Orange is the New Black just released its fourth season, but there are already Season 5 spoilers pointing to how the season-ending shocking death to a major character will reverberate for the inmates at Litchfield and beyond.
Warning: There are some big Orange is the New Black spoilers ahead, so if you’re not all the way caught up on Season 4, this might be a good place to turn around.
Viewers got one of the biggest shocks of the show to date at the end of the latest season when the inmates protested against the new crackdown from guards, part of the prison’s takeover by a for-profit entity. Their focus was on the brutal Piscatella (Brad William Henke), but despite the peaceful protest, guards decided to crack down.
In the ensuing chaos, the young guard Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) held down Poussey (Samira Wiley) by the neck, accidentally killing her. As Vox noted, her death (probably intentionally) mirrored the deaths of black suspects at the hands of police. Eric Garner, a Staten Island man accused of selling untaxed cigarettes, was killed the same way in a case that led to widespread protests.
The reaction from the prison also mirrored how police departments have handled these high-profile killings, the report noted.
“And when the prison’s statement to the press on Poussey’s death chooses to focus on Bayley’s innocence, rather than what he did, all of the women in the prison storm out of their dorms in outrage, with Poussey’s best friend, Taystee (Danielle Brooks), screaming in anguish that they didn’t even ‘say her name’ — the same rallying cry that emerged after Sandra Bland died while in Texas police custody.”
The season ended with chaos as the prisoners rioted against guards and Daya (Dasch Polanco) held a gun to one guard’s head. The early spoilers for Orange is the New Black Season 5 indicate that viewers will see the aftermath in a storyline that could continue to reflect reality.
The show’s producers have likely been setting up the storyline for Poussey’s death since her arrival on the show. She had been arrested for trespassing and selling less than half an ounce of marijuana, which reflects issues of unfair sentencing for drug crimes, especially for black men and women.
Wiley told Vulture that she knew for quite a while that her Orange is the New Black character would be killed. She also noted that Poussey’s death was meant to shine a light on the societal issues.
“Some people who love Orange Is the New Black don’t know what ‘Black Lives Matter’ is. They don’t have a black friend and they don’t have a gay friend, but they know Poussey from TV and they feel just like you said — you feel like you knew her. I talked to another reporter who had just seen the episodes and she said her stomach hurt so bad she felt like she was going to throw up when she watched it. If we’re making people feel like that just from a TV show, then that’s the kind of TV I want to make. That’s the kind of art I want to make. Make people feel things so deeply that it affects them in that way. To know that we might have achieved that this time is awesome.”
But the early spoilers for Orange is the New Black Season 5 point to more than just the chaotic conclusion of the prison riot. With the issues of unfair sentencing and killings at the hands of police introduced, the show’s follow-up will likely reflect the way they have been dealt with in the United States, potentially introducing protests that stretch beyond the walls of Litchfield.
[Image via Netflix]