Netflix has released the full trailer for Orange is the New Black season 6, and it picks up shortly after the events of season 5 seemingly changed everything. The previous season was something of a departure for the long-running series, as the women of Litchfield Penitentiary went into full revolt, kicking off a season-long riot that did not end well for the inmates. The aftermath of that riot will be the crux of the new season, as characters like Suzanne (Uzo Aduba), Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Gloria (Selenis Leyva), and, yes, even Piper (Taylor Schilling) have to contend with a “new world” of maximum security.
To see the series delve right into the consequences of the riot, which was sparked, to a large degree, by the death of Poussey (Samira Wiley), and the brutality and incompetence of the new guards brought in by the prison’s new owners, is another interesting step for the series to take. After all, though it doesn’t necessarily need to be, the series is still partially about Piper Chapman’s time in prison, which means it has to find new ways to stretch the story and decompress the narrative so that the sixth and the already ordered seventh seasons still feel propulsive, even though the actual amount of time that’s passed since Piper was placed in Litchfield has been relatively short.
That’s particularly interesting as series creator and executive producer Jenji Kohan is typically known for moving through plot at an impressive clip, an attribute that helps Orange is the New Black avoid some of the pitfalls of other bingeable programs on the streaming service. And from what’s being shown in the new trailer, it looks as though the shake-up of the status quo will make for some interesting new avenues to explore as a number of new conflicts emerge.
Partially shifting the series’ focus to maximum security means a new look at the world behind bars, and likely a new opportunity for Kohan and her writers to explore the various institutional and bureaucratic failings of correctional institutions that leads to a dehumanization of inmates rather than rehabilitation. The presence of presumably more violent offenders makes for a compelling dynamic for the show to explore, as Suzanne and more are put into a potentially dangerous situation as the investigation into the riot unfolds.
Despite what looks like a more threatening position for the women moved to maximum security, there’s still plenty of comedy for those who binge the series looking for a little levity. As the fallout from season 5’s storyline continues, it’ll be interesting to see how the series walks the line between comedy and drama.
Orange is the New Black season 6 will stream on Friday, July 27 on Netflix.