We open, however, on a high. Uzo Aduba gives an astonishing performance as Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes', who is now in the grips of mental decline, having been denied her medicine. She struggles to keep her story straight in her mind, let alone when under the cold watchful eyes of an official.
Couched and hidden, Suzanne witnessed police officers moving Officer Piscatella's body and deciding on how they would blame his death on the inmates. But that's not the story she's agreed with Cindy (Adrienne C Moore) that she would tell. Friends and foes dance around Suzanne as her psychosis runs, freewheeling her imagination all over the place.
Drugs and mental health are the focus of the series. We're welcomed into I Wing of a specialist support unit, which deals with particularly ill prisoners. Paranoia and schizophrenia run amok among the inmates as overworked medical stuff struggle to cope.
Chapman (Taylor Schiling), who was once our wide-eyed protagonist, now wonders around prisons and hospitals asking 'Where's Alex?' until she runs afoul of nasty new arrival Badison Murphy. She's in the grips of an existential crisis, loosing all sense of who she is.
Season six of OITNB still boasts that enticing mix of dark humour, bombastic and brave characters, maliciousness and political commentary, which makes the show ever compelling. A clear-eyed examination of the mental health struggles in America and the raging drug epidemic, is an interesting string in the OITNB bow. But, as the show gets larger and larger, it's difficult for the creative team to keep tying up all the loose ends and prevent the show from spiralling out of control.
Orange is the New Black airs on Netflix Friday 27 July
|What||Orange is the New Black season 6 review|
|Where||UK Netflix | MAP|
27 Jul 18 – 28 Feb 19, 12:00 AM – 12:00 AM