by Chris Harnick | Thu., Jul. 25, 2019 8:45 AM
Visiting hours at Litchfield are about to come to an end. The final season of Orange Is the New Black premieres on Friday, July 26, roughly a year after season six dropped. You've probably consumed thousands of hours of TV in between then and now, so it's completely understandable to have only a hazy recollection of what happened the last time you checked in on Piper, Suzanne, Alex, Red, Nicky, Gloria, Taystee and the rest of the OITNB gang. We're here to help.
Season six found the characters in a whole new world: Maximum security. The minimum-security facility was shut down following the season five riot.
The women who were united at the end of season five—Alex (Laura Prepon), Piper (Taylor Schilling), Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Nicky (Natasha Lyonne), Red (Kate Mulgrew), Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore), Frieda (Dale Soules), Suzanne (Uzo Aduba), Blanca (Laura Gomez) and Gloria (Selenis Leyva)—found themselves under instance scrutiny as officials looked to pin the riot on inmates.
Here's what happened with your favorites.
Early episodes of the season featured Piper fretting over Alex's location—her love was MIA after the riot. Upon her entry into general population, Piper tangled with Badison, which resulted in Piper chipping her tooth. After digging through the library, Piper found records of a happier time involving kickball, and worked to unite the cellblocks and put an end to Carol and Barb's feud. But the sisters wanted to use the kickball game as a way to extract revenge on each other. Badison tried to sabotage Piper's early release and Alex tried to stop it by offering to work for Carol. Badison's plan backfired and she was released, but not before getting prison married to Alex.
At the start of the season, Alex was missing and Piper feared the worst. She wasn't dead, the two were reunited in the fourth episode and immediately got involved with the ongoing feud between Piper and Badison. Despite her best efforts, Alex became entangled with the prison gangs, namely smuggling smartphones, and feuding sisters Carol and Barb. At the end of the season, Piper and Alex got prison married ahead of Piper's release.
While getting readjusted to her medications, Suzanne started hallucinating. Viewers learned she and Black Cindy saw the CERT officers stage Piscatella's body and agree to stick to the false story, despite what it meant for Taystee. After getting assigned to Florida (the cell block for old ladies and those who might belong in psych), Suzanne was taken in by Frieda. She struggled with keeping the riot secret that put Taystee in jeopardy.
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After the riot, investigators worked to pin Piscatella's death on somebody. Black Cindy turned on Taystee to save herself leading to charges in the guard's death. Taystee turned to Caputo for help throughout the season and pleaded guilty to inciting the riot, but not guilty to the murder. ACLU and Black Lives Matter got involved in her defense, and Taystee became a little bit of a celebrity. She described guard abuses, but had her mail revoked. Despite her guilt, Black Cindy testified against Taystee and kept to her false story. Taystee was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
Following the riot, Nicky was threatened with 70 additional years in prison for drug theft and distribution charges if she didn't testify against Red. And Red gives her permission to do so. Red signed a plea agreement in order to avoid other charges. While in general pop, Red became desperate to exact revenge on Frieda and got mixed up in the feud between Barb and Carol. Nicky got involved in the gang in an effort to warn Red about an attack. Red tried to reconnect with her family, but her desire for revenge won out. She attacked Frieda and was sent to solitary.
While in solitary after the riot, Daya was routinely beaten by the guards. She took a plea deal for her involvement in Humphrey's murder and was allowed into general population. There, she met Daddy and starts using drugs, oxy and eventually heroin, for the pain. Daya got further involved with Daddy (romantically), drugs and the drug trade inside the prison. On the outside, her mother Aleida starts smuggling Daya drugs through CO Hopper.
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Pennsatucky started the season on the run, but turned herself in and got a spot in Florida after blackmailing Linda. Sophia, who was in solitary, agreed not to join a lawsuit against MCC after agreeing to a settlement. She was also released early, as was Blanca, but Blanca went right into ICE custody for deportation. Gloria and Maria continued their war, with Gloria giving testimony about Maria and the riot resulting in extra time for Maria. Gloria grew close to Luschek and discovered the guard's inmate rating system and attempted to tell the prison about it, but she was thwarted and sent to solitary. It was revealed Barb and Carol, the feuding sisters who were responsible for the division amongst the cell blocks, started their feud over drugs and a story they stole from another waitress. They both ended up dead at the end. A pregnant Lorna finally gave birth.
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