Orange Is the New Black: The Final Season
July 26, 2019 9:52 PM - Season 7 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The final season of Netflix's long-running ensemble show about female prison inmates adds an ICE facility to the mix.
posted by DirtyOldTown (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We're three episodes in at this point and there are two things that are tearing us up: 1) how bleak the ICE detention center scenes are; and 2) the knowledge that the ICE detention centers shown on the shown are likely substantially better than actual ICE detention centers.

I am also 100% down with Badison getting sent the fuck away.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:32 AM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh, it’s good.
posted by sixswitch at 10:44 AM on July 27, 2019

I think my emotional whiplash has emotional whiplash. What a ride.
posted by cmyk at 10:59 AM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm also three episodes in at this point and damn, Blanca's and Maritza's scenes are really gutting me.

The show's so uneven that as soon as I saw they were covering ICE this season, I was really nervous about how it'd go. Even though this is just a tv show, and an uneven one at that, it feels like there's so much at stake with how the depiction goes and how much it makes viewers feel the bleakness and care about what the characters are going through. Like I'm not depending on OITNB to be a savior or anything, but I'm cautiously thinking this is a good thing they're doing with this season, leveraging their pop culture cachet to address more of what's fucked up about the current systems of power beyond Litchfield (but of which Litchfield is a core part).
posted by rather be jorting at 11:24 AM on July 27, 2019

We just watched the first episode. I think that's the first episode without a flashback... and with internal monologues? We've found the last two seasons pretty grueling to get through, and after this first we were like, "Well, that's a good last episode, maybe we should stop here."
posted by Catblack at 11:38 AM on July 27, 2019

Ooh Catblack I was just about to post a spoiler - you'll probably want to avoid this thread until you watch more? I'm bustin' to talk about more details but I can be vague until more people have seen more of the season...

Oh man, the end of episode 3 though. I don't care how tv-contrived it might've been, my eyes went wide and I felt like I wanted to punch the air, HA! A glimpse of hope!
posted by rather be jorting at 11:44 AM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

As with every season of OITNB, I will always be extra anxious about what happens to Red because seeing actual older Mulgrew instead of Voyager pretend-older Janeway activates some visceral fear-for-older-relatives part of my brain that made certain past seasons of OITNB almost unbearable to watch. I'm really relieved to see Red start getting her spark back in episode 4.

The reunions in ep 4 packed a lot of emotional catharsis in their brief moments, oh man. New levels of bleakness, though. Poor potato...
posted by rather be jorting at 12:52 PM on July 27, 2019

Episode 7: Laura Gómez (Blanca's actress) is really getting a chance to shine this season. She's got the goddamn range, her scene with the ICE officer was phenomenal. There's a certain cognitive dissonance I feel whenever something strikes me as, "yeah, we're getting a sanitized view of the centers out of necessity b/c things are already dark enough" (the ends of the episodes have been significantly darker than previous seasons, imo, especially Ep. 5), there's some really compelling interaction between the detainee characters, who are getting increasingly developed into distinct individuals. Blanca's scenes with Karla are a highlight.

I'm less enthused about the Piper scenes (as usual), and biding my time to get through anything involving the guards & ex-staff (especially Caputo, ugh). The Litchfield segments are... still a mix, hm. But episode 6, those hugs, that orange Coke, gosh.

Cracked up at this bit in ep. 7: "That's reserved." "But I want to hear The Remedy..."
posted by rather be jorting at 3:52 PM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Episode 10, around halfway in: Nicky is me, blurry in the background, already knowing where things were going but still feeling gutted about it. :(
posted by rather be jorting at 7:42 PM on July 27, 2019

Cried super bad at the win in the last ep. It wasn't a lot but it really fucking counted. *sniff*
posted by rather be jorting at 11:48 PM on July 27, 2019

And then I ugly-laughed through the tears at Examples & Explanations making one last minute guest appearance oh my god

Stick around for the end credits. I think it's Danielle Brooks singing? It's hard to let you go, I'll miss you more than you'll know...
posted by rather be jorting at 11:51 PM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

The internal monologues only appear in ep 1.
posted by sixswitch at 5:45 AM on July 28, 2019

Being careful not to spoiler for now, but Fig and the pill- Fig's entire storyline this season in fact, was too awesome.

I was both glad for the realism and heartbroken for the heartbreakyness of *that* character never getting out of prison. Gutting but Too Fucking Real.
posted by threetwentytwo at 11:21 AM on July 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Fig's storyline seriously surprised me this season. She's still Fig, but we see her basic human decency revealed in contrast with the drastically inhumane behavior she suddenly has to confront. It feels extra awesome considering that Fig's usually the person who is otherwise so jaded and over it.
posted by rather be jorting at 11:41 AM on July 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

I just finished. Wow. Lot’s to process and a donation to make. That’s how you end a series.
posted by pearlybob at 11:41 PM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

I loved the curtain call so much!
posted by sixswitch at 2:11 PM on July 30, 2019

Be sure and watch/listen to the opener of episode 13—Regina Spektor kills it unplugged. Personally, I love the opening theme of the show and frequently let it play, but this version was just really perfect for the last episode. And for my money, that was a fabulous final season. Very satisfying in a life-is-really-fucked-up kind of way; nicely done.

