Warning: The following contains spoilers for Orange Is the New Black's sixth season. Read at your own risk!
Wow, Orange Is the New Black. Are you really going to leave us hanging like that?
Although Season 6 was a bit of a slow burn, the last few episodes packed in a lot. The kickball massacre orchestrated by Barb (Mackenzie Phillips) and Carol (Henny Russell) was prevented thanks to Maria's (Jessica Pimentel) bravery and smart thinking. And it turned out that the blood feud between C Block and D Block was all a big ruse so that Barb and Carol could sneak into B Block and kill Freida (Dale Soules)! However, when the chaos from the kickball field never went down, Barb and Carol quickly turned on each other, killing one another over an anecdote that wasn't even either of theirs to begin with.
Meanwhile, Piper (Taylor Schilling) was granted early release and left Litchfield Max shortly after her wedding to Piper. Blanca (Laura Gómez) and Sophia (Laverne Cox) were also granted early release, but before Blanca could even momentarily reunite with her boyfriend, she was picked up by ICE. Elsewhere, Lorna (Yael Stone) went into labor in a broom closet but was able to make it to Medical. Outside the prison walls, a devastated Taystee (Danielle Brooks) was wrongly convicted of Piscatella's (Brad William Henke) murder, breaking our hearts into a million little pieces. She was then bussed back to Max where we're certain a tense reunion with Cindy awaits.
That's a lot to parse through so let's break down the seven biggest burning questions from the season.
1. What will Piper do now? It finally happened: Piper left Litchfield! Fans have been calling for less Piper since, well, Season 1, and now it looks like those prayers have finally been heard. Maybe. Orange Is the New Black will likely follow Piper as she readjusts to the outside world and attempts to make her marriage to Alex (Laura Prepon) work, but we do expect/hope that this means she'll be more of a supporting player than a leading lady. But what will this even look like for Piper?
Six seasons in and it's easy to forget that the show originally followed the life story of Piper Kerman fairly closely -- not like it was an exact retelling, but many characters and relationships were drawn straight from reality. Orange seemed to hint that Piper Champan and Piper Kerman's journeys would once again converge when Piper floated the idea of writing her memoir this season. That either could have been a fun in-joke for fans or setting up Piper's sure-to-be insufferable attempt at a writing career in Season 7 (one which hopefully also includes many more appearances by her cold-as-ice mother). If next season does find Piper writing her life's story, it could be a nice swan song for the character before she leaves the show for good. Although if Piper does depart permanently, Pipex fans should start bracing themselves for heartbreak.
2. Will Taystee appeal her conviction? There's no denying that Taystee deserves better than what she was given this season, both by her friends, by the justice system and by the show. The trauma Taystee has endured over the past few seasons has been relentless, and the former light of Litchfield deserved a break this season but instead was treated to several of her friends betraying her and the system preferring a conviction over the truth.
Through everything, Caputo (Nick Sandow), of all people, stood by her side and she had the support of the ACLU and Black Lives Matter movement, but none of that was able to save her from a murder conviction. However, that doesn't need to be the end of this harrowing case. Taystee can and should appeal. That's likely the only way she can get some semblance of justice, and Orange owes her -- and us -- a happier ending here. Now that she's back at Max, maybe she'll even be able to mend things with Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) and Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) and get them to testify to the truth at her next trial. Or someone will do a Serial or In the Dark-style podcast about Taystee's case. This is probably the more likely option.
3. Are Alex, Nicky and Freida still in danger? This season found a few of our favorites getting in over their heads. In her attempt to save Red's (Kate Mulgrew) life and keep Lorna safe, Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) found herself under serious suspicion of Barb's minions. Meanwhile, Alex made a deal to work for Carol in exchange for Badison (Amanda Fuller) leaving Piper alone, and Frieda spent all season fending off the hit Barb and Carol put on her. But now that Barb and Carol are dead, does this mean Alex, Nicky and Freida are all in the clear?
While we bet that Freida is probably safe, we can't imagine Badison letting Alex out of the game easily, and the bad blood Nicky fostered isn't just going to disappear overnight. What will really determine their safety moving forward is who the new top dogs of C and D Block turn out to be. Who knows, maybe Red will once again find herself in a position of power and help her family out... that is, if she's able to forgive them.
4. Will we ever see Blanca and Sophia again? The sixth season ended with a heartbreaking twist we never saw coming. After Blanca was granted early release, the apparent blessing turned sour when ICE immediately picked her up for deportation while her boyfriend continued to wait for her none the wiser. Sophia's exit from Litchfield was also bittersweet, with the former firefighter selling out Taystee in order to get back to her wife and son.
But will we see either Blanca or Sophia again? Orange has followed inmates as they reintegrate into society before, but something tells us this really may have been the end for Blanca and Sophia. Laverne Cox has barely been in recent seasons and is consistently lining up other projects, so her departure has been a long time coming. Laura Gómez, on the other hand, may return in some capacity next season. The finale also included Linda (Beth Dover) revealing that PolyCon was going into the business of immigration detention centers, so there's a chance we might see that and Blanca's storyline merge next season in a bleak, but timely new arc.
5. How will Morello cope without her baby? Lorna went into labor in the season finale, but she won't have much time to spend with her newborn before it has to go home with her husband Vinnie (John Magaro). Although Lorna has become much more stable in recent seasons, we worry what the separation from her baby will do to her. She has a history of paranoia and issues with impulse control, which could easily resurface when she's cut off from her first child. But with Nicky and Vinnie standing by her, we hope that their patience and support will be enough to calm Lorna's fears and assuage her grief over missing out on this special time, Otherwise, Lorna could wind up doing something stupid and/or dangerous that could result in an extended sentence or getting sent to SHU.
6. Is Daya in serious danger? Look, Daya (Dascha Polanco) has never been one of our favorite characters. Not even close. But that doesn't mean we want her to die. Unfortunately, that seems to be what Daya was hurtling toward as her addiction continued to escalate throughout the season. Now that she's given up hope on ever getting out of prison and seeing her daughter again, Daya doesn't seem to believe she has anything to live for anymore other than the immediate distractions of sex and drugs.
That, sadly, isn't enough for Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) to stop smuggling drugs into the prison, even though she now knows her daughter is consuming them as well. Aleida is proceeding under the mindset that Daya is already a lost cause and she needs to get enough money to save the rest of her children, but will she feel the same if Daya overdoses on the drugs she smuggled in? We doubt it. But we bet this is a question that will be explored in some form next season.
7. Can we get more Daddy, please? Out of all the new characters introduced this season, there was a clear breakout star in Vicci Martinez's Daddy. She may have gotten Daya addicted to drugs and clearly did some other messed-up things in her past, but we still found ourselves falling in love with the troubled inmate. Daddy clearly has a big heart underneath her shady dealings and we'd love to get to know her more in the seasons to come. Less Badison, more Daddy, please!
Orange Is the New Black is available on Netflix now.