Orange Is the New Black: Season 5 (Full Season)
July 11, 2017 9:32 PM - Season 5 (Full Season) - Subscribe

An experimental season of OITNB, with the entire season taking place over the course of a few days during a prison riot.
posted by The Gooch (9 comments total)
I enjoyed it, especially with the slightly pared back Piper/Alex.

I *really* dug the Freida/Dale Soules character - both background and misguided undertaking.

The equivalent for me last season was Boo absolving Doggett of abortion since it helped reduce crime (and the experience of root causes to commit crime, especially violent crime).

Red (Mulgrew) mainstreaming again probably helped general audiences, Flores/Laura Gómez was given more breath and absolutely owned. Not thrilled with Piscatella story; would have been perfectly happy having him just wash out - same with CO Bayley - without the audience/inmates know the consequences. The Bayley storyline seemed a bit of a sop and apologia, but is good for outrage.

Red the younger's - actress Xenia Leblanc - was interesting but looked nothing like the young Kate Mulgrew.

Bit disappointed that Chang didn't get much more background exposition, but I now just figure pragmatic competency and keeping out of anyone's way (but has a line on the commissary). Her IDGAF is supportive. But somewhere along the line, her ambition broke.
posted by porpoise at 10:44 PM on July 12, 2017

I thought this season's mix of comedic and dramatic elements was especially awkward. It almost felt like Taystee and Gloria were appearing on different shows than the rest of the characters. It was really jarring when you'd have a genuine, powerful dramatic moment with Taystee, only to then have the show move to the "wacky hijinx" of the meth-heads, for example.
posted by The Gooch at 7:53 AM on July 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ugh, why did you include a spoiler in the description? I just came here looking for discussion about the first episode, I didn't want to know that the riot lasted the entire season. :(
posted by oulipian at 5:20 PM on July 15, 2017

Yes, but the FanFare FAQ does say "please limit above-the-fold descriptions of a show to the basics," so there are not usually spoilers there to worry about.
posted by oulipian at 5:58 AM on July 17, 2017

I don't know if they're planning on doing more seasons, but regardless I think I'm done with this show.

I watched the whole season, but I found it hamfisted and very clumsy, politically w/r/t current events, and as it went with the characters. The whole whatever, let's pay them $10/hour thing sure that's approved or wait that's moot, the weird treatment of Black Lives Matter/social media, the whole white supremacists and POC putting aside their differences for the common good, etc. etc. Plus, some of the back stories didn't even really make sense as motivating or relevant stories, like the piscatella one; there were GAPING plot holes, like how they count the inmates in the end but there was no accounting for Pennslytucky or Chang; there were a lot of tonal shifts that didn't really work; and the product placement seemed super conspicuous. I understand what they were trying to do sortof but I think it just did not work at all at all.

Oh, except Flaca and Maritza. That was the best.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:31 PM on July 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was binge-watching the season and stopped at the episode where Suzanne was cuffed to the bed. I don't want to go back. I would watch an entire season of Taystee fighting for justice and Janae bonding with Soso, but I don't need to see Suzanne be dehumanized.
posted by epj at 5:49 PM on July 19, 2017

I am one episode away from being finished with the season. I'm...uncertain on it at this point.

I appreciate the experiment of trying to do the entire season set in the 2-3 day period of the riot, but its been disorienting, particularly in the last couple of episodes where something happens somewhere (the guards escape) but the news takes the next entire episode to percolate to certain people (Taystee) while at the same time the horrific video of Piscatella's beatdown gets a million views in an apparent matter of minutes - it occurs within the timeframe of the guard escape and the news reaching Taystee.

Tonally, the show has really been uneven for me - the comedy elements have often come at poor times or have worked to undermine the drama of the situation and plenty of moments that have just felt outright awkward (the hostage guard fingering the one prisoner(Leanne? Angie?) and then the cut to the screams of Piscatella's prisoners - was the fingering scene supposed to be comedic or not? Was the cut intended to be funny or to underline the different respective horrors the unwilling in those situations are in?). And the decision to make one show like a horror episode, with Piscatella as the monster stalking the halls just really rubbed me the wrong way - it felt wrong.

I enjoyed seeing Red more at the forefront, but the whole bit of having her on stimulants didn't seem necessary. Piscatella is a flat, one-note villain - which is something this show has generally avoided; they give us villains and through the backstory we become understanding, if not sympathetic. And I don't understand why he would hate Red enough to do what he did; have I forgotten something from last season?

Tasytee has had a great season, and I cheered when she pushed Judy King aside to speak for the inmates herself. Suzanne's arc has been heartbreaking to watch and highlighted the difficulty of using the prison system to manage mental health issues. Piper and Alex...feh. I was done with them two seasons ago I think, and I would love it if the show just wrote them out already.

I'll watch the last episode tonight, but I'm not sure where this show goes for its sixth and seventh seasons, nor am I sure I'll be along for the ride. This season felt like it picked at some the larger issues, thematically, but couldn't bring any significant heat or light to them.
posted by nubs at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

And done. I kinda felt like the finale was the best epsiode of the season; everything felt like it connected well together. And I guess the ending leaves it open for cast members to move on and change if needed for next season.
posted by nubs at 8:49 AM on July 21, 2017

The Bayley storyline seemed a bit of a sop and apologia, but is good for outrage.

I really thought that that the Bayley storyline was going somewhere more powerful. I expected him to commit suicide before the end of the season.
posted by bkpiano at 6:59 PM on July 22, 2017

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