At the time of writing, I’ve just finished my weekend long binge of one of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you haven’t been living under a rock for the past 4 years, so you’re pretty clued up as to what the show is about. However, what some of you may not know is just how good the writing on this show can be and season 4 is no exception. Filled with laughs, twists and some really uncomfortable scenes, the latest season of this prison drama wasn’t afraid to be real.
At the end of last season we saw Litchfield gain some new arrivals (around a hundred or so). And as is the case with the influx of more people, it becomes a little hard to find your place. Season 4 of the show focused a lot on this: with some new characters trying to fit in and mingle and some of the OG’s realising they didn’t belong where they once thought they did, we saw a lot of the characters change and develop and not always in a good way.
As the Latina’s become the majority race in the prison the power shifts and a specific group decide it should be them running things in Litchfield and they’ll even step over their own friends to get there. As is always with Orange is the New Black the rise to power doesn’t come without any challenges and a race war breaks out that causes a ripple in the prison. However, it isn’t the struggle between the races that’s the main issue here, it’s the struggle between the inmates and the guards.
This year the writer’s didn’t hold back; with this year seeing some of the most horrific actions being taken out on the inmates (which after previous years is saying a lot) it became clear that the balance between light comedy and serious drama that the show used to have has now tipped towards the latter. With the guards exercising their power to new heights of sick and twisted, I once again found myself sympathising with serial killers and drug dealers.
That’s always been the case with this show, though. If there’s one thing OITNB can do it’s write well developed humans. Yes, they are criminals (mostly). But they are also, most importantly, humans and this season emphasised that by putting some of the women through gruelling torture.
Of course, what does make this show so popular is the characters. Every year we get to see their histories and we’re given answers as to why they’re in Litchfield (whether that’s living there or working there.) One back story that had me choked up was Suzanne’s. Probably my favourite inmate, Suzanne Warren once again managed to make my heart bleed for her one second and cry with laughter the next and a HUGE chunk of that is down to actress Uzo Aduba who is a phenomenal talent. However, this year let other’s shine in their roles too. With some unexpected villains rising from the Latina family, the standouts for me were Ruiz played by Jessica Pimentel and Blanca played by Laura Gomez.
This year was much darker than the last. With some characters dealing with grief, other’s trying to direct their anger in the right place there’s no surprise that the season ended with an explosion of emotions and ending with us on the edge of our seats. Coming out of a slow third season, Orange is the New Black season 4 has shot right up and is hitting the mark for remarkable television. There’s a lot to play with for season 5 but with writing this good I have no worries that it’ll be nothing short of brilliant.
Thanks for reading,
all the best,