Orange is the New Black, season five finale: Storm-y Weather (S05E13)
Orange is the New Black’s gripping season 5 finale kicks off with a powerful opening scene which acts as a reminder to its audience: nothing good can last, especially on this show.
As Etta James’ ‘Stormy Weather’ plays, the SWAT team arrives to put an end to the riot.
We follow Taystee – who has tragically failed in her quest to improve conditions at Litchfield – as she leads us through the corridors to the other inmates.
This sets up the episode, which focuses largely on how the different inmates and groups react to the raid.
Leanne and Angie decide to get high before burning the prison files; Soso is lifted out by the SWAT team when she refuses, albeit peacefully, to leave Poussey’s monument; Flaca and Maritza share one final video with their fans; others wait in the canteen, and some pray in the chapel.
The scene in which Soso is carried away is particularly beautiful. After finally finding a way to express all her pain and suffering from Poussey’s death in a book-laden memorial, it all comes crashing down.
But she isn’t angry or visibly distraught – instead, she resists by existing and persisting.
Still, it wouldn’t be OITNB with a few laughs, which come largely from “Team Latte” in the final showdown.
Refusing to go down without a fight, Ouija and Pidge join forces with Sankey, Brandy and Skinhead Helen. Their booby traps are no match for the men in uniform, however, and they’re eventually taken outside in “human tacos”.
Meanwhile, Taystee and Cindy attempt to revive Suzanne, who’s knocked out on lithium. The duo’s concern for their friend is stirring. “I can’t lose you too,” Taystee tells an unconscious Suzanne, who later comes round thanks to Frieda’s EpiPen stash.
And despite all the chaos, Cindy delivers this zinger: “Normally I’d be respectful of the dead, but dude, you were a real son of a bitch when you were alive,” she says, as she boots a now-dead Humps out of a wheelchair. “Karma, you know what I’m saying?”
Elsewhere, in Frieda’s handy basement apartment, various storylines bring a group of main characters together, introducing the main focal point of episode 13 – Piper, Alex, Frieda, Red, Flores, Gloria, Nicky, Taystee, Cindy and Suzanne are all hiding below, but it can’t last long.
Piscatella’s still there – and Taystee clocks him immediately.
In a rage, she grabs Frieda’s gun and holds it to his head. “It’s your fault,” she shouts. “You’re the reason Poussey is gone. They ain’t never gonna give us Bayley, but now I got you.”
But she doesn’t shoot him; instead, she breaks down in tears because she misses Poussey.
Justice is served, though, as in one of the most satisfying scenes, Piscatella gets shot right between the eyes by the SWAT team. “Karma, you know what I’m saying?”
It’s taxing to watch the abusive SWAT team violently handling the inmates, who are then lined up outside as their friends and family look on.
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Piper’s and Suzanne’s mums chatting about their daughters’ welfare is both touching and terrifying, considering we know that they’re probably both in trouble, and considering the links between the two which go back to season 1.
The inmates are then separated and driven away from Litchfield on buses. Presumably, they’re being taken to different prisons, and they’re visibly distressed and frightened because of this.
Linda is also on one of the buses, as she’s still being mistaken for an inmate thanks to Boo’s hilarious claim that she also works for MCC. That “I am Spartacus!” moment was brilliant to watch.
But it’s back to the basement for the beautiful and powerful final scene, as some of our most-loved characters come together, join hands and await their fate.
“Frieda, what do we do?” asks Gloria. “We keep our dignity,” she replies. The door is blown open with explosives and the group continue to hold each other, as we cut to orange.