[Warning: This article contains spoilers about Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black. Read at your own risk!]
In the penultimate episode of Season 4 (directed by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner), Orange ripped our hearts out with Poussey's death, which was as shocking as it was understated. Poussey loses her life after a chain of events that leaves everyone in Litchfield - not to mention viewers - wondering what the hell just happened.
The tension starts with (of course) Piscatella (Brad William Henke) dragging an exhausted Red (Kate Mulgrew) into the kitchen and forcing her to work. The other inmates stage a silent protest, climbing up on the cafeteria tables one by one, Dead Poet's Society-style, until everyone's up on the tables, pledging not to step down until Piscatella resigns. Instead, he calls for backup and orders the other C.O.s to physically remove the inmates from the tables.
Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), who's still traumatized from the fight Humphrey instigated between her and Kukudio (Emily Althaus), starts to flip out, and Piscatella orders Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) to take her to Psych. Poussey intervenes, trying to calm Crazy Eyes down, but as Bayley's trying to fight her off, he's kneeling, full-force, on Poussey's back as she lies on the floor, struggling to breathe. By the time Piscatella picks Crazy Eyes up and drags her out of the cafeteria, Poussey's dead.
Let's pause for a moment to see if we can figure out exactly what is the most gut-wrenching aspect of Poussey's death. Was it:
-The fact that Judy King (Blair Brown) had just promised Poussey that a job would be waiting for her when she got out?
-The fact that Poussey and Soso (Kimiko Glenn) had spent the majority of the episode making plans for their fugure, and then made up for their fight across the cafeteria from each other, but didn't reconcile in person before Poussey died?
-The flashback we saw, with a wide-eyed Poussey having an amazing (if completely random) night in New York City, shortly before she was busted for drugs and wound up in Litchfield?
-Caputo's (Nick Sandow) greeting to Poussey's father on the telephone: "No, she's not OK"?
-Poussey's body being left on the cafeteria floor for more than 24 hours after her death?
-Crazy Eyes' impromptu verb conjugation lesson after she finds the stash of books that Poussey
keeps kept under her bunk?
-The subsequent cover-up and destruction of Poussey's character by the MCC suits and Caputo, whose press conference essentially blames Poussey for her own death?
Let's face it: Even if Daya (Dascha Polanco) pulls that trigger and gets the ultimate payback from Humphrey, there's no bringing Poussey back. We'll miss you, Washington.
Were you shocked by Poussey's death?
Orange Is the New Black Season 4 is available now on Netflix.