Thursday, June 22, 2017

TV Show Review: Orange is the New Black (Season 5)

Leitchfield correctional facility experiences a riot and total takeover in the fifth season of this funny and moving Netflix show. When Daya (Dascha Polanco) picks up the gun and shoots a guard, it leads to the whole prison thinking there is a mass shooting going on. The guards try to find out what is going on but end up hostages held by the prisoners. The death of Poussey led Taystee (Danielle Brooks) to rally the others to step up for justice. Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) also steps up to lead the prisoners, after rough treatment and profiling from the guards. This highly entertaining season takes place of the three days following these actions as the women take over and make demands to improve their lives imprisoned within Leitchfield.

The format of flashing back on each character continues as they take the time to focus on various prisoners and possibly revealing how they ended up in prison. Red (Kate Mulgrew) conspires to lure in the ruthless guard Piscatella (Brad William Henke) in the present while they show her life in Russia before immigrating to America in the past. We also get a look at Piscatella previous past of torture in a male prison. Tayste, Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore), and Janae (Vicky Jeudy) work to negotiate changing the prison and satisfying their demands with Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow). The addicts Leanne (Emma Myles) and Angie (Julie Lake) head straight to the pharmacy but Lorna (Yael Stone) and Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) manage to get control of it. Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) hides out in the hospital with her injured friend but as her mental state goes untreated, she grows worse setting up outlandish fantasies.

 Gloria (Selenis Leyva) organizes the remaining but dwindling supplies in the kitchen but orchestrates a plan to let the hostages out when she finds out her son is sick in the hospital. Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex (Laura Prepon) try to avoid the chaos but encounter the purchasing director of the prison Linda (Beth Dover) who pretends to be a convict and forms a relationship with Big Boo (Lea DeLaria). Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) upsets the addicts when she helps a guard escape by shooting off another prisoner's finger. The life inside the prison takes odd turns with a captured guard talent show and a mock trial with Boo as an attorney for Pennsatucky. As the food runs out, the desperation steadily increases to a breaking point. 

Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) leverages her experience in the prison to land a spot on a talk show but has to contend with the celebrity chef who ends up getting her daughter outed as the shooter of the guard. As Natalie Figueroa (Alysia Reiner), former warden, tries to negotiate with Taystee, the governor grows impatient, preparing to send in the riot control. Piscatella sneaks into the prison and in a sort of horror episode, starts to pick off the inmates one by one until he has a large group and starts torturing Red. Frieda (Dale Soules) sets up a bunker from experience we learn comes from her survivalist upbringing and master poison that is used to take down Piscatella.

This season comes to a climactic end as the troops storm the prison tasing and beating all the prisoners. Piscatella gets a lethal pepper bullet to the head putting an end to a great villain of this series. This season was a lot of fun and one that I enjoyed more than others making this a season, I'll want to add to my top ten list at the end of the year. Brooks delivered one of my favorite performances of the year. Where the show goes from here looks to be an interesting possibility as all the women were shipped away on buses. It looks like there are already two more season planned and I'm looking forward to its return next year. 

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