to be able to trust anything she says in any future episodes.
  • Piper! How did you not see that your Community Carers Taskforce would turn into the Aryan brotherhood?

What did you think of this episode of Orange is the New Black? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Orange is the New Black Season 4 is now available for streaming on Netflix.

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Lauren Busser is a senior writer at Tell-Tale TV. Her work has also appeared on Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. She has also been a dog sitter, worked front end at a bakery, and helped out in a kindergarten classroom. She learned to knit when she was five-years-old and thus, can now complete sweaters at a superhuman speed. She’s currently nursing a novel she’s been making slow progress on for the last six years.

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