Starring: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Blair Brown, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley, Adrienne C Moore, Taryn Manning, Kimiko Glenn, Nick Sandow, Michael Harney, Brad William Henke, Lori Petty, Jessica Pimentel, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Laura Gomez, Natasha Lyonne, Lea DeLaria, Constance Shulman, Amanda Stephen, Jolene Purdy, Laverne Cox, Dascha Polanco, Yael Stone, James McMenamin, Alan Aisenberg, Selenis Leyva, Kelly Karbacz, Diane Guerrero, Jackie Cruz, Matt Peters, Vicky Jeudy, Emma Myles, Annie Golden, Beth Fowler, Abigail Savage, Julie Lake, Lin Tucci
The mostly spoiler free section:
There are a lot of haters out there in the world, but I thought this was another strong season for Orange Is The New Black, particularly in the last few episodes. First of all, the introduction of the new characters worked well. Judy King (Brown) got a ton of screentime, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that turned into an Emmy nomination for her. So much growth for her character.
But really, it’s the regulars who got to shine. Taystee (Brooks) has some amazing moments in the last two episodes, and the rest of her crew get to shine dramatically as well. Laura Prepon finally gets good work this season, and is less of a prop. Even Caputo gets some good moments. Honestly, very few characters were marginalized this season, and most of them had moments in prior seasons. Boo (DeLaria) doesn’t offer much, neither does Daya (Polanco).
We get some backstory on Lolly, Healey, Suzanne, Poussey, Maritza, Ruiz, Blanca, Soso, and Bayley. I always feel like I understand these characters more when we see them in their lives outside of Litchfield. I also liked how this whole season was a commentary on corporate jails, and how they just see inmates as paychecks. No character represents this more than the introduction of Piscatella (Henke), who seems like a good idea at first, but slowly transforms into a nightmare.
I liked this season, and I’m excited for Season 5. I just hate that I have to wait another year.
Now, below is NOT spoiler free.
It had to be Poussey. I know fans are angry, and maybe you’re angry, but for all the reasons it had to be Poussey, are the same reasons why Negan has to kill Glenn. Everyone loved Poussey. She was the nicest, kindest, sweetest character on the show. She was never violent, she never raged out, and she always tried to protect her friends. Ultimately, that’s how she died. If it had been another character, you’d still be upset, but the pain of losing someone so perfectly nice wouldn’t be there. The only other character that maybe could have been there would be Taystee, and she’s a more major character to kill off. Poussey worked, and I understand why it had to be her, even though I’ll miss Samira Wiley dearly. Such an amazing actress. I hope her next project embraces how good she is.
Storylines that didn’t work for me: Caputo would have dropped that bitch a lot sooner. Him finding her hot because she pulled a gun just felt like they were trying to keep her character around longer. We’re supposed to respect him at least somewhat, but he just makes terrible choices. I think if we had built him up more, it would have hit even harder when he called Bailey the “victim”. It would have felt more like a 180 than just a little harsh turn. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the Alex/Piper reunion, at least as early as it happened. I feel like both characters had some serious shit to deal with, and rushing back into the relationship was too soon.
I’m so excited for Season 5 based on how Season 4 left. At least Daya will finally have a story arc again.
FINAL GRADE: B+