Warning: Major spoilers for Orange Is the New Black Season 5 up ahead.
So, now that you've finally unglued yourself from your screen after embarking on an indulgent Orange Is the New Black binge-athon, you must be wondering what on earth will happen to Litchfield's finest post-riot. Since the series came to an explosive end with most of the ladies being carted off like common cattle to unknown prison locations, there's been no end to questions regarding where Season 6 might take us.
As with most things, it's always best to go straight to the source to search for the answers. Below is everything we hope might happen in the next season of #OrangeIsTheNewBlack, all according to some of the actresses that hid in that swimming pool bunker and helped to bring that carnage to life in the first place.
One of Litchfield's originals since Season 2, the non-nonsense Frieda got quite a bit of screen time in Season 5 with flashbacks recalling her Girl Scout childhood and relentless desire to please her survivalist father.
Notably, Dale Soules's character was part of the small, 10-person gang remaining in the pool-turned-bunker during the season finale's cliffhanger, in which she was last seen standing up in a unified moment of defiance. Considering the actress has been promoted to a series regular, it's safe to say we will be seeing even more of her in Season 6, meaning that we're not likely to lose her when the riot police violently infiltrate the secret Litchfield shelter.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Soules recently expressed her hopes for the next installment, saying — perhaps a little too optimistically — that:
"I hope we're put into a beautiful facility with lots of room and working toilets! Something that's relatively comfortable and where they let Red cook."
For Uzo Aduba — who has led us through the ups and downs of Suzanne's prison life from the very beginning — Season 5 signalled a momentous change of pace for the show. As for what the future holds and how Orange Is the New Black is readying itself to move forward, she's said:
"I'm interested to see how Suzanne survives in the new world. It almost feels like we're setting sail."
During one of the most uncomfortable moments in the recent series — the humiliation of Red by Piscatella — we were pretty sure our favorite Russian chef was going to meet her end. However, as always, she managed to strike back to protect the women she calls her prison family.
Yet, without a doubt, the last episodes of Season 5 signalled an "irreparable kind of change," to use Mulgrew's own words during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. And from her perspective, her character's situation is not looking positive. She said:
"There is no question that [after what she went through this season] there is an irreparable kind of change. We are altered by trauma, the best among us. It's one thing to be beaten up, but this is to be traumatized within an inch of one's own life. It will be fascinating how the writers and I get to deal with it and I hope born out of this are the terrible shadows that follow us through trauma through Red."
Kate Mulgrew then added:
"There has to be some kind of reckoning with our respective sins, a confrontation with our own darkness. Each one of us in season five has done something less than great. My instinct is we will be separated, which will in itself be a terrible kind of punishment — punishment enough for Red would be that isolation. I really have learned the hard way not to guess."
On a lighter note, I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that we definitely need more of drugged-up dream-team Red and Blanca (played by Laura Gomez) in our lives in Season 6.
Hands down, Taystee was the star of Season 5, marking herself out as the strong moral leader that the Litchfield prison system needed. Fighting for what she believes is right from the very start of the recent installment — above all, doing what's right by Poussey — Danielle Brooks delivered an outstanding performance.
As for where she sees Season 6 take Taystee, the actress has revealed that although she has absolutely no idea, she hopes the themes covered by the show continue to push vital talking points in society:
"We have a long way to go. People get so invested in these fictional characters but forget that the whole reason we're talking about this is that it's actually happening. But I do feel like it's opening peoples' eyes. People all around the world are seeing the things that really matter to us in America and what we're dealing with as a society. The thing about all of this, as we have seen in the past five years, is that when you're incarcerated and not even seen as human, things can turn really quickly. People can blame people and point fingers and do all sorts of things, so I'm not sure how it's going to play out for Taystee, nor am I quite sure how she's going to take it."
Back when Orange Is the New Black first premiered back in 2013, it made new inmate Piper Chapman it's primary focus. Yet, although that emphasis has since been tweaked in a different direction, she remains a Litchfield stalwart.
Speaking about the potential direction of Season 6, Taylor Schilling is adamant that it's impossible for the show to avoid a political stance:
"It's not looking good! Jenji talks about how her intention isn't to be a politician or an activist, but to tell honest stories about individuals and that then the individual becomes universal. Then, in seeing yourself in someone you previously deemed as 'other,' it's an inherently political act. By relating to something that you thought was apart from you. So I think that is, particularly now, really important."
Similarly, show original Laura Prepon has no idea where the show is headed, but considering Season 5 came to a close with her and Piper deciding to get married, she has high hopes that they can stick together:
"We have no idea what's going to happen. I don't know [if Alex and Piper could make it if they were separated]. Even if they both got out the same day, would they make it in the world? Who knows. But that's what's so great about the relationship, is that they bring out the best and the worst in each other."
Like many of the Litchfield ladies around her, Gloria had quite a rough time of it in this season of Orange Is the New Black, which pushed her to a deeply vulnerable place after she found out that her beloved son was in a coma. Unsurprisingly, actress Selenis Leyva isn't able to provide any golden nuggets of Season 6 information but she does hope that her character "gets a little tough," especially where Jessica Pimentel's character — who betrayed her — is involved:
"Someone betrayed Gloria and I would like to see Gloria get a little tough. We can't forget that these women are tough and there's something about loyalty that's huge. I'm hoping they'll give her a little mean streak, I have a feeling."
Finally, there's Nicky. Over the course of the recent installment, the fiery-haired inmate experienced a rollercoaster of emotions — from maintaining her sobriety, confirming her feelings for Lorna and witnessing the dismantling of her in-prison mother (Red), it's safe to say that Season 6 made Nicky grow-up.
Ready for the next chapter, Natasha Lyonne revealed what she expects for the next #Netflix season, adding that she's bestowing all faith on show-runner Jenji Kohan to do the award-winning series justice:
"I think we always feel like [anyone could die at any time]. Across the board, I think we're always sort of weirdly ready, on some strange level. And if the show is mirroring the truth of society in any way, the reality is that insane things do happen on a constant basis. And often, consequence-free. Ultimately, it's true to the nature of the kind of storytelling that Jenji's doing to be truthful in her reflection of the world."
The Orange Is the New Black prison aftermath is scheduled for summer 2018.
What do you think will happen in Season 6 of Orange Is the New Black?