Do forgive the slightly dubious title. I am aware that has always played fast and loose with Piper Kerman's source material, and that judging a show's relation to "real life" is always a tricky area. The strange ground one encounters with setting a drama-comedy around one person's real life account of going to prison is that prison sentences tend to end, while TV shows aim not to. One has to question then, that with the ambitious ending of Orange is the New Black Season 3, could the next season see the show simply flying off with its own material?
Alex Vause and Other Changes
The character of Alex Vause is perhaps the best improvement over Piper Kerman's original memoirs that the show could have made. In reality, the woman Alex is based on was simply a catalyst; someone who had a previous relationship with Piper, ran in the same drug ring, and did time in a completely different prison. To give Alex a slightly antagonistic role, and put her in an on again off again relationship with Piper in the show may seem exploitative and sensationalist, but it was also a stroke of genius from series creator, Jenji Kohan.
I'm not here to speculate whether Alex is to be killed off in Season 4 as the recent finale alluded. In fact, I noted in another article how that was quite intentionally left unanswered. My point is that, if Alex is to be killed off, that's a point of no return for Orange is the New Black, for it will then have to operate within its own heightened sense of drama. Will you keep watching if Jenji Kohan and Netflix opt for that route?
Piper's sentence to be extended
This is still very much a prediction, as it's something that Orange is the New Black fans have been asking since the show began. Piper Kerman (who for Season 3 was made Production Consultant) did time in prison for only roughly one year. It's been referenced in the show that Piper is in Litchfield for around eighteen months, though that will surely still have to be extended if the show wants some decent longevity. Given that Orange is the New Black has been around for three years now, the sentence obviously feels longer, though the show may have to fabricate some reason to keep Piper behind bars.
My theory is that Piper's scheme of sneaking underwear out the prison to sell to the growing perv marketplace could land her in more trouble. We already saw how ruthless she'd become with her framing of Ruby Rose's Stella, so maybe this entire plot point is setting up some major downfall for Piper. Perhaps where her real-life counterpart did her time and was released, the TV Piper will only sink further into the skewed and confused world of prison life.
Piper's release, and the continued story
Here's another possibility we could see in Season 4! Remember how interesting the furlough episode was, where we got to see Piper briefly on the outside equipped with her knowledge of prison? If Season 4 actually saw Piper's release, that could be most of the show! Season 3 decreased Piper's presence rapidly, so there could still be a focus on the inmates still behind bars even with Piper now on the outside. In that sense, Orange is the New Black on Netflix would be able to do what Piper Kerman never could; convey the continuous experiences of inmates even after her own release, albeit through fiction.
What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for Orange is the New Black Season 4? Let us know with a post here on MoviePilot, by voting in our poll, or by leaving a comment below!