One of Netflix’s most-watched series, Orange Is The New Black (OITNB), has just concluded its amazing run in their 7th season. The season was released in late July, once again tackling issues in such beautifully and emotionally gripping stories through the characters. Needless to say, it was a bittersweet goodbye to a show that achieved quite a number of awards and milestones throughout its run, including being the first series to receive Emmy nominations in both comedy and drama categories and Laverne Cox being the first openly transgender actress to get nominated.
Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir “Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison”, OITNB tells the stories of many different types of incarcerated women and their struggles. Why the show has garnered such a huge fanbase is because of its bold and organic storytelling where the ugly truth of corruption, guard brutality and the privatisation of prison gets exposed. Nothing is done merely for the shock factor; it is research and observation laid out in plain sight through the characters.
*Mini spoilers ahead*
While the cast is full of big talents, the star of the OITNB’s final season is easily Danielle Brooks. Brooks played an African-American inmate named Tasha Jefferson or better known as Taystee. She is based off Delicious, a character from Kerman’s book. Taystee is very funny and smart, even became a mentor and teacher to other inmates looking to take their General Education Development test, an alternative to the US high school diploma. The character actually got out but because she couldn’t adjust to the life outside of prison, she fell back into her old lifestyle of selling drugs though was possibly forced to do it in exchange for a place to stay.
This particular theme later became Piper’s in her storyline in the final season. Piper is a fellow inmate played by Taylor Schilling who was Season 1’s main character turned trojan horse to, as show creator Jenji Kohan once said, “introduce stories about Latinas, black women, older women and women of different socioeconomic classes”.
Taystee is easily my favourite character of the entire show because her story is truly an inspiration. From bouncing around in foster homes to tragically losing friends (oof, the first one still feels so fresh), Taystee is one strong and bada** woman. Her character arc is also the strongest in the show.
After 7 seasons, the series has finally wrapped up. Not to give anymore spoilers but expect to see familiar faces in this last season as the show bids goodbye. Cue more tears.
*Back to spoiler-free zone*
Kohan, who also wrote the series, hasn’t yet felt the finality of it though. “It’s not real yet that it’s over because it feels like a natural break between seasons.”
However, Uzo Aduba, who played Suzanne Warren, is already feeling it since the last day on set. “The way we finished, you felt that finality on the day. But I feel like the weight of it is going to hit when we’re supposed to be going back to work, and the absence of the thing that’s been there for so long, that’s when it’s going to feel done.”
If you watch Season 7, stay on for the final credits scene where they’ll show extra footages that will make you tear up. I know because I did.
With OITNB done, I hope to see another show with a strong cast and unapologetically honest storytelling about important societal topics like this one.
Watch the Season 7 trailer: