Monday, July 30, 2018

REVIEW: Netflix's 'Orange Is the New Black' - Season 6

Netflix's Orange Is the New Black returned for its 13-episode sixth season on Friday, July 27. This post will feature brief reviews of each episode of the season.

The drama stars Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Jackie Cruz, Laura Gómez, Selenis Leyva, Taryn Manning, Adrienne C. Moore, Matt Peters, Jessica Pimentel, Dascha Polanco, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Nick Sandow, Dale Soules, Yael Stone, Kate Mulgrew and Laura Prepon.

601. "Who Knows Better Than I"
Written by Jenji Kohan and directed by Michael Trim

Orange Is the New Black has once again decided to change up its formula and setting for its sixth season. That was a decision that had pros and cons in the fifth season. Yes, it was powerful to stay in the moment of the riot at Litchfield. But the fifth season ultimately suffered too much from streaming drift and being too unclear what the purpose of it all was. And now, the sixth season has begun and shown the true consequences of the riot. Nothing has changed. Even more damaging though, there is no convenient or easy excuse for the guards' behavior. For several seasons now, the audience has been conditioned to see the failings of the private prison complex and the need to cut corners in order to save money. That led to the abuse of the women in Litchfield that ultimately exploded with Poussey's death and the riot. But now, several characters integral to the riot have been sent to Max and it's just understood that this is the way that the guards act. These aren't individuals without training. They just abuse their power this way because it's the way they've been conditioned to treat the most dangerous of inmates. It's horrifying to watch. That's especially true considering the new narrative spine of the season as the outside world tries to get some understanding of what happened during the riot and the many conflicting stories. As such, it's very engaging to start the season on the character who has the worst grip on her new reality. Suzanne is off her meds and hallucinating. She's so confused by all of the stories being told. She doesn't know what to do or even what to believe as real. That's what allows her coping mechanisms to be so powerful. Her seeing her mother is enough to remind her the horror of being sent off to the psych ward if she doesn't say the right things. Her remembering her friendship with Cindy is enough to know that she must stick to a specific story. Sure, it's crazy that Suzanne and Cindy are sent to Max after the riot guards find them in a closet together far removed from the chaos at the pool. But it just seems like a simple solution for the problem that also keeps them in close proximity with the other characters of importance in this arc. Of course, there's the full expectation that the characters not seen in this premiere will make their way back to the show either through the outside world or in different prisons. But that also runs the risk of diluting the power of being in this new environment. Orange Is the New Black is no longer home. And that's absolutely daunting and scary to think about - especially as seen through Suzanne's eyes. B+

602. "Sh*tstorm Coming"
Written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Mark A. Burley

Whose stories are worth telling in this season? That is turning out to be such a central question that will ultimately dictate how well this particular story arc plays out. It's understandable that the creative team has this expansive cast whom they keep wanting to write good material for. And yes, Caputo could ultimately play a key role in the story as he tries to regain his job as the warden of the prison. But there is just no reason to be spending so much time on Caputo in his depression as well as Coates and Dixon's road trip with Pennsatucky hiding in the truck. The latter one is especially difficult to accept because there's still no indication of whether the show wants the audience to accept them as a couple or be absolutely horrified that this pattern of abuse is allowed to go on and on. All of this cuts the tension of the main story at max considerably. There is a strong hook to this season with the investigation trying to get a handle on what happened during the riot in the hopes of adding even more time to the sentences of some inmates. Sure, it's absolutely arbitrary that they want two life sentences and three sentences for ten years. It's the investigation already making up their minds about what the best optics will be for the overall story to the public. They want to assure everyone that there will be consequences for the riot and that they will happen swiftly. They need to do so because two guards were killed. And yet, Daya wasn't responsible for killing Humphrey even though she has accepted a plea saying as much. Meanwhile, the inmates are bound to deal with the consequences of Piscatella's death simply because of the coverup by the riot squad that came in to clean up the mess. That's going to cause the most issues for Taystee and Cindy. Right now, Cindy is wrestling with the fact that she wants to protect her friends while also needing to ensure that she doesn't get any more added time. She doesn't know what happened to Suzanne. She wants to fight alongside Taystee. And yet, Taystee is withdrawn from the world not being able to share her side of the story. That means the investigators get the claims that she was the one pointing the gun at Piscatella which will only further damn her in this life because they already want her to be punished for being the face of the riot. That's so absolutely heartbreaking. But the show breaks up too much of its time with this story to focus on things that simply don't matter in the grand scheme of things. C+

