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"Comic Sans" is the seventh episode of the second season of Orange Is the New Black. It is the twentieth episode of the series overall. It premiered on June 6, 2014. It was written by Sara Hess and directed by Andrew McCarthy.
The ladies of B-Dorm are officially open for business, rolling their freshly-smuggled contraband tobacco into cigarettes. The women of Vee’s crew are still a little wary; particularly Cindy, who isn’t afraid to voice her concern. Big Boo, who is now on look out duty, warns them of an approaching CO. Once the danger clears, they go back to rolling and Cindy’s constant questioning of Vee’s authority starts to rub Vee the wrong way. Cindy thinks this whole scheme is about making Vee money, but Vee insists it’s about respect and making a space for themselves in the prison world. Suzanne, Vee’s biggest fan, agrees but is disappointed when she’s relegated to rolling duty. Taystee asks about how are they going to store and sell these cigarettes without getting caught, but of course, Vee has a plan.
In Caputo’s office, Caputo is reading the riot act to the COs for letting Jimmy escape Litchfield and cause a scene at the bar. He assigns CO Bell to keep tabs on Jimmy and orders the COs to start giving out at least five shots a week. Six for CO Fischer, because Caputo’s ego is fragile. The COs complain but Caputo sends them away.
Cindy is making her way to count, when CO Donaldson, fresh from his chewing out by Caputo, gives her a shot for being late. She’s still got time to make it, so she objects, especially when White Cindy slides by without a shot. She accuses him of racism and he orders her on to the floor.
Andrew, the reporter associate of Larry, comes to visit Piper and discuss his intentions for the article exposing the prison’s finances. Piper tells him about the prisoners’ mistreatment by guards and administration, but Andrew doesn’t think that focus is beneficial; mostly because he doesn’t think people really care. What he can give them is an expose on financial mismanagement, which is something that matters to his readers. Piper explains that she’d be putting herself at tremendous personal risk by trying to get the good, and that’s something she isn’t willing to do.
Sophia preps Gloria for her usual “do”, but can’t resist suggesting a nice faux hawk instead. Gloria tells her that her usual do, along with her face, seems to give off a vibe of intimidation all on its own. One of Red’s Golden Girls, Taslitz, pops in to give Sophia a code message about violets.
Nicky and Taystee rendezvous in the women’s bathroom where Taystee has promised to show Nicky something worth her book of stamps. Taystee whips out a tampon box and tells Nicky to take one when she's bemused. Inside the card board applicators a cigarette. Taystee produces an improvised lighter, made with a battery and a gum wrapper, and Nicky lights up.
Red’s crew are having a spirited discussion on whether or not the rat from Ratatouille had legal and health code permission to open a restaurant, when Sophia shows up inquiring about violets. From her flower pots, Red produces contraband hair products and nail files, and the coup de grâce, a large bag of gummy bears. The gummy bears are payment for Red’s dye jobs from now on.
Throughout the prison, word is out about the cigarettes, so Vee and her crew are doing excellent business.
Blanca is smoking in the walk-in cooler when Gloria calls out to her. Gloria is not happy with the kitchen staff that day, especially since the rice and beans is awful. It doesn’t get better when Bennett walks in with his smuggled good for the women. Flaca gets an iPod, which is actually Bennett’s and is full of "whiny indie music" and not The Smiths as requested. Ruiz gets her Yoohoo, but there’s no phone for Blanca. Bennett warns the women that this is the last time he can smuggle anything in, but the women don’t pay him any mind. Since Blanca can’t get her phone, she requests porn. Flaca and Ruiz think that’s a genius idea, and Flaca puts in a request for gay porn.
