We had left the Litchfield inmates at a time of great tension and great difficulty. The Orange Is The New Black 4 ended a year ago with two beautiful episodes that had shown us the death of Poussey (Samira Wiley) at the hands of the young guard Baxter Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) and then the subsequent uprising prompted by Taystee (Danielle Brooks).
The cliffhanger ending left us with Daya (Dascha Polanco) pointing a gun at another guard, Thomas Humphrey (Michael Torpey), and appears to be ready to fire. For twelve months, fans of Orange Is The New Black have stayed with this doubt, whether the young mother will fire or not?
About the cliffhanger, we know that the answer to this question comes within a few minutes but we are not here to obviously reveal and everything that follows is a direct consequence not only of this, but of all the events of the previous season.
Because, unlike the standard Netflix series, in these new thirteen episodes everything we see is not exactly real-time close enough, given that the Orange Is The New Black Season 5 unfolds over three days where we follow in detail a number of protagonists, often divided into groups with very different interests and occupations, but all united by the great news that the author Jenji Kohan has decided to introduce this year.
The dramatic change, one that could easily define a game changer is that in a very short time the prisoners take the remaining guards as well as the director of the prison Caputo (Nick Sandow) hostage until they have control of the entire prison.
But there is one mind behind this revolt as there is no real common goal and for many is just a way to take advantage of the newfound freedom and doing what pleases athem nd then blowing supplies, tormenting those who normally have the power, read the confidential information on the colleagues or simply being able to sleep outdoors. But not for all it is just a holiday because Taystee cannot and will not forget the death of her best friend (in a small but delightful flashback we see their first meeting) but is instead seeking justice.
So if we say that the series becomes dark it is because it completely lacks the comedy aspect which, although less and less proponderante year after year is still a feature of the show, but because the death of one of its most beautiful and beloved characters that is still fresh (one year for us spectators, a few hours for the stars) and the weight of this tragedy lingers in the prison corridors and ensures that nothing is as before.
If the end of the fourth season was perfectly inserted in #BlackLivesMatter movement, with these new episodes the show is even more politically speaking about ethnic minorities, feminism and poor prison conditions. But, more importantly, it talks of revolt, talks about change, speaks of weaker characters that seize their opportunity, exploit their anger, their pain and, why not, their mere interests to ask that this change to happen.
And that all take off from the group of black girls, which now has also added the stably held Muslim Alison Abdullah (Amanda Stephens), in this trump-iana epoch is particularly significant.
To us, however, as well as politics the interesting figure out is how we can get to get this change and always assume it happens, after all we have been able to preview only the first half of the season and as always so we are left to examine with our eyes from curious onlookers and voyeuristic the protagonists in unusual situations, and more and more intimate and private from the spy to the leaders, psychologists, fashion influencer, policies, detectives, media, female police officers, judges and lawyers.
Each of them brings out their talents, their ambitions and dreams and in those three days you can let go, as in the worst/best talent show (an issue that is the focus of an episode in a rather unexpected way).
But then the life of the protagonists of Orange Is The New Black is basically a sort of Big Brother with even stricter rules. When rules are not there, when the guards are gone, what happens is not too different from the trash drifts that sometimes takes that reality TV who insists on showing us the lives of people for nothing exceptional but who are given the only opportunity that is rare, that to be noticed, to get rid of each brake and each obstacle.
This is the essence of this season of Orange is the New Black 5 with a chaotic season that is more fragmented than ever and odd in tones and themes in a season that makes you smile but in an increasingly bitter manner, and that excites more and more sincerely.
Unfortunately, all this anarchy and this freedom has a price, in life as in film and television. Certainly than in the past, the script is less perfect and the monographic flashback is less powerful and meaningful, and many supporting characters end up being even sacrificed in this rebellious and liberating vortex and at the bottom is a little trial.
It probably affected the average quality, and certainly not all longtime viewers will appreciate this change, but it certainly affects the courage and the will to abandon a format that works and for the sole purpose of making us live more closely the lives and the stories of the characters, whom we have come to love for their virtues and their flaws.