603. "Look Out for Number One"
Written by Hilary Weisman Graham and directed by Erin Feeley

No one in the audience probably wants to watch the inmates of Litchfield turn against each other in order to avoid the maximum punishment that is coming from the riot. And yet, that's the focus of the start of the season because it highlights the tragedy of all of this. Taystee has remained detached from the story for a little bit which is only building to the inevitable that she will take the blame for the deaths and the riots. Meanwhile, Red understands that Piscatella was killed and the investigation is targeting the inmates as responsible. But she is unable to get that information to everyone in time to ensure they go into the interviews well informed and capable of helping each other. Piper is so completely distracted by thoughts of Alex and what has happened to her. She doesn't comprehend just how damaging her vague statements are being at the moment. It's unintentional on her part while still feeding into her selfish and delusional nature. Those selfish impulses are the key connection amongst the characters right now too. The second episode showed that Cindy was torn about needing to turn on Taystee in order to secure her own freedom. She is still struggling with that even though she has now been moved to a general population block. Meanwhile, the flashbacks here showcase that turning on friends is actually a pattern for Frieda. She is always going to be looking out for herself first. And yet, that behavior is bound to have consequences for her. She is part of the reason why the animosity between the C and D blocks is so strong in the present day. She fooled everyone just so she could move up the hill to Litchfield for her sentence. That's why she was willing to kill herself upon return to max. And now, she turns on Red and Taystee to once again take the blame off of herself. Once again, she finds herself rewarded for that behavior with a move to the cushy B block which seems to exist outside of all of the other struggles and problems currently going on in max. Of course, she probably won't be protected there for long because the show keeps finding ways for the characters to interact. But it should also be fascinating to see what the consequences will be as this season plays out. Will the investigation continue being able to go along as it has been so far? Or will something surprising happen that will allow the inmates to actually get the truth out? Right now, it seems like the system is too rigged against them. That makes this an epic tragedy that is bound to have personal repercussions very quickly that will change the characters' lives. B

604. "I'm the Talking Ass"
Written by Tami Sagher and directed by Phil Abraham

There was never any reason to fear that Alex was dead offscreen. It was all just a plot point in order to get Piper into a false sense of mourning that she makes a mistake in her interrogation. As such, it's important for it to dawn on her now the trouble she has created for Red simply because she was too distracted. That's a luxury that she was afforded as well because no one was really interested in placing any blame on her for the riot. That's fascinating and definitely speaks to the privilege she experiences in this environment. She is still treated better than Red, Nicky, Taystee and Maria. She is trusted completely even though it's already clear that Badison is taking advantage of her to help Carol get to Frieda again. Moreover, it seems like this is a pivotal episode that takes the majority of the characters out of administrative segregation. Only Red, Taystee and Flaca remain there. The first two understand that they are being held there because they are the ones the investigators are targeting with the most damaging charges. Taystee didn't even know what was going on until she walked into the room with her public defender. But her fate was already sealed in that moment with her just now getting her passion and fight going again. She wants to believe that she inspired change. But at the end of the day, she may have just encouraged more rioting while the one person she hopes will help her out is Caputo and who may not be able to do anything. There is going to be some kind of change to the status quo in order to keep this main story interesting for both Red and Taystee. That seems inevitable but it's also very exciting because the show is still just examining the surface of the repercussions from the riot. There is still plenty of time to analyze the trauma that comes from enduring such an event. Of course, that's what makes things awkward when the episode spends so much time with Pennsatucky, Coates and Dixon on the road. That story is actively bad and offensive because the show keeps trying to sell it as something sweet and even comical when it is actually so abusive and manipulative. Hopefully, it won't be too long before Pennsatucky is found. But the longer the show waits, the more this story has the potential to sink the entire season. B-

605. "Mischief Mischief"
Written by Anthony Natoli and directed by Andrew McCarthy

