Orange Is the New Black is Netflix's runaway hit: the darkly comedic drama has pulled in millions of viewers thanks to its sharp wit and emotive story. While it suffered slightly from pacing issues, season 3 really upped the stakes, and the recent news has us convinced that Orange Is The New Black season 4 may be the best yet.
We still have a long time to wait until the next season premieres, but the news is pouring in and we have a decent idea of what to expect: a few new characters, Alex's return, and of course the issue of overcrowding. But there's still plenty of questions left to be answered, so here's what we want to see from season 4!
Whatever Happened To Ruby Rose?
AND NICKY, that really can't be stressed enough. With two fan fave inmates sent to Maximum Security, we're desperate to find out what happens next. Nicky was dragged away part way through the season, and as the episodes continued with no word from her it felt like her story had been forgotten about.
Unfortunately the writers are stubbornly staying quiet on this front, refusing to reveal whether Nicky will return in season 4. But it hardly feels like Nicky's story is over, and we desperately want to know how she fared detoxing in an even harsher environment than before. Kate Mulgrew also feels that Nicky's development is far from over, and has spoken about how much she wants a reunion between Red and her surrogate daughter.
"You know I love my daughters, but she went to max for the wrong reasons. So we have to see if there’s any leeway. Where does Red relax her laws? Is it always going to be tough love or is there room for forgiveness? Because I think there’s a kind of loneliness that grows and grows and grows and grows when you’re in prison."
Red is certainly a strict character, but she has a depth of feeling that means her moments of compassion are some of the show's most poignant. A reunion between the two characters could be one of season 4's highlights.
So how does Ruby Rose play into this? It's probably just wishful thinking, but with Stella sent to Maximum Security at the end of season 3, we might see Nicky get a new friend in season 4.
This just makes sense from a writing perspective - exploring one character's story in a new environment might burden the show with too many new characters, but having two existing characters strike up a new relationship makes a lot more sense. And speaking of relationships, how about a resolution for Sofia and Gloria?
How Is Sofia Faring In The SHU?
Gloria and Sophia's conflict went from bickering to outright vicious in season 3, culminating in one of the show's most shocking scenes. What began as a simple request to allow Sophia's son Michael to get a ride with Gloria's family for prison visits soon escalated to conflict between the two mothers when Sophia became concerned by changes in Michael's behaviour as he socialised more with Gloria's son Benny. The argument escalated quickly when Sophia accidentally injured Gloria, leading Gloria and her friends to spread rumours about Sophia, then attack her. But instead of Gloria being punished for her actions, Sophia was the one to be sent to the SHU.
Dedicated to telling truthful stories, the writers researched other trans inmate's experiences when conceiving the story, which for actress Laverne Cox made the storyline realistic and difficult for her.
"Far too often, trans people who are incarcerated are placed in solitary confinement allegedly for 'our own protection'. So when the writers came up with this, it's from reality."
So is there a chance for reconciliation in season 4? Gloria's actress Selenis Leyva hopes so, but Laverne Cox isn't so sure.
"I can't imagine [they'll make up]. As a viewer watching, seeing how much remorse Gloria has, I always like to believe there's a potential for forgiveness, but this is pretty bad. This is really, really bad."
Orange Is The New Black isn't one for forcing happy endings, so it's definitely possible that the two women might never resolve their issues. Season 4 will definitely focus on Sophia's experience in the SHU but when will she be released? It would be horrible to have her stay there for more than a few episodes, especially considering she's had troubles with poor treatment in the past.
Season 4 Won't Be Easy
Of course there's tons of other questions we want answered, and we can't wait to see how season 4 deals with the overcrowding caused by the influx of new inmates. How will Piper deal with this: will her control begin to slip? And how will Alex respond to the attempt on her life? With all this build up, season 4 might just be the show's best yet, and it will certainly be a game changer.