Here's How OITNB Season 6 Ends For All Your Favorite Inmates

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Orange Is The New Black season 6 finale, “Be Free.”
The season 5 finale of Orange Is The New Black was mayhem. It had to deal with far too many inmates wrapping up far too many storylines in a riot that had spun far too deeply into chaos. The same can’t be said about the season 6 ender, “Be Free.” The 2018 closer simply had to deal with two massive threads: the trial of Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (Danielle Brooks) for a murder she didn’t commit and a looming kickball war slash death match between two rival maximum security tribes, C Block and D Block.
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While “Be Free” actually handled both storylines well, it still had quite a few characters to check in on. After all there are still about 13 longtime OITNB favorites the series continues to follow, along with two brand-new, sprawling gangs.
So, if you’re not sure what happened in the finale, what it means, or who stabbed whom, we’re here for you. Keep reading this complete character-by-character guide to how every Litchfield inmate ended season 6, and what to expect for them in the already announced season 7. It's going to get dark.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson

Although Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is treated as Orange Is The New Black’s leading lady, the real star here is Taystee. Taystee, especially after the murder of best friend Poussey (Samira Wiley), has become the beating heart of OITNB. And, that heart is broken by the end of season 6.

So much of the drama’s 2018 run is dedicated to investigating how the justice system fails women of color. Taystee, a plus-size Black woman from a low-income background, is quickly vilified by the team investigating CO Desi Piscatella’s (Brad William Hanke) death, which was actually caused by a jumpy CERT officer. But, Taystee is implicated in the coverup. The buildup to the verdict in her murder case is restrained, but hopeful. Everyone, from her lawyer to boss-turned-champion Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) to the Black Lives Matter activists who flood her trial, believes Taystee may just be found innocent.

Then she isn’t. Taystee is convicted for the murder of a man she didn’t kill and, in one of the harrowing final moments of season 6, is marched back to Litchfield’s maximum security facility. It is all but assured she now has a life sentence.

Expect a bleak season 7 for Taystee as she swore to Caputo before her sentencing she would not spend the rest of her life in prison. What happens when that is Taystee's only option?
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Cindy Hayes

Speaking of Taystee, her closest living friend Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) also ends the season suffering (though not nearly as much) like her convicted pal. In an effort to avoid receiving more jail time of her own, Cindy is forced to testify against Taystee, whom she loves. Cindy’s guilt over her betrayal manifests itself in various nearly debilitating back problems.

Finally, Flaca Gonzales (Jackie Cruz) tells Cindy she needs to forgive herself for hurting Taystee. Yes what she did was horrible, but she was also manipulated by the justice system. So she slowly returns to her fun personality while calling the kickball game with Flaca.

For season 7, it’s likely we’ll see Cindy attempt to make amends, however possible, with Taystee following her return to max. It’s going to be a long, difficult, and sad road.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Lorna Morello & Nicky Nichols

Lorna (Yael Stone) and Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) have one of the purest relationships on Orange Is The New Black, even managing to end their sexual relationship on a loving note. That’s what makes their final season-ending twist so upsetting. Ahead of the would-be kickball battle royale, Nicky sacrifices herself by agreeing to go onto the field when she and a very pregnant Lorna were planning on hiding in a closet during the bloodbath. Nicky puts herself on the line specifically to save Lorna.

Then, practically the minute Nicky leaves. Lorna has a terrifying pregnancy emergency. While it originally seems like she is simply going into labor, we quickly see that something is wrong. In the last viewers see of Lorna, she is screaming, clutching her baby bump, and being dragged towards the nurse’s office by a guard. The crotch of her jumpsuit is covered in blood. Nicky is none the wiser to this medical nightmare and is outside playing kickball.

It’s the dark inverse of last year’s season finale, where Lorna had no idea what hell Nicky was going through in the bunker. Hopefully, we find out Lorna and the baby are alright in season 7.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Piper Chapman & Alex Vause

Before Lorna and Nicky’s world was turned upside down (unbeknownst to Nicky), they share a sweet moment by throwing OITNB’s leading on-again, off-again couple of Piper and Alex a prison wedding. It’s a legitimately touching moment for a group of people who have clawed their way through some awful situations.

The wedding is especially meaningful as Piper gets out of prison in the last moments of “Be Free.” We’re left wondering how this cornerstone relationship will work in season 7, as one half of this couple is officially out in the “real” world and one is still trying to survive in prison.

Further complicating this marital matter is the fact Alex is dragged into the the C Block versus D Block drama to keep Piper out of trouble with local villain Madison (Amanda Fuller), whom I personally refuse to call Badison (because that’s what she wants!). Although the gangs' leaders end the season violently murdering each other — more on that soon — it’s unlikely Alex will get out of her drug-related commitments to C Block. After all, Madison loves to hold a grudge.

