Here’s Where We Left Our Favorite ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Characters Last Season
Season 5 was packed with drama, and with all the crazy events that took place, it’s easy to lose track of who ended up where and what happened to who.
To get even more psyched about Season 6 (streaming on Netflix July 27), let’s do a quick recap of some of our favorite characters.
(If you haven’t seen Season 5, you might want to skip this story; it’s full of spoilers.)
OITNB fans remember that Season 5 took place over the course of a three-day prison riot, which the female inmates held to protest the unfair death of fellow prisoner Poussey Washington (played by Samira Wiley), as well as the terrible and hostile conditions that resulted from Litchfield falling into MCC’s hands.
So, what happened to Sophia?
On the first day of the riot, Gloria brings Humphrey (the guard Daya — played by Dascha Polanco — shoots at the beginning of the episode) into the hair salon, begging for Sophia (Laverne Cox)’s help. Sophia has more of a medical background than the other inmates, since she was trained in emergency response back when she worked as a firefighter.
But the CO gives her attitude and shoots off a transphobic slur, and Gloria (Selenis Leyva) essentially has to beg Sophia to help him live. She ultimately decides to try only as a favor to Gloria. Together, they try to stop his bleeding but can’t, so they take him to the infirmary, where they find one nurse still hasn’t fled the riot. Sophia stays to help Humphrey and says “I used to be a fireman— a firefighter.” </3 Unbreak my heart!
One night, she learns that Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler) has been taken to maximum security, so Sophia decides to break out of Litchfield and surrender herself to the police in order to be taken to max to check in on Sister Ingalls.
While she’s being processed, she talks to yet another inmate who says she was in max at the same time as the nun, and reveals to Sophia that Sister Ingalls contracted pneumonia and was given compassionate release. Realizing she’s put herself in max and is now there alone, Sophia starts laughing.
Oof — that is so rough. I hope all the best for Sophia in Season 6.
Where is Nicky?
While everyone’s scoping out their spots for the impending riot, Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) and Lorna (Yael Stone) take control of the pharmacy and keep flirting, as per usual. Lorna keeps saying that they shouldn’t, but Nicky is constantly coming on to her. Like, girl get a clue!
But then! Lorna comes on to Nicky and they finally do hook up! However, this takes a strange twist when Lorna later tells Nicky she’s pregnant because she can see it in her boobs. Nicky gives Lorna the saddest look because as usual, Lorna is being Lorna, aka delusional.
Lorna sees how sad Nicky is about the pregnancy and apologizes for coming on to her, blaming that on the hormones. Nicky, of course, tells her she still loves her but that they can’t be friends since they always end up hooking up. Heartbreaking because Nicky is clearly in way too deep to just cut Lorna out like this.
Cut to: Nicky gets a makeover (from Flaca, who’s giving them to everyone), and makes out with another inmate at Poussey’s memorial, looking at Lorna the whole time…
To take her mind off Lorna, Nicky decides to then put her energy elsewhere and she comes to Red’s rescue when she realizes that the “energy vitamins” Red’s been taking are actually speed. They reconnect (it had been a bumpy time for the two this season) but then Piscatella captures and tortures them both because he’s on his crazy rampage (more on that later)!
After the Piscatella incident, Nicky finds Lorna, who’s been worried about her disappearance. Lorna shows her all these positive pregnancy tests (like, a LOT of them), and is like, I’m so crazy I’m seeing all of these test results as positives. And Nicky is like, No… They’re actually positive.
Nicky secretly calls Lorna’s boo Vinny and tells him about the baby and says to do the right thing. Yeah, we know Lorna’s crazy, she says, but she’s only that way about the people she loves.
Once the whole police team storms in in the last episode, Nicky takes Taystee, Cindy and an unconscious Suzanne (because Lorna decided not to medicate her after Nicky left the commissary) to the pool area where some of the other girls are hiding out. She doesn’t let Lorna come because she’s pregnant, and the two share an emotional goodbye hug.
Here’s where Piper’s benn
Piper, who begins as the show’s protagonist but slowly fades into the sidelines, doesn’t make too many appearances in Season 5. She initially tries to stay out of the riot, then teams up with Taystee to gather up and set fire to all the snacks the governor’s office sent. She then suggests their ‘negotiating team’ do something “constructive,” which results in the inmates commemorating Poussey’s life by building a living library.
She is one of the inmates kidnapped by Piscatella toward the end of the season. Once released, she has an emotional phone conversation with her mom where she realizes she wants to spend the rest of her life with Alex. She then proposes to her, and ends the season as part of the group hiding in the pool area when the cops swarm in.
But where is Alex now?
Like her on-and-off girlfriend Piper, Alex starts the season trying to stay out of the riot, and posts up on the lawn with her mattress. She inspires a group of inmates to do the same, and sort of becomes the leader of the outside group, admitting to Piper she told the others on the lawn about the CO-in-disguise she killed at the beginning of Season Four.
Over the course of the riot, she tries to keep tabs on Linda (the reporter who inadvertently gets mixed up in the riot) to make sure word doesn’t get out about her murder.
Eventually, she gets captured by Piscatella, who breaks her arm. She’s part of the group in the pool at the end of the season.
What’s going on with Brook?
Dealing with the loss of her girlfriend Poussey, Brook (portrayed by Kimiko Glenn and better known to most by her last name, Soso) agrees to attend a seance for her after an inmate tells her Poussey had “unfinished business” on Earth. But the spiritual moment quickly devolves into a fight between Taystee (Danielle Brooks) and Brook about who knew Poussey better.
