I didn’t realise I was eagerly awaiting the fourth series of Orange is the New Black, not until the Netflix Twitter account started to count down to its release date. Then I remembered how much I enjoy the show, and how long it has been since we were last allowed a glimpse of what was going on at Litchfield Correctional Facility.
The release of series four coincided with a period of time where I happened to be in front of a screen for a good portion of the day. Or five days. And that’s what it took me to watch it through - the first time I’ve really, truly, binge-watched something the way all the jokes suggest.
It was captivating from the moment the series opened - right where we left off last time, with the inmates cavorting in a lake - until the final 360 degree spinning moments that leave us with another cliffhanger to ponder. Everything in between was building up to what happened in the penultimate episode, and whilst I don’t want to majorly spoil anything, I cried buckets after what happened in that episode.
Some have said the series felt a lot darker than those that have gone before, and there were elements of that, I suppose. It’s easy to forget what we have previously witnessed though - Rosa’s final exit, Daya’s desperate efforts to cover her pregnancy, and the real reason Punxatawny quit her van job. It’s never been a happy-go-lucky watch, but Orange is the New Black managed to retain its sense of humour at the same time as ratcheting up the tension episode by episode.
I did think the one thing that distracted me this series was the flashbacks. I’d forgotten they were even a thing so when the first one happened it took me by surprise, and jolted me out of the zone. There didn’t seem to be quite so much emphasis on them this time out as in previous series’, perhaps we have seen most of what we need to know by this point. Maybe they can be phased out altogether in future episodes.
I loved and hated this series for the emotional wringer it put me through, and although I was proud to have binged the episodes in just a few days, it does mean I now have to wait ages until the next series comes around again.