A refresher on ‘Orange is the New Black’ before season 7
After what feels like forever, Netflix’s landmark “drama that Netflix called a comedy to make it easier to win awards”, Orange is the New Black, concluded its seven-season run on July 26th. We won’t lie: the show definitely overstayed its welcome, but the legacy left behind is worth honoring.
Orange is the New Black is part of the reason Netflix is leading the streaming game and getting ready to take over the world, originally working with House Of Cards to establish the media powerhouse. Today’s streaming wars wouldn’t exist without Netflix legitimizing itself with highly acclaimed drama shows like OITNB. Netflix paved so many roads, even changing the Television Academy’s rules so they could compete for Emmys.
Plus, Orange is the New Black worked to give prisoners a voice and show the horrible conditions going on in womens’ correctional facilities. By showing the female prisoners in a more personal light, it helped open discussion of prisoners’ rights. Orange is the New Black also showcases the consequences from lack of resources affecting overpopulated and underfunded prisons.
Netflix gave a platform to women of color and the LGBTQ+ community by pushing these actresses in front of a mainstream audience. Laverne Cox made history for the transgender community specifically by starring in this show. Even if Orange is the New Black has gone downhill since the fourth season, it will be remembered for the good brought forward in Hollywood and the truth brought into living rooms.
To celebrate the end of these women and their lives in prison, here’s a quick recap on where our favorite inmates stand after Orange is the New Black season six. After the riot, most of our girls were on their way to Litchfield Max, waiting the horrors of maximum security.
With so many characters, we’re only focusing on where the original Litchfield inmates are, because – let’s be real – those are the only characters we still care about (apart from Piper . . . everyone hates Piper).
Piper (Taylor Schilling)
Does anyone actually care about Piper at this point? At least in the first few seasons she was starting to grow and adapt to prison life. But by season four, she only cared about Alex and sounded so whiny when she couldn’t be with her.
Guess what Piper spent season six doing? Looking for Alex and staying with Alex. Piper ends up befriending the right guard who gets her out on early release, but not before Alex and Piper have a prison wedding. Season seven picks up with Piper trying to readjust to life on the outside.
Alex (Laura Prepon)
Alex is the much better half of Piper and Alex, because she at least gets involved in more than just Piper’s nonsense. She knows how to make it in prison, and watching her get involved in the gangs is entertaining.
In fact, we see Alex at the end of season six getting sucked into Carol’s gang to help protect Alex from Badison. Of course, Carol’s dead now – so Alex is probably not part of her gang. We also know Alex and Piper got married before she left, so we’re excited to see how she works without Piper by her side and if she can stay committed.
Blanca (Laura Gomez)
The poor girl just wanted to get pregnant before her eggs dried up. Desperate to become pregnant, Blanca gets her boyfriend on the outside to leave a used condom in the visitors’ bathroom, and has Daya grab it for her in a sad attempt at artificial insemination – but Blanca gets beaten up by D-cell inmates.
After all this, Blanca ends up getting tricked into thinking she was being released early, but is taken to a different location than Piper as they were let out at the same time. Now, Blanca is being sent to an ICE facility for illegal immigration.
Sophia (Laverne Cox)
Since Sophia wasn’t as involved in the riots in season five, she isn’t getting more time on her sentence. Caputo & Linda from MCC both offer Sophia an out to get early release, though Caputo wants her to sue MCC and Linda pays her to keep quiet. Sophia ends up taking Linda’s offer and gets released, walking off into the sunset with wife Crystal.
Daya (Dascha Polanco)
Season five was a big season for Daya, as she was the one with the gun and taking the reins at Litchfield during the riot. Of course, she’s got a lot to answer for because of it, and season six starts off with Daya in maximum security for the riots and getting beaten up by the guards as Daya had shot corrections officer Humphery (which led to his death).
Later on, Daya ends up hooking up with Daddy because Daya is in intense pain from the guard beatings and needs drugs. Daya gets her supply from Daddy and is desperate to do anything for the drugs, even helping Blanca get a condom out of the visitor’s bathroom in trade for some more.
