Netflix released the fourth season of “Orange is the New Black” on June 17, and with that being said, most of us have already binge-watched the entire season and are feeling some type of way about it.

SPOILER ALERT: This entire post will be filled with season four spoilers.

I’ll give this most recent season of “OITNB” a satisfactory rating. The show made me laugh, cry and sweat like any good television series should do, but I can’t help but feel the funk after 13 episodes.

Racism was the theme of season four. It began with the overcrowding at Litchfield, with a majority of new inmates being Dominican-American women. It turned into the Dominicans vs. the world, and this spiraled into Piper accidentally creating a Neo-Nazi collective. Then, throw celebrity chef/criminal/southern racist Judy King into the mix, and we’ve got plenty of racism for everyone.

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Oh… fuck. Oops, Piper. (Image Source)

Mental illness and drug abuse were also major themes, for what it’s worth.

But back to the discussion of race. Let’s break down the major events from the past few episodes.

As a reaction to the guard walk-out and inmate overcrowding, Litchfield hires a new captain of the guards, Piscatella, who’s just an awful person. And in an attempt to save money, new guards are also hired. Most of these guards are troubled veterans who torture the inmates.

The women react and gather in an attempt to get rid of Piscatella. A representative from each racial group meet in the library, but their arguing is too unproductive and plans for a peaceful protest fall through before they can be made.

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The sack of shit himself, Piscatella. (Image Source)

Moving on, Piscatella decides to torment Red by not allowing her to sleep. During mealtime, Piscatella makes “an example” out of Red by pushing her to ground. This ignites the anger in all of the women of Litchfield, and they unite for their peaceful protest.

The women all stand on the cafeteria tables and refuse to stand down until Piscatella is no longer working at the prison. Piscatella reacts by calling the guards to pull the women down and take them to their beds.

The swarming of the guards makes Crazy Eyes do what Crazy Eyes does, she goes a little crazy. In a fit, she jumps from the table and is attacked by the guards.

Then, Poussey does what Poussey does (and we all LOVE her for), she chases after Crazy Eyes to protect her. She’s tackled to the ground by CO Bayley.

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We love you, Poussey. (Image Source)

In the later end of the series, we’re given Bayley’s background. He’s a young kid who has made a few mistakes because of peer-pressure from his friends, but he has good intentions. And might still be a virgin. Ask fans who their favorite guard is from season four, and it’s Bayley. He’s the least of all evils.

So Bayley has Poussey pinned to the ground beneath his knee while he fights off Suzanne Warren, A.K.A. Crazy Eyes. The cafeteria turns hysteric, and Poussey’s cries for help are drowned out. The pressure of Bayley’s knee against Poussey’s 90-something-pound body is too much, and Poussey dies.

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A scene full of foreshadowing. Bayley, the nice guy! (Image Source)

It’s in the aftermath of the death of Poussey, a black inmate, that things get funky.

Caputo, who is officially the warden of Litchfield this season, is required to publicly react to Poussey’s death. The PR team at Litchfield decide Caputo should paint Bayley to look like a criminal for the public eye.

Caputo makes the decision live on air to take his own route. He explains that Bayley is not a criminal and the death was accidental. Which is essentially true. With this announcement, Taystee, Poussey’s closest friend in the prison and Caputo’s assistant, reacts.

She runs through the Litchfield halls yelling and throwing things from pure anger, understanding her friend will not receive justice and exclaiming that Bayley is a “murderer.”

Then, shit gets wild and there’s a gun involved and we won’t know what happens until next season.

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Flavored coffee is bullshit. (Image Source)

So let’s step back for a second.

Entertainment reaches a wider audience than explanations of sociopolitical issues. While you and I may be able to separate “OITNB” from reality, many may not.

This season of “OITNB” talked about the #BlackLivesMatter movement briefly. It’s plausible that not all viewers of the show have researched or understand the movement fully, so their information is coming directly from the discussion in this show.

In my personal opinion, Bayley is innocent. It was an accidental death and he should not be punished. If anything, Piscatella should receive the punishment for being the leader of the situation. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, because the entire season portrayed the characters in a particular way in order to make us feel this.

So the show is telling us “the white guy is innocent” in the murder of a black inmate.

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(Image Source)

As a result, there is a riot. Hmm… Sounds a lot like how the Black Lives Matter movement came to be.

So viewers of the show who don’t understand the real world version of the Black Lives Matter movement will see this situation as an accurate representation of what’s going on in real life right now.

They’ll believe the white person is innocent, his murdering of a black body was a mistake, an accident. They’ll believe that we should fight to protect the innocent who are victimized for their accidental murders. They’ll believe #AllLivesMatter.

Let me just clarify, all lives do matter. Obviously. But white lives never didn’t matter. Black lives always have not. The Black Lives Matter movement is raising awareness to police brutality against black bodies, and the oppression of black people in America. Maybe some incidents have panned out like the one in “OITNB” did, but most of the incidents regarding the murder of innocent black people are the results of systematic racism.

“OITNB” isn’t wrong for the way season four panned out. However, I feel uncomfortable watching it because I’m fearful that the audience will take it wrong. I’m worried that “OITNB” has reinforced messages that oppose the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m afraid that “OITNB” is telling audiences to believe in #AllLivesMatter.

 

Please share how you feel about season four of “OITNB!” Do you agree with me? Disagree? I’d love to hear some other opinions.

 

This article was originally published on The Sami Fisher Blog.

Published by Samantha Grace Fisher