If you’re a fan of Orange is the New Black, you probably already know Season 6 was released last week. So as a dedicated blogger, what did I do? I, of course, binged my way through the entire season this past weekend so I could bring you my review! Warning- this contains spoilers!
Heading into Season 6 we are introduced to some new characters (inmates and guards), as well as the return of all of our favorites. If you haven’t watched seasons one through five, you need to get started. Every season is an extension of the previous season, so you may get lost with the carousel of characters coming and going if you watch it out of order.
The Season Opening
The season opens with probably everyone’s favorite character, Crazy Eyes, an inmate who’s real name is Suzanne Warren. She is off her medication, and now hallucinates. We see her watching an imaginary TV, flipping imaginary channels.
This is the clever way the producers show us flashbacks, and some major foreshadowing of what’s to come. Crazy Eyes sees scenes with her friends, fellow inmates Dya, Red, Piper, and Nicky to name a few. It’s also here we are shown two celebrity cameos: Alex Trebec (Jeopardy) and DJ Willie Casper Jr. as himself.
Casper is an inmate orderly and ends up doing a funny dance sequence with inmates. The famous Casper Slide 2. If you don’t know what that is- You Tube it. Then watch the first episode. It’s pretty funny.
After this comical opening, the viewers are taken back to reality. We see all of the inmates in their new digs- Litchfield Maximum Security Prison (aka Max). They are no longer in the “camp” up the hill, they all earned this new home as a result of the prison riots at the end of Season 5.
Getting into the Episode
The relationship between the inmates and the guards is no better than it was, and actually it’s gotten worse. This amped up tension is the result of two prison guards being killed in the prison riot up the hill, at their previous prison (aka Camp), in the end of Season 5.
The guards play Fantasy Inmate. Complete with a live mock draft, they each pick inmates and bet on their outcomes.
They have designated points for any inmate violations. These include: shots received (these are written prison violations), fights, gang activity, suicide attempts, escape attempts- you get the picture.
Watching this play out through the entire season you can see they don’t have inmates’ safety and best interest. We do watch some of the guards struggle with the morals of this, though.
The season opener continues to the inmates’ phone time. We zoom in and listen on various conversations to find out where everyone is picking up their lives inside the new maximum security joint and their relationships outside with their loved ones.
The main plots of Season 6
There are two main plots that weave through all of the episodes for this season. The first is the murder trial for Taystee (Tasha) Jefferson, and her role in the death of a prison guard, Piscatella.
We know she is innocent.
The other plot is the all-out war brewing between two prison gangs. Cell block C is led by new characters, Barb and her sidekick Badison. The rival gang in cell block D is led by Barb’s sister, Carol, and her sidekick Daddy. Watch these new 4 main characters closely. They keep it interesting.
Plenty of Sub-plots too
There are also several smaller stories in concert with the main two. We see Tiffany Doggett (an inmate escapee from the riots) try to adjust to life on the outside with her boyfriend, a former prison guard.
We also watch Aleida (Dya’s mom) trying to move on as well, but she isn’t able to stop her criminal ways. This is while she watched her daughter, Dya, mask the pain of her new life sentence with a growing addiction to heroin.
In addition, we see the social status of some of the inmates change. Maria Ruiz, Red, and Tastee each take turns in Ad Seg (Administrative Segregation), which is not as bad as the SHU (Special Housing Unit), but they’re still isolated.
They are no longer in charge as they were in all of the previous seasons of Orange is the New Black.
Things start to pick up
Watching all of this play out slowly, I didn’t really feel like the season started to gain momentum until about episode 8. This is where you can really see the tension mount between the two cell blocks, and Piper starts referencing her future release and getting out.
We are left wondering constantly will she or won’t she? Amanda Fuller does such a great job of playing Badison, you’re beginning to wonder if she will ruin it and steal Piper’s release date. This is what they call it when an inmate causes trouble where another inmate doesn’t get released on time. See all this great prison lingo I’ve learned!
There is also the looming threat of what will become of Frieda, who is living in B Block.
This cellblock is called Florida. This is where most of the older and less threatening inmates are housed. I guess you could call it the retirement community inside the prison.
Their uniforms are pink, and they received a lot more perks such as better food and snacks, arts and crafts, along with a lot of TV time.
They are considered neutral amongst all of the other cell blocks. But Frieda has betrayed many during her multiple decade prison tenure, so there are many from the other Blocks who are trying to get to her and end her.
Setting up for the Next Season of Orange is the New Black
The last couple of episodes at the end of the season answer most of our questions. We find out the outcome of the trial. See if Piper does or doesn’t get released. And see current national headlines inserted, and becoming part of the plot. For Example, Black Lives Matter.
We also see a huge set up for Season 7, which we don’t know yet if it will be the last season or not. But watch Season 6 to find out how its all set up. You won’t be disappointed.