Danielle Brooks is an amazing actor. The show is full of good acting, but my god, she's really amazing.
posted by heyho at 2:28 PM on July 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

Way too much Piper. Can’t she get hit by a truck?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:42 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nah, let the deus ex truckina be unique to the s2 finale - it was wonderfully cathartic there.

Piper did have to drink her sister-in-law's breast milk smoothie that had been sitting out for a while, surely that could be considered a hit of some sort to her digestive system?
posted by rather be jorting at 7:53 AM on August 1, 2019

Alex seems underwritten for this whole season, and the budget seems lower for the flash-back/fantasy sequences.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:42 PM on August 4, 2019

I think it's Danielle Brooks singing? It's hard to let you go, I'll miss you more than you'll know...

It also sounds like it was sung at the wrap party. Pretty well orchestrated goodbye crying all around and I’m glad everyone still standing took a bow like that. As cruel as the show could be they also knew how to craft such joyful indulgences in the present moment.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:07 PM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

That was a really, really excellent final season.
posted by gatorae at 4:12 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I stopped watching OITNB around the 2nd or 3rd season. Emily Nussbaum's review of the final season made me dip back in and boy am I glad I did. It was indeed a triumphant return to form. That was the best final season and finale of any show I have watched.
posted by roolya_boolya at 3:36 AM on August 9, 2019

I appreciate them explicitly with words acknowledge Piper as a bisexual.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:11 AM on August 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

The OITNB writers started off with Piper Kerman's book as source material - but then changed pretty much everything to turn it into a format which would involve a large ensemble cast of actors and tell many stories. Something capable of filling 90 hours (and seven years) of TV.

The show's early awards were for comedy (the Emmies changed their award rules in 2015 and decreed that comedies were half hour shows and anything longer had to be a drama; could-not-make-it-up) - and it could be very funny - but its resonance is really as a drama. It was truly both and it is hard to do both of those things at once. There had been other TV that dealt with women's prisons - Australia's Wentworth/Prisoner, for example, but they often came across more as soap operas than anything more complex. OITNB used high calibre writers, great actors, non-linear story telling and long story arcs to great effect. It took Piper Kerman's original premise (prison introduces you to all kinds of different people that you would not be likely to associate with in the outside world) and it introduced you to realistically drawn characters who fitted that description. It took time to understand and depict how the American prison system works and it choose to actively use its position as a soap box to talk about issues such as ICE detention centres.

It is always hard to predict how well a show will age. But my predictions with OITNB is that time will be very kind to it. I'm pretty sure it is the sort of show I would choose to show to somebody in 25 years - as a way of showing how the world was and where it seemed to be going.
posted by rongorongo at 1:36 AM on August 14, 2019

I'm very much enjoying this season, and feel like definitely feels better than the last several. I can't believe Maritza's ending - extremely unapologetic. Tiffany Doggett has always been one of my two favorite characters and despite how sad her storyline was, it didn't feel like they did her dirty. Definitely would recommend to other people who have missed a few seasons - the recap should be enough.

I will say that I recently read Blood in the Water, an extremely disturbing and incredible non-fiction book about the Attica riots, and having that historical context made me appreciate the last two seasons more. The real life Attica prison riot story is bananas, and it actually happened! Before I knew that, I dunno maybe the OITNB adaption seemed like it stretched credibility but now I don't feel that way at all. Someone who writes for this show understands prison history and current events around incarceration & immigration extremely well, and it shows. Obviously those seasons struggled with their individual character's stories - where the show has always shone - but especially now that it is over I truly appreciate what they were doing. And I agree, rongorongo, I think history will be kind to it.
posted by likeatoaster at 12:20 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is the best season in years.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:06 PM on August 20, 2019

Yup, agreed, DirtyOldTown. This was definitely a killer of a season and a great and worthy finale. Just finished watching it and it was just gutting in so many ways. I think they ended it well and did justice to the characters’ storylines. I mean, many of them did not get actual justice, but even the death and disappearances seemed earned.

I could have done with less Piper/Alex.

I was surprisingly OK with how they handled the Caputo storyline. And Fig! She redeemed herself this season, truly, but she was still herself.

The scenes in ICE were just horrifying, especially since you know if anything, the reality is actually worse.

It killed me when Taystee opened up the GED certificates and there was Tiffany’s.

I agree with everyone saying this show will age well. I can’t imagine going back and watching it myself now that I know everyone’s ending, but I would not hesitate to recommend it to others.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:00 AM on August 27, 2019

And Taystee, my god. I think Danielle Brooks is my favourite actress in OITNB, and that’s saying something, because she’s got stiff competition.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:07 AM on August 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Just finished. What an incredible season. What an incredible show. I am grateful to the astoundingly talented actresses it introduced me to and I hope I see them everywhere and in everything. And I learned so much. So much. This show was doing important work.

Lost it at the Poussey Washington fund being real. As soon as I have some solid disposable income, I’m going to send it their way.
posted by olinerd at 6:50 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I can't find it now, but I could have sworn I saw paperwork for Cindy this season (maybe as part of her release?) that had her birth date listed as sometime in 1979. That seems really off for the very current timeframe the show takes place in.
posted by hanov3r at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2019

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