In line for food, Soso complains about the lack of vegetarian options at the cafeteria to Piper. Daya is serving, and stops Piper to ask if she can be a part of the newsletter. Piper is delighted. She takes the opportunity to ask Daya if she knows who the contractor is for the kitchen, but Daya doesn’t have a clue. Sister Ingalls and Rosa sit together as Rosa asks the nun about the priesthood in Africa. The Sister quickly excuses herself, and pockets a slice of cornbread for later on. CO Fischer catches her and reluctantly gives the Sister a shot. Rosa swears it’s the end of days. Piper walks by Jimmy, who is unsuccessfully gnawing on a pork chop. Piper sits down and cuts up Jimmy’s food, and Jimmy mistakes Piper for her daughter Roberta.
In Cindy’s bunk, Angie is on her knees cleaning, in exchange for a cigarette. Ruiz stops by with a jar of grape jelly to trade as well.
Morello approaches Piper in her bunk to ask if she can be a part of the newsletter. Piper smiles and says yes, but when she presses Morello about what she’d like to write about, Morello is at a loss. Piper suggests she write a serial romance, but Morello nixes that immediately. Piper gets it right away, and sympathizes with Morello’s situation. Piper suggests a beauty column instead, which Morello loves.
In the library, Nicky tries to covertly enquirer about cigarettes from Poussey. Poussey tells her that she’s barking up the wrong tree, and she’s not one of Vee’s cronies. Poussey knows that when the shit hits the fan, that Vee will be as far away from it as possible, letting the other women take the fall. The alarms go off and both women hit the ground. Nicky, ever observant, knows that Poussey cares deeply for Taystee. She speaks up; "Hey, you know that thing that happens to lesbians in high school? How we strike up a really intense best-friendship with a straight girl who's really into it. And we convince ourselves that friends is good, right? Until she gets a boyfriend. We hate that poor asshole with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns, a "He's not worthy of you," or whatever, when he's probably a decent-enough person, I mean, as guys go. Because what's really happening is that we're in love with our friend. Then when that friend gets a boyfriend, we channel all our frustration on to him". Poussey denies she’s in love with Taystee, but Nicky’s been around the block. She warns Poussey that by hating “the boyfriend” it’s just going to put more distance between her and Taystee. She suggests making nice with Vee, to make Poussey’s life easier.
The women from the kitchen are unloading the produce truck when Bennett walks outside. When he tells them that he won’t be smuggling in any more contraband, Maritza reminds him that they have dirt on him. However, Bennett knows the system will always work in his favor, so the threats don’t scare him anymore. He tells them that they are all getting shots and when Maritza objects, he takes her to the SHU.
Caputo calls Piper in to his office to discuss her newsletter. He wants to co-opt part of it to focus on the guards. He “suggests” a column that features a guard and humanizes them. Piper agrees, because she knows it’s better to have the guards on her side about the newsletter. She starts interviewing him on the spot.
Back in the outside world, a frantic Polly shows up at Larry’s house to harangue him about his impulsive kiss the other day. She slaps him for complicating her already fragile world. He apologizes, but she doesn’t want to hear another man-child excuse. She starts listing off all the really great things that she and Larry have shared together, and how he’s kind of right in all the ways she wants someone to be right. She tells him to fuck her right then, and kisses him passionately.
Red and her crew are playing cards, while she tries to explain the internet to a befuddled Taslitz. “It’s in the wires”, Red growls. Big Boo swings by and asks Red to score her some matches. Red laughs it off, wondering what the hell Boo would be smoking. Boo tells her about Vee’s operation. Red plays it cool, but refuses to supply the matches for Boo’s own good. As Boo leaves, she kicks a chair and gets a shot from CO Maxwell.
At newsletter headquarters in the library, Piper is dolling out assignments and names Morello assistant editor. Flaca points out that the newsletter is now run by two white chicks, a fact that had escaped Piper at the time. Flaca was on yearbook, but Morello doesn’t give her much credence and presents her own article. Daya has come up with a clever cartoon, where the animals slyly represent the COs and administration. Piper loves the idea. Flaca points out a commonly made mistake in Morello’s piece, (that Morello had used "could care less" instead of "couldn't care less") so Piper tries to diffuse the situation by saying they are both right. They are interrupted by Jimmy, who has sought Piper out (thinking she’s Roberta) to say that she’s being followed. She’s not wrong, as CO Bell stands off to the side. After they leave, Flaca announces that she’ll be writing an advice column for the newsletter.
