Lorna Morello

Written by @EllieDangerous
Oh Morello. Does she even know what love is? Played by a kittenish Yael Stone and looking like a WW2 airforce pilot, Lorna Morello is arguably the most endearing inmate in ‘Orange is the New Black’ because she has the biggest heart. It really is one heck of a heart. Let’s talk about it for a while.

Spoiler Alert
It clearly beats for Edward Cullen, and I’m afraid I really do mean the vampire from ‘Twilight’, a movie she’s seen the correct amount of times for a bonafide Twihard. It already explains a lot about the way Morello loves, and I’m willing to bet she’s been preoccupied by fictional studs like Edward her entire life. They’re rhapsodised fantasies. They’re what Morello wants, and they’re not real.

Nor, it seems, is Christopher; at least not the way she imagines him. Before we delve into Morello’s backstory we hear her mention and venerate her fiancé Christopher regularly. He never comes to visit her in prison, so we assume his interest in Morello has slipped through his fingers. Or maybe she just made him up. But as it transpires, the truth is far more complicated.

Long before her incarceration, she bumps into the charming Christopher at the post office, and he bears a strong resemblance to one of the Edward-esque pinups on her bedroom wall. It’s clearly love at first sight for her, but it’s not about looks: it’s about what she projects onto those looks. Fantasies. They go on one date, and Morello’s dear and devoted imagination takes it from there. We don’t find out exactly what happened on that one and only date, but, knowing her, she came on waaaaaay too strong.

Christopher, Edward, the pinups on her wall — these lovers as she imagines them are bogus and that's that. But does that mean her love is too? It’s hard to say. She certainly feels it to be real, and maybe that’s enough to make it so. Upon examination it may just be a mix of profound idealism and dizzying loneliness, but if she thinks it’s love while she’s feeling it, then that’s what it is.

Since getting locked up in Litchfield for criminal naivete, Morello has finally love of a different kind — all of it non-conformist, all of it much healthier than what came before. She’s feeling it, but has trouble acknowledging it because it doesn’t match her ideals of what love is.

Take her relationship with Nicky Nichols. The casual sexual relationship doesn’t initially seem to have many elements of traditional love, but their friendship does, and there’s some romance there too when Morello worries their bond is a betrayal of Christopher. (It must be romantic to contend with dear Christopher.) "So many people are gonna love you", the normally dispassionate Nichols reassures her. "Nobody's gonna love me", whimpers the kitten in reply. "I do", says Nichols.

Then there's Vince, a prison visitor who falls for her because she actually tells him the truth about something... but she also lies to him, manipulating him into beating up Christopher on false pretenses, So I’m not quite sold on the healthiness of their marriage just yet.

But Morello shows him love anyway, healthy or not. Her heart is in it. It’s also in her friendship with Nicky Nichols, her empathy for the late Miss Rosa, and her kindness towards everyone. Morello may not know what love is by even her own reckoning, but our favourite van-driver dishes out vanloads of it anyway.
I'm crazy. I'm a crazy person. There is something really wrong with me.
You know me, I’ve got so much to say about love.
Ellie Ball is the founder of Good Characters, and someone who enjoys coffee cake a great deal. She is a graduate of the Scriptwriting MA at Goldsmiths, University of London. For fun and respite, check out her TV analysis articles on Bang2Write or tweet coffee cake at her @EllieDangerous.
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Published on 5 November 2015
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