Orange Is the New Black: Doctor Psycho – Sam (Review)

Judy and Sam

Orange Is the New Black has Lolly’s life still hanging in the balance after Frieda passes a death sentence on the mentally disturbed inmate. In “Doctor Psycho” it could be commuted after Sam Healy (Michael Harney) takes her under his wing.  A lot of the counselor’s backstory is revealed in this episode. The flashbacks explain  much about the CO and his behavior. 

Piper (Taylor Schilling) warns Maria twice about encroaching on her “dirty panty” business.  Healy forces Judy King (Blair Brown) to lead a cookery class and the celebrity inmate gets her revenge by asking that Sam be removed as her counselor. Healy reacts badly to this news. 

Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguezlearns that she is eligible for early release and it puts her in an agitated state.  Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox) takes desperate measures to force a meeting with Caputo (Nick Sandow). 

Piper orders her hired muscle to attack and retrieve the stolen panty scraps from Maria’s runner. Alex tells Red (Kate Mulgrewabout the body in her garden and initially Reznikov is against killing Lolly but this soon changes.

Coates (James McMenaminis shocked to learn that Doggett  (Taryn Manning) considers the sex he had with the inmate  rape. 

As the overcrowding continues to be an issue,  Piper starts  things in motion that could easily escalate into a war with Maria (Jessica Pimentel).  The cookery class is a resounding success but it does have that sting in the tail for Healy.

Leaving the women for a moment:  It is Sam Healy’s backstory that wounds the heart and makes the counselor that bit more human and flawed.  When the CO was a child  his mother Margaret was treated at an asylum and it left her more damaged than before. After her return, she cooks Sam breakfast (Deviled eggs that the boy is allergic to.) and then walks off into the night, never to return.

Years later, the effects of his mother’s mental issues and her abandonment have left him uneasy around women.  On the same night that a date goes sour he sees a homeless woman whom he believes to be his mother. Sam offers to buy her dinner and as he starts to reveal who he is, a medical bracelet shows that the woman is not Margaret at all.  Her name is Ellen.

In spite of this news, Healy still wants to treat Ellen to a free meal. The woman panics and runs from the restaurant leaving Sam alone and upset.

Later, when Lolly is being escorted by two COs to the psych ward, the inmate starts shouting about being electrocuted. The noise and Lolly’s obvious distress catches Sam’s attention and he stops the trio:

“This woman needs a certified counselor.”

The two make a connection and both are given a new outlook by the end of their impromptu meeting.

There is a splendid irony in Healy’s working in a woman’s prison.  It appears to be his attempt at saving his “mother” through the inmates in his care.

Back to the inmates: Sophia Burset is the “long running” storyline that is meant to pull at our emotions. Flooding her cell and setting fire to her mattress are declarations of a battle that will not end until she gets her meeting with Caputo.  Since doing all the above actions are labeled as infractions Sophia may never get out of solitary.

(Sidenote: The acts of passing  notes, playing cards and magazines via thread in the segregation  ward are also infractions that usually earn the inmates more “shots” – or at least would if they were in an English prison.)

In the area of less fraught circumstances; Poussey (Samira Wiley)  gets to help her idol teach the cookery class and her relationship with Soso (Kimiko Glenn) has recovered from its earlier “hiccup.”  Aleida is struggling to deal with her early out but at least she is on track to leave. 

Orange Is the New Black  continues on a path that could l end in tears for all involved. The overcrowding issue is one that will blow up sooner rather than later.  Even in a minimal security facility that sort of sardine tin accommodation will result in violence and increased safety issues.

This season looks like a smoldering powder keg for all.  “Captain Psycho” was an excellent character study on Sam Healy while still highlighting the problems at Litchfield.

(Sidenote: Luschek  is an unprofessional douche.  Talking about fellow staff members to an inmate is not only verboten it is dangerous.)

Orange Is the New Black is streaming on Netflix. All episodes can be binged at one sitting but we are  trying to covering it one  episode at a time.  Tune in and binge out or join us while we draw this one out as long as we can.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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