The season three finale of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ needs to be watched more than once, because the first time you see it will be through tears, both happy and sad. It’s one of those stories that leaves you breathless, wishing for more yet knowing there are dark times ahead for beloved characters.
I love that fans of the show on Tumblr, creator Jenji Kohan, and the actors portraying the Litchfield inmates know that this isn’t a show about a WASP attempting to navigate her time in prison. This is about those people who get locked behind bars and lost — because they lack the privileges of someone like Piper Kerman.
Fan favorites “Black Cindy”, Poussey, “Taystee”, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, Sophia, and Janae Watson are a thrill to watch. Their “reparations” corn taken from Red’s garden, “Black Cindy”’s quest for a faith she truly resonates with, Sophia’s struggles against transphobia and losing her family connection as her son grows up, “Taystee”’s acceptance of her mother-figure role, Suzanne’s erotic fiction and Poussey’s longing for love are what made this season so real and raw for me.
With the added drama of Nicky’s bad habit finally catching up to her, Pennsatucky’s heartbreaking backstory reveal and continued abuse at the hands of a new prison guard, Big Boo’s attempt to help Pennsatucky escape her abuser as she and Pennsatucky become good friends, Morello’s revenge on a past romantic figure, and Norma’s faith healing, this season has been one big rollercoaster of emotion.
While my opinions and feelings about some of these people have changed, some of my convictions have been solidified. No matter how much Healy, Caputo, and Kerman believe themselves to be “good” people, they aren’t. Their actions have shown how petty, selfish, and cruel these people can be. These are the people we should be worried about, not the lonely Poussey and Soso, nor the creative Suzanne or motherly Taystee. The privileged people have become complacent in their privilege, and those they see as “beneath” them suffer for it.
The end of season three gave us a moment of euphoria as almost all the inmates unexpectedly got a taste of freedom, but there are some unhappy surprises awaiting them. With Litchfield being run by MCC, we’re going to see an influx of new inmates, changes to inmates’ schedules, relationship to the guards, and ability to get needed assistance. Who will stay? Who will leave? And who gets left behind?
Orange Is The New Black is changing the way we see each other. No longer are we able to hide in our respective cultural bubbles, unaware of the pain and suffering going on around us. We cannot afford to ignore society’s issues any longer. If Orange Is The New Black has taught me anything, it is that we are stronger together, that belief and community are necessary for survival, and that it is up to us, together, to change the way the world sees us and our friends and neighbors.
Now who’s ready for season four?Image Credits: Netflix