This season has stood out so far because it's been trying to move on past the riot by showing that the status quo could never be the same again for the characters. And yet, it still wants to be comforting to the audience by producing stories that could have happened at any other point in the show's run. All of the stuff with mischief night isn't inherently a part of being in max. It's a story that could have happened at any point on the show really. As such, it's used to show the difference in tension amongst the two locations. In max, there is the fear that any wrong move has the potential to start a full-blown war between the various blocks. Not even Frieda feels safe anymore in Florida because she discovers shivs under the table and decides to befriend Suzanne. But all of this continues to just be rising action as the show prepares for whatever comes next following the riot. The characters are in this new environment and dealing with new dilemmas and long-standing feuds. Sides are being drawn based on whomever landed in C and D block. Those divisions are important. But it's still mostly interesting to know that the characters who served in Litchfield together are still mostly defined by their past relationships even as Red points out that prison is always going to be a lonely existence despite the friends and family one makes there. But it's also fascinating to see how difficult it is for some characters to move past the riot. Maria wants to join a side in order to feel some sense of protection here. She wants to start living the next ten years of her life. But instead, she is only ostracized more by both the guards and the inmates. She is becoming an easy target for scorn because of the knowledge she freed the guards during the riot. Meanwhile, McCullough is trying to face her fears of the trauma inflicted on her by the riot. She does feel momentary satisfaction in lording her power over Maria. But she is still in that bathroom putting out cigarettes on her leg. That's PTSD that won't be healthy at all moving forward. And finally, the complexities of power are finally put to an end between Pennsatucky and Coates. It happens way too late to have any kind of importance or meaning. But it also signals that the show may be coming together more fully in the next stretch of the season. Plus, it is powerful to see Pennsatucky make the fire that Coates couldn't in her final moment with him. B-

606. "State of the Uterus"
Written by Merritt Tierce and directed by Constance Makris

The balance of this season has been tricky because the show has needed to ensure consequences to long-simmering conflicts and stories in addition to introducing a whole new set of characters and their dynamics. The feud between Carol and Barbara has definitely been overwhelming to the time in max so far - with Badison and Daddy as their lieutenants. As such, it's important for the audience to get a better understanding of those characters in order to make the inevitable tragedy feel earned. Up until this point, Daddy has just been a creepy presence around Daya pushing her to become addicted to oxy. And now, she is dealing with the consequences of blowing up her own supply route with the rat stunt. Things are becoming more intense and perilous for her. It's understandable why she is depressed in the shower. But it's still difficult to feel sympathy for her. She is going to be put through the ringer. But this episode really doesn't offer any new insight into her as a character. The flashbacks mostly just prove that she has always been this specific person. She has always been pimping out girls for her own selfish agenda. She still took money even after one of her own was killed. As such, she isn't going to be loyal to Daya which only adds to the sense of tragedy of the piece. But again, it's just much easier to get invested in some of the other stories happening on the show - like the visits to the gynecologist forcing realizations on Gloria and Blanca. Plus, it's great to get an update on Sophia even though it's just random to see her pop up waiting in line and hanging out with Gloria again. The confined spaces this season make it much more difficult for some characters to just come in and out of the narrative at random. There's power in knowing where people are and where they stand in this life. It's moving when both Red and Taystee are finally released to the general population. Sure, they've landed on opposite sides of the grand conflict. But they have rejoined the masses knowing that their friends have turned on them and that they are choosing to fight in different ways. That is inherently compelling even though it still seems incredibly unlikely that Taystee will ever find the justice she is looking for. B-

607. "Changing Winds"
Written by Heather Jeng Bladt and directed by Andrew McCarthy

Piper is absolutely delusional if she believes writing a memoir or re-establishing a kickball game will be enough to enact prison reform and settle tensions on the inside. It highlights her fundamental lack of understanding. She still has privilege in this environment because she hasn't had a whole lot of pressure put on her to join a gang or testify against one of her friends. She doesn't fully understand how this world and the system works. As such, it's selfish and narcissistic for her to be doing all of this. And yet, it's the catalyst for so much action. Sure, it seems unlikely that a kickball game will start based on the latest fight that breaks out between Barbara and Carol's warring factions. But that is all because of the suspension of the drug trade which has only made more people more dangerous and desperate. Sure, the show is putting a lot of that narrative weight on Daya. She's the one caught up in the opioid crisis and seducing Daddy in order to avoid dealing with any of the consequences. But the consequences are still looming on the horizon. That's the most effective tension currently happening on the show. At this point in the season, it's still surprising to see how much rising action there still is. Plus, the show is still just barely examining the new characters. The flashbacks should be utilized in order to offer the audience a different perspective of the characters as we see them in prison. But this season, it seems clear that the women serving in max have always been the personalities they are in the present day. Daddy was a pimp everywhere in her life. And now, Badison has proven to always be desperate for approval and not smart with thinking through the repercussions of her actions. She continues to want to prove her worth to Carol who has shut her out. But that still ends with her getting shanked in the back and needing to rely on Alex in order to get her smuggling network started. This could be an exciting way to bring Alex more into the drama as well and not just the domestic bliss with Piper. But again, it's just more entertaining to watch as the show sets up the conflict between Taystee, Cindy and Suzanne for whatever is bound to happen during the big trial regarding Piscatella's murder. B

