How can your heart not break for Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson?
Piper is still in Chicago on Orange is the New Black Season 2 Episode 2 and we're back in Litchfield where the inmates are gearing up for a job fair competition, which includes how to dress and act during an interview, among other things.
Taystee is the most excited for the fair because she heard that last year's winner got an actual job as a result.
Things don't necessarily turn out as planned, but we learned a lot more about our dear friend Taystee and it's more devastating than ever that she was unable to make it on her own while she was out during Orange is the New Black Season 1.
Tasha's childhood was spent in group homes while she looked for a forever family at the "black adoption festival." She was feisty even as a child and smart as a whip. Tasha gained the name Taystee when she met Vee, a heroin dealer with a thing for foster kids. She was kind, but not the kind of woman to be raising children. She promised to keep her eye on Taystee.
Taystee stayed clean for years, working fast food and trying to lead a straight life. As we all know, there isn't any money in that world and eventually, in tears, she turned to Vee proving in five minutes that she had a head for numbers and for business. She even branded Vee's heroin, pointing out that having a name and label would make her smack stick out.
Taystee is what goes wrong when life gets too hard. Had she been raised somewhere else and known about opportunities available to her, she would have kicked life's ass instead of it kicking hers. She proved that by winning the job fair with her incredible interview skills. She researched the shit out of Phillip Morris Corporation, who was doing the faux interviews.
It seemed perfect that Phillip Morris would be invited to be a part of prison Dress for Success days, given their reputation for spinning the truth to their liking. The irony worked and it was even better when Taystee pointed out their success when everyone was trying to pull them down. Much like the kids in the system and women in prison.
Figueora, who is still trying to get people to buy her crap that she didn't misappropriate prison funds, laid into Taystee after she won and asked about the job. After feeling a bit like an ass, she offered her $10 for her commissary account. Taystee gracefully accepted. She turned around to see her mentor and the woman who swore to protect her by giving her own life to keep Taystee safe standing in the wings with the new inmates. Vee has hit Litchfield.
The other plot lines:
- Red is still a pariah. She has no money in her commissary and her family's business is tanking. She swears to eat alone, but the crowd of "mature" inmates push the issue and join her during meals. They're already invisible, who will care if they hang with Red?
- Gloria and Aleida are fighting to mother Daya. The urgency was that she hadn't taken a crap in five days so the two women gave their remedies to rectify the situation. In the end Daya was embarrassed in front of Bennett by talk of bowel movements.
- It was hilarious listening to the professions the job fair assessment tests chose for the inmates. Nicky's choices were professional athlete, park ranger or corrections officer. She asked if the guy knew how frakked up that was to een suggest. Sister Ingalls didn't think going from a habit to a prison uniform gave her any experience in the fashion industry. Do you remember those crap tests from school? Apparently they haven't changed.
- Larry's dad took him to a male bath house to talk about Piper because he had a Groupon, but them sitting among groaning males was nowhere near as uncomfortable as Larry's visit with Polly while her boobs were hanging out "because she's breast feeding." As if all new mothers walk around that way.
- Big Boo. Oh. No. They. Didn't.
- Pennsatucky got out of segregation and Healy bribed her with new teeth to keep her mouth shut about what actually went down in the yard. She had one dangling tooth or so left after the incident so Piper did a number on her. Lorraine thought life without Penn had been peaceful.
I'm really digging the new feel to the storytelling on Orange is the New Black. Digging deeper into the pasts of the inmates brings us closer to them and their experiences. Learning about more than just what brought them to prison, especially their childhood influences, gives us so much insight into who they've become. I love it.
Were you surprised that Taystee was so intelligent?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.