Orange is the New Black Review: People Persons (Season 4 Episode 11)

Orange Is the New Black, Reviews

The body has been discovered and in comes the inquisition. “People Persons” is an episode of Orange is the New Black that is brimming with tension.

The prisoners are in quarantine while the COs attempt to discover who killed the guard. Of course, no one seems to be aware that this dead body is not a guard… but since it was found in a guard’s uniform they have to assume that someone killed a CO.

This episode brings to fruition a quote that Red said in “Doctor Psycho”:

This is a shit secret! This is a secret that f*cks everyone who touches it!

Ironically, the person who is suffering the most from this secret is Red, who played no part in the actual crime, but possesses damning evidence; “the dead man’s keys.”

Plus, her pre-Litchfield involvement with the Russian mob isn’t helping.

The tension in the prison is palpable, as Red, along with some of the most “violent” offenders, is being held in a room—a room that is a crucible for a fight between Crazy Eyes and Kukudio.

The guards have been crossing lines all season and they’re really starting to test limits. In “Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull” I actually started to miss Pornstache. While he may have been a slimy, drug-dealing, weasel, he never crossed the lines these guards do.

Putting Crazy Eyes into a situation where she would need to fight someone is horrible behavior. The guards are encouraging chaos through their actions, and now more than ever, the prisoners are objects.

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The standout of this episode is Mr. Healy. If you recall, Lolly confessed to killing the guard in “Doctor Psycho.” Now, it dawns on Healy that she was telling the truth the entire time.

He leaves the prison and has an epiphany that he really isn’t good at his job! We could have told you that. He was never the brightest tool in the shed when it came to the inmates.

Watching him walk into the lake and then give Lolly up is heartbreaking.

In the final moments, when Lolly is being led down to psych, the screams and the fear on Lori Petty’s face are sickening. The little we’ve seen of psych and the bit that the prisoners talk about it doesn’t make it sound like the best place to be.

And for a death that was self-defense; this seems like a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime.

When the camera pans back to Sam, who is holding onto the grate and watching as Lolly is taken away, I can’t help but wonder if he’s seeing a bit of him mom in that moment.

Seeing Sam and Lolly’s relationship develop over the course of this season has been heartwarming. Sam is a character who has control issues and whose world view was skewered by his parents.

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(After learning about his mother in “Doctor Psycho” his lesbian vendetta from Season One is suddenly framed in a much different light.)

Sam thought he was helping Lolly. If only he’s listened a little more closely, then he wouldn’t be in this position.

It’s sad, but it is giving Sam some depth. Which I think he needed. He didn’t enter the world this way, just like these women didn’t set out one day to become criminals.

Stray Thoughts:

  • It feels like this review doesn’t acknowledge Alex’s part in Lolly’s fate! If Alex had come forward and confessed, maybe Lolly wouldn’t be in psych. Is is wrong to hope that a guilty conscience makes her sick?
  • Nicky and Pennsatucky bonding was absolutely adorable. These scenes really spotlighted how far Pennsatucky has come as a character in these four seasons.
  • Linda’s ignorance about the prison is unforgivable. She works for a corporation that specializes in corrections! She never saw fit to visit a prison? Any prison? Let’s just add this to the list of things we don’t like about her.
  • Please tell me Sophia is coming out of the SHU!

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.


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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