It only seems like yesterday that Netflix took subscribers behind the bars of Litchfield and revealed to us the stories that make ‘Orange Is the New Black’ such compelling entertainment. Created for Netflix by Jenji Kohan, based on the Piper Kerman written memoir ‘Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison,’ the series dropped the seventh and final season on us Friday, 26 July 2019.
With the largest cast seen in an episodic production, ‘OITNB’ remains the most vibrant series Netflix has ever made available. The seventh season main cast consists of Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Selenis Leyva, Adrienne C. Moore, Dascha Polanco, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone, Jackie Cruz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jessica Pimentel, Laura Gómez, Matt Peters, Dale Soules and Alysia Reiner. Also reprising their roles from previous seasons, but as guest appearances, are Michael Harney, Jason Biggs and Lea DeLaria. The recurring cast list for the last season is as daunting as the production’s main cast.
Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen the closing episodes of the sixth season or the opening episodes to the seventh season, you should seriously consider watching them before reading this article beyond this point.
The tail end of the sixth season saw some interesting changes to prison procedures and the way in which prisoners were ranked for potential early release. Because of significant budget cuts, the new system ranks the prisoners on their behaviour. This new ranking system helps determine which prisoners are eligible for early release.
Badison Murphy (Amanda Fuller), in an effort to lengthen Piper Chapman’s (Taylor Schilling) sentence, attempted to plant drugs on her. Consequently, Piper told CO Rick Hopper (Hunter Emery) about the issue she was having with Murphy. Hopper places Piper at the top of the list for early release. Does Hopper have Piper’s best interests at heart?
At first glance, even though it may seem Hopper prioritised Piper for early release because he wanted to protect her from any possible reprisals, the CO’s actions were anything but protectively magnanimous. Hopper is the one smuggling drugs into the facility. Piper no longer a prison inmate. Consequently, the CO’s side-hustle is possibly less of an issue.
Life on the Outside…
The seventh season finds Piper struggling to cope with life on the outside. The economics of a free life is a struggle for anyone, even more so for someone that has spent time in prison, for job opportunities become limited. With limitations on what she can do for employment, Piper finds it exceedingly difficult maintaining a grip on her expenses.
If her financial issues were not bad enough, the former Litchfield prisoner also has to contend with living on the outside away from Alex Vause (Laura Prepon). How does Piper’s life free from Litchfield rules and regulations unfold? That is something you will have to discover for yourself.