608. "Gordons"
Written by Vera Santamaria and directed by Sian Heder

It's been a long time since the show has asked the audience to be sympathetic to the guards. Even at their absolute best, they were a part of a corrupt system that encouraged the inmates to act like animals in order to survive. At their worst, they are corrupt and abusive monsters who force the inmates to endure the most vicious horrors during their sentences. Things are definitely complex between Taystee and Tamika. First of all, it's been incredulous for this entire season that one of the new guards happens to be an old co-worker of Taystee's. It's a story that highlights how one was able to get her life together and the other wasn't. But the script is also flipped here with Taystee actually rallying around her cause while Tamika has no awareness of her own complicity in the mistreatment of the inmates. Tamika sees herself as one of the good ones. And yes, she hasn't abused her power at all this season. But she hasn't put herself in a situation to speak out against her co-workers who are hurting the inmates and using them for their own personal amusement. Instead, she's just off doing her own thing and believes she needs to take away all of Taystee's mail just in order to put her in her place once more. It's an action out of scorn and need to have control. That's the overwhelming theme at this stage of the season as well. Everyone is just trying to find the one thing they can focus on in order to survive in max. Piper needs to get kickball, Gloria needs Luschek's rec class, Nicky has to help Blanca get pregnant, Red needs to make Frieda's life considerably worse, etc. All of these are such varied stories. It shows how some of the inmates are trying to pass the final days of their sentences because they escaped the riot without getting any additional time. Others highlight how the season is progressing towards a big conflict. Red is teaming up with Carol because she wants to hurt Frieda for betraying her. Piper is able to use her privilege in order to manipulate Luschek into allowing her request for kickball. And then, there is Taystee who is actually using her status as the face of a movement well. She is moving the conversation forward even though she too is going to face even more injustices this season. B

609. "Break the String"
Written by Kirsa Rein and directed by Nick Sandow

It definitely feels a little too late in the season to just now be getting a proper introduction to Barb as a character. And yet, it also makes sense why the show kept her sidelined for so long. The feud between Barb and Carol is essentially the story of two sisters who will spend the rest of their lives in max. They are both committed to the war between them. But Carol copes by controlling her block while Barb copes by surrendering to drugs. It's very fascinating watching Nicky help Barb through her latest stint in medical. It's a former addict helping a current one with the realization that one has to remain present in her life even if it is the depressing reality of prison. This is all Barb has to look forward to for the rest of her life. And yet, big things are happening in D block that are bound to make her a much more active character moving forward. Piper is able to bring kickball back after all. That always felt inevitable. But the show does something very interesting in revisiting her dynamic with Maria. That shows that the history of these characters is so important. Not everything is simply a consequence of the riot or being moved to max. Piper and Maria went to war in the fourth season. Only now is Maria starting to recognize her role in the cycle of violence perpetrated in prison. She has found some clarity but is still filled with remorse and willing to sign up just to try to mend fences with Piper. It's her hopefully finding some redemption after making several bad decisions. Moreover, Taystee's trial is moving at a consistent pace even though it really should have more priority and urgency for the season. It really should be the main story that everything else revolves around. Of course, it highlights how it's just one continuing story from the riot and not everyone can get caught up in it. But it's still so personal to see the consequences that Cindy is dealing with because she is lying to her best friend. She is torn up about it but still choosing to avoid her own reality. She has done that for so long with her daughter. It's somewhat cathartic in the moment to tell Taystee about her daughter. But it's not the secret that is at the heart of this tension and pain either. So, the relief experienced by her isn't going to last for very long. But it also highlights her reckoning with her past and realizing that she too can't keep these patterns and destructive habits going for too much longer - even though the temptation is very real as evidenced by Aleida's own struggles to make it in post-prison life. B

610. "Chocolate Chip Nookie"
Written by Carolina Paiz and directed by Ludovic Littee