Vee and Taystee are hanging in the bunks, admiring some of their newly-acquired stamp books when Cindy walks by. Vee calls her in to get her cut, but since Cindy’s been trading for cigarettes, she has nothing to show Vee. Vee removes her from selling duty and banishes her to maintenance. Cindy refuses to do grunt work, but the matter is closed when Vee tosses a pack of cigarettes to a surprised Poussey. She asks Poussey to join them, and Poussey, taking Nicky’s advice to heart, agrees to think about it. Cindy is pissed off and tells Vee that she isn’t scared of her. One gets the impression from the look on Vee’s face that she should be.
While CO Bell watches over Jimmy from the guard office, CO O’Neill comes in to talk. He’s sorry about being hesitant to commit, but he’s all in now. Bell lets her walls come down and kisses her Panda. O’Neill tells her that he’s learned some insights about the female anatomy that he’s like to show her. They start kissing again and Jimmy slips out of sight, unnoticed.
A very angry Daya pulls Bennett into a closet to yell at him for his punishment of her friends. She tells him that they are her family on the inside and they wouldn’t rat him out for anything. Bennett swears he couldn’t take that risk. Daya tells him to give her a shot. She curses, pushes him, throws her name tag on the floor. He insists that he wouldn’t do that to her, but she tells him he could. “You have the choice. You have the power. I’m an inmate. I have nothing”, she explains passionately.
Assistant Warden Fig and her husband, Jason, sit drinking Jack Daniels in a hotel room, while he complains about campaigning to the elderly. Jason's campaign manager, Gavin, comes in to deliver the bad news that their opponent just received a major donation from a wealthy businessman. Jason sends Gavin on his way, but not before Gavin compliments him on his excellent speech. Jason tries to reassure Fig that they will be fine, but she’s stressing about the reporter who keeps popping up at Litchfield. When he tells her to imagine their new place in Albany, with a couple of little Figs running around, she reminds him that that might be a little tough since he won’t have sex with her. She just wants him to want her. He counters that he doesn't want her, he needs her.
Larry gets another surprise visitor in Pete. Pete has brought some brews over with hopes of bitching about his wife to Larry’s sympathetic ear. Turns out that Polly left the house, and came back acting super weird.
In the chapel, Jimmy has eluded CO Bell and is standing on the stage. She imagines she’s talking to her husband, who is convincing her to jump from the docks into the water. She does a swan dive right onto the hard floor below.
After lights out, Vee sneaks out of her bunk and sits down on a sleeping Cindy’s bed. Cindy wakes up with a start, to see Vee staring at her. Cindy tries to make some jokes about it, but Vee points out that that’s kind of her default. Cindy is living for today, and with no ambition for the future. Vee calls her a loser and walks away.
CO Fischer is listening in on inmate recording when Caputo stops by. He apologizes for being hard on her the other day, but he wants to be warden and sometimes ambition requires tough choices be made. He brings up Luschek, who he finds to be lacking in ambition. Fischer likes talking to Luschek, so Caputo’s little sly remarks don’t bother her. He has rosemary he’s brought for Red’s garden, so he leaves. When Fischer starts listening in again to the conversation, she finds out through Aleida’s conversation that Daya is pregnant.
In the library, the ladies are hard at work on the newsletter. Daya is using Comic Sans on her comic, which Flaca finds distasteful. Daya reveals that Maritza will be out of the SHU the next day and that Bennett didn’t even file the paperwork. Healy pops in to check on their progress, and finds out that Piper has made everyone assistant editors, and there is no one person in charge. Piper asks Healy about her furlough, and he tells her that he’ll look into it. He gives them his seal of approval before leaving.
