Over the course of its seven seasons, Orange is the New Black has done an unparalleled job of building out a large ensemble cast of nuanced characters. A cursory count reveals there were more than 65 named characters with substantial storylines throughout the course of the series. It would have been impossible for the show to give every single character a proper goodbye, but it actually comes pretty close. The last few minutes of the series finale offered audiences a peek at the fates of a bunch of characters, and it made for an emotional gut punch of an ending. The Orange is the New Black Season 7 montage will make you sob, and it will certainly satisfy the most dedicated fans. Warning: The following posts contains spoilers for Orange is the New Black Season 7.
The final Orange is the New Black montage began with Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) watching the guards dismantle her chicken coop and start to set the prison's chickens free. "I never prepared them for life on the outside," Suzanne cried out. She was talking about the chickens, but she could have easily been talking about all the women of Litchfield Penitentiary. If there's one thing Orange is the New Black has taught audiences, it's that people are never fully ready for what comes next. Pretty much everyone just figures out life as they go, whether that's in prison or in the outside world, and that's what audiences got to see in the final Season 7 montage.
The scenes showed many Orange is the New Black characters evolving. Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), was shown running the detention center kitchen while barking the same orders, offering the same motherly advice, and even wearing the same red lipstick her mentor Red (Kate Mulgrew) once did. After months of being detained by ICE, Blanca (Laura Gómez) was freed and reunited with her boyfriend Diablo (Miguel Izaguirre), while Flaca (Jackie Cruz) promised to help immigrant detainees just like Gloria (Selenis Leyva) did before her. And speaking of Gloria, audiences got to see her finally reunited with her children at home. In an especially bittersweet moment, Red was shown comforting Lorna (Yael Stone) in a cell block for elderly inmates and people with mental health concerns, following the revelation that Red had developed early-onset dementia and Lorna was in severe denial of the death of her baby.
Over at a new prison in Ohio, Alex (Laura Prepon) joined a whole bunch of characters fans haven't seen in multiple seasons, including Boo (Lea DeLaria), Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman), Nora (Annie Golden), and Gina (Abigail Savage). In the montage, a new inmate joined them at a table, and Yoga Jones gave her the same speech she gave Piper in the very first episode of the series. If that's not enough to make you cry, then you might want to check up on your tear ducts.
The Ohio prison also offered a touching look at characters including SoSo (Kimiko Glenn), Angie (Julie Lake), Leanne (Emma Myles), Janae (Vicky Jeudy), and Alison (Amanda Stephen). Fans didn't get to see much of them, but they got just enough to know they're doing all right with the rest of their time.
One of the most uplifting final scenes was when audiences got to see Taystee (Danielle Brooks) teaching a group of soon-to-be-released inmates about life after prison. It's revealed she started the Poussey Washington Fund to help former inmates in her late friend's honor, and audiences got the sense she found purpose in her life sentence.
In the last moments of the series, Piper (Taylor Schilling) drove to visit Alex. As she did, her voiceover repeated lines she said in the series' first episode. Piper said she loves "getting clean," and the final montage gives the sense that many of the characters are on their way to building a clean slate.
Season 7 of Orange is the New Black is streaming on Netflix now.