This season needed to provide more depth and context for the ongoing feud between Carol and Barb. As such, it was inevitable that they would be getting a flashback story. And yet, the show has really stopped using that device in order to inform the audience about something new and meaningful about the characters. This episode basically just points out that Carol and Barb are nothing more than bickering siblings. They are murderous as well and deserve their respective life sentences. But the show doesn't offer a whole lot of context for them wanting to kill their younger sister or the feud that has fueled them for the next thirty years. Of course, they are still very dangerous in the present because the main characters are now trapped in their war. Red is fully supportive of Carol's beliefs. She is now a loyal follower because she feels betrayed by the family who supported her for so many seasons. Meanwhile, Nicky understands the horror that comes from helping Barb get sober. She sees that it was the push necessary to further drive this conflict further. She is horrified by the prospects of this conflict because she has such love and respect for Red. She doesn't want to lose her because of this petty squabble between the blocks. She's tried doing the right thing but it has only allowed for the tension to build more. Everything is bound to explode at the kickball game which is still yet to occur. Maria's team seems well-trained and conditioned while Piper's is a mess because Badison is vying for control and humiliation. But it also allows Pennsatucky and Suzanne to come more fully into the narrative as well. They've been sidelined in Florida. And now, it's so moving listening to Suzanne talk about the disorientating nature of this new reality in prison. She is so confused about what to believe or how to act. She wants to believe that no one is trying to kill her despite the animosity amongst the blocks. But she's susceptible to Frieda's suggestions, which she is doing purely out of self interest. Seeing Frieda confess to that is significant because it further forges this bond between them. It should be amusing to see if Suzanne is capable of being a good enough mole for Frieda or if this conflict is going to build up further before a complete explosion. At least, this main story has the momentum to carry things forward - unlike a couple of other plots which seem pretty scattered and forced with the pacing. B

611. "Well This Took a Dark Turn"
Written by Anthony Natoli and directed by Laura Prepon

It has absolutely taken too long for the show to truly get going somewhere interesting this season. The individual stories aren't inherently bad either. The pacing and structuring of them has been the problem. It's harder to feel invested in the Barb-Carol conflict because Taystee's trial has looming consequences from multiple seasons of buildup. It's difficult to be invested in Sophia's decision here because she has barely been seen at all in the past two seasons. Sophia's story is frustrating because it's the show forcing the audience to remember the horrors that occurred to her a couple years ago. But the audience really shouldn't be mad or angry about her decision either. Caputo is just approaching her in order to help Taystee. She is right to say that he was complicit in the abuse of the system. It's more sustainable for her family if she takes this settlement and the promise of early release. But again, it's hard to know if that will actually happen because the show hasn't wanted the audience to care about Sophia or transgender inmates in a long time. She just hasn't been visible. Taystee's trial hasn't really been seen either. It's a big deal when the weight of Cindy's past decision comes back to haunt her as she's betraying her best friend on the stand. It's heartbreaking because the audience understands the relationship between them. But we walk away with no grand understanding of this case. We don't know the respective strategies or what outcome we should be expecting besides whatever Taystee deems to be justice. The purpose of the story is getting lost because the show has been distracted with other endeavors. But again, things are still incredibly tense with Carol and Barb especially when Red and Nicky are brought into the mix. And after fully expecting the kickball game to be the breakdown of this war, it is genuinely surprising that it will be determined because of the guards' inmate lottery. That betting on human lives is so despicable but is really coming to define so many actions and why certain behaviors are allowed in this environment. The guards don't allow kickball to be cancelled despite Badison's attempts. Hopper is willing to start running drugs with Aleida just because he needs excitement in his life. The attack in the salon doesn't happen solely because of the one guard having moral objections to the lottery being present. It's all very delicate and intense especially as Nicky is trying to explain her way out of saving Carol and Red. But it all ends with the tense moment of Carol and Barb being put in the same cell together which isn't as inherently dramatic and interesting as some of the other things happening this season. It's still an unexpected climax though that will shake up numerous plots. B+

612. "Double Trouble"
Written by Hilary Weisman Graham and directed by Clark Johnson

