Burning Down The House: The OPS Guide to Orange Is the New Black Season 5

Orange, Black, or Bleak OITNB Season 5

The entirety of Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black takes place over a three-day period which started with the murder of Poussey Washington and ends with ten of the only twelve inmates who haven’t yet been recaptured standing with dignity in defiance while awaiting the arrival of the CERT team.

Ultimately, I would say the season was really about two closely interrelated things:

* How all human beings, when they find themselves imbued with the power over life and death, find it very hard to treat the people left behind, those without power, with dignity and respect. As we have seen throughout history, the oppressed become oppressors and nobody seems to learn very much from becoming brutal or from being brutalized. When the prisoners torture the correctional officers, the dissenting inmates choose to divest themselves rather than fight for the human rights of the correctional officers.

* How state sanctioned violence operates more like a virus than a cure for violence. When the CERT team breaches Litchfield and the agents begin to commit random, but sanctioned, acts of violence they are only cautioned when that violence would create administrative hassles or bring undue attention to the exercise.

The only exception was Joe Caputo, who started to fight for the rights of the inmates and against his own employer. However, when push came to shove, it was Joe who revealed the location of the pool fully aware that the result might be catastrophic for the inmates.

The point is that, even before the riot, the prison system is built on addressing violence and cruelty with solutions grounded in violence and cruelty and a garbage in garbage out mentality that guarantees terrible outcomes to every problem.

If you prefer videos about prison reform including formerly incarcerated folks, here is an amazing video the American Friends Service Committee of Michigan put out.

Okay, here are the links to my recaps of every episode of Season 5. Enjoy!

indie-music-and-television-blog-orange-is-the-new-black-season-five-logo

Riot FOMO: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 1

Orange, Black, or Bleak Season 5 Episode 1 "Riot FOMO" allowed me to discuss violence as a general phenomenon, about the structural basis of prison violence, and about why Caputo isn't necessarily a nice guy.

Fuck, Marry Frieda: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 2

Orange, Black, or Bleak Season 5 Episode 2 “Fuck, Marry Frieda” allowed me to discuss the systemic responsibility for the violence of the riot, reflect on Abu Ghraib prison, and to discuss prison barbers.

PIssters: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 3

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E3 "Pissters" offered me the opportunity to discuss the official list of the prisoner's riot demands, CO Bayley's dilemma, and the stop-motion animation classic “The Year Without Santa Claus.”

Lichfield's Got Talent: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 4

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E4 "Lichfield's Got Talent" allowed me to discuss the use of stereotypes of the mentally ill, David Foster Wallace, and the use of casual racism in the service of ‘entertainment.’.

Sing It, White Effie: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 5

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E5 “Sing It, White Effie” allowed me to discuss many levels of inappropriate appropriation, the employment of formerly incarcerated people, and mental illness ‘treatment’ in prison.

Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 6

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E6 “Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally” allowed me to discuss the propaganda of "Law and Order," prosecutorial misconduct, and a plea for my readers to join the fight for criminal justice reform.

Full Bush, Half Snickers: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 7

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E7 “Full Bush, Half Snickers” let me talk about Red's character transformation, Suzanne's problems, and the surprising affinity for the Harry Potter books in prison.

Tied To The Tracks: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 8

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E8 “Tied To The Tracks” allowed me to talk about philosophical puzzles, about the riot turning good people bad, and about a silly plan by Red.

The Tightening: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 9

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E9 “The Tightening” allowed me to talk about the objectification of inmates, about activism, and about some questionable “riot logic.”

The Reverse Midas Touch: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 10

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E10 “The Reverse Midas Touch” allowed me to discuss revenge fantasies, riot negotiation problems, and the popularity of Scrabble in prison.

Breaking the Fiberboard Ceiling: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 11

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E11 “Breaking the Fiberboard Ceiling” allowed me to discuss the problem of holes in fences, misprescribed mental health meds, and Big Boo discovering the limits of her ethical system.

Tattoo You: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 12

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E12 “Tattoo You” allowed me to discuss prison hiring, return to the logic behind the writing of the riot, and the importance of centering the series on prisoner's humanity.

Storm-y Weather: Orange Is the New Black - Season 5 Episode 13

Orange, Black, or Bleak S5 E13 “Storm-y Weather” allowed me to talk about justice & law, about why prisoners and correctional officers matter, and to sum up my feelings about Season 5.

RIP to the LItch, and I hope you enjoyed my coverage of Season 5!