"Moscow Mule" is the eighth episode of the first season of Orange Is the New Black. It is the eighth episode of the series overall. It premiered on July 11, 2013. It was written by Marco Ramirez and directed by Phil Abraham.
The flu is rapidly spreading at Litchfield and the majority of inmates have gotten sick. As daily medications are being administered, Daya vomits into a nearby trash can. Back in her bunk, Piper makes face-masks out of maxipads for her and Miss Claudette to help keep them from getting sick. Claudette puts hers on and says she looks like Michael Jackson. Piper says Claudette has the wrong skin tone and that she actually looks like Michael Jackson and dances out of her bunk. Piper is then seen in the cafeteria. Healy approaches telling her that he read Larry’s article about her in the New York Times. He does not let Piper read his copy, throwing it in the trash and pouring coffee on it, in revenge for Piper getting the track reopened behind his back. Piper tries to remove it from the garbage, but is reprimanded by Bell. Back in the line for the nursing station, Maria says she has gone into labor.
Norma is dying Red’s hair in the kitchen. Mendez enters, claiming he is there to do Red a favor. He tells her that Tricia is going through withdrawals, but Red stands up for her girls, saying they are clean and telling Mendez it's his problem to deal with. Red realizes that Mendez had been supplying Tricia with drugs the whole time she had been incarcerated.
Larry is purchasing a bunch of copies of the New York Times, bragging to the man in line next to him that he wrote a column in it. He is proud of himself and the vendor is impressed, treating him like a celebrity. When he gets home, Larry receives a call from Piper saying she knows about the article getting published. He reads the title of the article “One Sentence, Two Prisoners”, which Piper says sounds like "Two Girls, One Cup". Larry overhears moaning on the other end of the line, and asks incredulously if it is porn. Piper explains that one of the inmates might be in labor and asks Larry to Google 'symptoms of labor' so she can guess the time the baby will be born, as whoever guesses closest wins a Twix bar. Larry explains that Pete and Polly are organizing a party for him to celebrate his article’s publication, and Piper feels left out, but she says she is happy for him and his accomplishment deserves to be celebrated. He then reads the article to her.
Maria is unable to go to the hospital until her contractions are less than a minute apart. Gloria and Aleida are walking back and forth in the hallway with Maria to get her contractions to speed up. Maritza brings her a pineapple soda as Aleida said she was told to eat a whole pineapple to ease her labor. Gloria suggests Maria should play with her breasts to get her hormones going.
Piper goes to work at the electrical shop, finding that Nicky is the only one there as everyone else is sick. Nicky says she stockpiles cough syrup from commissary and has drunk enough of it to make "Lil' Wayne vomit in his dreads". Luschek tells the pair that a dryer is broken in the laundry room and assigns them to fix it.
Many inmates are in the library and Claudette appears to be looking into her appeal. Poussey has just started working there and is not sure where to shelve a book because the label fell off. Taystee tells her where to put it. Poussey asks how her appeal went and Taystee isn’t sure. Poussey says at least her hair looked good and Taystee agrees.
Alex is working in the laundry room when Nicky and Piper show up to fix the dryer. Nicky jokingly talks dirty to Alex about fixing the dryer. Next, Norma tries to get Nicky’s attention by throwing things at her from outside of the room, as she is afraid of the spin cycle. Red needs her for something and Nicky leaves. Alex says Piper looks good in her tool belt.
When Nicky makes her way to Red, Red is angry about Tricia using drugs. Nicky defends her saying she is an addict who made a mistake and she needs another chance. Red says Tricia gets no more chances. She has already gotten two strikes, and Russians don’t play baseball. Nicky tells Red not to take it personally, that drugs make people do things they don’t want to do. Red says so does she.
Piper is trying to fix the dryer but admits she has no idea what she is doing. Alex reveals that CO Wanda Bell dropped off laundry with CO Scott O’Neill ’s name stitched in a pair of boxers, indicating that the two are sleeping together. Pennsatucky insults and glares at the pair and leaves. Alex says she will help Piper with the dryer because she knows the machines better, even though Piper will get in trouble if she is caught not performing her job and so will Alex.
Tricia is in her bed sweating profusely from detoxing. Nicky brings her some orange juice and tells her stories about how she made exorcist jokes at a drug clinic she had gone to. Tricia says her timing is good because everyone will think she just has the flu, and nobody needs to find out she was using drugs. Nicky says Tricia needs to tell the COs and that Red can’t cover for her anymore. Tricia is upset saying that she will go to the SHU if she confesses and that Nicky is supposed to be her family, to which Nicky says “Not anymore”. As Nicky walks away, Tricia begs for Nicky not to leave. Nicky looks very uncomfortable with what Red has made her do.
Maria is still in labor and is waiting to go to the hospital. She says to Daya that the relationship between her and Aleids is so dysfunctional that they would make teens want to abstain from having sex. Nurse Igme Dimaguiba informs Maria that the hospital van is there and escorts her out to have the baby.
Alex has gotten into the dryer to fix the motor while Piper holds a flashlight. When Piper’s batteries die she leaves to get more. Pennsatucky ends up locking Alex in the dryer, in revenge for Alex threatening to rape her.
Caputo meets with Mendez to discuss Tricia’s detoxing. He explains that she has been at the facility for 10 months, questioning why she hadn’t detoxed earlier. He concludes there must have been product coming in somehow. Mendez thinks it is probably an isolated incident. Caputo says that he will not go down for this, hinting that he would put the blame on Mendez instead. As a side note, Caputo also asks if moustaches are now a sign of being gay because a man checked him out, but Mendez says moustaches are for manly straight men.
