Run Time: 54-84 min
Season 6 of Orange is the New Black (OITNB) opens up with our favorite inmate from Lynchfield Corrections, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” (Uzo Aduba), having several hallucinations starring fellow inmates: Piper “Chapman” (Taylor Schilling), Red (Kate Mulgrew), Tasha “Taystee” (Danille Brooks), Dayanara (Dascha Polanco), Black Cindy (Adrienne Moore), and Freida (Dale Soules) as stars on her own Suzanne TV Network. While these hallucinations are good for an initial laugh, you soon realize that our girls are in maximum security and are all being held in cells alone away from general population (“gen pop”). In addition to being isolated some of the girls are being subjected to violence from the corrections officers (C.O) due to their role in the riot that shut down Lynchfield. Eventually the ladies are released to gen pop and that’s when the real fun begins. With the death of two C.O.s and freedom being in jeopardy it is clear that the ladies of Lynchfield are going to be in for a rough stay at Max. But did this season keep us invested in our favorite characters or did it “jump the shark” and create a new environment that we don’t care about with characters that deserve to walk the green mile?
This season of OITNB is one of the best ones yet. We are reintroduced to our favorite characters but not how we left them. They are broken down, desperate, and some of them even make choices that reminds you that at the end of the day these ladies are criminals and are in prison for a reason. This character development is awesome because it really spoke to the dilemma that one may face if they are placed in an unfamiliar environment and have to decide to either adapt or be an outcast. I was much more invested in this season and there were even some characters that were not as well-known in the past that now hold a special place in my heart. The writing in this season was very good and seemed like maybe a change of location was definitely needed to get the creative juices flowing again.
The new villains this season are wonderfully evil, yet another thing that OITNB has always done well for me. The new C.O.s are much worse than the ones at Lynchfield because they don’t see the inmates as humans and one of the decent C.O.s even points out how the prison system is similar to slavery, but these new C.O.s don’t care. We also have former Lynchfield C.O.s now working at Max and due to their experiences during the riots they are much darker than when we saw them last season. Which again goes right back to awesome writing and character development. Our primary villains Carol Denning (Henny Russell) and Barbara Denning (Mackenzie Phillips) are warring sisters that have become gang leaders at Max; these sisters are the textbook definition of sadistic psychopaths. And I will not give any spoilers (we never do over here) but when you find out what landed these sisters in prison you will understand how far they will go to get their way and be in control. And last but not least we have to have a “Piper tormentor” and this season we have the displeasure of meeting Badison (Amanda Fuller), who is by far the worst foe Piper has ever faced. Badison simply does not like Piper because of what Piper represents for her and will do anything to make Piper’s life hell. All these newly added villains add a new level of tension that we haven’t seen since the Season 4 cliffhanger and desperately needed it.
While I just gave praise to the writers for their choices with characters this season, there is one that I feel like they missed the mark on…Piper. Now admittedly Piper is my least favorite character but she has had some bad ass moments throughout the seasons (i.e her kicking Pennsatucky’s ass) but overall she’s annoying. Well the annoyance level was kicked up a notch this season because Piper made some very dumb choices throughout the season and showed a weakness that reminded me of Season 1 Piper (pre-Pennsatucky ass whooping). Time served and a riot under her belt yet Piper still acts timid and clueless. She shows some signs of strength with Badison in one scene but then cowers from her in the next. I’m sure this decision to make Piper almost clueless all over again was intentional to show how much Piper is out of place; I still hated to see her show so much weakness this season.
The other thing that really grinds my gears was the lazy way the absence of regular cast members was handled. While I realize that contracts end and we know they (OITNB writers) will Judy Winslow a character like nobody’s business (i.e C.O Bennett aka Daya’s baby daddy) but a scene with each of the other inmates at their new facility would have been nice. Some of these characters were pretty popular and I was genuinely curious about what ended up happening to them. True fans of this show are invested and we need to know that our other boos are ok! ijs…
I think it’s obvious that I recommend you watch Season 6 of Orange is the New Black. Although I am a fan of the series I really felt like they were grasping at straws with the storylines and I was beginning to lose interest. This season was well thought out, emotional, and the cliffhanger at the end really set the tone for the final seasons ahead. While I don’t recommend you binge watch the entire season in one day like I did (what an idiot!) unless you start at 10am; I do suggest you get your favorite snacks and check this one out!