Stars: 3/5

The highly-anticipated sixth season of “Orange Is the New Black” was released in July. The Netflix original follows the lives of prison inmates at an all-women’s correctional facility. The season picks up right where season five left off, with characters being moved to a maximum security facility after starting a riot. However, only some of the characters went to this facility, meaning other characters were left out of the season all together. One of the characters left out for some time was Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), leaving her love interest, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), to spend an obnoxious amount of time pining over her. The Vause-Chapman love story has been a central plot for the entirety of the show, making this addition to the plot overdone and repetitive.

Whereas I typically binge watch an entire season of this show in one day, I found this one hard to watch.The first episode opens with Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren (Uzo Aduba) having a 10-minute-long hallucination, which got old after three minutes. This season was also one of the most gruesome, with main characters getting brutally beaten by security guards to the point where it was nauseating to watch.

This season was also extremely frustrating considering the show’s favorite characters were being blamed for the death of a security guard. It did, however, shed light on the Black Lives Matter movement and exemplified how racism is evident in the prison system. In the show, Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson (Danielle Brooks), a black inmate, becomes the face of the movement after being wrongfully accused of crimes related to the riot. She’s an easy scapegoat simply because of the color of her skin.

“Orange Is the New Black” has a pattern in which every other season’s sole purpose is to set up a juicy plot for its successor, and season six was a perfect example of this. Being in a new prison means new characters, so while the backbone of this season was the investigation surrounding last season’s riot, the real plot was just introducing new characters who will probably have major roles in season seven.

The overall story of the show is incredibly well-written and deeply thought out. So while this season was lacking in plot, it has a vital role to play when looking at the big picture. A big storm is coming in season seven, and season six basically served as its prologue. Though it took me weeks to watch and was nowhere near my favorite season, it is still a must-watch for fans of the show.

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