After seven seasons, multiple deaths, a few births, and more pudding cups than we can count it’s time to say goodbye to the women at Litchfield penitentiary. Orange Is the New Black finally ends its story about Piper, Alex, Red, Nicky, Lorna, Suzanne, Gloria, Cindy, and Taystee and everyone else, with some of them actually becoming free women again while others are left behind in prison for a few more years (if not forever). When the screen finally fades to orange at the very end — as it’s done so throughout the entire series — where is everyone at the end of Orange Is the New Black?
Season 7 has a much more redemptive arc than any season before it, as we see Piper (Taylor Schilling) trying to adjust to life outside of Litchfield and the ups and downs of that. On the inside, Taystee (Danielle Brooks) wrestles with the fact that she’s now received a life sentence for killing Piscatella (Brad William Henke) and the fact that Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) knows she didn’t is heavy on her conscious. The inmates are also smuggling contraband into the prison in the form of cell phone chargers, so season 7 has them super into posting on Instagram.
Through all of this, OITNB actually ends on an uplifting note as we know that wherever these inmates are, whether in or out, they’re on their way to trying to make things better for themselves or others.
Spoilers are ahead, obviously.
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What Happens To Daya Diaz
By the time we get to season 7, Daya (Dascha Polanco) is stuck in jail for as long as she knows and is no longer the sweet, kind, artist that we knew way back when. She’s behind the drugs being smuggled in and out of the prison and isn’t taking “no” for any answers — including from her mom, Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez). Aleida strangles Daya — potentially ending in her death. The camera cuts out before we know.
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What Happened To Piper Chapman
Piper was released from prison at the end of season 6 and is trying to start a new life on the outside. Easier said than done. She’s living with her brother and his wife (and their new baby) and can’t hold down any job, whether it's working at a Thai restaurant or even babysitting her niece. Eventually, her dad gives her a job at his law firm doing odd jobs, and she comes clean to the other women working there that she used to be in prison. While her relationship with her dad is touch-and-go for a while, eventually they come to an understanding.
Piper is also still horribly hung up on Alex (Laura Prepon), who is still in prison at Litchfield. This doesn’t stop Piper from starting a relationship with a woman named Zelda, and she immediately feels guilty about it since she’s still “prison married” to Alex. After confessing the relationship to her, Alex and Piper break up. This leads Piper to confide in Larry (Jason Biggs), who asks her what new Piper would do?
The series ends on her really getting her life together and coming “clean” in every aspect of it. Piper has a job at Starbucks and still visits Alex in prison.
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What Happened To Red
Red’s (Kate Mulgrew) physical and mental state slowly deteriorates over the course of season 7, and she’s no longer a spitfire running the prison kitchen. We know it before she does (along with the rest of the inmates), but Red is now forgetful and accidentally locks herself in the freezer, along with giving herself a pretty big gash on her hand while cooking. It’s revealed that she is suffering from early-onset dementia. The prison doctor tells her that it more than likely began while she was in isolation, and also she has a severe UTI, which has only intensified her delirium. While they can treat the UTI and the delirium, dementia will eventually take her completely and she’ll need constant care.
In the end, Red is transferred to “Florida” — aka, cell-block B — which house many elderly inmates or those that need special care or protection. Upon arriving, she bumps into her enemy Freida (Dale Soules), but doesn’t remember her.
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What Happens To Alex Vause
CO McCullough (Emily Tarver) forces Alex to help her smuggle in drugs — but Alex wisely changes the enterprise to phone charges instead. The two begin a relationship. After Piper finds out about it, Alex breaks up with McCullough. In turn, McCullough has Alex transferred to a different prison in Ohio. Alex also breaks up with Piper, hoping to set her free and live a life without her.
At the new Ohio prison, Alex finds herself surrounded by friends, as she’s with the likes of Boo (Lea Delaria), Yoga Jones (Constance Schulmann), and Norma (Annie Golden). Piper still comes to visit her.
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What Happened To Lorna Morello
Lorna’s (Yael Stone) been pregnant since season 3 on the show (time moves very oddly at Litchfield), and at the end of season 6, we see her have some medical complications from the pregnancy. Offscreen, she goes into labor. When season 7 picks up she’s already talking about her new baby.
