I finished Orange is the New Black’s fourth season right in time for bed on Saturday, June 18th. It had been up for roughly 34 hours at the time. I felt sad. I usually feel sad when I finish a new season of OITNB, because it’s a long, long wait on a cliffhanger ending. This was different.
I’ve been gathering my thoughts throughout the week. I’ve been reading around, too, and with a little Googling, you’ll see a lot of “darkest season ever,” and “deeply upsetting,” in the headlines. Well, I agree, but I’m not going to talk about that.
This show does its job really well, though– it’s a story about people. People are deeply complicated and the abundance of moral ambiguity in this show makes it all too real. OITNB’s fourth season left me crying on my couch. To me, this is art. It made me experience so much emotion, and thus, it succeeded.
Various thoughts under the cut, none so heavy as the paragraphs above, but full of SPOILERS:
I’m going to go character by character. I seem to like to do that.
Alex: I wasn’t really interested in her this season… sorry.
Blanca: Still a little crazy, but so appreciated her protests. I felt really bad for her in her flashback, but man her idea of revenge was so funny!
Boo: She punished Penn a more than she intended, but she was a good friend in the end.
Burset: I was SO nervous about Sophia all season long… so was the Sister, poor thing. I’m just glad she’s alive. The injustice served to her was infuriating, and amends have not been made… and I doubt they will. I’d like to see her get her salon up and running again.
Caputo: I was really disappointed in Caputo in the end. I saw, throughout, that he was trying to be a good guy– he half-heartedly tried with Burset, he definitely tried to put an education program in place… but in his defense of the CO, he failed to be an advocate for the lives he is charged with.
Daya: HOW STUPID IS SHE picking up that gun at the end?!
Jessica: Loved her backstory! I haven’t stopped saying What if his name is Mark? since watching that episode. I’m so surprised it’s taken me this long to take a liking to her… not that’s she’s super likeable anyway, but her little clique with Marisol is kind of cute, and she’s very pretty! I felt so bad for her with the whole mouse thing… that’s such a violation, I can’t even. Some of these COs are truly sick.
Judy: Kind of a mixed bag– a little weird, and fun to have around for the season. I’m like not upset that’s she’s getting released and won’t be around anymore, though.
Lolly: Another inmate I felt truly bad for, as the flashbacks showed her mental health deteriorating. This is truly scary stuff.
Morello: I over-identify with Morello to a fault. I’m not a compulsive liar, but I do tend to make little situations into big ones… I get anxious; I self-sabotage. I think she and Vinny will pull through, though.
Nicky: I screamed when I saw her, I was just so excited to have her back. And yes, she did manage to screw up immediately, but I’m glad to have her back. I’m loving her little friendship with Pennsatucky too.
Pennsatucky: I was very scared of her desire to give Coates a second chance. I think she found out quickly it was not a good idea. Still, she’s grown a lot personally and forgiveness is good for the soul.
Piper: This show really isn’t about her anymore at all. She did scare me a lot this season, like give up your stupid business! Do you want to die?
Poussey: I’m at an absolute loss about this one. I didn’t see it coming. I cried a lot. I loved Poussey; she was really one of the least “criminal” inmates at Litchfield. She was trying to help others, and lost her life for it… and no one is getting blamed for this “accident.” It’s not fair. I hate that we won’t have her around any more. I can only hope Samira Wiley has one heck of a career because she did such a great job with Poussey.
Red: “My power is no illusion.” Still my favorite character, still a great source of comedic relief in a very heavy season, still a badass. I loved seeing her pull her family back together.
Soso: I loved the coupling of Soso & Poussey this season. They were so sweet together. It was a great source of joy for me to see them together throughout. I hated seeing her so sad and also isolated after Poussey’s death. Norma sang to her; that was sweet.
Taystee: So great as Caputo’s secretary! Always a great character, though.
Warren: This was a very sad flashback of, I’m assuming, why she’s in prison. I feel really bad for her. What happened is awful, and it’s clear she just didn’t have the capacity to see what she did was wrong (before he fell).
Yoga Jones: Pretty funny as Judy’s roommate, and I just like her presence.