Saturday, September 2, 2017

What I’m Watching: Orange is the New Black (Season Finale)

Orange is the New Black: Season 5, Episode 13 “Storm-y Weather” (B+)

I still struggle with the question of whether this show is a comedy or a drama. There were plenty of comical elements about the riot and this season as a whole, but seeing inmates punched in the face, hit, and otherwise treated terribly sure makes it seem like this show is one of the darkest dramas out there. A lot of what happened in this hour was disturbing, and it’s hard to imagine that the outcome of the closing scene is going to be positive for anyone involved. After Taystee charged at him like she was going to shoot him, Red letting Piscatella go was a huge sign of the growth and humanity of these particular prisoners, who had a guard that had been physically and psychologically abusive to them at their mercy and decided to let him go, not knowing what he would do and whether he would tell the truth about what happened. Him getting shot and killed by the advancing SWAT team is deeply problematic, since no one will ever know what Red did, and they’re not likely to respond well to the sight of all the women with their arms bravely linked. Having everyone get on buses without any idea of where they’re headed leaves things off on an uncertain note, and Floritza being separated after hearing from cheering fans was a particularly sad occurrence. Vinnie running past the barricades to declare his love for Lorna was sweet, and definitely worth getting tackled. Donuts and Pennsatucky seem to have come out ahead in all this, and no one even knows that they’re not accounted for and cuddling up together on the couch. It’s a good thing that Caputo refused to tell them where the pool was when he found out they had been authorized to use deadly force, and though I can’t imagine he’ll still be kept in his job after this, it’s good to know that he’s wholly on the side of the inmates. Who knows what will happen to Linda now that everyone said they worked at MCC so that she would seem crazy. This has been a very strong season, and I’m curious - and a little nervous - to see what comes next.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Danielle Brooks as Tasty

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