Warning: Spoilers ahead for the first two episodes of “Orange Is The New Black” Season 2. Please stop reading now if you haven’t seen both episodes in their entirety yet.
What’s going on
Episode 2, “Looks Blue, Tastes Red,” reunites us with all our favorite ladies of Litchfield and specifically dives into the childhood of Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson and her heartbreaking search for her “forever family.”
The episode opens with a flashback of young Tasha auditioning for the perfect parents by singing a rendition of “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera and then getting passed over for a lighter-skinned girl with less of an edge. Discouraged she will end up living in a group home forever, Tasha sits on a bench to reflect and meets Vee Parker (Lorraine Toussaint), a street-wise hustler and drug dealer who gives little Tasha the nickname of Taystee and tells her sometimes you just have to create your own “forever family.”
Back in the present, some of the Litchfield inmates are choosing outfits for Dress For Success Day, while pregnant Daya and her crew are working in the kitchen. Daya’s mom, Aledia, gets super jealous when she sees her daughter going to Gloria for advice. However, it felt like the constipation storyline was a bit of a weak way to welcome Daya into Season 2.
Meanwhile Red is having trouble adjusting to life outside the kitchen. Since she can’t bear to eat in the cafeteria where she once ruled the roost, she attempts to buy food at the commissary, but finds out there is no money in her account. Later she is visited by one of her sons, who tells her there is no money because her beloved store isn’t doing well. Sadly it seems her family has run it into the ground in her absence.
Pennsatucky returns after spending a month in the SHU for the whole Piper incident and has to go straight to a meeting with Healy. He wants to make sure she is straight on what really happened the night of the Christmas pageant. The two strike a deal: Pennsatucky gets new teeth, and she won’t tell anyone Healy was steps away from the fight and chose to turn a blind eye.
On the outside, we meet up with Larry and his dad having a heart-to-heart in the sauna. Mr. Bloom encourages his son to move on from Piper and start dating other women. Then in one of the funniest moments of the episode, Larry suddenly realizes they are in a gay bathhouse. His father’s defense? It’s clean and he had a Groupon — classic.
Later Larry goes to help out Piper’s bestie Polly, who is struggling with new motherhood with her husband is out of town. We couldn’t help but get a bit of a flirty vibe between Polly and Larry. Could a hookup be on the horizon?
Back at Litchfield, Taystee is hoping to win the job fair and get a real job. We see in flashbacks how Vee uses her family influence to help Taystee learn the trade and it’s just heartbreaking. It made us think about how quickly life can get in the way of big dreams.
Taystee really seems to settle in to a happy life with her new family, which consists of Vee and RJ, a young man Vee has also adopted along the way. Sadly her happiness is short-lived. RJ is shot by police, who claimed he had a gun on him, and dies. Vee vows always to protect Taystee.
One of the other greatest parts of this episode was Red becoming friends with the geriatric ladies of Litchfield — she just couldn’t stand another day not being queen bee.
Ultimately Taystee wins the interview portion of the job fair, but to her dismay, it doesn’t actually lead to a real job outside of prison walls. However, if you have to be in prison, might as well be with family, right? Well, it looks like Taystee will be well taken care of as Vee arrives at Litchfield at the end of the episode.
It should be mentioned this is the only episode so far in which Piper does not appear. Loving that the ensemble cast is so rich we barely notice when our protagonist isn’t there.
Taystee: “Man, I still look hella office.”
Polly: “Here, take this child before I drown him in my tears and sweat.”
Poussey: “I want the kind of job where I can just chilllll, you know?”
Pennsatucky: “I can promise you that I’ve never felt more saner than I do now.”
Larry: “Dad, why did you bring us to a gay bathhouse?”
Mr. Bloom: It’s a nice place, clean. A schvitz is a schvitz. I had a Groupon.”