Orange Is The New Black Season 6 is just weeks away, and I can't contain my excitement. At the end of Season 5, it seemed like things would be changing for Litchfield's inmates — and not in a good way. But before I start speculating about those major cliffhangers, I need a quick refresher. What happened at Litchfield in OITNB Season 5? It's been a long year since Season 5 premiered, so I want to make sure I have all my facts straight before binge watching Season 6.
The events of OITNB Season 5 only last a few days, but hoo boy, do they make an impact. After Poussey is accidentally killed by CO Bayley in Season 4, the inmates riot, and things quickly get out of control. Daya gets ahold of CO Humphrey's gun and shoots him in the leg, and the inmates proceed to hold the other COs hostage. The COs serve as a convenient bargaining chip for Litchfield's inmates, and a small group including Taystee, Black Cindy, Piper, and Janae arrange a meeting with Caputo and Figueroa to negotiate better food, healthcare, and activities for their fellow inmates.
That all sounds great, but this is Litchfield, so you know that there are quite a few dissenting opinions out there. Not everyone agrees with the negotiating tactics, and as a result, a power struggle breaks out among Angie and Leanne, Gloria, and Daya over Humphrey's gun. In this new, guard-less Litchfield, whoever has the gun has the power, and the women will do whatever it takes to get it.
As the riot rages on, the inmates slowly destroy the prison (sometimes purposefully, sometimes not). The commissary is immediately ransacked, the pill dispensary basically becomes a vending machine, and the cafeteria looks like a war zone. But all that is child's play until the Season 5 finale, when the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) storms into Litchfield and begins taking swings at the inmates. Despite being ordered by the Governor to use minimal force, the CERT team is destroying the prison and blindly shooting up the joint — they even kill Piscatella by accident, believing him to be an inmate.
The CERT team brings the inmates outside, but they realize that 10 women are missing: Alex, Piper, Taystee, Nicky, Red, Black Cindy, Frieda, Suzanne, Blanca, and Gloria, the inmates in Frieda's underground pool bunker. In the episode's final few minutes, Caputo tells the CERT team about the bunker, and the chief officer orders his men to capture the inmates using deadly force if necessary. Underground, the women prepare for an invasion, and in the final scene of Season 5, they hold hands as a massive explosion blows the door down.
While fans won't know what happens to the women in the bunker until Season 6 hits Netflix, one thing is clear: Litchfield as we know it is gone. At the end of Season 5, the prisoners are loaded onto buses and taken to a maximum-security prison, so it seems like OITNB will be putting Litchfield in its rear-view mirror.
In order to fully prepare viewers for this major change, Netflix has updated the opening credits for Season 6, and judging by the new images of the prison, the inmates are in for a rough transition.
This new maximum-security prison (or prisons — the Season 5 finale suggested that the women will be split up) looks even more intense than Litchfield, and that was hardly a cake walk. In this new, sinister setting, handcuffs hang from the shower area walls, the bunk beds are stacked all the way to the ceiling to ensure maximum capacity (and minimum comfort), and everything is a stark, minimalist grey. And that's without other inmates. If this new prison looks scary when it's empty, imagine how intimidating it will be when its filled with other inmates.
Pour one out for Litchfield. It looks like I may actually miss you.
Orange Is The New Black Season 6 hits Netflix on Friday, July 27.