Orange Is The New Black Season 7 Review (Series Finale); A Brutal and Beautiful Ending To A Game Changing Show - GMonsterTV

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Orange Is The New Black Season 7 Review (Series Finale); A Brutal and Beautiful Ending To A Game Changing Show

The final season of "Orange Is The New Black" is currently streaming on NetFlix. Over seven years, we've watched the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary deal with the mostly lows (but occasional highs) of prison life. See my previous reviews here 

Sure, over the course of it's run the show suffered from some pacing problems. See season 5 (which focuses on 3 weeks of a prison riot). And yes, "Orange" at times struggled to juggle it's VERY large cast. Despite these issues, "OITNB" was excellent overall and definitely stuck the finale. The last season might be the strongest of the series.    

Season 7 focuses primarily on Polycon Correction's opening an ICE detention center. Polycon is for profit so they intend to make as much money as possible. Doesnt this run contradictory to what the mission of a prison should be? The best way to make a fast buck is to cut all services to prisoners. And we thought the ladies at Litchfield had it bad. The conditions in ICE are brutal. The desperation of the women is palpable (and ripped from the headlines). The tie-in to our ladies is when Red, Gloria, Nicky and Flaca are sent to work as the kitchen crew. There they encounter Blanca (who was released from prison just to end up in a deeper ring of Hell).  

Maritza (Flaca's prison BFF) gets picked up by ICE. Flaca does everything she can to help. She eventually finds out from Maritz'a's mother that she doesnt have a birth certificate because was born in Colombia. She is thrown on a plane and sent to a country where she knows no one and has never visited before. Blanca is in danger of suffering the same fate but manages to follow the lead of a fellow prisoner (Karla) who knows something about the law.  

Tamika Ward (Tastee's old friend) is made warden of Litchfield. She truly cares about the prisoners and institutes several programs including: a GED class, a restorative justice one (lead by ex-warden Caputo) and a chicken coop. We know it wont last long since Linda is only concerned about the bottom line. You would think she might have learned something from being in the prison riot, but nope.  

Piper is out of prison this season and having a hard time adjusting to outside life. She's on probation and struggling to keep a job and patching up relationships. Her father plays a much bigger role this season and gives her a job at his company when she's fired elsewhere. Piper is also struggling because she is "prison married" to Alex (who still has a three year sentence to complete).   

Cindy is also released and has more struggles. Taystee sends a letter to Cindy's daughter saying Cindy was her real mother (and not her sister). Things dont go well after that. Cindy storms out of her mother's house and ends up homeless. "Orange' shows how difficult it is for ex-cons to get back on their feet. It seems the system is stacked to send them directly back to prison.  

Both Piper and Alex are tempted by other relationships. Piper meets someone during a retreat. Zelda works for a nonprofit and seems to be the perfect woman. Only problem is of course that she's not Alex. Meanwhile Alex has a reluctant fling with CO McCullough (who turns out to be WAY crazy). I wish they had done more with her character but there was no time.   

Last season a jury convicted of Piscatella's death during the riot. Cindy and Suzanne knew the truth but wouldn't tell. Taystee is giving life in prison and loses her will to live. She is briefly distracted when she starts helping Pennatucky and a few others study for the GED. You'll just have to watch the rest to see what happens. I've said it before but Danielle Brooks should get ALL the awards for her portrayal of Taystee. She brings it in each and every scene. When Taystee is in pain, we are all in pain. 

In another heartbreaking turn of events, Red begins suffering from dementia after a stay in the SHU. She cant remember how to cook or pretty much anything about her life. This highlights yet another IRL issue. What happens to prisoners with chronic medical conditions? It seems they get little to no treatment. 

When we first met Daya she was a young relatively innocent and kind person who liked to draw. That person seems to be gone. Daya is now a prison drug kingpin. Her mother Aleida is out of jail and living with a guard at the beginning of the season. They are smuggling drugs into Daya. But Aleida goes bat shit crazy on her younger daughter's boyfriend. She ends up back in jail AGAIN. There she starts conflicting with Daya. 
Aleida has delusions that all the mistakes she make in her life were in an effort to help her kids. Daya thinks otherwise. Will they ever patch up their relationship? It's not looking too good. 

Caputo and Fig (both ex wardens) try to make a go of their relationship. They first try artificial insemination but later settle on adoption. They are an odd couple but somehow it still works. Plus who else but them could understand all the craziness that their jobs entail? 

Nicky has a brief relationship with a woman named Shani. She is from Egypt.We eventually learn that she is the victim of female circumcision. This makes it difficult for her to enjoy sex or even to pee without pain. Shani is sent back to Egypt where she will most likely be killed for being gay. She never even go to say goodbye to Nicky.  

Suzanne doesnt get a ton to do this season. She tries to get Cindy and Taystee to talk to each other without success. She becomes involved in the prison's chicken project. Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) remains one of my all time favorites. There is something entirely unique and lovely about the character. 

We see another flashback to Lorna's previous life. Her crazy behavior gets two people killed. Lorna tells Nicky (and anyone else who will listen) about every detail of her infant son's life. Remember she gave birth last season and the child was living with his father Vinny. What we didnt realize is that he died of pneumonia. Morella refuses to be believe this. She posts pictures of other babies on Instagram etc. Vinny visits Nicky to tell her the truth. I'm not even sure Nicky can get through to her. 

In the end, Red is in "Florida" (its the block for women with mental issues). Thanks to her dementia, she alternately befriends and attacks Freida. Nicky is the head of the kitchen and default mother to all the younger/newer prisoners. Flaca tries to continue Gloria's work of helping the immigrants get legal representation. Gloria is FINALLY at home with her family. Red has taken to mothering Lorna. Daya and her mom are literally at each other's throats. Ruiz has turned over a new leaf. She even reads a childrens book with her baby, boyfriend and "New Maria". Taystee has found a renewed purpose in life. She is working on microloans (along with support from Judy King) to give prisoners a bit of help once they are leased. It is called the "Poussey Washington Fund" in honor of her friend that was killed several seasons earlier. And Piper (who was our main character back in episode 1) has thrown caution to the wind and followed  Alex to Ohio (she is there with everyone else we havent seen since the riots). I'm not sure this is the wisest decision but these ladies are not known for making the best decisions. Hopefully they'll at least be able to stay out of jail.    

Grade: 5 Monsters (out of 5). An excellent wrap up for a show I've been watching for seven season. It's easy to forget how groundbreaking "OITNB" was during it's premiere back in 2013. It was one of the first bingeable shows and brought tons of subscribers to NetFlix as a result. It focused primary on woman. The cast was made up mainly of women of color. Women of all different shapes, sizes, ages and orientations were represented. It was one of the first shows to feature a trans woman (Laverne Cox) in a leading role. 

"Orange" always had a lot of heart-- even when the plot dragged. The final scene was both brutal and beautiful in it's depiction of ICE detainees. Those poor women have no way out and no hope for the future. "OITNB's" latest legacy may be in humanizing the women it depicted and making audiences more sympathetic to their cause. A few bad decisions and there but the grace of God go I.   

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September 11, 2019

Orange Is The New Black Season 7 Review (Series Finale); A Brutal and Beautiful Ending To A Game Changing Show Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 7:49 PM Rating: 5 The final season of "Orange Is The New Black" is currently streaming on NetFlix. Over seven years, we've watched the inmat...

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