Piper returns to the laundry room. Her first instinct is to get help to open the door but Alex does not want Piper to get them both in trouble. Alex demands Piper to step up and get her out, and begs her not to leave her.
Mendez obtains a list of all the vendors who bring goods into the prison. He then sees Lorna driving in and thinks that she might be involved in smuggling things in or at least know something about it, as she is one of Red's daughters.
Still in the dryer, Alex says she has been waiting for Piper to come around. Piper says she is engaged and Alex laughs. Piper thinks it is possible that the two of them will get friendly again, but Alex reminds Piper that they were never friends in the first place. She loved Piper and loved having sex with her, but what she meant by 'coming around' was not romantically, but to treat her like a human being. When Piper kicks the dryer in frustration, Luschek comes in to check on her and sees Alex in the dryer.
Mendez gets in the van with Lorna, and makes her drive far from the prison. She is nervous. He asks about how Red gets contraband items in the prison, threatening that it will not be pleasant for her if she doesn’t answer. Lorna claims that she just drives and she can’t tell him what she does not know, covering for Red. Convinced, Mendez instructs her to drive back.
Luschek turns Piper and Alex in to Healy for the dryer incident. Piper says it is her fault because she asked Alex to help her. Healy says in the past he found two naked women using the dryers to pleasure themselves and asks if this is the same situation and Alex responds, "I'm more of a dishwasher kind of gal". Healy does not find it amusing and says he will give them each a shot for their actions. Alex finds Pennsatucky and attacks her from behind; Healy shows up and takes Alex to his office.
Norma has moved into Nicky’s room after Tricia is gone, and Nicky is furious at Red. Mendez sees the confrontation between Red and Nicky and knows he can take advantage of the situation.
On the outside, Larry is sulking a bit at his party. Polly says it must be hard for him without Piper, but that she would want him to have a good time. Larry says he knows he is lucky that he is published, young, healthy and alive but can’t shake the feeling that what he has is not enough. He thinks this makes him selfish and ungrateful, and at that moment Polly goes into labor. She asks Larry to take her to the hospital immediately.
Miss Claudette and Piper are lying in their beds and Claudette asks what her visits with Larry are like. Piper says it's good, correcting herself saying it's weird. She says sometimes it seems like there is not enough time, and sometimes there is too much and they can only look at each other for so long. Sometimes they need to look away. Piper asks why Claudette has never had a visitor to which Claudette says she just likes to look away.
Piper is on the phone with Larry. He is at the hospital after rushing Polly there to have the baby. He explains how Pete forgot his wallet to pay the cab driver and the two got into a fight. He adds that people were asking about Piper at the party and said he captured her spirit well in the article. Piper disagrees and says the girl he wrote about is not her. She is also upset that she missed his party and that she couldn’t be there when her best friend had a baby, so she feels like a bad person.
Maria has returned from the hospital and all the inmates in the common room playing games go silent, as they feel sympathy for her situation, having just had a baby and not being able to spend any time with her.
Nicky is listening to music in the chapel when Mendez enters, questioning her about Red’s operation. To spite Red for abandoning Tricia, Nicky immediately says that Red gets contraband in via Neptune’s Produce, and to leave her alone. This information was easier to get than Mendez was expecting, leaving him surprised.
Taystee sits down to lunch with Poussey. She heard back from the board that she is getting out of prison soon. The two are excited.
Alex has fallen ill from the flu, and tells Piper that she is plotting revenge on Pennsatucky; Piper says she may want in. Piper tells Alex that Larry wrote a story about her prison experience, but he got so much of it wrong. She resents being someone’s story, and that he makes her life seem like an adventure that you tell someone at a cocktail party. The two hold hands and Piper sneezes, also having caught the flu.
Daya’s mother Aleida brings her a bucket in case she gets sick and vomits again. Daya says the other inmates have been getting better, so she will soon too. Aleida says Daya doesn’t have what everyone else has, and that she will be better in nine months, indicating that Daya does not have the flu, but is pregnant.
Note: Flashbacks are arranged in chronological order, not the order in which they occur on the show.
A flashback shows the Russian Mafia group headed by Ganya sitting in Dmitri's Russian Market discussing the best way to move ‘product’. Red tells them a story about how her father sold candy and wore out his shoes walking continuously around town until he realised that he could sell to soldiers on an army base, and from then on always sold out without having to travel around anymore - there were always soldiers, and they always wanted candy. She uses this to illustrate that Neptune's Produce is targeting the wrong audience, and that things like prisons and hospitals will never go out of business and will always need supplies. Her husband, Dmitri, mocks her after she leaves, but Ganya looks impressed and thoughtful.
A later flashback shows Red first entering prison. She is introduced to Norma, who is to show her the ropes around the kitchen when she starts working there. Red eyes a familiar Neptune’s Produce box, and inspiration strikes. In present day, Mendez stops the Neptune’s Produce truck at the gate to have a talk with the driver.
In another flashback with a different plot, Piper is taking a pregnancy test, saying she thinks she might want to keep the baby. Larry says they don’t even know if there is a baby yet and even if there was, Piper is going to prison in three months and it's not an option. He says he is supportive of her decision but she should consider abortion. He wants to have a family with her but doesn’t seem to be ready for it, saying he was scared for Polly and Pete when they told him they were expecting. Piper looks at the test and says she feels sad, suggesting she was not pregnant.