Saturday, June 10, 2017

Riot Into Misery: Orange Is The New Black Season 5 Is Utterly Unpleasant.

The Good: Good performances, Good message about the prison-industrial complex
The Bad: Oppressive tone, Almost no real character development, Repetitive psychologically disturbing plots
The Basics: Orange Is The New Black Season Five is flat-out miserable to watch.

For every major Netflix show, I binge the season and review it. Easily the show that my wife has preferred compared to me is Orange Is The New Black. With the release today of Orange Is The New Black Season 5, I was surprised by how late in the day she wanted to begin the season. My wife often suggests that I write shorter reviews for things that warrant it. As I near the end of watching Orange Is The New Black Season 5, I'm convinced that I will actually make her happy with the brevity of my review of the season.

Man, Orange Is The New Black Season 5 is flat-out miserable. There are, perhaps, five laugh-out-loud lines in the thirteen episode season and the dramatic aspects of the fifth season of Orange Is The New Black tread almost entirely toward the horrific. Orange Is The New Black Season 5 is so disturbing that it is hard to make it through once and unfathomable to get excited about watching a second time.

Orange Is The New Black Season Four (reviewed here!) climaxed with a corrupt guard sneaking a gun into Litchfield Minimum Security Prison when Taystee, reacting to Caputo's press conference following the murder of her best friend, instigated a riot. The fourth season ended with Dayanara holding the gun and aiming it at the guard while the rest of the inmates looked on.

Season Five of Orange Is The New Black begins with the resolution of the stand-off. Daya, frazzled, accidentally shoots the guard in his thigh. This sets off a prisonwide riot, which leads the various factions within Litchfield to riot. The guards are taken hostage, the doors are barred, and various key areas of the prison are raided for supplies.

And Orange Is The New Black Season 5 quickly degenerates into torture porn. The show quickly turns away from having any real entertainment value and it loses its sense of social commentary when most of the protagonists leap into becoming villains. The season is an excruciating, humorless, series of prisoners abusing guards, horrible medical emergencies, and tense moments. The ninth episode of the season is a flat-out horror episode, which is the culmination of tension, crazy characters falling apart and absolutely unpleasant moments. While other seasons of Orange Is The New Black have illustrated the problems of the prison-industrial complex and made the prisoners at Litchfield sympathetic and empathetic, by the time a guard gets anally violated by one of the inmates in the fifth season, they have mortgaged all of their relatability.

While the acting in the fifth season of Orange Is The New Black is good, it is not watching the season for it. The make-up effect for Maureen's beaten and now-infected face, a finger getting blown off, shit buckets, a scalping, bloody gunshot wounds, a horrific stroke, and the constant dehumanization of so many characters . . . there is nothing at all pleasant in Orange Is The New Black Season 5. As circumstances escalate within the prison and by random external forces - Gloria's son is hospitalized, for example - Orange Is The New Black becomes increasingly unpleasant to watch.

There's really not more to say about the season than that. The minutiae only details the excruciating nature of the season's actions. Uzo Aduba is guaranteed a Best Actress nomination, if not an outright win, but given that her character of Suzanne is tortured, taken off her medicine, and comes completely unspooled.

Orange Is The New Black Season 5 transforms the dramedy into a horror and it is not worth watching.

For other works from the 2016 – 2017 television season, please check out my reviews of:
"The Return Part 5" - Twin Peaks
"The Pilot" - Doctor Who
House Of Cards - Season 5
Supergirl - Season 2
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season 3
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4
Sense8 - Season 2
Dear White People - Season 1
Legends Of Tomorrow - Season 2
The Walking Dead - Season 7
Thirteen Reasons Why - Season 1
Grace And Frankie - Season 3
Iron Fist - Season 1
Love - Season 2
Santa Clarita Diet - Season 1
A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1
One Day At A Time - Season 1
Travelers - Season 1
The OA - Season 1
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
"Invasion!" - Arrow
"Flashpoint" - The Flash
Luke Cage - Season 1
Stranger Things - Season 1


For other television reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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