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!
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!
How is the Homecoming Transitional Facility like and unlike an amusement park? Is Florida REAL? Should Heidi Bergman try to discover what happened on 5/15? These are some of the many questions I will try to answer in my recap of episode 3 “Optics”
Talking about Geist, Fake Florida, food and medicine, and possible official uses for violence during this recap of Homecoming Episode 2 “Pineapple”
My recap of the first episode of Homecoming Episode 1 “Mandatory” discusses influences from the Double R Diner to Soylent Green as well as predictions for where the series might go. Enjoy!
Season 6 comes to an end: summing up the Taystee trial, calling out the writers for referring to Federal parole, talking about ICE, and asking if Orange Is the New Black is itself a game of Fantasy Inmate.
Trying to make sense of PolyCon’s magic early release powers, Taystee’s trial, Piper’s amnesia, and everything else about Season 6 Episode 12 “Double Trouble”
Yeah, this did take a dark turn. A lot of sadness during Season 6 Episode 11 of Orange Is the New Black for sure. Let’s work through it together.
So, we are supposed to believe that Barb and Carol maintained power for decades at Litchfield, but they are in prison for one of the dumbest capers I have ever seen? My recap of Orange Is the New Black Season 6 Episode 10 “Chocolate Chip Nookie.”
Is Barb credible as a boss? Does the retcon of Caputo make sense? Discussing these and many other questions about Orange Is the New Black season 6 episode 9 “Break the String” from the perspective of a formerly incarcerated person.
Who is making the rules at Litchfield Max? Would Taystee talk about the CO’s to a reporter in front of the CO’s? What in the world is going on in Season 6? Trying to make sense of Orange Is the New Black Season 6 Episode 8 “Gordons”
Cell phones are a huge problem in prisons, but maybe not the way you were thinking. This week on Orange, Black, or Bleak? I am talking about cell phones, mental health care, and laundry rooms and all from the perspective of a formerly incarcerated person. Enjoy!
What does Josh think is the biggest “plot hole” in Season 6? What’s wrong with the strategy of the CO’s? Discussing Orange Is the New Black Season 6 Episode 6 “State of the Uterus.” Orange, Black, or Bleak?
Another beautiful day in Litchfield Max with rats, cheese, and wooden sticks sharpened into deadly weapons. Orange Is the New Black Season 6 Episode 5 from the perspective of two formerly incarcerated folks.
Luschek plays his games and we play ours, a recap of Orange Is the New Black S6 E4 “I’m the Talking Ass” from the perspective of two formerly incarcerated people.
In Orange Is the New Black Season 6 Episode 3, Frieda takes a vacation, Red gets hung out to dry, Linda buys a wig, and Burt Reynolds finds himself at the center of a kickball dispute.
Discussing the “Sh*tstorm Coming” episode of Orange Is the New Black from the perspective of two formerly incarcerated people . We talk about exploitation, prisoner separation, in prison investigations and much more.
Is all life a simulation?
Is God a cruel algorithm? These are some of the questions asked and hopefully answered in this edition of Reflections From a Black Mirror “Hang the DJ.”
Discussing the “Who Knows Better Than I” episode of Orange Is the New Black from the perspective of a formerly incarcerated person. Season 6 Episode 1 introduces us to new Correctional Officers, new inmates, and a new prison (Litchfield Max).
Josh and Joel discuss the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act and the National Day of Empathy (March 6th). Enjoy!
This week Josh and Joel talked about pre-sentencing investigations and indigent defense.
This week Josh and Joel talk about the problems with Plea Bargains. Enjoy!
This week I interviewed Lauren-Brooke Eisen Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and the author of the book "Inside Private Prisons"
Orange Is the New Black Season Four Episode Thirteen lets me discuss deaths in prisons and jails, Caputo's character, and ask some questions about Suzanne. Enjoy!
Reflections From A Black Mirror S4 E2 "ArkAngel" let me ask if our clamoring for safety is worth the cost. Enjoy!
Orange Is the New Black S4 E12 “The Animals” allows me to discuss Poussey's death, how much Suzanne is to blame, and Pontious Pilate. Enjoy!
Show notes and research from the Decarceration Nation Podcast Episode 4 "Cash Bail." Enjoy!
Orange Is the New Black S4 E11 “People Persons” (Netflix) allows me to discuss Lolly and Healy and violence in relationship to Correctional Officers. Enjoy!
Orange Is the New Black Season 4 Episode 10 "Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull" allows me to discuss how prison gangs operate, why FOIA rules are important, and why prisons manufacture poverty. Enjoy!
Why Prosecutors have an immense amount of power to influence criminal justice legislation and to prevent reforms.
Episode 2 of the "Decarceration Nation" podcast (with Josh and Joel) including all of the notes and citations.
Orange Is the New Black S4 E9 "Turn Table Turn" let's me discuss corrupt correcitional officers and the importance of treating people with dignity and humamity at all times. Enjoy!