In season 7, we’ll see how Alex’s new gang affiliations, which she purposefully hid from Piper, will affect their new long-distance relationship.
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Blanca Flores

While Piper is looking at a happy, free life outside of prison, Blanca (Laura Gómez), who leaves with her, is not. As we find out in the final seconds of the season, the private prison firm formerly known as MCC, now named Polycon, is going into the “immigration detention center” business. Which means they will now likely be in charge of the kinds of real-life facilities involved in the border crisis that forced hundred of children into cages.

Upon learning about “Polycon’s” new business venture, we see a shocked Blanca being loaded into an ICE Truck, going who knows were for who knows how long. It’s a gutting realization, especially since her partner Diablo (Miguel Izaguirre) is waiting at the normal exit with flowers for Blanca. They were supposed to start a family together. Now, how will Diablo even find Blanca?

The question remains whether season 7 will use the tragedy of Blanca to explore an entirely new, and likely darker, prison system or let her story end with this final devastating blow.
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Gloria Mendoza & Galina “Red” Reznikov

Keeping in line with the Latinx women in horrible, unfair situations theme, Gloria (Selenis Leyva) ends the season rotting in the SHU after she tries to out the guards for their horrific “Fantasy Inmate” game. Yes, the one where COs get points every time some awful misfortune befalls “their” drafted inmate.

Gloria is in solitary confinement because she tried to stop the deplorable game. Upon checking in with Gloria, we find out Red (Kate Mulgrew) is also in the SHU after assaulting Frieda Berlin (Dale Soules) over a perceived betrayal. Hopefully we’ll see both of these beloved prison moms out of their hellish boxes come season 7.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Sophia Burset

Even when things go well for women of color this season, they also go very, very wrong. Sophia (Laverne Cox) nearly joins Caputo’s growing lawsuit aginst MCC-slash-Polycon, but is stopped by newly minted executive Linda Ferguson (Beth Dover). Linda offers Sophia a massive settlement to keep quiet about the abuse she suffered in the prison as a trans woman, and an immediate release. Although Sophia cares about standing up for Taystee, she takes the deal and walks out of max with Piper.

This is the closest thing to a happy ending an OITNB character can get. Don’t be surprised if this is the last we see of Sophia.
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The Denning Sisters, Carol and Barb

We find out in “Be Free” that Carol (Henny Russell) and Barb (Mackenzie Phillips), the respective generals of C Block and D Block, engineered the entire kickball-turned-murderfest scheme in order to save themselves. They hoped the bloodbath will distract the people in charge of max so much that the siblings will be able to slip into the easy world of “Florida Block,” which is free of all gangs, violence, and drugs.

But, this plan then turns into a double-cross, as they both attempt to kill each other, possibly so only one of them can enter the paradise that is Florida. Unfortunately the entire plan fails as the Denning sisters simply end up killing each other. It’s Florida for no one.

Now the question remains: Who will rise in season 7 in the wake of such a massive prison power vacuum?
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
The C Block & D Block Gang

At long last, these two groups realize they aren’t all that different. With Carol and Barb murdering each other far away in a closet, the gangs get extremely wrapped up in kickball. Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) has a large hand in this change. After grappling with her own darkness throughout the season, Maria finally rejects her worst impulses and demands the teams be reorganized. With one small move, C Block and D Block inmates are forced to play together, rather than against each other, ruining each sides' attack plans and also distracting them. Everyone remembers kickball is fun.

Slowly, everyone puts away their shivs to get into the action of the game. It’s a giddy, light moment on a show that doesn’t have nearly enough of those. Even Daya Diaz (Dascha Polanco), who spends most of season 6 in the grips of depression and a burgeoning drug habit after copping to an undeserved murder charge, clearly gets into the game.

Still, despite all the rah-rah comradery of kickball, we all know some type of drama will arise when everyone goes back inside in season 7.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Florida Block

Suzanne Warren (Uzo Aduba), Tiffany Doggett (Taryn Manning), and Frieda become unlikely allies as Florida’s leading Litchfield camp alums. By the end of the season, the assassin sent to murder Frieda is taken care of, so she bullies Suzanne into leaving her alone. It’s obvious that Frieda, a lifetime survivalist, actually likes Suzanne, but doesn’t know how to have friends or care about another person.

Thankfully, Suzanne, who always needs someone to lean on, immediately begins an intense friendship with Tiffany. It’s sweet and seemingly won’t crash and burn next year.

At least there’s a little bit of happiness within the walls of max.
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