But by the end of the season, Daya is comfortable in her place as Daddy’s girlfriend and is willing to do anything, becoming manipulative and embracing thug life, just like the editorial team at Film Daily.
Suzanne (Uzo Aduba)
Crazy Eyes is having a not-so-fun time at the beginning of season six. She lost her girlfriend Maureen, the prison isn’t giving her any more antipsychotic drugs, and she’s separated from everyone else in Litchfield because they stuck her in administrative segregation to be questioned about the riots.
Once Suzanne gets moved to B-Block, life at Litchfield Max gets easier. Suzanne even eventually becomes friends with her initially disagreeable bunkmate Frieda. Suzanne also gets reunited with Cindy & Taystee, and makes peace with life in the new prison. For once, Suzanne’s in a good place.
Nicky (Natasha Lyonne)
We’re really hoping Nicky doesn’t get a spinoff, because despite her being our fave OITNB character, we need Lyonne to focus on making more seasons of her masterpiece, Russian Doll. Just saying.
However, Nicky’s not dead yet, though she did betray Red . . . so who knows at this point. When given the chance to turn in Red to have the drug charges from the riot wiped, Nicky takes it, but Red tells her it’s okay.
Moving into general population, Nicky ends up in C-Block and tries to help Blanca get pregnant, but gets beat up by D-Block. While in the hospital ward, Nicky bonds with Barbara over her drug addiction and the two clan up. Nicky is also there to officiate Alex and Piper’s prison wedding.
Afterwards, Nicky goes outside to deal with the gang war, but since neither Barbara nor Carl show up, Nicky joins the kickball game that takes place instead.
Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez)
Aleida is struggling in the outside world and ends up being sucked into a pyramid scheme like she’s some girl you graduated high school with shilling knockoff Herbalife. Of course, Aleida is desperate to get her kids back and goes back into the drug-dealing ways that got her stuck in Litchfield in the first place.
Aleida continues to visit Daya in prison, trying to help her daughter. Through her prison visits, she begins a relationship with Hopper, the captain of Litchfield Max. Hopper gets recruited into Aleida’s dealing business and turns a blind eye, even offering to bring drugs into Litchfield Max to help business. This backfires when it turns out Daya develops a drug problem under Daddy while in prison, and Aleida feels responsible.
Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning)
One of the few inmates actually to escape and avoid maximum security, Pennsatucky is on the run with correctional officer Coates at the beginning of the season. However, Pennsatucky finally realizes the piece of crap Coates is and turns herself in to go back to Litchfield. She gets moved into B-Block to avoid Big Boo.
Spending time in B-Block, Pennsatucky becomes close with Suzanne and is the one to try to convince her Frieda is using her. Pennsatucky also signs up for the kickball league and even speaks up about why Piper should be captain. After Frieda reveals her true nature to Suzanne, Pennsatucky stands up for Suzanne and comforts her, and the two play in the big kickball game.
Cindy (Adrienne Moore)
Tastee’s right-hand woman during the riot, Cindy is one of the few inmates who witness the MCC setting up Piscatella’s shooting as a murder by the inmates. Cindy tries to cover herself, but ends up incriminating herself and revealing the truth about Taystee and the gun in order to get immunity.
Though at first Cindy adapts well to the new prison, when Taystee reveals she’s going to trial, Cindy realizes she’ll have to present a testimony in court in front of Taystee.
This weight is on Cindy’s shoulders for the rest of the season, wracking her with guilt. Cindy is so hurt that she develops chronic back pain that prevents her from doing a radio show with Flaca. Cindy reveals her guilt to Flaca, who calls Cindy selfish and tells her to confess. Cindy eventually does on the bus to the courtroom, which causes Taystee to not speak with her.
However, by the end, Cindy makes peace and participates in the kickball game, even reaching back out to Suzanne. Cindy commentates on the game with Flaca, rejoining the Flava show she started with her.
Taystee (Danielle Brooks)
The unofficial leader of the Litchfield riot, Taystee is in some major hot water. She spends most of season six on trial. When Taystee finds out she’s being used as the scapegoat for both the riot and the murder of Piscatella, she calls up Caputo to see if he can do anything.
