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Orange Is the new Black may have sparked native Piper Kerman’s 2010 memoir about the 13 months she spent in federal prison top top money-laundering charges, yet the Netflix collection thrived by looking past protagonist Piper Chapman’s story and toward the large, diverse group of women incarcerated through her. No TV series had ever featured together a sprawling group of women, each through her very own singular story, and in the final season, those women’s stories kind the structure of thoughtful and empathetic explorations of empowerment and growth, mental illness, death, and the country’s polarizing immigration policies.
Creator and also showrunner Jenji Kohan decided in the fifth season that she would end the show after seven cycles, and the endgame planning began then. Yet none that it come easy, states executive producer Tara Hermann. “We space a room the debaters; for sure, there was a debate about how everybody ended up,” she said. “Jenji often has to make the final call. But mostly we fought and also talked that out and also got come a location where us all felt great about whereby they all landed.”
Viewers gain to uncover out whereby everyone lands in collection finale “Here Is where We gain Off,” which also includes a montage of characters viewers can not use seen due to the fact that the fifth season, once the inmates were separated and also assigned to different federal prisons. The surprised comes once Alex (Laura Prepon) is transferred to a jail in Ohio and is rejoined with Carrie “Big Boo” black color (Lea DeLaria), Erica “Yoga” Jones (Constance Shulman), Angie Rice (Julie Lake), Leanne Taylor (Emma Myles), Norma Romano (Annie Golden), Alison Abdullah (Amanda Stephen), Janae Watson (Vicky Jeudy), Brook Soso (Kimiko Glenn), Gina Murphy (Abigail Savage), and also Anita DeMarco (Lin Tucci).
“It was intended for this reason you might hold those civilization in her mind and also imagine them, as with we hope the everybody can keep imagining all of the personalities living in this maybe-parallel universe,” claimed Hermann, that walked buzzpatterson.com with the writers’ reasoning behind each of the show’s key story lines, damaged down through character. “Their story go on, and we wanted to ar them for civilization so girlfriend felt solve for their ending, and also then likewise you deserve to maybe visit them in her mind every as soon as in a while.”
Piper Chapman security the critical season together a conflicted complimentary woman, after being released early on from prison in the sixth-season finale. Piper is torn around leaving her brand-new wife Alex (they wed in a jail ceremony officiated by Nicky) and also being personally from she for two to 3 years. As the season progresses, Alex argues that Piper find companionship elsewhere, when she herself gets involved with jail guard CO McCollough (Emily Tarver), in a thorny relationship that starts with blackmail and drug sales and progresses v cell-phone-charger sales, sex, and also stalking, and, by season’s end, Alex’s move to an Ohio prison. Return Alex division up through Piper because of the move, Piper end up moving and starting a brand-new life in Ohio to be closer to Alex. The last picture of the couple is lock laughing together throughout a prison visitation.
The writers arrived on Piper’s story arc early on in the series, relocated by Piper Kerman’s life story. “It was based upon how motivating the genuine Piper’s story post-prison has actually been, the she remains active in advocacy and also criminal-justice reform,” Hermann said. “So we knew we wanted to get Piper to the place, yet the Piper that we produced on the show took a the majority of turns and also detours the the real Piper hadn’t, therefore we definitely needed come make feeling of all that with the character. She had gone to part dark places, but in the finish we knew us didn’t desire her to end up taking the basic road.”
Alex was provided a darker story to display how she responds to emotion vulnerable. “She tries to bail,” Hermann said. “She’s foreseeing heartbreak or hurt, therefore she do the efforts to get out of it before it wake up to her.” But, in the end, the couple gets among the few uplifting endings of the series. “Of all the stories, this is one wherein we could get away through a hopeful, happy ending,” Hermann said. “With a the majority of them, simply knowing wherein people’s lives began and what’s continue in the world, it would certainly be hard to acquire out of. Ns think it is why human being struggle v the personality of Piper, due to the fact that she walk come from privilege. However hopefully we were able to tell the story the she’s chose to placed her nose down and do few of the hard work. Ns happy the the 2 of them are giving it a shot and also being adults, finally.”
