In a brilliant move, Netflix started streaming season five of “Orange is the New Black” just as Emmy voters began considering season four. The reviews for this new block of 13 episodes, which take place over the three days of a prison riot spurred by the death of Poussey (Samira Wiley), are very strong. Many reviewers made mention of the ambitiousness of the plan to plot 13 hours of drama over such a compressed time period.
Among those singing the show’s praises the loudest is Marissa Martinelli (Slate) who observes: “It’s shocking to see the effect that a little power has on the former prisoners, even when their role reversal is played for laughs.”
Alan Sepinwall (Uproxx) notes, “There are enough big emotional moments, particularly in the season’s second half, hat land hard in a way that continues to mark ‘Orange’ as a special show, even in the era of Peak TV.”
Verne Gay (Newsday) finds: “The fifth season is intense, compressed, accelerated and occasionally oppressive. A pervasive sense of confinement is heightened, too — all part of the irony that while the prisoners are free for the moment, they have never been more locked up. You can almost feel the days, maybe years, in solitary pile up for some of them after this is all over.
And Anne Easton (New York Observer) regards, “What transpires is equal parts sickening, shocking, salacious, satirical, silly, and sad. All of it is unsettling, as it should be.”
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