While on trial, Taystee pleads guilty for the riots, but not guilty for the murder, which brings a lot of attention to the case. The ACLU gets in contact with Taystee’s legal team, the Black Lives Matter movement cheers her on, and crazy amounts of mail get sent Taystee’s way. In the end, Taystee is declared guilty on both charges and taken back to Litchfield in handcuffs. So much for PR.
Red (Kate Mulgrew)
After Piscatella is killed in the previous season, MCC gets Nicky to help frame Red for his death. Though angry at first, Red eventually forgives Nicky. Piper of course misinterprets her message and thinks Alex is dead, causing her to help give up Red during investigations.
Red found her way back on top when she got transferred to C-Block and joined Carol’s gang, bonding over their hatred of Frieda. Nicky ganged up with Barbara, so the two are at odds with each other, but Nicky still tries to protect Red during the planning of the gang war. However, Red still gets caught in the middle of all the drama in C-Block and ends up in solitary by the end of season six.
Gloria (Selenis Leyva)
Pissed at Maria and the whole riot, Gloria rats out Maria to the special officers investigating the riot and constantly tries to attack her. Gloria is power-hungry, clinging onto Blanca to help her regain power. Gloria helps Luschek with his dance classes to make them more interesting for the other inmates, but Badison doesn’t like that and sends her goons to threaten Gloria.
Gloria tries to help Blanca come back into general population but when that backfires, she blames Gloria. Maria also tries to offer an olive branch to Gloria with an apology, but Gloria refuses and stays angry. She uses that anger to confront Luschek, but finds out the truth about something with the correctional officers, and so one of the guards throws her in solitary before she can reveal the truth.
Frieda (Dale Soules)
Frieda has returned home when she and the other Litchfield inmates are sent to maximum security. It’s revealed she has a history with Carol, and got sent to minimum security because she tattled on Carol. Knowing Carol would be out for revenge, Frieda purposely fakes a suicide attempt and rats out her fellow prisoners including Red and Taystee to get sent to B-Block.
Out of fear, Frieda stays away from everyone in the other blocks and clings onto Suzanne, scaring her into thinking if she interacts with the other blocks they’ll kill her. Frieda ends up being caught by Suzanne and apologizes. Frieda ends up on both Taystee and Red’s radar as well for ratting them out. Thankfully, the gang war didn’t happen so Frieda went outside and ate her pudding in peace.
Maria (Jessica Pimentel)
Maria gets an extra 10 years added to her sentence right off the bat for admitting she helped plan the riot. However, no one’s forgiven Maria for letting the hostages free during the riot, so they bully and harass her, even trying to drown her in a toilet. The guards find Maria and transfer her to Psych, thinking it was a suicide attempt.
After some time in Psych, Maria learns to stop holding grudges and becomes more spiritual. She even makes peace with Piper and joins the kickball league. Though there is a moment during which a confrontation with Gloria causes her to become resentful again, Maria levels out and even encourages the coach to mix the teams up in the final kickball game.
Flaca (Jackie Cruz)
Flaca is on the loose, ready to make a name for herself in maximum security. She’s interested in taking over the radio show, and after Flaca & Cindy make the whole line crack up at Medical, the two get picked to host the new show. However, Cindy’s back injuries piss Flaca off as they begin to affect the radio show.
When Flaca reads a letter Cindy secretly wrote about giving Taystee up, the two get into an altercation. Eventually Flaca tells Cindy to let go of her stress and tell the truth, and the two continue the radio show. In Cindy’s absence, Flaca invites Gloria to co-host.
Lorna (Yael Stone)
Moving to maximum security, Lorna is in D-Block and quickly bonds with Red and Nicky again, making their safety her priority. Lorna’s also very pregnant, the butt of numerous jokes. Since Lorna’s on custodial staff, she ends up being in the neutral zone of the gang war and tries to keep those she cares about safe.
By the end of the season, Lorna has become so scared by the fight that even the thought of it drives her crazy. While hiding from Annalise in a closet with Nicky, Nicky steps out to confront Annalise and leaves Lorna by herself. The stress drives Lorna into an early labor and we last see her heading towards Medical with CO Blake and blood on her pants.