That doesn’t mean it large forever, though. “I think us all want to believe that they beat the odds, however the past deserve to really sketch the future,” Hermann said. “I think Piper’s really strong and feeling totally convicted in what she wants to do in the world, yet we’ll watch if they survive. In mine head, ns wonder.”
Cindy Hayes (Adrienne C. Moore) and also Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (Danielle Brooks)
among the show’s many multilayered tragedies has been the pains dissolution that the tight-knit and often fun-loving black Girls crew. No story is more devastating than that the funny, sweet Taystee, that is crushed through the prison murder the her best friend Poussey in the 4th season, instigating a prison riot the gets everyone transferred to best security, and finds herself wrongfully accused, and also eventually convicted, of murdering a prison guard who was shoot by friendly fire. Sentenced come life in prison, Taystee is betrayed by among her the next friends, Cindy, who is tricked right into testifying against her in exchange because that immunity.
The seventh season introduce shadowy political parties to each character, through Taystee overwhelmed through grief and hopelessness and Cindy racked with guilt and sorrow. Back Cindy is exit early and also begins to rebuild she life through her mother and also daughter, every little thing falls apart again once Taystee anonymously sends Cindy’s daughter a letter revealing the Cindy is her organic mother (the girl was raised to think they to be sisters). After ~ a confrontation, Cindy pipeline her family and winds increase homeless, yet by the finish of the season she’s taken steps to mend her broken relationships.
When the producers called Moore to talk about Cindy’s arc, the actress requested Cindy’s end not it is in as bleak as what the writers originally had planned. “We had planned other darker,” Hermann said. “We feel Cindy had shed some bridges and she would try to walk it solo. Adrienne’s a professional and also she would have done everything we asked she to do, yet she to be hoping for a small bit an ext light and hope for Cindy. She was hoping Cindy would have actually reconciliation v her daughter. Us heard her and also decided to do a few changes.”
Back in ~ Litchfield, Taystee, that is suicidal for many of the season as her appeals space denied, finds she voice again by tutoring other inmates for your GEDs, to teach financial literacy, and starting a money in Poussey’s name to provide loans come inmates when they space released.
Part of Taystee’s story arc was influenced by Curtis Carroll, a mountain Quentin inmate professional at picking and also trading share who founded the prison’s financial-literacy program. “We thought it would be beautiful that she deserve to remain hopeful, given her life sentence, so that was interesting to come increase on that story because that Taystee,” Hermann said. That does come together a relief, after plenty of episodes the Taystee contemplating suicide, walking so much as do the efforts to cave herself and also purchasing poison. “Sadly, that happens much too frequently in prison, that you gain stuck in the system and it just beats you down,” Hermann said.
Lorna Morello (Yael Stone), Galina “Red” Reznikov (Kate Mulgrew), and also Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne)
This close trio, component of Red’s family members from the start of the series, begins the season in various states of mental health. Nicky is sober, confident, and also trying to remain out of trouble. After delivering her child Sterling prematurely, Lorna obsesses about his vulnerable state v photographs she husband sends out her. And despite the best efforts of she neighbor Gloria (Selenis Leyva) come stimulate and also motivate her, Red is struggling in isolation, wherein she was sent after trying to strangle Frieda (Dale Soules). Points only gain drearier because that all 3 of them after Red moves back to general populace and it becomes noticeable she is suffering from dementia. She and also Nicky are part of a group assigned to cook and serve meals at the immigration detention facility on campus, where Nicky falls for one Egyptian detainee who is later deported. After discovering from her husband the their kid died, Lorna detaches from reality and opens Instagram accounts with fake infant photos, never ever sharing through anyone the she shed her son. Eventually, Nicky learns around Sterling’s fatality from Lorna’s husband and tries to assist her friend, however realizes it’s too late. The collection ends v Lorna and also Red both in the “Florida” psychiatric ward that the prison, and also Nicky acquisition Red’s location in the kitchen and becoming a brand-new “prison mom.”
