Netflix Review: Orange is the new black S6

There aren’t many shows that one feels inclined to binge watch in under a week, but Orange is the new black has retained that status for the 6th year in a row. Netflix have always been onto something golden with OITNB, by mixing must watch television with a wide ranging story of depth and characters you cannot help follow.

On the surface, a show about some middle class rich girl who gets incarcerated doesn’t inspire much towards the imagination, but since the early seasons the story has been so much more than it’s premise. And now after six years, the format still seems to work mostly, so here’s what I thought with keeping spoilers to the minimum.

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What we knew before going into s6….

Season 5 was a story overhauling revelation. Although OITNB has a knack of always closing an episode on edge, there really wasn’t a dull moment during Litchfield’s real-time riot. Of course this was due to the fallout of Poussey Washington’s death, a central and much loved character, so the audience were for most of the part behind the inmates gripe and reasoning to revolt. Taystee’s search for ‘justice’ became a central theme but eventually became swallowed by the unruly with sympathetic Warden Joe Caputo becoming victim of that. The whole season finished with the death of Piscatella; a known to be corrupt and violent guard, with the smoking gun pointed to those who held out in the riot’s final moments….

And so s6 begins to recoup all the chaos and find some level of calm…

All of the well known faces are now in max, or maximum security. It’s a robust new world filled with new threats and possibilities. The first few episodes focuses on those who were at the center of last seasons riot. The prison higher ups are trying to pin blame on prisoners, many who were innocent of any wrong doings. This presents new challenges and even dilemma for some who begin to look after themselves and themselves only.

We soon learn max is a much more threatening place, with three separate blocks, two of which are run with a gang nature fueled by drugs and a rivalry of two sisters going back thirty years. This rivalry eventually becomes a central theme and pays off in the final moments of s6, a necessary vessel to carry the whole max experience.

New characters impress…

With the new environment comes an opportunity to present new characters and the OITNB trademark, back stories. We have the rival blocks and their leaders/sisters Carol and Barb, their story stretches back and reveals a semi pointless rivalry that they are only to blame for. A notable performance for me came from Deputy leader of ‘C’ block ‘Badison Murphy’; a convincingly depicted villain who reminded of that typical bad kid of the class. The deputy of ‘D’ block came in the form of ‘Daddy’ a semi pimp drug ‘controller’, who like everyone else had a story to tell.

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Some of the guards from last time out are back, some with PTSD and we see their struggle which to me was a true human story confirming there are two sides of prison. Guards Luschek and McCullough were notable for their performances on both sides of the riot fallout spectrum, of course we got to see them mix with other guards and newer faces to the cast. They discover a game known as ‘fantasy inmate’, perhaps a crude version of fantasy football where guards can score points based on inmates trials and tribulations. This eventually becomes another central theme of the story.

Stories continue…

The search for justice of Poussey takes an unexpected turn when we see Taystee being blamed for Piscatella’s death. Former warden Joe Caputo returns to try and aide the case in which runs throughout the series.

Of course OITNB isn’t complete without it’s main character Piper Chapman, whose prison experience is galvanized by maximum security and really completes her journey as a prisoner, the focus does lean towards her more this time around, and for that you’ll discover why at the season’s close. I found myself liking her performance along with her now prison fiance Alex.

Many of the usual faces were put in out of comfort situations this time around which sparked up new friendships and allegiances not seen before. This made for some entertaining combinations of characters who wouldn’t usually mix.

We only see those who were transferred to max from ‘camp’ so there are plenty of notable faces pretty much missing this time around (split up from the riot). With only 13 episodes a series this one could have easily stretched to 16 as I feel there were many loose ends yet to be tied up.

Concluding thoughts…

OITNB is still as good as the first season, it stays true to the original story and goes where you wouldn’t guess it would go. The cast were, many of which are famous for this show, great in every essence. This time the ending seemed less cliff hanger and perhaps a conclusion of such a journey for select characters. Saying that I shall certainly be ready for another season next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OITNB: Season 4 Review #nospoilers

The full title of this review post is actually: Orange is the new Black: Season 4 Review #nospoilers so calm your shit but in all honesty you should have finished watching the new season by now as it’s probably the best thing you can buy for a £7 monthly subscription fee.

Unfortunately, that is an inappropriately long title to convert into a URL and then paste onto twitter although short versions are available I’m not that technically gifted. Words are my specialty not computer machines.

OITNB

And so it’s that time of year again where Litchfield opens its heavily barred gates to continue and tell some new stories. A Litchfield that last time we saw, was on the verge of becoming a business and then thrown into chaos with an open perimeter fence. Don’t forget the influx of hundreds of new prisoners and of course Judy King!

A compliment to the writers as they continue to story right were the season before left off. Something which isn’t done enough in TV, even sometimes last season final outings are ignored along with their repercussions and even skipped. Not with OITNB, we as an audience are treated not only with continual stories continuing, but new characters, situations and alliances combined with this continuation.

In most top TV shows there are only third, fourth and fifth stories which swap around depending on the episode. For this show, we see the third, fourth and fifth develop and intertwine throughout whilst still being reminded of the main stories.

Our central character Piper is more of a frequent in this series as opposed to the last but overall the main character has to be the prison itself. Nobody is treated like a side show or event which bolsters this already brilliant formula. Newly arrived characters from previous seasons and even the beginning are given origins stories whilst existing people are built upon. A rich amount of detail is thrown into every one of the 13 episodes, and to me that beats the Walking Dead and Game of thrones.

Stuff happens all the time, whether that be comedic or down right tragic. Existing conflicts evolve to really bring together the three main ethnic groups inside this now business like prison. The introduction of new guards only stirs the already boiling pot that is going to cook out of control. This season has been building from the very beginning and could only be pulled off after the previous events happened. The tension is somewhat rising dramatically this time out.

From what begins as a series of intrigue eventually finds itself and its own voice with unfortunate and tragic outcomes in some places. At the latter end of episodes, it gets very dark and somewhat emotional, I mean we have seen shock and awe at Litchfield but tragedy, something you can only use in moderation twists everything. Most of the faces from before are back, even with a few decent cameos of ‘departed’ characters. There’s someone in there you can like and relate to.

Much like every episode of Orange is the new black, we get an awesome ending which leaves us all on a cliffs edge. But we are not left dangling, only thinking about what will happen next. If you have Netflix it’s about the only decent original thing out there, so go and see it.

Other news (because soon I will need to sell books)

Ok so July has somehow rolled around which means its around two months until my first book Open Evening comes out via e-book and later on paper back. Just a little shameless plug and a thanks to all who have supported me so far. This book is a new start for me and not about robots in the future. It revolves around the concept of how horrific high school can be, then introduce some actual horror and Open Evening is born.

I’m sure you will all be bored with my constant updates, but stay posted for more book related stuff.

After all this my #yearofwriting