After the inmates set fire to the snacks sent by the governor’s office, Piper (Taylor Schilling) suggests they turn to more “constructive” strategies of dealing with their frustrations. This gives Brook the idea of gathering books from around the prison to create a hallway filled with books that everyone can read and share, to commemorate Poussey’s love of the library. Even Taystee had to admit it was a great idea.
Maritza and Flaca, aka Flaritza
Our favorite young Latinas start a YouTube beauty channel called “Flaritza,” where they document their daily lives during the riot. They amass a huge fanbase, who they see cheering them on with posters when they’re escorted from the prison after the riot.
When the inmates have to get on buses, the duo is separated. Maritza (Diane Guerrero) tells Flaca she loves her, but Flaca just cries in response.
Daya shoots CO Humphrey at the beginning of the season and unwillingly finds herself at the head of the riot because the gun is in her hand. She almost immediately loses it though (Gloria takes it but doesn’t tell her for her own good), and heads outside to paint a mural and basically dissociate from how much trouble she’s in.
When Judy King (Blair Brown) and Daya’s recently-released mother Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) go on TV as former Litchfield inmates to discuss the riot, Judy accidentally reveals that the “Spanish girl who doesn’t speak Spanish” is the inmate who shot Humphrey. Aleida promptly calls Litchfield to talk to Daya, pleading that she own up to her actions. The inmates also decide that she should turn herself in once they learn about the TV segment, so that they don’t all have to collectively suffer the consequences of her shooting.
Daya calls Pornstache’s mom (the grandmother to their kid) asking her to adopt the baby out of foster care, and teaches her how to pronounce her name correctly. Then, she turns herself in to Figueroa. It’s unclear what happens after, but an extension to her sentence is implied.
Here’s where we left Taystee
Taystee is a mess after Poussey’s death! Who wouldn’t be! As her fellow inmates riot around her, Taystee’s one and only concern becomes how to memorialize Poussey and bring her some justice. She even goes as far as punching Caputo in the face when he tries to defend Bayley (which is hilarious).
She becomes one of the main spokespeople for the rioting inmates and when asked by MCC for the inmates’ riot demands, Taystee responds that her only demand is that Bayley be arrested and tried for Poussey’s death. Eventually the other inmates create a list of 10 demands, and although Taystee is disappointed Bayley’s arrest falls at #9, the group tapes the list to the prison fence.
The governor’s office decides to respond to one of their pleas, and sends over boxes of Hot Cheetos, Takis, and tampons. Basic pandering when all you’re asking for is some human rights.
This results in Taystee, along with Cindy, Allison, and Piper, setting fire to the chips in front of the prison while reporters are gathered out front. The governor then ups the ante and sends former assistant warden Natalie Figueroa to negotiate with the women.
Taystee and Fig (and Caputo) get on with the negotiations .and by the end the governor’s office is eventually ready to meet all their demands, with the exception of prosecuting CO Bayley, which they call “a separate legal issue.”
Taystee refuses to take the deal until justice for Poussey is secured. While she is negotiating, Maria decides to release all the COs the inmates had captured earlier. With the COs released, the governor’s office realize the inmates have no bargaining power and claim that Taystee has “no intention” of ending the riot.
The guards then storm the prison! Taystee and a few others take cover in the pool, where Suzanne is unconscious after not taking her meds, then taking Lithium. A captured Piscatella is also there and when she sees him, Taystee loses it! She grabs a gun and holds it up to his head. It’s intense. The rest of the women plead with her not to. She breaks down crying. It’s a mess.
She’s holding hands with the other inmates in the pool area when the door is blown in in the last scene.
And last but not least, Piscatella
This CO is nuts! At first he tries to take control during the riot, but his higher ups tell him to calm down and use minimal force.
Red and Blanca find out, while reading through the guards’ files, that Piscatella had murdered an inmate at his previous posting. (This is also kind of sad, because it’s revealed that Piscatella is gay and that the inmate he killed had attacked the inmate Piscatella was in love with.)
Piscatella doesn’t seem too interested in standing down despite the orders and next thing you know, he’s picking the lock to the prison while outfitted in riot gear.
He starts viciously capturing everyone in Red’s circle (he HATES Red), torturing and humiliating them. Thankfully, the room he’s holding the inmates hostage in is connected to the pool area, where Frieda, Gina and Yoga Jones have been hiding. Gina even films him breaking Alex’s arm.
Quickly, they hatch a plan (which involves Frieda making a poison dart!) and manage to take down Piscatella and decide to keep him captive until the riot is over. He’s the absolute worst and shows no remorse!
Meanwhile, the video Gina took of him breaking Alex’s arm makes waves online and protestors swarm Litchfield to speak up against the abuse of inmates.
At the same time, the prison guards decide to storm Litchfield to end the riot, but realize ten women are still unaccounted for. Once the officers learn about the pool area, they head over there and notice someone walking toward them.
It turns out this is exactly at the time the inmates holding him captive decide to release him, so the officer who thinks he’s fired at a prisoner actually shot CO Piscatella in the head.
The fate of the rest of the women in the pool area — Blanca, Cindy, Red, Suzanne, Taystee, Piper, Alex, Nicky, Gloria and Frieda — remains unclear at the end of the season.
Let’s see how they and the rest of the inmates fare this season around.