Column: Orange Is The New Black - remember all their faces

Orange Is The New BlackOrange Is The New Black
Orange Is The New Black
Razor sharp one one-liners & plot twists which were real punches to the gut

I’m getting very close to that itchy stage where I may have to shout ‘nae spoilers’ at random moments.

Seven series of Orange Is The New Black have been devoured, and I’m a handful of episodes away from the very last one.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s been compelling viewing - by far the single best series I have seen in years.

But here’s the thing– it’s almost impossible to discuss it without giving away a key moment.

The ensemble of characters are so intricately inter-woven, their individual stories trigger major moments which are then threaded through an entire series.

Prison dramas aren’t new – anyone who grew up in the 1970s will recall Googie Withers, the genteel governor from ‘Within These Walls’ –but this one is.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It didn’t so much break new ground as smash the landscape into pieces and then soar to a whole new plateau.

And, it did something remarkable.

It humanised every single prisoner. It gave them a voice and it told the story of how they ended up in a brutal, de-humanising system which wins hands down every time. The small victories they score are savoured, the defeats are worn like scars.

The cast is huge, and it takes some seven series for their back stories to be told – only fragments are revealed at any one time – but they are all integral to a series which crossed every line from race to gender to sexuality to class.

OITNB was bold in its approach. It was, at times, as violent and horrifying as it was painfully funny - razor sharp one one-liners were followed by plot twists which were real punches to the gut. The death which sparked a riot was a profoundly shocking moment.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Coming to the finale, I’ll miss my nights in the company of Vauss, Red the Russian matriarch, Nicky the quick-witted, loyal sidekick who survives on her wits , the incredible Taystee who leads, who speaks out and who suffers most in the uncaring, un-bending system.

Above all, though, I’ll miss Suzanne.

In one of the very first prison scenes, we meet her as ‘Crazy Eyes’ - the unstable inmate who sizes up terrified newcomer, Piper Chapman, as her new prison wife.

But , slowly, the layers are peeled away and Suzanne Warren emerges,

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Played so brilliantly by Uzo Aduba, we get to know an incredibly fragile woman with a talent for creative writing, but whose almost childlike view of the world can spark warmth and humour as well as moments which are dangerously out of control.

Her back story is fascinating and moving, but, like all others, it is revealed only in segments.

The strength of OITNB is that you want to know more about them. Every piece of the jigsaw completes the bigger picture, and one, even two episodes, are simply never enough.

Stick with it - stick with them all – and you are richly rewarded by a series like no other.

So, absolutely no spoilers please!

My time in Litchfield is almost done.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As the theme tune says, remember all their faces, remember all their voices …

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Fife Free Press Group of newspapers

Related topics: