Spoiler warning: For those who haven’t finished season 5 of OITNB, plot details will be revealed ahead.
If you’re reading this, you’ve survived your sentence in binge-watching jail. Don’t lie, we all spent the weekend locked up with the Litchfield inmates, speeding through the new season of Orange Is the New Black, which dropped Friday on Netflix. This season was all about role reversals, ethical dilemmas and grief.
Grab some Flaming Hot Cheetos and Takis and let’s discuss the most shocking series developments.
Daya Takes Responsibility
Episode 1 picks up right where last season left off with Daya (Dascha Polanco) aiming a loaded gun at sadistic CO Humphrey (Michael Torpey)‚ while being egged on by a mob of angry inmates. It was a cliffhanger that left us all dying for answers for a whole year, and the immediate resolution is that she did pull the trigger, but it wasn’t fatal — at least not right away. It takes a few episodes for the guard to succumb to the bullet wound, forcing Daya to turn herself in to keep the riot negotiations afloat. This decision was a big step for a character who has blamed much of her circumstances on others.
Much of this season’s events are overcast with the loss of fan favorite Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) — RIP, we’re still mourning — whose death was the result of an accident when an under-trained guard restrained her by kneeling on her back, ultimately collapsing her lungs. CO Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) tries all season to own up to the wrongful killing, but no one seemed interested in arresting him or accepting his confession. Finally, Bayley shows up on the doorstep of Poussey’s father and apologizes. The grieving parent denies him, telling Bayley his punishment will be living with what he did for the rest of his life.
Death to Piscatella
Season 5 is one of OITNB’s darkest to date, posing many moral questions about torture. Between the Litchfield inmates humiliating the guards who used to harass them, and Red (Kate Mulgrew) getting the upper hand on pesky Piscatella (Brad William Henke), many characters had their ethics put to the test. By the end, when Taystee had the chance to kill Piscatella, she broke down in tears knowing that no amount of revenge would bring back her best friend. Unfortunately — or fortunately depending on which fans you consult — Piscatella still met his end after the women freed him. His ironic death by an under-trained SWAT member who fired at him harkened back to Poussey’s death. For someone as diabolical as Piscatella (he tore Red’s hair from her scalp and broke Alex’s arm, among other atrocities), there probably won’t be as many people memorializing this character.
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It wasn’t all doom and gloom this season. It is a comedy after all, isn’t it? Much to everyone’s surprise, Morello (Yael Stone) turned out to not be crazy with her pregnancy claims. With a drawer full of positive pregnancy tests to prove it, friend-with-benefits Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) comforted Morello as she panicked over being behind bars during her future child’s biggest milestones.
For a show that used to be all about Piper (Taylor Schilling) and her fish-out-of-water prison turbulence, this season pushes her even more to the sidelines. She did have one bright spot this season: When a near death experience made her love for Alex (Laura Prepon) clear, she got down on one knee and proposed — of course, Alex said yes! Short of an engagement ring, Piper instead made the gesture with a can of beans (meant to signify her parents’ story involving a can of corn). Who knew canned vegetables could be so romantic?
The finale left everyone in a state of uncertainty. Red, Taystee and their crew are in the secret pool room, awaiting the storming of the SWAT team. The rest of the women are being bussed away to other prisons, getting split up in the process. Let’s hope you had your water-proof mascara on when inseparable besties Flaca and Maritza (Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero) were tearfully forced into different busses. The two became scene-stealers this season, discovering their affinity for YouTube style vlogging. Will they and the other inmates reunite, or will they be held in different prisons for good? We’ll have to wait another year for answers on this one.
Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black is now streaming on Netflix.