Everything you need to know before watching final season of 'Orange Is The New Black'

Final season premieres Friday

"Orange is the New Black"
"Orange is the New Black" (Netflix)

Sure, "House of Cards" may have debuted before "Orange Is the New Black" in 2013 on Netflix, but the female prison dramedy, also known as "OITNB," is undoubtedly the first original TV show to reach mass audiences for Netflix, taking the streaming service to new levels. 

But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and that includes "Orange Is The New Black." The show will wrap up after the seventh season premieres on Netflix on Friday, and many fans are sad to see it end.

Warning: If you're not caught up, the following article contains spoilers. You've been warned. (Maybe this seems obvious, considering it's a "catch-up" piece. Better safe than sorry, we figured!

With a cast that is almost entirely female and incredibly diverse, "OITNB" broke boundaries and made us rethink things when it comes to representation on TV. Not only did it show its female characters as three-dimensional human beings, but it also showcased just how corrupt the prison system is in America and ignited a much-needed conversation on prison reform. 

The last few seasons of the show saw a huge shift in tone after fan favorite Poussey was killed by a prison guard. Since then, the show has been following a smaller group of inmates from Litchfield who were sent "down the hill" to maximum security after a different prison guard was shot during a riot and protest in season five. Long gone are the days of Suzanne making up cute rhymes about Piper.

Since it's been more than a year since season six debuted on Netflix, here is a little recap of where we stand with some of the main characters who are still involved with the drama at Litchfield. 


We entered the gates of Litchfield thanks to Piper. The show started on her first day of serving out a yearlong sentence for drug smuggling, and her transformation over the seasons has been interesting to watch. It became clear after a few seasons that Piper is by far not the most compelling character on the show, and the privilege she's received as the seasons have gone by has been frustrating to watch. As season six ends, Piper has married her girlfriend Alex, who literally got her into this mess, and found out that she's getting an early release. We'll probably watch Piper on probation in season seven, trying to navigate the world post-incarceration. 


When "OITNB" started, Taystee became one of the breakout characters, thanks to the wonderful performance Danielle Brooks gives. As the seasons have gone by, viewers have grown to adore Taystee, which made season six hard to watch for Taystee fans since she was convicted of murdering a prison guard, a crime she didn't commit. Taystee now has to serve life in prison, but she could have an appeal if Suzanne testifies the truth of the guard's death. Could this save Taystee? In a normal TV show, we'd be more hopeful, but "OITNB" is known for showing the hard realities of life. 


Natasha Lyonne's performance as recovering addict Nicky is another fan favorite, so fans will be paying close attention to see how Nicky's storyline ends. Nicky got caught up in the politics and fighting between the C and D blocks at max, but since most of the drama got resolved at the end of season six, we're not sure what Nicky will be up to this time around. Her prison mother, Red, seems more damaged than ever, so maybe she will be caring for her? 


After talking about Nicky, we must next, of course, talk about Red. As someone who started the series as the inmate with the most power, Red has been knocked down from her role as head cook in the prison repeatedly and has spent a lot of season six in solitary confinement. Will we get to see Red gain any of her power back, or will she stay where she is until she finishes her sentence? 


One of the most shocking moments of season six happened when we saw what was going on with Blanca. While it looked as if Blanca was getting transferred to a new prison (it even looked as if she was getting released), Blanca was turned into an ICE detention center, a place way more terrifying than prison for Blanca. It was an interesting move for the show to include this new plot, as it's a very real situation that is happening in America right now. 


Our beloved Suzanne, aka "Crazy Eyes," has been so fun to watch over the seasons thanks to actress Uzo Aduba. Suzanne is the only prisoner who knows the truth about Taystee and her situation, but will she be well enough to testify and save Taystee? This will be a plot that we can't wait to see play out. 

Additional characters are still in the game like Cindy, Lorna, Frieda, Alex, Gloria and others, but these six characters above have the most to gain, (and lose) as we enter the final season of this groundbreaking show. Will you be watching? 



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