Her husband, Vinnie (John Robert Magaro), comes to see her and relays some horrible news: their baby came down with pneumonia and there was, unfortunately, nothing they could do so save her. However, this is Lorna we’re talking about and she manages to convinced herself that her baby’s not dead, and that Vinnie’s just keeping her away. Eventually, Vinnie comes to Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) to ask for help (and to get Lorna to agree to a divorce), and Nicky learns that the baby is dead. Lorna then has a psychotic episode, escapes the jail, tries to feed the chickens out in the coop, and is transferred to “Florida.”
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What Happened To Joe Caputo
Caputo’s (Nick Sandow) trying to be a dad. Yes, really. He and Natalie "Fig" Figueroa (Alysia Reiner) are living together and she’s going through IVF to try and have a baby. In the end, the two decide to adopt. At the adoption agency, they meet a young girl named Vanessa, and it’s assumed that they adopt her.
As for his professional life, Caputo’s sucks. After leaving Litchfield he tries to get his life back together and just when it appears it’s on the right track, he’s “me too’ed” by former CO Susan Fischer (Lauren Lapkus). While he is teaching at Litchfield, he realizes that Fischer was right, resigns from his teaching gig, and is still on the hunt for something stable when the series ends.
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What Happens To Natalie "Fig" Figueroa
For the first time in seven seasons, Fig isn’t considered the bad guy here. At the beginning of the season, she’s removed from her position as warden at Litchfield and instead transferred to position over at the neighboring ICE detention center. It’s not something she necessarily wants to do, but she quickly comes to sympathize with the detainees inside after she sees their horrible conditions and mistreatment.
Fig is also now in a relationship with Caputo, and the two are trying to have a baby through IVF. Eventually, Fig tells her doctor that she’s pregnant but doesn’t want to bring a baby into this world after seeing the ICE detention centers; she’s given abortion pills. However, Fig doesn’t take them herself and instead passes them off to a detainee who was raped before she was detained and doesn’t want to keep her baby.
The series ends with Fig and Caputo apparently adopting a young girl they meet at an adoption center who sings them a surprising rendition of, “Crazy Rap” by Afroman.
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What Happens To Blanca Flores
At the end of season 6, Blanca (Laura Gómez) was released early from prison… however, ICE was waiting for her outside and whisked her away before she could be reunited with her boyfriend, Diablo (Miguel Izaguirre). Blanca is then put in an ICE detention facility facing deportation and when Diablo comes to see her, he’s also taken into custody by ICE.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. During her deportation trial, Blanca argues for her original conviction to be overturned so she can return back to criminal court for a new trial. The judge agrees to this, and Blanca is later granted a release and a green card. But Diablo was deported, so instead of staying in the United States alone, she goes back to her home country to be with Diablo.
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What Happened To Cindy Hayes
Cindy is still dealing with the fallout from falsely testifying at Taystee’s murder trial, where she said she saw Taystee with a gun to Piscatella’s head. Later, Cindy is released and Taystee is pretty upset about it; the latter writes a letter to Cindy’s daughter, Monica, explaining what her mother did. There’s just one huge giant catch to this: Monica believes her real mom is Cindy's mother Lillian, and that Cindy is her older sister.
While Cindy’s arrival back at home is joyous at first, Monica is devastated after Taystee’s letter arrives. This forces Cindy out of the house and to live on the streets, where she’s just barely getting by working at a nursing home. Eventually, Cindy asks to meet with Monica and her mother, agreeing to step up and be strong and responsible for her daughter.
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What Happened To Suzanne Warren
If there’s one character who’s just never going to change, it’s Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) — and it’s not like that’s a bad thing. She spends most of the season raising chickens outside in a new coop, and when the chicken program is shut down at the end of the season and the chickens are taken away, Suzanne jokes that she didn’t prepare any of them for the real world, just like all the inmates being released.
In one of the strangest/most touching moments of the season, Suzanne leads everyone in a song, specifically the Mountain Dew theme song, to honor Pensatucky (Taryn Manning) after her death.
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What Happened To Sophia Burset
Sophia (Laverne Cox) was released at the end of season 6 and she left Litchfield and never looked back. She and Piper share a probation officer and run into each other between parole meetings. Later, Sophia gives Piper a makeover so Piper can go to a gala with her new friend Zelda (Alicia Witt). Sophia is working as a hairdresser/beautician and encourages Piper to move on with her life.
