“Orange Is The New Black” Season 6: Gripping and Enjoyable

Finnerty Steeves and Taylor Schilling in "Orange Is the New Black"

We waited over a year for the sixth season of Orange Is The New Black to arrive and the verdict is in: it’s fantastic.

The fifth season of the series divided fans, with some saying it was the best yet and other saying it was too dark. For the later viewers, it’s unlikely that season six was any improvement.

Those who enjoy the gritty, real and often political element of the show, however, will not be disappointed. The season kicks off with a suicide attempt from an unlikely inmate and the rest of the season depicts the struggles of the inmates adapting to maximum security prison. Some inmates, like Red and Alex Vause, have no trouble becoming accepted, while others like Mendoza, Flores and predictably, our protagonist Piper, find themselves unintentionally caught in the middle of things they would prefer to stay out of.

What is particularly admirable about the season is the way the characters become consistently more believable and interesting through their choice of unique survival tactics. Flaca typically chooses an outlet for her to tell people what’s what, Lorna jumps straight onto a new bandwagon and Alex finds herself reverting back to her old ways. We also see characters like Ruiz and Dayanara take on new and unpredictable methods for adapting to the change.

Season 6 also brought us an array of new characters, some likable and some less so. The murderous sisters/gang leaders were a nice addition as they provided the season with a proper storyline, which kept the pace going throughout. Badison is a frustrating, less likable character but she certainly kept things interesting. Unfortunately, the introduction of new characters was equaled out by the loss of new ones. Big Boo briefly appeared up in Ohio but was absent for the rest of the season.

Although there were some funny and sassy moments, which is what got season one’s fans hooked, the general tone of the season is quite serious. Watching Taystee be falsely accused and sent to trial for the murder of Piscatella is honestly troubling to watch. Equally heart-wrenching is the moment when we realize that Flores is not being reunited with Diego, but is being transferred to an immigration center.

Overall, the season was thoroughly gripping and enjoyable to watch. The ending was satisfying on all accounts and has kept us keen for the next season, but also wrapped things up nicely.