Friday, September 18, 2020

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

Orange is the New Black: Season 7, Episode 13 “Here’s Where We Get Off”

Ninety-one episodes is not a short run for any show, but I still can’t help feeling that there’s still so much story here left to tell. While I wasn’t overly fond of the post-riot season, I thought the rest of this show was spectacular, deftly balancing drama and comedy to create a totally watchable and compelling universe, one that wasn’t always pleasant and certainly never straightforward. A ninety-minute finale was a great opportunity to close some of the arcs and revisit past characters without completely ending everything, since, as this show’s theme says, there’s always a second time around and things could be different. Featuring a tribute to Pennsatucky was powerful, especially with Dixon’s participation, and I’m glad that the character got a full makeover as the show went on. It was also affirming to see Taystee realize that she can do something positive with her life, and all she needed to do in order to make her program deals a reality was to get through to Judy King. Cindy figured out what she needed and how she could make the most of her situation too, and it was good to see that. Red seems happy in Florida even if her memory is fading, and Nicky has the chance to take care of young people who remind her of herself. It was most exciting to see Flaca determined to continue Gloria’s work, and finally Luschek took the blame for something, which in turn enabled Gloria to be released. Tamika getting fired by Linda and replaced by Hellman was not a positive development, but not everything works out, which I think is one of the messages of this show. Fig and Caputo found someone they thought could be the perfect child for them to adopt, but we don’t know what will happen with that. I also like that, after Larry gave Piper his take on things, she went to see Alex and they broke up, but the final shot was them seeing each other and smiling. The focus on immigration detention this center was powerful, and even though Blanca was freed and reunited with Diablo, they won’t be able to make the life they had in America. This show has been great entertainment and great drama, and I’ll appreciate the opportunity to recommend it to others in the future.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: A-
Season MVP: Taryn Manning as Pennsatucky
Season grade: A-
Series MVP: Danielle Brooks as Taystee
Best Season: Season 3 Best Episode: “We Have Manners. We’re Polite

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