Dascha Polanco Reveals What Really Happened to Orange Is the New Black Character

Viewers were left with a cliffhanger ending for Daya

By Chris Harnick 01 Aug, 2019 10:39 PMTags
Orange Is the New BlackNetflix

Orange Is the New Black pretty much wrapped up the stories of every inmate. Piper (Taylor Schilling) moved to Ohio after Alex's (Laura Prepon) transfer to that prison and went back to school, Taystee (Danielle Brooks) helped establish the Poussey Washington Fund while working to help inmates prepare for their economic lives on the outside, and Daya (Dascha Polanco) was…killed by her mom, Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez)? Maybe?

Daya's fate remained unclear, even to Polanco. But, she has a luxury that viewers at home don't: Access to the show's writers.

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"They made it very clear to me that I don't die. I thought that she did. But the writers told me, ‘She doesn't die, but she gets knocked out really well,'" Polanco told The Hollywood Reporter. "And I realized it was going to be left as that question. I acted that out really well, huh? [Laughs.]"

So, Daya ended up alive, not necessarily well, but alive in prison, addicted to and dealing drugs (with the help of her sister), living alongside her mother.

"Oh, Daya. I'm going to miss her. I wanted her to have a moment of closure with Bennett. I wanted her to inquire about her daughter. I wanted more of Pornstache. Though we do see him [at the end] with Daya's baby, I wanted to see Daya actually inquire about her daughter," she said. "I would have loved to see that interaction. Her curiosity as a mother, her artistry — that all became obsolete. That's what happens when you have no hope."

Find out the fates of the other main Orange Is the New Black characters below.

Piper (Taylor Schilling)

On the outside, Piper struggled to find her place without bars keeping her in. After a few jobs, she ended up asking her father for help. At his firm, she slipped up, drank and ate a cookie cake. Slowly but surely, she began to find her footing. After Alex encouraged her to sleep around, Piper realized that wasn't for her…until she met Zelda (Alicia Witt). The two developed a friendship, which progressed after Piper learned of Alex's dalliance in prison. Torn on what to do about her love life and professional path, Piper eventually made up her mind: She moved to Ohio after Alex's transfer and went back to school.

Alex (Laura Prepon)

With her wife on the outside, Alex kept busy in prison. She stepped out of the drug trade and into smuggling phone chargers in prison with CO McCullough. The two eventually grew close…very close and began a sexual relationship after Alex encouraged Piper to do so outside of their prison marriage. McCullough got SUPER into Alex and showed up to Piper's house and saw her with Zelda. She and Piper broke up, and then she and McCullough broke up...which prompted McCullough to get Alex transferred to Ohio. There, she reunited with the likes of Big Boo and Yoga Jones. The series ended with Alex serving her sentence surrounded by old friends—and Piper.

Doggett (Taryn Manning)

Throughout the final season, Doggett worked to better herself. She signed up for GED classes and really attempted to grow. When Luschek failed to put in for her extra time to take the test, she spiraled and thought she failed. All her hope was gone, so she turned to an old friend: drugs. She overdosed in the laundry room and was found by her tutor, Taystee. She passed her test.

Taystee (Danielle Brooks)

Not wanting to live life in prison, Taystee plotted to kill herself. However, she wavered many times and found purpose working for the new warden and tutoring other inmates. After a glimmer of hope for a new trial was dashed, Taystee seemed ready to end her life. Sparked by seeing the change she can do within, she decides to live. Working with Judy King, she established the Poussey Washington Fund to assist recently released convicts financially.

Suzanne (Uzo Aduba)

Suzanne struggled with her guilt over Taystee's life sentence but found purpose working in the chicken program. The series ended with Suzanne by Taystee's side working to educate other inmates.

Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore)

After coming clean to Taystee about her testimony, Taystee hit back at Cindy and wrote a letter to her family that revealed Cindy was actually Monica's mother, not sister. The letter got to Cindy's home after she had been released early, got a job and made amends with her mother. Following the reveal, Cindy left home, with nowhere to go, she lived on the streets. By the end of the series, she had started down a new path of forgiveness with her mother and daughter.

Gloria (Selenis Leyva)

Working in the kitchen of the immigration detainment facility introduced Gloria to a new calling: helping the detainees reach loved ones and lawyers. It all almost blew up for her after she let one use her contraband phone to call her kids before deportation. When it looked like she was going to get more time, Luschek, sparked by a talking to she gave him and his guilt over Doggett's death, said he was responsible. Gloria was released.

Aleida and Daya (Elizabeth Rodriguez and Dascha Polanco)

After the death of Daddy, Daya rose to become the drug kingpin of the prison. On the outside, her mother, Aleida, struggled to keep her daughters on the straight and narrow. After finding her young child with an older man, she attacked the man and was arrested. She was sent to the prison where she began to clash with Daya over the drug trade. The series ended with Aleida learning Daya had drafted her other daughters into the drug business. Aleida punched Daya in the throat and began to strangle her. Is she dead? Alive? Remains to be seen.

Blanca (Laura Gomez)

Released at the end of the sixth season only to wind up in ICE custody, Blanca spent the season fighting for her freedom along with the other detainees. She was eventually freed, got her green card back, but decided to go live with Diablo outside the US.

Red (Kate Mulgrew)

Following her attack on Frieda in season six, Red spent time in solitary which seemed to trigger dementia. After refusing to admit anything was wrong, Red cut her hand and was taken to medical where Nicky was able to get the doctor to check her mental health. Sent to the "Florida" cellblock because of the rapid progression of her dementia, Red reunited with Frieda, but didn't remember her rage…until later.

Nicky (Natasha Lyonne)

Back in the kitchen crew at the ICE detainee center, Nicky struck up a relationship with one of them. But a happy ending wasn't in the cards, as Red and Morello fell apart around her, Nicky picked up the pieces. The series ended with her taking over chef duties, following in the footsteps of her prison mother.

The Other Inmates

Laverne Cox's Sophia, now working as a successful hair stylist, only popped up once to help Piper get herself together. Viewers learned Morello (Yael Stone) suffered a traumatic event which likely triggered the compulsive lying. She had a setback in prison when her son died and her husband asked for a divorce. Morello ended up in Florida with Red watching over her. Maria (Jessica Pimentel) worked to better herself and earn forgiveness from those she wronged. Flaca (Jackie Cruz) picked up where Gloria left off and started helping the detainees. And in the final episode, viewers were show glimpses of old favorites like Norma, Soso, Pornstache and more.