It’s just a few days after Netflix realized season 6 of Orange is the New Black and of course I have binged it all. Several times. I love this show and I’ve been with it from the very beginning. I love these ladies and their stories, I cry with them, laugh with them, root for them, etc. I love that this show is something unlike anything else out there right now. Season 5 of OITNB left me with a lot of questions and fear for what would happen next. In my opinion, season 5 was a knock out of a season and I was afraid season 6 wouldn’t deliver, but oh boy, was I wrong. This is officially your warning that this review will mention spoilers. Turn back now if you haven’t watched yet. Alright, let’s go to Litchfield Max!
I want to start this review with all the things I loved about season 6 of OITNB.
1. Theme of Survival
After the prison riot of season 5, season 6 is all about consequences and surviving those consequences. Most of our leading ladies have been sent up the hill to the Litchfield Maximum Correctional facility and they are nothing but little fishes in a big pond. They not only have to survive their new living quarters, but their new roommates, new guards, and each other. Federal agents are working to turn the girls against each other for someone to take the blame for the riot and the deaths of Correctional Officers Piscatella and Humphrey. This theme is so perfect for this season. The high of the riot is gone, the freedom and liberty that came with it is gone too. It’s time to face reality, to take some kind of responsibility. This theme comes through in the more quiet and intenese interactions and scenes. There is genuine primal fear in each of these ladies. Is their roommate or another inmate going to stab them just because they look at them the wrong way? Will a guard beat them just for taking too long to do a task? Will someone they thought was their friend pin them for a crime just to save themselves? The stakes are so high for every single character. It has you watching on the edge of your seat and with your heart beating fast in your chest because you’re just hoping everyone will survive to the next epsiode. The pressure these women feel to just survive other inmates, the guards, ratting each other out, etc. living to see another day here is a miracle. I just love this theme. It’s a complete 360 from last season. If season 5 was rainbows, this season was been washed away to the roots of the colors: grey, black, and white. This theme was needed, it’s real, it’s true.
2. New Characters and Less Piper
It’s no secret, I’m kind of over Piper. I know she’s the main character, but each season she fades more and more into the background, which I’m totally okay with that. I’m glad this show has shifted from being about a privileged white girl in prison to being about a diverse cast of women in prison and the stories of their past and present. Piper even gets out of prison at the end of this season, so there’s the possibility we’ll see even less of her in future seasons. No more about Piper, let’s talk about the new characters. I adore Daddy (that’s her choosen name). She’s charming and kind of funny and she’s trying to look out for Daya. Though, I do hate that Daddy got Daya into taking Oxy and sneaking drugs into prison to deal to other inmates. There’s Badison, her name is Madison, but everyone calls her Badison. And it’s a fitting name because she is bad. She does nothing but make sucky jokes, go after Piper and Alex on multiple occasions, and I kind of hate her voice and everything else about her. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the purpose of her character, to entice others into her dumb plans or to hurt them. But I just hate her. There’s also Carol and Barbra Denning who are sisters who run separate prison blocks. Carol runs C-block and Barbra runs D-block and they hate each other and have this big rivalry going. They’re both serving a life sentence for murdering their little sister, Debbie. Their backstory scenes are so well done, that they quickly became the characters I loved to hate. Too bad they end up killing each other in the last episode. I was looking forward to seeing more of them in next season.
3. Relevant Topics
Yes, this show is full of funny moments and jokes, but make no mistake, this is a show about women and prison and with that means displaying very real, very relevant topics. For example, when Blanca gets an early release, she’s so excited to get out, see her fiancé, to start a family, but when she walks out those prison doors, ICE is waiting to take her away. She gets out of one hell hole, just to be put in another. Or when the Federal agents and even some inmates pin Taystee for the murder of Correctional Officer Piscatella, a crime she did not commit, the system works against her and she is given a life sentence for crimes she did not do. Did they take her statement about what happened? No. Did they put forth every effort to find evidence that proved her innocence? No. Why not? Because she is a woman of color already in prison, it’s easier to just frame her for the crime than put forth hundreds of hours treating this murder like a real case. These topics are so relevant because they are happening to men and women every single day. The system does not work for people of color, it never has because it is a broken system. OITNB really hits home with these topics this season. It’s absolutely hard to watch. I cried so hard when Taystee was given her guilty verdict. Because the system had failed her, had failed so many men and women and will continue to do so until something is done. I wiped tears away when Blanca was dragged on to the ICE bus. All she wanted was a new start to her life, to try again. And it was taken away from her, just because of the country she was born in and the color of her skin. Shit is real, very, very real. Not to mention the abuse inmates receive daily from guards. Everything from rape to violent beatings. This show does not shy away from any of it, because it is an everyday occurrence. They want you to see that, they want you to be uncomfortable. They want you to fight for a change because it has to change. Enough is enough. And I absolutely adore the writers of this show for putting these topics out there. We cannot change if we do not see the problem. So watch this show, see the problems, and be apart of the change.
So those are my favorite things about season 6 of OITNB. Let’s move on to a few things I didn’t like.
1. Where are our other Litchfield ladies?
This season focuses on those ladies who were sent to Litchfield maximum security, but what about the others? We’re missing Maritza, Yoga Jones, Big Boo, just to name a few. It’s mentioned a few times that a lot of other girls were sent to a facility in Ohio and we get one brief scene of Big Boo, but why can’t we see their day to day life? Are they okay? Are they scared too? I want to continue seeing their stories too. Not being able to see what these characters were doing like we were able to the last 5 seasons, left a lot to be desired. We knew at the end of season 5 that the girls were being split up, but I assumed in season 6 that they would just flash back and forth between each prison, but no. I miss the other girls. Please, please, please bring them back for season 7, I beg you! I will trade you Badison for literally every other OITNB regular.
I hate her. I truly do. Every time she came on screen, I rolled my eyes so hard I got a headache. She’s just absolutely annoying. No part of her was good to me. She sucks. Normally, when they show a characters back story, I really begin to empathize or sympathize with the character, not Badison. I do not feel sorry for her, not even a little. She seems to cause her own trouble and is the source of all her problems. She needs to do some self reflection and try to be better because I don’t know how much more of her I can take.
3. Slow Progress
Maybe it’s the fact that season 5 spanned over just 3 days and was high action and went so quickly, but I felt like there were several episodes that were just slow moving. It was taking too long to work it into a build up. It was not a slow burn that would often lead to a big pay off, it was just slow sometimes. Which can happen in any movie or tv show, I just wish that these slow moments were building to some bigger point, but they just left me kind of bored or I went to go get more snacks.
Those are a few of my thoughts about season 6 of OITNB. I could go on and on about this show for a few hours. Overall, I’d give the season 4 our of 5 shields. Like I said, I adore this show. It is so good. Watching these ladies and their stories will have you laughing, crying, and hoping for a happy ending for all of them. If you haven’t watched this show, you should! There are 6 whole seasons, binge away! I will warn you, if you have triggers related to violence, rape, sexual assault, or suicide, this show may not be for you.
Have you watched season 6? What did you think? Tell me about your likes and dislikes!