I always try to stay on a higher moral ground and refrain from revenging, and the 5th season of Orange is the New Black has vividly portrayed the decision making process when it comes to gaining power to hurt your enemy. In other words, the series demonstrated that vengeance eats people alive and turns them into monsters, and especially if it is directed not towards one particular individual who has harmed us but towards a whole group. While revenge to individuals may be something we have all done at some point in our lives, revenging to the whole group of people because of the actions of one person is portrayed as monstrous in this new season.
Therefore, we get to find out why Piscatella is who he is, and we see how far his hatred of inmates go, to a monstrous level. But, at the same time we get to see that Red is more than just a convict for she proves her humanity and lets him go instead of butchering him like he almost did to her. I will not say more about this as it determines the season, and I do no want to be a spoiler.
This season again shows us how people negotiate identities, but also how they can come together in time of struggle and joint suffering. In other words, even if they belong to different racial group and if they hold racist views, in times of danger people are forced to negotiate their identities and come together. Netflix is again trying to show us that we should abandon racism and work together for betterment of all, or for benefit of many and not just a few (to borrow from recent Labour Party’s manifesto). The other question is whether people remain true to newly encountered situations or they go back to old habits. As they say, old habits die slow. I suppose we will see that in the next season when we will, I suppose, see how girls adjust to maximum security prison where some of them will undoubtedly head towards after unsuccessful riots in Litchfield.
The 5th season has also shown us that people will easily betray their friends for their own interest and salvage, as well as implement utilitarian moral view to save themselves, i.e. I am not saving myself only if I turn my friend in because I am also saving hundreds of others too. Thus, it becomes easy to live with betrayal of those who used to share everyday life with us and who use to be more than just another inmate.
The series was slightly slow at first, i.e. the first few episodes are a bit cheesy and some scenes are very long but it is all worth watching because it does make sense in the end. I only did not like Linda’s personal story albeit I see why it was portrayed. I would have personally preferred if we saw a personal story of white supremacist and two Nazi girls to get to know what made them the way they are, i.e. have they grown up in Nazi/Supremacist environment and their beliefs come as a result of upbringing or have they embraced those views as adults, and if so, why.
What I would definitely like to see in season 6 are girls in the maximum security prison (at least at first) to see how they deal with being separated and in the new environment. I would also like to see Piper leaving the prison and starting a new life to see how that works.
In sum, the series as a whole is worth watching (see my previous blog describing previous seasons) and I watched the whole 5th season on Friday and Saturday, as I just couldn’t let it go. Needless to say, I am already looking forward to season six.
Thank you for reading.