Next up in the overdue TV Binge recaps is the newest season of Orange is the New Black. I saw this some time before Fantasia Festival so it got backed up but here we are.
As usual, if you plan on watching Season 5 and haven’t yet or haven’t caught up with Orange is the New Black, this is a spoiler warning. The content itself will fall into some spoilers.
Orange is the New Black (Season 5, 2017)
Creator: Jenji Kohan
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Selenis Leyva, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning, Lea DeLaria, Adrienne C. Moore, Laura Prepon, Jackie Cruz, Natasha Lyonne
Orange Is The New Black has come a long way from what it was. Last season took away Poussey and had the Black Lives Matter theme while giving a riot the grounds to start with the new guards coming in place and showing their true colors. Whether it was from inexperience or from their brutality, they all contributed to the rebellion and with all that has been going on, Daya ends Season 4 holding a gun to the despicable Humphrey’s head. The questions that lingered over their heads were plentiful. What direction would this take?
Season 5 has 13 episodes however the show’s time frame is the processes of a riot or prison shutdown that the prisoners enforce over three days. With the different groups in Litchfield, the prison falls apart. The main powers now go with the Latinas as Daya uses her gun to stay in control. Daya however is also controlled by Maria. However, the power shifts eventually turn to Leanne and Angie. While the powers shift, we have groups dealing with the trapped but not able to escape in time celebrity, Judy King who is now being turned around for others to bid. Taystee and her crew are trying to use this riot to make it mean something and get justice for Poussey’s death. While there are peacemakers outside that are happy to sit this one out to not increase their sentence with Alex. Unlikely friendships and alliances, unsolved or repressed issues that has surfaced and many of how to approach this riot and lockdown on Litchfield is what makes this season what it is.
My main issue with this season was the slow start. I know some of my friends enjoyed the entire season. I’ve been feeling this way about Orange is the New Black for a while now where it stumbles on finding its footing and its starting to get lost in what made it great in the first place. However, somewhere around episode 4 or 5, I remember something happening that truly changes the pace and from there on, its emotional and funny and quirky and odd. The characters find where they stand and what they want. We start seeing characters from outside the facility and the balance of those trapped inside also. This seasons’s heavy hitters had a change of pace, giving more spotlight to Taystee, played by Danielle Brooks. While she was always one of the main characters, this season gave her more emotions to deal with as well as inner conflict and finding her strength. At the same time, the girls who play meth heads or drug addicts or whatnot, Angie and Leanne also get more space as their stupidity takes the spotlight when they end up miraculously having the power and abuse it in the oddest way. Boo also has something of a stronger story arc which links to Linda, Caputo’s girlfriend who gets caught up in the mix from being at the wrong place at the wrong time. At the same time, the highlight definitely goes to Red and Blanca forming an unlikely alliance.
That is really all I have to say about the latest season of Orange is the New Black. Overall, it takes a few episodes to find its footing, then its a crazy ride to the finale. We tackle the characters trying to find peace with the death of Poussey as well as focusing on a few other relationships and how this whole situation may have brought out the best and the worst in everyone. There are some fun, funny, stupid and a lot of over the top moments. Its not my favorite season but it definitely won me over as we got to the end. The finale was pretty satisfying and it’ll be interesting to see how the next season will go with how its all turned out.