Orange is the New Black season 5 review, episodes 5 – 12
Unlike previous seasons, OITNB’s fifth series takes place over three days, following the inmates as they riot at Litchfield.
There’s a lot going on, and character motivations differ – but the central storyline throughout is that of Taystee (and Cindy, Janae, Alison etc), who are seeking justice for Poussey and fighting for better conditions at the prison.
Throughout episodes 5 – 12, Taystee & Co are seen negotiating with MCC, Caputo and Figueroa (remember her? Caputo’s ex?). In a particularly moving scene, Taystee makes an impassioned speech before setting fire to the Flaming Hot Cheetos sent from MCC.
Also involved in the ‘Justice for Poussey’ storyline is SoSo, who, during a heart-to-heart with Janae, admits: “I’m not sad, I’m angry.”
“I hate everyone,” SoSo continues. “Anyone laughing or smiling or being alive is fucking offensive to me and they should all just fucking die.
“And eventually, I’m just gonna burn up from rage and I’ll just be dust – and I don’t know how to make it stop.”
Elsewhere, Red and Flores’ dangerous plan to lure Piscatella into the building backfires, badly.
After the comedic horror movie-style ninth episode, in which Piscatella grabs a group of Litchfield’s women one-by-one, comes this season’s most harrowing episode.
Piscatella has captured, beaten, gagged and bound Red, Piper, Alex, Nicky, Big Boo and Flores. He tortures Red in order to take her down a peg. Watching him cut her hair off with a knife, along with chunks of her scalp, is devastating and terrifying.
While the others try to break free and scream for help, Piscatella violently breaks Alex’s arm.
Still, Frieda-the-survivalist saves the day along with her band of merry men women – making sense of her backstory and basement bunker in the process.
Frieda & Co rescue Red & Co from Piscatella, and the two groups unite. They tie him up, and we see Red regain her dignity after it was so cruelly taken from her.
Other harrowing scenes involve Suzanne, who has been chained to her bed unable to take her vital medication. As the mayhem continues, Suzanne is seen losing her mind as she discovers CO Humphrey has died.
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Ruiz continues to stay on the straight and narrow after her massive u-turn, while Gloria finds out her son is in intensive care after an attack.
Gloria makes a deal with Caputo: if she can end the riot, he’ll help her get furlough to visit her son. She plans to free the hostages in order to put a stop to the riot, but Ruiz frees them herself in the hope that she’ll get her sentence reduced.
Gloria, devastated, is locked up with their only remaining bargaining tool, Luschek.
Other notable events include Lorna actually being pregnant; Big Boo discovering her new girlfriend Linda isn’t really a prisoner (and outing her to the other inmates); CO Bayley still struggling – even visiting Poussey’s father to apologise; and Daya confessing to shooting Humphrey.
And, we almost forgot – Piper proposes to Alex! Amid all the chaos, it’s actually quite sweet. Things soon turn sour again, though. Episode 12 ends with the riot police being sent in, all because Taystee overplayed her negotiating hand.