It’s fair to say that Orange is the New Black is back to its best with its fifth season. Through the first four episodes of the show’s latest outing, there’s a perfect blend of drama and humour, allowing viewers to get in deep with what may be the series’ darkest storyline to-date, but laugh along the way with some much-needed comic relief.

Daya has a big decision to make / Credit: Netflix

Daya has a big decision to make / Credit: Netflix

In the fourth season, we saw fan favourite character Poussey Washington crushed to death by an inexperienced and untrained guard on duty, and when those leading Litchfield Penitentiary failed to condemn him for his action, instead standing behind him and calling it a tragic mistake, prisoners took matters into their own hands, getting hold of a firearm brought in by a sinister guard and holding him at gunpoint. That’s where season 4 drew to a close, but Jenji Kohan wasn’t going to allow us to miss out on the action.

In fact, season 5 picks up right in the midst of the chaos, with Daya forced to make a decision that would undoubtedly change life at Litchfield forever. With underlying tones of racial tension, prison austerity, inequality and literal life or death moments, season 5 of OITNB allows viewers to go on the most dramatic rollercoaster ride they’ve ever offered.

As tensions escalate a prison riot breaks out / Credit: Netflix
As tensions escalate a prison riot breaks out / Credit: Netflix

Danielle Brooks has to be commended for her incredible portrayal of Taystee; Poussey’s best friend and one of the inmates who has justice firmly at the front of her mind. She wants the officer responsible for Poussey’s death to stand trial, but fails to keep it together when she realises that the rest of the prisoners around her caught up in what becomes a massive scale prison riot have other priorities. Unwilling to let her friends’ death be forgotten, she struggles in coming to terms with her surroundings, but fights harder than ever before for her cause.

Hugely ambitious, the first four episodes of season 5 are without a doubt some of the best the Netflix original series has ever presented. With plenty more to go, it’s unclear whether or not the riot is to run throughout the entirety of the fifth season. A major cliffhanger ending has been promised however, which we cannot wait to see.

Life at Litchfield will never be the same / Credit: Netflix
Life at Litchfield will never be the same / Credit: Netflix

Orange is the New Black season 5 is available now on Netflix, alongside seasons 1-4 for those who need to catch up.


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