The dehumanization of the inmates and the entire system frankly has been one of the most potent themes explored across the entire series. So often, the women locked up are reduced down to nothing more than animals or numbers. MCC is continuing to disrupt the process by making each inmate just a simple figure on a spreadsheet. It's a late in the season development that teases that some characters are about to make early release. But that also props up a system that supports long-term inmates who are combative and thus easy to continue billing. It's not about rehabilitation at all. It's all about keeping as many people in the prison as possible. The system just sees now as a good time to cycle out the people who are too good. At first, this could seem like nothing more than a late-in-the-season twist that will surely complicate things as the blocks prepare for war. But it also highlights the many different agendas currently working amongst the expansive ensemble. So many plans are put into motion and they disrupt each other because no one outside of the audience has the full scope of what is going on this season. Yes, the show definitely had some pacing problems and not everything feels earned in this moment. But it's still incredibly intense to watch as Piper and Alex make their choices in regards to dealing with Badison. Piper's plan only works out because Hopper doesn't want her working against him and compromising his new drug trade with Aleida. And Alex sacrifices herself and makes a pledge to a woman who is sending her troops to war. This entire season has been building up the conflict between Carol and Barb. It is lackluster that nothing happens after Ginger forces them into a cell together. That highlights how it would just be too simple for the two of them to kill each other. They need to make people pay and hurt even though they are blinded by the family squabbling. They are blinded by that rage. That's fueling them just like it is fueling so many other characters. It's so powerful watching McCullough talk about the unhealthy rage she feels towards the inmates for what they did to her and the empathy she has for them as human beings who just want to play kickball. That is literally tearing her apart and forces Tamika to actually step up and be there for Taystee as she takes the stand. Yes, everything is probably coming together a little too easily for Taystee as the show has no real sense of the stakes with the trial. But it's still so passionate watching her talk about the justice she wanted to find in the riot. She still may not ultimately get it. In fact, this could be a very dangerous and lethal end to the season. But this episode puts in the work to tie everything together so that many characters are desperate and making some decisions that could lead to a high casualty count because that's the environment that the guards are creating in max. A-

613. "Be Free"
Written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Nick Sandow

Overall, this was a consistent if not too notable season for Orange Is the New Black. Yes, a lot of big things happened. The setting changed. Things became more intense amongst the inmates especially in the context of the war amongst the blocks. But it also didn't have the same highs and lows of past seasons. It was straight down the middle. Of course, that is frustrating. The show has proven how great it is capable of being. The biggest mistake of the year was probably in prioritizing Piper over Taystee. Piper's story is still very important. The show continues to flesh out how her privilege has always allowed her to have a different experience in prison. She is allowed to romanticize her final moments in this place thanks to her wedding to Alex and seeing the kickball game go so well. She believes she has left this place better than when she first stepped foot into Litchfield. Of course, she has that rush of emotion not knowing just how close everything came to being completely disastrous. Alex, Maria and Nicky are the reasons why the kickball game goes so well. They are the ones who are able to understand and argue that this isn't a war they should be fighting. It should be left alone to Carol and Barb because they are the ones with the vendetta. It's such a silly reason for the two of them to be fighting for thirty years too. The show confirms to the audience that both of them are in the wrong and their horrible impulses lead to so much chaos and destruction during their time in prison. There is the hope that things will improve now that these leaders have been eliminated. There is the joy that comes from seeing a game of kickball being enjoyed as an actual sport and not fear of what could have been. But drugs and contraband are still going to be flowing throughout the prison. Deals have been made with Alex and Badison likely butting heads and Aleida deciding she needs to lose one child in order to protect the others from the horrible system. All of this is going to remain complicated. There is the bliss that comes from momentary happiness. It's exciting to see Piper and Sophia get to reunite with their families. But then, there is the utter heartbreak that comes from learning that Blanca has been shipped off to ICE while Taystee has been found guilty of murder. It's the latter one that is the most depressing because the show refused to give enough context to the trial. The finale depicts the closing argument that seals Taystee's fate without showing her own lawyer putting on a defense. The outcome was inevitable from that moment. Caputo wasn't able to have his white savior moment. But he is still given compassion and peace through his romance with Fig. Meanwhile, Taystee is shipped back to max where she will probably live for the rest of her life. That's so depressing and heartbreaking. Danielle Brooks is so devastating with her performance here. It's so meaningful to watch. There is the hope that the corruption of this case will continue and the conditions for the inmates will improve. But after six seasons, there's also the inevitable sense that there is nothing that one individual can do to make things better. So when Piper is asked what she's going to do next, it's wise for the show to leave it unclear because it allows the moment to be about hope instead of her own privilege in believing she did something good when so much bad was happening at the same time. A-