It’s really over. Orange is the New Black, Netflix’s sprawling and groundbreaking drama series set in a women’s prison in upstate New York, has come to an end after seven seasons.
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The show introduced us to dozens of characters throughout its run, but we’ve always been focused on a core few, who are given a fine send-off in the feature-length finale.
Here’s where all of our favourites wound up at the end of the 91st episode of the show.
The most important character of the show in many people’s eyes, Taystee endured a difficult final season, having re-entered the prison after being unjustly handed a life sentence for the murder of CO Piscatella.
Though she initially considered suicide, she later found fulfilment after taking over a GED class (a diploma which certifies that the test taker has high school level academic skills) and mentoring Pennsatucky, who had never finished school.
P-Tuck’s death left her hopeless again at the beginning of the finale, but when she received the diplomas that certified that all of her students had passed, she realised that she can still make a difference, and got to work on setting up the Poussey Washington Fund, which distributes micro-loans to ex-cons. At the end of the episode, she can be seen leading a class on how to look after your finances after leaving prison.
Her fight to exonerate herself is at a dead end, as they can’t find Cindy to provide evidence that she had committed the murder.
Piper & Alex
Long-distance did not work so well for Piper and Alex. As Piper got more and more re-immersed into the outside world, the two became distant from one another, and they both cheated.
By the end of the season, Piper was getting closer to having her old life back, with kind, wealthy suitor Zelda turning her head.
After their brief fling ended, McCullough requested Alex be transferred to Ohio on the basis that they were in love and that this would complicate the guard-inmate relationship. Alex tells Piper she thinks this is a good thing and urges her to move on with her life without her.
But after some self-reflection, we see Piper drive all the way to Ohio to reunite with Alex, who has a few years left on her sentence, and in the final scene, the two share a nice moment together, suggesting that they will be able to make it work.
Blanca’s storyline was one of the more gripping elements of the final season. At the end of season 6, she was released from prison only to be handed over to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She was detained – alongside, briefly, Maritza from seasons past, who was later deported to Colombia – in a prison-like environment for the majority of season seven.
Throughout the season she fights for her freedom, and by the end, it is revealed that she has been granted a Green Card. However, as soon as she is free, she flies to Honduras to live with her fiancée, who had been deported earlier in the season, bidding farewell to the USA for the time being.
Pennsatucky died of a drug overdose in the penultimate episode of the season, after turning to drugs as she believed that she failed her GED exam. She is given a great send-off in the finale, with Suzanne and her fellow B-Block inmates singing a Mountain Dew jingle in her honour.
Lorna, Red and Nicky
Nicky spends much of the season tending to the ailing Red, who has come down with early-onset dementia, and Lorna, who is in severe denial after discovering that her baby has died of pneumonia on the outside.
By the end, she is separated from both of them, as they are both in B-Block (known as ‘Florida’), the cushy cell block which is populated by elderly inmates and those with mental health concerns.
By the end of the season, Red has taken Lorna under her wing, though both problems – Red’s failing memory and Lorna’s denial – persist. Elsewhere, Nicky takes control of the kitchen at the ICE detention centre, where she and Flaca distribute food to the detainees and help them to contact the outside world.
Suzanne, who struggled with mental health issues throughout the show’s run, appears more stable than ever before by the finale. She learns of her friend Pennsatucky’s death and manages to keep it together, later telling Taystee that she is trying to handle it better when “people come and go”.
At the end of the episode we see her acting as a teacher’s assistant to Taystee in the Poussey Washington Fund Class.
Daya and Aleida
Daya took a dark turn in season 6. She murdered her former lover Daddy and took over her drug trade, having pulled her younger sister into the mix as a mule.
Aleida returned to the prison near the end of the season, however, and tried to knock some sense into her. The last we see of them, Aleida is choking her and threatening to kill her. But we will never know if she went through with it or not…
Flaca, Maria and Gloria
Gloria and Maria sort of resolved their differences – Maria had snaked Gloria’s attempt to rat out the riot leaders in season 5 – by the end of the season. Gloria finally got out of prison at the end of the finale, and we see that she has given her children’s books to Maria to read to her daughter during visitation.
Flaca, alongside Gloria, used their stint in the kitchen to help people in the ICE detention centre – including her old bestie Maritza – by putting them in touch with people on the outside world. She was last seen doing so once again under Nicky’s guidance in the kitchen in the finale.
Cindy is granted early release, and leaves without making amends with Taystee. In an attempt to gain retribution for Cindy neglecting to tell police that they had witnessed riot police murder Piscatella, Taystee sends Cindy’s daughter – who at this point thinks Cindy’s mother is her mum, and that she is her sister – a message detailing her true parentage.
Cindy then leaves home and spends some time on the streets, before returning and attempting to make it up to her daughter and her mother, who welcome her back into the family.