Orange is the New Black season 5 ended on another cliffhanger. While this one wasn’t quite so tense and dramatic as the end of season 5, the future of many inmates still hangs in the balance. After a three-day riot and failed negotiations, Litchfield Penitentiary inmates were rounded up and herded onto two buses- all bar 12 inmates, that is. 2 of them (Pensatucky and Chang) escaped through a hole in the fence, while the remaining ten stood hand in hand, waiting for the inevitable arrival of the CERT Team who have been deployed to gather all inmates by any means necessary.
As it stands right now, pretty much all the fan favorites; Suzanne, Taystee, Cindy, Red, Nicky, Frieda, Piper, Alex, Gloria and Blanca, are all waiting for their fate to befall them. Others, such as Sophia and Daya, are elsewhere (the Shu and Max, respectively). Put simply, there have to be repercussions from the riot; consequences not just from the inmate’s behavior, but also from their treatment at the hands of guards- Piscatella’s treatment of Red and Alex in particular. But with inmates seemingly all being separated, and the show renewed for a further 2 seasons, where does Orange is the New Black go for season 6?
In many ways, it would be good to see some of Taystee’s wishes fulfilled; some of the inmates could end up in a minimum security prison with good healthcare, a better education program, and proper, paying jobs. But with nearly all of the inmates complicit in the riot- especially the central core of characters- that’s unlikely to happen. It also, sadly, seems unlikely that Suzanne will get very favorable treatment, and certainly not the mental health assistance she requires. Having spent much of the season being treated badly by others, she desperately needs to be placed somewhere that can help her, but the reality of prison life, is that facilities such as she would need are overcrowded and underfunded. Since OITNB strives to accurately reflect the issues facing female prisoners, it’s more realistic if we see her trying to settle somewhere new, away from the comfort and familiarity of Litchfield and her friends.
Taystee is likely to feel the heat the most, along with Daya, who has already confessed to shooting a guard. Taystee’s tenacity and courage is admirable, but she pushed too far and ended up losing everything, and this could well include the friendship and support of others. As a result, it is likely that season 6 will see her severely punished; possibly down in max with Daya. The same fate might well befall Red; though she spared Piscatella’s life and was the victim of a brutal attack by him, ultimately it’s likely the prison authorities will view her as a troublemaker, and her defiance won’t sit well with them.
But it’s not just the events of season five that have to be dealt with in season six. Given that the whole season took place over just three days, there’s also what happened in season four to be dealt with. Namely, the murder of Aydin, the guard who Alex murdered after he tried to kill her. Though Lolly confessed and is being treated in the psych ward, Alex is the one who actually, finally killed him, and now that his body is discovered, the whole tale is likely to come out once the immediate riot aftermath has been dealt with.
That could well mean separation for the newly engaged Alex and Piper. Piper only has three months of her sentence left, but that seems likely to be increased. Even so, she’s unlikely to be seen as a major security threat, and so while she might be transferred, it’s unlikely to be to a max security prison like Alex. Also heading to max will certainly be Frieda if her penchants for cutting up dead bodies, building survival bunkers, and building weapons is discovered. Meanwhile, it’s more likely that we’ll see Gloria, Cindy, and Blanca heading to a minimum security joint- possibly with Piper.