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Season 7 Discussion

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I don’t see a general discussion thread for Season 7, so here goes.

Not sure if this is a minority opinion, but I loved Season 7 - it may even be my favorite (although Season 4 may edge it out). The ICE storyline moved me in a way I’ve rarely experienced on this show - they really captured the Orwellian nature of the immigration system and drove home the point that detainees are in some ways even worse off than prisoners (no lawyers, no commissary, indefinite detention, etc). Lots of memorable storylines - Karla’s desperation to connect with her kids (her phone call made me bawl my eyes out), Maritza’s discovery that she’s not a citizen and that haunting image of her disappearing on the plane, the Mayan woman getting the abortion pill from Fig, those poor kids in the courtroom, etc . I was a little more iffy on Shani, but even so, it was nice to see Nicky in a relationship with someone who genuinely adored her.

It was a depressing season for sure - in addition to the ICE storylines, we had Red’s and Morello’s descent into serious mental illness, and of course Pennsatucky’s tragic fate (the Mountain Dew song was the other moment this season that absolutely wrecked me). But it felt grounded in reality, not just tragedy porn.

Series finales are tough to pull off, and I feel like they did a pretty impressive job of providing closure for a wide range of characters. Gloria and Blanca (two of my favorites) are probably the only ones that got genuinely happy endings. But I feel like a lot of other characters ended on a somewhat hopeful note - Taystee finding some purpose in life despite getting screwed over by the criminal justice system;  Maria spending time with her daughter and acclimating to Yadriel’s girlfriend; Nicky following in Red’s footsteps; Suzanne learning to cope better with feelings of loss; Cindy reconnecting with her mom and daughter;  Caputo on the path of redemption and adopting a child with Fig. Anything too hopeful probably would have felt pat and unearned, so I think the finale struck a good balance.

Piper and Alex were the characters that least interested me, both individually and together, but I thought the glimpses we got into the challenges of surviving post-prison were interesting. Other than that, I was pretty meh on their storylines. But I’ve always thought of Taystee, not Piper, as the true touchstone character on OITNB.

Overall, I’m going to miss this show, despite only half-watching the previous two seasons. And it was great seeing so many characters make appearances in the finale. I think I’m particularly going to miss Taystee, Gloria, Blanca, Nicky, and Aleida (hilariously awful, but always compelling).

One final observation: I thought the music and directing were on point this season. Lots of indelible images.

What are others’ reactions?

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