You must have all finished Jenji Kohan’s Orange is the New Black season 5 by now, and if not, what are you waiting for? Me personally, I finished it as I always do in a heartbeat, without taking any breaks or breaths for that matter. I went into it totally broken from last season, expecting pure heartbreak after Pussey’s death. I was pleasantly surprised.
Season 5 was full of laughs, I found myself laughing every episode as I was going through the episodes and no, the humor did not surprise me, OITNB has been a personal favorite since the beginning. I have always loved the writing and the balance between the funny stuff and sad stuff. I have always admired their ability to balance the funny and the sad so much that it always seemed like a type of art in fact. And this season did not disappoint!
The Guide Through Season 5 of Orange is the New Black
Season 4 left us with Daya holding a guard at gunpoint, a seemingly very serious situation, which they managed to make so satirical and just plain funny. When the poor excuse of a guard started talking Spanish to plead for his life, I almost choked when she shot him and said ‘ I do not speak Spanish.’ The humor does not stop there.
Season 5 is full of these hilariously, sometimes even bat-shit crazy situations. The whole season is happening in a few days time, for which I was initially worried, I was just thinking about all the things that could happen. However, it was fantastically made. I mean, who does not want a talent show organized by two meth-heads with guards as the participants? Who else would have through about a striptease in prison, where the prisoners are the judges and the guards the puppets? Who does not want to see a bunch of inmates snorting coffee to through their guard-watching shifts? I had to pause through the whole episode, laugh out loud and then retell it to my little sister who unfortunately does not watch this masterpiece.
On the other hand, the serious stuff was there too. They made sure no one forgot Poussay, hence, the scene where they decorated the whole prison with books in her name, that was a touching one. However, the most important one would probably have to be the last scene. Yes, there is a scene like this in the last three seasons, the one that is always my favorite and the one that represents diversity and it’s a kind of a ‘sticking it to the system one.’ Coming from the lake scene and last season’s kitchen scene, ten women stand up to the guards coming in brutally in the prison. Ten women, different of color, background, age, sexuality, even sanity, they all come together to face authority. Those scenes always have a kind of a beauty in themselves.
Yet, it was another scene that was the highlight of the whole season for me. Kind of low key, but masterfully played. Before I get into it I have to admit that Gloria (Selenis Leyva) and Suzanne aka Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) showed their acting chops most this season and I have to applaud them. Their acting was on another level. I also enjoyed watching Nikki’s and Morello’s relationship develop as a change from all the Alex and Piper drama, which I think was wise to be toned down a bit this season. However, the scene that did everything was the one where Piscatella was cutting Red’s hair off. I just really thought it was powerful, even though I hate to say this, Piscatella’s speech was the one thing that stuck in my mind:
‘This is the thing about female prisoners. Men understand violence, they respect it. They are dogs, if you beat them, they obey you. Not women. Women don’t fear pain the way men do. They have to be broken in other ways, but make no mistake, they have to be broken.’
Which kind of sums up the whole show for me, honestly. With everything happening, the show is just women trying and struggling to find their own way while at the same time being broken constantly. However, they are still fighting and they continue to do so, and this season is another proof of this. The girls escape Piscatella, and they are still fighting in spite of everything. Even though the show does not end on a hopeful note, because, duh, it is Orange is the New Black, you just cannot NOT feel hopeful when you see women fighting together to stick it to the power.
I for one, thoroughly enjoyed the season and I dare to say it was Orange’s best one. The writing, directing, humor, sadness, everything was put together so beautifully, and I enjoyed it immensely. Let’s hope they will not disappoint next year, which is an awful time to wait, therefore, we will have to find something else to occupy ourselves with.