If there’s one episode of Orange Is The New Black’s final season that requires tissues — besides the tear-jerking finale — it’s the penultimate installment, “The Big House.” It’s an hour of television created to prepare you for the end, so it’s intrinsically a little sad. When it comes to television, all endings are, at a minimum, just a tad bittersweet.
That’s why the Netflix crew hid a spirit-lifting cameo in “Big House,” if you can make it to the very last minutes without dissolving into a puddle of tears. And we recommend holding on for this one, because OITNB manages to bring back the series’ most beloved character for one more scene.
As you’re going through “Big House,” it seems possible the writers decided to forego classic Orange flashbacks to focus on all the drama of present day Litchfield. Then, in the second-to-last scene of the episode, Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (Danielle Brooks), on the edge of death by suicide, sees a blinking light and flashes back to the day she saw a similar light and felt similarly dejected about her situation. It was that day — during the short period of time Taystee was out of Litchfield during season 1 — that Poussey called her.
“You got your mansion yet?” Poussey asks on the other side of line, the camera panning up her torso for the reveal.
It is such an exhilarating moment — especially for longtime fans of the show whose hearts broke upon Poussey’s season 4 death. But here, in this small flashback, she’s alive, well, and as optimistic as ever. The ensuing conversation is all about Poussey reminding Taystee there are reasons to dream and strive even in her worst moments of grief. Those are the exact inspiring words Taystee needs to lean on in the present. Poussey truly is the best best.
That’s probably why Netflix has created a real-life charity in her name, the Poussey Washington Fund. The foundation is dedicated to supporting eight nonprofits involved in criminal justice reform and ending mass incarceration.
Poussey is still doing good, even in death. But if you don’t want to deal with that tragedy, there’s always “Big House” to remind you of the good old days.