Warning: The following contains spoilers from the Season 6 finale of Orange Is the New Black. Looking for our previous Orange Is the New Black recap? Click here.
The Orange Is the New Black Season 6 finale ends on a hopeful note for Piper — and spells doom for some other fan-favorite inmates.
Let’s begin with a bit of a good news. As you’ll recall, the previous episode ended with Hopper assigning Piper early release. In the finale, Piper is brought to a case manager and informed that she’s getting out the following day. Later, Alex sneaks up on her fiancee and is given the good news. She thinks it’s great, but Piper’s conflicted. She thought they had five more months together on the inside, which would have given them enough time to plan a prison wedding and, umm, a “utility closet honeymoon.” Alex tells Pipes that everything’s going to be fine. What’s important is that she’s getting out, and a real wedding can wait until Alex’s release in a few years.
Sensing that Pipes needs further assurance, Alex surprises her with a last-minute prison wedding on the morning of her release. The ceremony is officiated by Nicky and attended by Lorna, Cindy and Flaca. Afterwards, Piper sits Alex down and gives her phone numbers to put on her approved callers’ list. She insists that her prison wife continue to play by the rules and not risk adding more time to her sentence. Badison interrupts to give Alex a shiv, then everyone heads outside for the big gang war — I mean, kickball game. Piper kisses Alex goodbye and files out with the rest of the parolees, while Alex heads to the field.
In the hall, Piper is standing in line with her fellow early releases. Among them are Sophia — who’s eventually greeted on the outside by her wife — and Blanca, who expects to be led out to Diablo. Instead, she and fellow immigrant parolees are escorted out a different door and collected by ICE. Piper, meanwhile, is greeted by Cal. On the drive home, her brother asks what she plans to do with the rest of her life, but she doesn’t have an answer before the episode draws to a close. Could she go on to write that memoir on which the series is based, the one first teased midway through Season 6? Hmm…
Outside, Maria warns McCullough about the impending violence. She doesn’t come right out and say a gang war is about to unfold, but convinces the CO that they should go ahead and pick new kickball teams following C-block captain Piper’s release. This way, they can mix up the players and avoid a C-block vs. D-block match-up. The D-block finds a workaround, wearing their jackets inside out to show it’s still blues vs. khakis, but a violent battle doesn’t follow. Badison tries to signal her fellow soldiers, but no one’s interested. Nicky, meanwhile, speaks out and says that she doesn’t have beef with any of her fellow inmates; the riff has nothing to do with them, but the arbitrary divisions set up by their placement within the prison. And so, everyone tucks away their shivs and continues the game.
Meanwhile, back inside, sisters Carol and Barb meet in a supply closet. The two plan to sneak into Florida and kill Frieda, but ultimately kill each other instead. When we last see them, Barb’s neck has been sliced, while Carol has a shiv in her back. Good riddance!
Last but certainly not least is Taystee. Before a verdict is revealed, we listen in on the prosecution’s closing remarks. They show the jury photos of Piscatella’s lifeless body, and zoom in on the gunshot he took to the face. Afterwards, Caputo goes back to talk to Taystee, who isn’t holding out much hope. He updates her on the potential lawsuit against MCC, and the inmates who say that she’s inspired them to fight for justice. But none of it matters to Taystee, who insists there will be no justice for her or for Poussey. The jury ultimately finds Taystee guilty of second-degree murder, and she’s returned to max to begin serving a life sentence.
Caputo, who’s unwilling to accept the verdict, chases down the officer responsible for covering up Piscatella’s murder and who had the gall to attend Taystee’s trial in the first place. He catches up to him in the staircase and throws him against the wall. He tells the guy that he knows what really went down, and he’s going to pay for it. But the officer fights back, punching Caputo in the face before running off. Afterwards, Caputo gets hammered and shows up to a PolyCon event, where Linda is set to announce the company’s new partnership with ICE — hence Blanca’s outcome. It’s unclear if Caputo intended to expose the cover-up at the event, but Fig takes him back and cleans him up before he has a chance to do anything too stupid.
Elsewhere in the episode…
* At one point, Alex is seen flushing a crumbled piece of paper down the toilet. It looks to be a grad school application, the same one she told Piper she’d already filled out and mailed in.
* Lorna, who manages to avoid the kickball game thanks to Nicky’s quick thinking, goes into labor. We last see her being escorted to medical.
* Before her release into ICE custody, Blanca gets her period. Alas, her attempt to get pregnant failed.
* Aleida discovers that Daya is an addict. Back at home, she confronts Hopper about knowing her daughter was not only a dealer, but a junkie. He says they can halt the operation if she’s worried about Daya, but Aleida ultimately decides that it’s more important to keep the business going to raise enough money to get her other kids out of foster care.
What did you think of the Orange Is the New Black Season 6 finale? And the season overall? Grade ’em via the following polls, then drop your thoughts in a comment below.