It’s been almost two weeks since Orange is the New Black Season Four was released on Netflix, so I’m going to make the assumption that any major fans out there will have already finished binging. This means it’s finally time to talk openly about THAT ENDING!!!
I was ready to name this season the best of the four. There was interesting explorations into issues facing women in prison (such as feminine hygiene products being classed as ‘non-essentials’), no overly irritating new characters and the return of Nicky Nichols and Sophia Burset from Max and SHU, respectively.
But then the final two episodes happened, and I was forced to reevaluate.
Poussey Washington has been my favourite character since Season One. She was the heart, soul and moral compass of the show (she was the only one brave enough to stand up to Vee), and given how tame her crime was really didn’t deserve to be in prison. Plus, I’m definitely not the only heterosexual-identifying viewer that felt herself slide up the Kinsey scale whenever Poussey was on screen!
This season things were finally looking up for Poussey: she wasn’t drowning her sorrows with DIY prison hooch, had found love with Brook Soso and was starting to think about her future outside of Litchfield (including scoring a job offer from her idol and fellow inmate Judy King). All things that make her death so much more devastating.
I can understand why they chose to have Poussey killed during the violent dismantling of a peaceful protest. It raises awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement far more effectively than if any other character had died (while there would have been a few tears if it was Taystee or Suzanne, killing fan favourite Poussey was always going to be the most shocking). But even though I can rationalise why they chose her, I still haven’t forgiven the writers. It’s going to take me weeks to shake off this melancholy, and even now when I remember her looking straight at the camera in that final scene I get a little teary. Not to mention feeling completely angry when I think about her lying dead in the cafeteria for a day, or Caputo failing to mention her name during his television interview. Indeed, the only personal positive I can come up with was that I saved on one make-up wipe the day I watched the final episodes; bawling so much that your make-up slides right of your face will do that.
I just don’t know how the show is going to survive without her, and I can’t decide if I’m going to watch it now she’s gone. Unless they do flashbacks. Please let them do flashbacks!
Vale Poussey: the sweetest and funniest Litchfield inmate.