The 5 Most Powerful (& Heartbreaking) Moments In OITNB Season 5

Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
If you didn’t spend the weekend catching up on the new season of Orange is the New Black, I’m not exactly sure where your priorities are. The fifth season of the acclaimed series only covers three days of action, but it’s no less impactful than previous seasons. In fact, this might be the most action-packed season the show has seen. The inmates have taken over Litchfield and started a full-fledged riot in protest of the inhumane treatment they experienced from the new group of guards brought on in season 4.
The diverse ensemble of characters that we have come to love over the past few years are delivering some of the most memorable and heart-wrenching scenes yet in this season. What’s more, OITNB did not skimp on the backstories and other plot lines outside of the prison that add so much dimension to the show. I’m already anticipating the cast taking home some trophies come awards season.
OITNB has mastered the art of telling human stories that certainly reach beyond the bunks of jail. I’ve rounded up five of the most powerful and heartbreaking — it ain’t always pretty — scenes from the new season. Get your tissue ready.
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Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
When young Janae realizes how privileged rich, white people are (Episode 5)

Judy King, the conservative Martha Stewart-esque celebrity that was set to be released early on the day the riot started, has become a “situation” that the prisoners have to deal with. Taystee, Black Cindy, and Alison — the coalition of inmates who have taken a leadership role in the riot in order to secure justice for Poussey — decide to use her as their talking head. They are very aware of the public’s likelihood to listen to white women over Black women. But Janae wants no part of it. She doesn’t think that the privileged should speak on behalf of the oppressed.

In a flashback scene to her younger years, a bright Janae is selected to do an exchange program between her school in the Bronx and Riverdale High (no not that Riverdale). She is disgusted by the quality of the resources, opportunities, and education that the wealthy and white students have access to in comparison to her own school experience. A particularly bad glee club cover of Dream Girl’s centerpiece track, “You’re Gonna Love Me,” is the nail in the coffin of her disillusionment. Young Janae starts to slack in school and tells her teacher that she doesn’t want to participate in a system that’s already rigged against her.

The lesson: Privilege is real, and really hurtful most of the time.
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Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
Taystee’s press statement about the treatment of prisoners (Episode 5)

In a sudden change of heart, Taystee decides to give her own speech after all. She says "Poussey Washington" not once but twice, “because it can’t be said enough.” #SayHerName. Then, through her tears, she goes on to list some of the ways that the inmates are mistreated and denied basic human rights like education on a daily basis. She insists that the press pay attention to their demands.

When I mentioned OITNB taking home some trophies, I mainly meant Danielle Brooks winning all the Emmys. This scene is why.

The lesson: Black lives matter.
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Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
When Nicky had to break up with Lorna for her own sanity (Episode 6)

Breaking up is hard to do. It’s even harder when you weren’t actually “with” the person, they’re married, and they’re announcing their pregnancy (even though you don’t think it’s physically possible) in the same moments that they’re begging you to fuck them. Oh, and you’re both inmates in the same prison.

Nevertheless, this is the difficult situation that Nicky has found herself in. She tells Lorna that she's "batshit crazy" and that she needs to follow the advice of her therapist and not pursue her affections any longer.

The lesson: Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you, even if it hurts.
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Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
When Gloria told Daya to take accountability for her actions (Episode 9)

Daya has spent most of her life blaming her mother for everything bad that happened to her. And for what it’s worth, Aleida was certainly not the perfect mother. But Daya’s decision to start rolling with Maria and her clique of bullies, pick up the gun, and shoot CO Humphrey in the leg is no one’s fault but her own. And Gloria tells her as much when Daya is too afraid to face her own mother over the phone about her own actions. Spoken like a true auntie that keeps it more real than your own mother will, Gloria essentially tells Daya to own her shit.

The lesson: It’s your life. You’re in control of it.
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Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
When Poussey’s dad shut down CO Bayley (Episode 12)

Poor CO Bayley has spent the entire season trying to get over the guilt of (accidentally) murdering Poussey. He tries turning himself in, an unsuccessful suicide attempt, and finally a visit to Poussey’s father. He bares his soul and takes responsibility for his actions and issues a teary-eyed apology. It’s sad. Death rarely isn’t sad.

But Poussey’s father did the exact opposite of what many viewers were probably expecting to him to do. He refused the apology and cursed Bayley to never have a day of peace. Black communities are always expected to forgive. Forgive the United States for its history of slavery and colonization. Turn the other cheek when someone enters a place of worship and massacres the churchgoers. Forgive the police for doing their jobs, even if it costs our friends and family members their jobs. Mr. Washington was having no parts of it.

The lesson: It is not the job of the abused/oppressed to make abusers/oppressors feel better.