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What Happens To Gloria Mendoza
Gloria (Selenis Leyva) is finally released, after serving her whole sentence, at the end of season 7 and returns home to her family. But, not before she almost gets five additional years added to her sentence for having an illegal cell phone. She’s working in the ICE kitchen, and also working on trying to help the detainees there find legal representation. When she lets one of them actually use her cell phone and their kids call back, the phone is discovered.
After she chastises CO Luschek (Matt Peters) for not caring about anyone but himself, he comes clean about helping the inmates get cell phones and is obviously immediately fired. He asks for leniency with Gloria and she’s released on time.
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What Happens To Taystee Jefferson
If Taystee wasn’t already your favorite character on OITNB she is now. She’s received a life sentence for killing Piscatella (she didn’t do it) and is grappling every single day with the fallout from it, rarely leaving her room or interacting with others. At one point she tries to take her own life but immediately panics and stops.
Eventually, Taystee gets one of her old jobs back and begins working as a secretary for the new warden and her old pal, Tamika (Susan Heyward). This gives Taystee some purpose again, as she also helps Caputo out during his teachings. However, Taystee is still grappling with everything going wrong in her life and decides to attempt suicide again (and convinces Tamika to order from her favorite fast food place to celebrate the end of the teaching semester as her last meal). Taystee is on her way to possibly go through with it when she comes across Pensatucky, who has OD’ed. This snaps Taystee out of her emotional state.
She eventually decides to set up The Poussey Washington Fund (which is real!) to help newly released inmates get back on their feet financially and calls none other than Judy King (Blair Brown) for help getting it off the ground.
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What Happens To Tiffany "Pensatucky" Doggett
Pensatucky is trying to get her life on track once and for all during season 7 and begins taking high school classes in hopes of passing the high school equivalency exam (HSET). Unfortunately, she doesn’t finish her test in the allowed time — she has dyslexia and was supposed to be granted extra time — and she assumes that she’s failed the test. She takes this pretty hard and overdoses in the penultimate episode of the series. Suzanne later leads a memorial service for her.
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What Happened To Maria Ruiz
In the first season, Maria (Jessica Pimentel) gives birth to a baby girl named Pepa. Since then, Maria's boyfriend has struggled with bringing Pepa to see her mother in prison, and eventually confesses that it's because he doesn't want his daughter to understand her mother's in jail. This leads her to have constant tension with other mothers in jail, especially Gloria, since all they want to do is get out and see their kids, no matter what the cost.
Due to the riots, Maria has another 10 years tacked onto her sentence, but the series ends with her boyfriend coming around and bringing Pepa in to see her. It's assumed that Gloria (who is now free), has given some children's books to Maria so she can read to her daughter.
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What Happened To Flaca
After season 6, Flaca (Jackie Cruz) is sent to work in the ICE kitchen with the others and tries to help the women detained there receive legal help. She tries her best to get help for her BFF Maritza (Diane Guerrero) who she believes has been wrongfully detained, but it’s no use and her best friend is deported.
From that point on, she continues to her best to get contact information for immigration lawyers to the other ICE detainees by sneakily passing the information to them with their lunch trays.
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What Happened To Martiza
Maritza was completely absent from season 6 of Orange Is the New Black, with her bff Flaca informing us that she was transferred somewhere thousands of miles away. Well, between then and now she’s been released and is actually a free woman, until...
One night out at a club, there’s an ICE raid and Maritza panics because she doesn’t have her ID on her. She’s detained by ICE and taken into custody where she meets back up with Blanca and the two try to work together to get legal representation in order to be freed. Maritza manages to get in touch with Flaca, who gets in touch with her mother for her birth certificate, but her mother explains that Martiza wasn’t actually born in America; she was born in Colombia.
With this information, Maritza is deported.
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What Happens To Nicky Nichols
Nicky grows up a lot during season 7. When Red starts going through her forgetful episodes, Nicky’s the one who steps in to help her, and later when Red’s diagnosis is read, Nicky is by her side. Not only that, but Nicky is also looking out for Lorna and trying to help her cope with the loss of her baby and a divorce from her husband Vinnie.
Last we see Nicky, she’s actually taken over Red’s role in the kitchen in more ways than one, not only overseeing the whole operation but also helping those with her get their problems together (and detox, like she’s done so many times before).