I have SO many thoughts about Orange is the New Black, and I’m still processing. After every season, as I’m crying and cursing the fact that I have to wait another year to see what’s next, I’m asked why I like this show.
There are is absolute good in Orange is the New Black. This is a given, by virtue of the fact that the protagonists are inmates in a prison. What Orange is the New Black has always done well is making it a story about humans– these are people. Just because people have made some bad choices does not make them bad people.
The conditions they are subjected to as inmates are frequently inhuman. The circumstances some of them face are insurmountable. Certainly, no one deserves what we see practiced at Litchfield. No one deserves Poussey Washington’s fate.
This season is a departure from OITNB’s usual format. It all takes place over the course of three days during the prison riot. This effectively traps us in the prison with them. At points, it’s more difficult to watch than ever since the tables are turned and the guards are now hostages. They’re subjected to some major embarrassment. It’s a fine line between a slight sense of satisfying revenge and cringe-worthy be better than them thoughts. It’s a particularly intense season. Things often feel drawn out, as we don’t get the respite of time passing.