“We were introduced through Nicky to the idea of a prison family, and also Red being she mom,” Hermann said. “And climate a lot of Nicky’s flashbacks and also past stories proved she absolutely had some mom problems in her life, and also then continued to have them v Red in prison. So we loved pass her full circle and seeing she in the end step up and become that maternal figure for the brand-new girls.” and also as because that the chief jacket, manicured nails, and also cat-eyed eyeliner Nicky’s sporting in ~ the end of the season? that was Lyonne’s idea. “I certain love that,” Hermann said. “It to be a tiny nod to Red.”
In the ninth episode that the season, “The Hidey Hole,” viewers learned exactly how Lorna suffered her very first psychiatric rest after she throws a rock at the windshield of an oncoming car, assuming the driver is a man she rejected at a bar, and causes a collision the kills a newly involved couple. “Oh Lorna, she’s together a crazy-pants!” Hermann said. “We to be so happy to write the direct origin story of she split, and Natasha Lyonne directed that episode, which I simply think to be stellar. Lorna’s a heartbreaker, yet early on us tried to figure out, offered Red’s story the dementia, just how the 2 of them could end increase living their days together. For this reason it’s happy and sad.”
When the writers spoke to Mulgrew about her story line, they were surprised to learn her mother had suffered from dementia. “That story was inspired by a many research and also the fact that there’s i m so sad no elder care in prison,” Hermann said. “Her problem is exaggeration by the fact that she was in isolation because that so long. Us were excited to dramatize the story since it’s happening in prisons v that age and generation. Kate’s mother’s problem was neurologically different and little an ext nuanced, however she to be one come really dig in and make certain that us were telling it in an accurate, representative way.”
Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett (Taryn Manning) and Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren (Uzo Aduba)
Suzanne and also Pennsatucky embark on an uncommonly touching friendship this season when they come to be cellmates in the “Florida” ward. As Suzanne spends much of the season fighting come reconcile she estranged girlfriend Taystee and also Cindy, and also taking care of the chicken at the prison’s new Cluck City, Pennsatucky take away a opportunity on herself by taking benefit of the prison’s brand-new educational programs and also studying for she GED. When she discovers she is dyslexic — and also not stupid, the method her father made her think — she floor Taystee as a tutor. But her story of empowerment takes among the many heartbreaking turns of the season. Once a guard fails to provide her the extra time because that the check she is legally licensed has been granted to due to the fact that of her condition, Pennsatucky suspect she failed, takes drugs to cope through her despair, and also ends up dice of an overdose. Viewers learn later that she actually passed the test.
The finale opens up with a close-up the Pennsatucky’s corpse. “We never ever like come kill any type of of ours characters, and it doesn’t occur without a lot of thought,” Hermann said. “Sadly, she is one of those cases where the jail did her no favors, and while she controlled to find world within the device to assist her grow and educate her and also enlighten her, she still had a the majority of trauma that she was handling that hadn’t been therapized enough. The finest ear that she might turn to, sadly, to be drugs. Us were obviously all sad to need to do it. But when we had actually the conversation, Taryn to be able to different herself and understand the greater good and the larger story that we were after.”
Pennsatucky’s death additionally serves to highlight just how much Suzanne has grown during the course of the show. Instead of losing regulate as she could have in earlier seasons, she organizes a memorial business for she friend and sings the hill Dew jingle in her honor.
“I don’t recognize if Suzanne has readjusted so much, since I think still somewhere deep down, if she is challenged, she will have actually an outburst,” Hermann said. “But I just think we dug into her character and let her flourish up. This was claimed to be the year of her coming into her adolescence and also working with the teenage years, and I think that she has actually grown up. She’s viewed the world differently and, favor Taystee says to her, ns hope she continues on that path.”
