TV Review: Orange Is the New Black (3×03) “Empathy Is a Boner Killer”

“Empathy Is a Boner Killer” is an episode largely about drama class and the bad habits that catch up with Nicky. This is the third episode of Season 3 and we get to learn more about Nicky’s dark past. Another important scene from this one is the book funeral that Taystee and Poussey hold. This pair can make the darkest episode of the show funny due to just how seriously they take books. It’s very difficult to not laugh at them and the situations they find themselves in.

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Before we get to Nicky’s flashback part of the episode, I just want to cover some slightly important but mostly strictly entertaining moments. Berdie is the second counselor that Caputo brings in, and Healy, who is used to being the only counselor at the prison, is unsettled by her presence. She hosts a drama class, and Healy talks to her prior to the class and tells her not to worry if no one shows up, because the inmates hate attending events. Right after he says this, inmates like Black Cindy and Crazy Eyes, along with many others, show up and greet Berdie as they trade insults like old friends. Healy is surprised by this level of bonding and attempts to do the same with Vause, which immediately backfires. This is a simple but laugh-out-loud moment.

The big scene that happens during the drama class is the exchange between Piper and Alex. The two are forced to be in an improv scene together, even though the two are fighting and on edge around each other. The inmates are intrigued by the little lover’s quarrel that is brought to life as they talk about their problems while also trying to improvise. Eventually, the two make up during this scene and all is well for now between them.

Now is the time to focus on the flashback and its relevance to what is currently going down at Litchfield. We see Nicky doing whatever it takes to get heroin, and at the end of the day she cares about it more than her own friends. After this dark part of her past is brought to life, this makes us nervous about her deal with Boo, as she tries to fight her addiction and manage to just get the drugs out of Litchfield. They have to get creative when the heroin ends up going missing, and they go through this twice before they finally have some and Luschek sells it.

Going back to the flashback, we see the issues between Nicky and her mom more. This time around, Nicky is older and dealing with legal issues due to heroin. Nicky is devastated when she finds out that she’s going to prison despite her mom’s best efforts and money spent to protect her. I don’t think we really needed to see the issues Nicky had with her mom, because it’s something that’s already been established and doesn’t need to be repeated through flashbacks.

The main reason for the flashback is that it provides background on her past and sets up Nicky’s fate in the present. Even though the shady Luschek gets the heroin out of Litchfield, Nicky saves some for herself and stashes it in his desk. After being tipped off by some other inmates, Caputo investigates the desk and finds the heroin. Luschek instantly points the finger at Nicky, who then is forced to go to Maximum Security. The episode ends with Red and Morello saying a tearful goodbye to Nicky. This whole scene is downright heartbreaking, and you really get to see yet another side to Nicky. This entire storyline has tremendous acting from Natasha Lyonne, and I hope we get to see more of her next season, since it doesn’t look like Nicky will be in any episodes for the rest of the season.

What does everyone think about this episode? Do you like Nicky? What was your favorite part? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I will be posting my review of episode four sometime tomorrow.

EPISODE REVIEW: 9/10

Rachel is a 19-year-old college student who hopes to become a 7th grade English teacher while also publishing books on the side. She’s had a passion for books since she was barely old enough to walk. (okay, slight exaggeration but you get the idea) Some of her favorite books are Farewell To Arms, To Kill A Mockingbird, Divergent, Matilda, and The Great Gatsby. Aside from books, her other loves include: Bruce Springsteen, Gilmore Girls, Candy Crush, Prince, One Direction, and Tupac. You can contact her at Rachel@theyoungfolks.com