Warning: If you haven't watched season six of Orange Is the New Black, you probably don't want to read the spoilers ahead.
Season six of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black brought new drama, new relationships, and of course, new flashbacks. While the latest season was thrilling and had the same feel of some of the earlier seasons, it wasn't until the last scene when our jaws truly hit the floor. With the juxtaposition of Piper, Blanca, and Taystee's futures — all vastly different, yet wildly powerful — viewers are able to see the true significance of the show and how it always explores relevant issues of the modern day. Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman) recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss Piper's next chapter and what life outside of Litchfield and without Alex by her side will mean for the character.
"Both Taystee and Blanca have treacherous, devastating roads ahead of them, whereas Piper, given her privilege, has a comparatively easy transition back," Schilling told THR about her character's season six release compared to Taystee being charged and sentenced to life in prison for a murder she didn't commit and Blanca being taken into custody by ICE for illegal immigration. "There's no comparison to the devastating consequences that Taystee and Blanca are facing. There's no comparison to Piper going back and maybe struggling while having food, a home, a network that supports her, and having access to work, basically because she is white."
Schilling added that it will be interesting to see how her character adjusts to reentering society, compared to Aleida's character, who was released previously. After speaking with women who have been through the transition, Schilling understands that the adjustment to society can be quite overwhelming. "I don't quite know what Piper's reaction will be, but I can imagine a tremendous amount of shock and being very humbling," she said.
Although Piper Chapman's character has drifted from the true story based on Piper Kerman's life (and what the first two seasons really stuck to), Schilling hopes that OITNB will come full circle and that her character can end her story the way Kerman did. "I really hope she finds a way to integrate what's happened to her and give back," Schilling said. "I'd love it if we could return a bit to that and bring Piper back to that woman who was well-educated and actually committed a crime from a place of love, who was so wildly head over heels in love with a woman that she did something really stupid for and ended up in jail. But the genesis of her crime was just a desire to love and care for the person that she loved."
She added, "I would love to see a return to some of that core, and I can imagine that looking like somebody who, after reconciling the rabbit hole that she's gone down in prison, wants to give back in some capacity, or to help."
We have some thoughts about how Piper's story could play out in season seven, most notably with the mention of writing a memoir casually dropped in season six. Following through with writing the story (like Kerman's memoir that the series is based on) and exposing the brutalities of the prison system and what the inmates deal with on a daily basis can absolutely qualify as "giving back" in our minds. Schilling said she is "ready" if season seven is the show's last. As for us? Well, we'd miss our favourite inmates of Litchfield miserably.