Orange is the New Black- Season 7


For the past 6 seasons, we’ve watched the inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary serve their sentences for crimes committed, and commit a whole range of new crimes while there.  We’ve also watched some of them go from cold criminals to having the most humane moments you could ever witness. Season 7 is pretty much a continuation of this, brought to a less than tidy conclusion.

Did you see my review of Season 6?

From Connecticut girl to hardened Criminal

If you’ve been watching OITNB, you know who Piper is. And you know why I have to start with her.

Piper started as a preppy, spoiled, and naïve girl from Connecticut who got caught helping smuggle drugs for her lesbian girlfriend. By halfway through the first season, she was a hardened criminal.

By the end of Season six, Piper got released from prison. Season 7 deals with her figuring out how to adjust to life on the outside.

She is staying with her brother Cal, his wife Neri and their young baby, in their small apartment. This is a less than ideal situation that Piper deals with throughout the Season.

We also get to watch her explore her options of trying to hang on to her relationship with Alex and or explore a new potential relationship. Meanwhile, Alex doesn’t seem to be the same being stuck in Litchfield without her other half. Very early into the season she is coerced into selling heroin for one of the prisoner guards. After this, she gets caught in a downward spiral with no end in sight.

Cementing their legacy

You can’t talk about OITNB without discussing Taystee and Daya. These two characters entered Litchfied expecting to one day get out.  By the end of Season 6, we knew they weren’t.  In Season 7, they diverge into two completely different paths.

During this season, Taystee goes through several stages of how she is going to deal with it, including an almost life-threatening decision. But in the end, she becomes one of the most important characters on the show because of what she decides her legacy is going to be.

Daya’s path, on the other hand, is one that bothered me a lot. In earlier seasons, we watched her adjust to life on the inside while her mother was in prison with her, and after her mother is released. In Season 7, her mother returns.

By the time we see them together again, you can really see how much Daya’s personality has hardened. She becomes the leader, and a distributor of drugs, in a way we would never have imagined. She now rules out of fear and intimidation. This is not how most people would have thought her character would finish.

ICE is brought into the picture

Season 7 starts with newly released inmate Maritza living it up with life on the outside. She is partying a lot, and also hanging out with an NBA player, pretty much living the high life.

Towards the middle of the Season, she is present at a nightclub as it gets raided.  She doesn’t have identification, is assumed to be an illegal immigrant, and gets thrown into the ICE Holding Center at Litchfield.

Familiar faces Blanca and Zaza are also being held here.

Throughout the rest of the season, we watch how the detainees are treated there. We see how they struggle for legal representation and trying to make their cases in court to not get deported.  These scenes were hard to watch, and it’s clear OITNB was trying to give a message.

A new Warden

Early in Season 7, Fig is reassigned. The new warden, Hopper, is a green, doe-eyed guard who quickly moves up the corporate ladder of the company that owns Litchfield- PolyCon. She brings fresh ideas and classes to try to treat the inmates as more human and less like prisoners. While it’s a unique approach, you see it unfold as what could go right, but more often than not, what goes wrong.

Fig’s still around

Fig doesn’t disappear from the series after her reassignment, and we get see her back in a relationship with Joe Caputo.

These were two of the more notorious characters from the beginning of the series. Seeing them together now, and trying to have a kid, shows us how far each of the characters have come through the series.

Crazy Eyes

One of my favorite characters on the show has always been Suzanne aka Crazy Eyes.  This season, she gets some much more deserved screen time.

In the past, she’s always provided the comic relief for us. But in this season, you see her really come to grip with who she is. She is much more observant and on to everything and everyone around her than anyone has realized.

Suzanne continues to light up the screen anytime she’s on it, but you start to see there’s more to it than that. She really starts to explore why is everyone there and whether they deserve the sentences they’ve received. It’s one of the bigger character surprises of the series.

So many plot lines

There are so many plot lines crammed into the series it’s always been a little confusing trying to keep it all straight. But in the 7th episode, it seems like they’re trying to throw too much in.

For example, towards the end of the season, the #metoo movement gets brought in. While it’s a current topic, and an important one, it doesn’t quite fit with how they use Joe Caputo for it.

You see him turning his life around and building a new positive one with Fig, and then actions from his past come out to haunt him. How can you be rooting for him when he’s accused of something that’s so bad?  It really just didn’t fit

Netflix hit a home run with OITNB

It’s hard to believe, but back in 2015, when OITNB came out, this was only the 3rd original series put out by Netflix.

House of Cards, which came out in 2013, was the first series Netflix ever produced. It was also the one that put them on the map for original content. It ran for six seasons, before, well, we all know what happened to Kevin Spacey.

Hemlock Grove was Netflix’s second, and also came out in 2013. But it only ran for three seasons before getting cancelled.

OITNB has run for seven seasons. You can’t discuss the final season without bringing up this fact.  Netflix hit a homerun with this one, and even though it’s over, it’s sure to pay dividends for them for years to come.

Good, but not great

So, what are my final thoughts of how they sent the series off into the sunset?

There was a lot of weight in what they needed to wrap up. And there were a lot of characters to address, with a lot of storylines to tell.

With all of the things that needed resolved, l guess I was content with the ending. They did their best to tidy everything up, almost into a nice bow. But it felt a little rushed.

In the end, it just wasn’t quite there for me.

Have you watched the last season? What did you think?

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