Orange Is The New Black Season 5 review: Not a laugh riot anymore
Orange Is The New Black Season 5 review: Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon’s OITNB takes on a big task by trying to fit the event of just three days over an entire season of 13 episodes but the experiment doesn’t pay off.tv Updated: Jun 09, 2017 11:20 IST
Orange Is The New BlackSeason 5
Creator: Jenji Kohan
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba, Laura Prepon
During an instance in the new season of Orange Is The New Black, Piper (played by Taylor Schilling) tells her fellow inmates at the Litchfield Penitentiary of the Trolley Problem: A train is rolling towards five people on track but you can save them by pulling a lever and turning it to another track where only one person will be killed.
She asks them then if they will choose to do nothing and let the trolley kill five, or will they go for the utilitarian option and choose the lives of five over one, essentially voluntarily committing a murder. She asks them if the consequences of their actions justify the means. Perhaps that is the question we should ask the show itself.
Season 4 dragged on for nine episodes about catching people throwing faeces in showers until it finally decided to get interesting in the final four episodes. This time too, the show repeats the offence and makes you suffer hour after hour of bore before being put on even medium flame.
Last year, we left our merry band of women in grief at the murder of their fellow inmate, Poussey Washington, and staring in the face of a riot as Dayanara decides whether or not to shoot the prison guard. That’s right where we open this season. While an entire year may have passed for us, the new season is spread over only three days of rioting.
Agreed, that blowing out a period of three days over a full 13-episode season is big piece of work cut out for creator Jenji Kohan. However, the venture falls flat when you question yourself at the end of each episode and the beginning of another, if your time could be better spent elsewhere rather than sitting through another hour of excited methheads screaming in your ears.
The performances are weaker than ever before. Kate Mulgrew as Red is almost unbearable to watch as she hyperventilates through season, tripping on ‘vitamins’; Yael Stone’s Lorna, who was one of the best things about the show until now, is at her irritating best this time; Piper and Alex (Laura Prepon) take up the least possible screentime which is still not less enough, thanks to a love story no one was ever interested in.
Only a few actors could manage to rise above the mediocrity. First mention would of course be of Uzo Aduba, who even after five seasons is giving her everything to Suzanne. She can still drive you up the wall one moment then make your heart sink into the ground in the next. Danielle Brooks as Taystee takes charge as the leader of her coven and her outbursts and expressions of agony at her best friend’s death help her win the season. Sadly, Laverne Cox gets negligible screen time again due to what we think is her commitment to other projects.
The flashbacks, which are one of OITNB’s best offerings, disappoint as well. There is not a single interesting back story provided to anyone even though so many new faces take centrestage.
The show may call itself a comedy but the laughs have exponentially lessened over the season. Last year, with the show’s mature treatment of rape, racial discrimination and a deeply hurting death of a beloved character, the laughter was finally silenced.
The riot could have been a good setup to bring the chuckles back and attempts were definitely made. However, more adventures of two bleach-sniffing junkies weren’t what anyone requested.
Sure, the show picks up pace in the last three episodes ad the last one again leaves you hanging on to that cliff. But then, it doesn’t even come close to justifying the nine hours that got you there.
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