Dayanara “Daya” Diaz (Dascha Polanco) and also Aleida Diaz (Elizabeth Rodriguez)
whereby to begin with this mother and also daughter? when the season opens, Aleida and also prison safety Hopper (Hunter Emery) space still living together and smuggling drugs into the prison, through Daya as their seller. Daya, who has actually been sentenced to life for killing a guard throughout the riot, has end up being her block’s ruthless boss. Yet when Aleida’s younger daughter becomes involved with one older medicine dealer, Aleida beats the up and smashes his car, landing the mother of five earlier behind bars. Daya sets up Hopper to acquire fired and also recruits her younger sister Eva together her brand-new external medicine pipeline. Once Aleida learns this in the finale, she confronts Daya and also things conveniently escalate in among the show’s many shocking climaxes. ~ Aleida calls her eldest child an “evil junkie,” Daya asks her, “Do you know what it’s like to kill somebody?” Aleida punches her in the throat and climbs on height of she on the floor and starts strangling her. “Maybe currently I’ll understand what it’s like,” the mom says to her daughter. The the critical time viewers see them.
“Daya shooting a guard and also she was not feeling bad about it, for this reason we just wanted come follow the story and show a various side of just how prison can impact you,” Hermann said. “You deserve to come in as the doe-eyed innocent and also become a hardened, hardened criminal.”
But is Daya dead? “That’s one more ambiguous one,” Hermann said with a laugh. “People have some theories. Does Daya survive that punch in the end? It’s hard to say. Go Aleida feel favor she had actually to take the end one child to save the other? ns don’t know.”
Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) and Gloria Mendoza (Selenis Leyva)
These two seemingly invest the whole season nursing your post-riot grudges, i beg your pardon stemmed indigenous each mom wanting to perform right by her children. Throughout the riots, Gloria had actually asked to it is in furloughed therefore she might visit she son, that was having actually emergency surgery. A prison main agreed, provided that she free the safety being organized hostage by the inmates. However Maria overheard the plan and freed the hostages herself, thinking it can earn she brownie points for this reason she might be through her infant daughter. Gloria then got revenge on Maria by informing special agents the she coaxed Daya to traction the trigger and also started the riots, result in much more time being added to Maria’s sentence.
This season, after ~ Gloria is exit from isolation, she joins the kitchen team that cooks for the immigration detainees and, in addition to Flaca (Jackie Cruz), help them reach family members and also contact lawyers in the outside world. Maria, meanwhile, struggles inside jail after discovering her friend is dating a “new Maria” who is safety a the majority of time with her daughter.
“Gloria and also Maria went v some actual shit,” Hermann said. “The stories around moms in prison continue to really destroy me ~ above a personal level — the real-life story — and also we certainly wanted come make certain that we told some of those. You can defend both of castle for your actions. Ns don’t think either among them is necessarily appropriate or not correct in the way they proceeded.”
At the very least these two managed to discover a tiny common ground in the end. After Gloria is exit from prison, viewers see her in ~ home, where she find a children’s book called Mi Burro, Mi Burro. In the next scene, Maria and “new Maria” take it turns reading from the publication to she daughter while Maria sit behind the prison’s glass partition.
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“I love wherein Maria went, do the efforts to do amends and also do right by her daughter,” claimed Hermann. “Gloria sends her that book in the end, so there is a tiny bit of an olive branch, i think, or in ~ least simply a tranquility treaty.”
Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox)
choose Piper and Blanca (Laura Gomez), Sophia was released from prison at the end of the 6th season, after she intimidated to sue the prison and also was offered $300,000 and also early relax to stay out that court. Sophia makes quick season-seven appearances in the 11th episode, “God Bless America,” first running right into Piper in the parole office, wherein she gives Piper the business card to she salon, Vanity Hair by Sophia. Later, Piper goes to the salon and also Sophia advises she to relocate on native her partnership with Alex if doing she hair.
“We would have loved to have told bigger, more lengthy stories because that Sophia, yet sometimes it simply comes under to schedule availability, sadly,” explained Hermann. “So we had to tighten she story line. But we did desire to carry out a story where we saw Piper dealing with what her life is gonna be, and also Sophia handling hers. Ns think we did a pretty great job of distilling that to that one step in the hair salon, whereby she tells her she doesn’t have to keep the location of ‘inmate’ anymore. And that to be fine for Sophia. That functioned for her.”