Warning: mild spoilers
The last season of "Orange is the New Black," season four, ripped my heart clean out of chest and stomped on it right in front of me. At least season three ended on a semi-pleasant note — but not season four.
After that awful surprise ending last year there seemed like no hope for the prisoners, and the cliffhanger was just too much for me. I decided not to pursue it anymore.
Once I had a whole year to cool off, I decided to watch the new season out of sheer boredom and curiosity. I had no idea this season would make me eat my words and could only be described as the best season yet.
It starts off with Daya holding a gun at one of the officers. Right off the bat I was thinking "How on earth could it get any crazier than this?" Oh boy, I had no idea.
For the rest of the season the prisoners revolt, resulting in a riot and hopeful negotiation with the MCC staff and governor of New York.
Don't worry, I won't spoil anything else I promise.
Besides the amazing, horribly messed up and thrilling plot that keeps you on your toes the whole time you're watching, I classify this season as the best because of the even deeper look we get into the character's lives. With backstories from Taystee (finally!), Daya, Red, Frieda, Allison and Piscatella, the characters are even more sympathetic and the audience understands more of why they act they way they do.
As a viewer, I felt more attached to the characters thanks to the backstories. By seeing how their lives were affected by certain situations and people, I was able to understand why they react and act they way they do, especially in the riot.
The riot in itself was a test for the prisoners. I imagine the show's writers all sitting in a circle around a table somewhere brainstorming how they could capture the true essence of each character when someone suggests a riot to show who goes crazy and who stays rational under the pressure.
The characters Taystee, Allison, Cindy, Piper, Sophia and Gloria really step up for the inmates and show their passion for the cause.
Like I said, seeing who cracks under pressure and who makes rational, thought-out decisions changed my mind about several of the characters. I'm a grudge holder, especially when it comes to characters in TV shows, but there were multiple people who did enough good during the riot to sway me over to their team, and vise versa.
The overall tone of the show was different this season. There was a hopeful feeling in the air and not the usual negative, cynical vibe I felt throughout the other seasons. This made it even easier to watch.
This season answered not all but most of my questions from the last season, but not without leaving me with many more for next season. There are plenty of cliff hangers to keep me guessing until next summer, but enough closure to satisfy me for the time being.
If you weren't happy with season four of "Orange is the New Black" I am highly encouraging you to watch season five — it wraps up the last season for the most part, gives you plenty of messed up plot and also shows you even more about the characters through their actions in the riot and backstories.