Gloria makes her way to Red’s bunk, smuggling in a yogurt. Red is unimpressed with Gloria’s lack of originality, but decides to let it go. Red asks what she’d like, and mentions a lot of requests for gum lately. Gloria reveals that they are using the wrappers to make lighters. When Red expresses her concern over Vee’s operation, Gloria doesn’t get her apprehension. They both have their own things going, and so far there’s no competition. Gloria doesn’t want any contraband or black market items. She wants Red to grow cilantro in the garden. Red agrees and a tenuous truce is made.
In his office, Caputo proudly hangs a copy of the newsletter that features him on the front page.
Suzanne and Vee are deep into a game of chess and Vee is teaching her about resisting impulses and playing the long game strategy. Cindy shows up, agreeing to take her licks and join Suzanne on the manufacturing side of the operation. Suzanne tosses Cindy a bag full of used tampon applicators to sanitize and prep. Cindy is disgusted, but Vee explains this is how things are done.
A bandaged up and bruised Jimmy is led out of the prison by COs. She sees Piper and calls out to her. They escort Jimmy to a van while a shocked Piper, Sister Ingalls and Frieda watch from the yard. Piper asks if Jimmy will be getting help, but no. Jimmy will be taken to a bus station and left to her own devices. Her only daughter lives overseas and is estranged. They call it compassionate release, but it’s simply inhumane. The women watch, heartbroken, as Jimmy is carted away, screaming for Roberta.
Note: Flashbacks are arranged in chronological order, not the order in which they occur on the show.
Cindy works as a TSA agent. She is seen abusing her authority with passengers, joy riding on a luggage cart, inappropriately feeling people up, and - likely the root of her incarceration - stealing valuables from peoples’ luggage.
Later, Cindy is at her mother’s home, celebrating her little sister’s birthday. Cindy’s mother comments that Cindy hasn’t been around much, but Cindy swears she’s been tied up at work. She gifts her little sister the iPad she stole from a passenger’s luggage. Her sister, Monica, is thrilled and they celebrate by doing their special little handshake/dance together. Cindy offers to take her out for ice cream but her mother objects due to Cindy’s track record with responsibility. Cindy promises to watch out for her sister and Cindy’s mother relents. When they leave, their mother opens up the iPad and sees pictures of a nice Asian family inside, and quickly realizes that the gift has been stolen.
Cindy and her sister Monica are jamming out in the car, rolling through the neighborhood. Cindy asks her Monica how school is, and her sister thinks she is a nerd and the kids tease her about being named after the “tense girl on friends”. Cindy tells her that no, she was in fact named after Monica from Love and Basketball. Cindy sees her old friend, Martin, who just got out of jail and pulls up to say hi. He invites her in and she leaves her little sister in the car for a long period of time while she goes inside.
Later, Cindy and her mother are in the kitchen where it’s past midnight and Cindy and Monica have just shown back up. When Monica leaves, Cindy’s mother is furious, and brings up the stolen iPad. Cindy lashes out and we find out that she’s actually Monica’s birth mother, not her sister. Cindy’s mother tells her that she gave up the rights to claim Monica as her daughter when she abandoned her. Cindy suggests that they tell Monica and let her choose. Her mother reminds Cindy of the dedication it takes to raise a child. If Cindy thinks she can provide a normal, stable life for Monica, then her mother tells her to take the child. A tearful Cindy stands alone in the kitchen, with the weight of it all pressing down on her shoulders. Cindy does love Monica, but is unsure of whether she can settle down to take care of her.
Cindy's back at her job, looking morose as she checks boarding passes. A little girl and her father stop by, and the little girl asks her father for some juice. He smiles at Cindy and asks if she has kids. She takes a long pause and answers him, “no”.
- Only physical appearence of White Cindy
- First appearance of Monica Hayes
- First appearance of Lillian Hayes
- First appearance of Gavin
- Final appearance of Jimmy Cavanaugh