We are merely 12 days away from the premiere of Season Four of my second-favorite television program of all time, Orange is the New Black. The season will center on tensions arising from prison overpopulation and the employment of new under-qualified correctional officers. We can expect a lot of new characters, too, although unfortunately they seem to mostly be white.
Showrunner Jenji Kohan told Variety that it was tough to nail down a “theme” for Season Four, but that “the meshing of all these different groups will just be one of several topics that the show will continue to touch upon this year… We start with political agendas, the corporatization of the prison, the stratification of people into their little mosaic groups. We want it to be a surprise, but [you can expect] all the fun stuff like race and hate and some things from current events that we wanted to filter through our lens.”
So, here’s what we know. (and it’s not much, they are really keeping this shit on lockdown!) (So to speak.)
1. Indie pop musician Shannon Esper will be playing the recurring character of Alaina Dwight.
Dwight is described as “a new inmate who is meek and simply impossible to hate.”
2. Something big and probably tragic is happening to Pennsatucky
Taryn Manning told Glamour Magazine that although usually OITNB actors aren’t privy to the details of their storyline before they get their scripts, she was notified in advance that her character would be getting a wig and why, to which she cryptically responded, “Oh, that’s going to happen?'” There have been quite a few hints dropped regarding a possible death this season and that death possibly being Pennsatucky’s including Lea DeLaria’s emoji spoilers delivered to Bustle and behind-the-scenes gossip about Manning’s on-set issues.
3. Suzanne Will Find Love In a Hopeless Place
At last Suzanne Warren will be “accepted and loved for who she is.”
4. Jolene Purdy has a recurring role as an inmate
On IMDB she’s only credited as “Actress,” so um, we’ll see.
5. Janet King is Coming to Litchfield
Blair Brown will be playing Janet King, a character inspired by the Martha Stewart storyline from Kerman’s memoir, but certainly not wedded to its inspiration — King told TV Guide that her character is not Martha or Paula Deen, but entirely its own thing. Brown describes King as “a person with absolutely no sense of morals” as well as “slightly appalling and very good and very cheerful.” Obviously, her greatest ally in prison will be Poussey Washington, who you may recall was obsessed with King’s show and had been hoping she’d be placed in Litchfield.
6. Alex Vause is alive.
Although she didn’t appear in the Season 4 trailer, she has appeared in promotional shoots and behind-the-scenes photos. According to TV Guide, “after discovering that her suspicions about being a target were right, she’ll be returning to Litchfield watching her back, and prepared to strike first against any potential threats going forward.”
Laura Prepon told E! News, “The Alex and Piper relationship is so awesome. It’s so tumultuous…they love each other a lot. It’s this crazy relationship, there’s never a dull moment. I don’t know if two people like that could ever ride off into the sunset, but we’ll see what happens in season four. There’s no shortage of stories to tell.”
7. Actress/Producer Asia Kate Dillon will be playing “Brandy”
Firstly, I’m pretty sure this actress is queer.
Furthermore, it appears that her character, Brandy, has a Confederate Flag tattoo on her neck, so needless to say, this character is officially a Terrible Person, which brings me to…
8. Piper will “accidentally establish a white supremacy movement after a rival panty gang starts up”
9. Musician Francesca Curran will be playing someone at some point
According to her twitter, Francesca Curran will be appearing in episodes 6 through 13 of the series, although she’s not credited on IMDB and I cannot find information about this anywhere else.
10. Kelly Karbaz of “Get Smart” will be playing “Kasey Sankey”
Two thumbs up to whomever came up with the name “Kasey Sankey.”
11. UCB Comedian Emily Tarver will be playing new CO “McCollough”
12. Sophia starts the season in solitary confinement, and Gloria feels shitty about it
“You’re going to see her struggling with the Sophia relationship still,” actress Selenis Leyva told Entertainment Weekly. “She really does struggle with it, and I love that about Gloria, that she’s taking responsibility for her actions, which I really admire about the character that they’ve written so brilliantly.”
Cox has said it’s unlikely the two women will repair their relationship, telling TV Guide, “As a viewer watching, seeing how much remorse Gloria has, I always like to believe there’s a potential for forgiveness, but this is pretty bad. This is really, really bad.”
13. “This is the season of the rise of the Latinas.”
Selenis Leyva also told Entertainment Weekly that “We’re going to see [Gloria] try to stay out of the mess that’s happening with the Latinas, but Gloria is a force to be reckoned with. I think that she’s the voice of reason of that group and you’re going to see that play itself out even more so in season 4.” Leyva told The Huffington Post, “There’s a lot more conflict, there’s division amongst the groups more than ever. This is the season of the rise of the Latinas and there’s a lot of conflict within that.”
14. Red’s Return to the Kitchen Won’t Be Easy
Kate Mulgrew told Entertainment Weekly that her character has a lot of pride around her kitchen, and that “this constant drive to reclaim with excellence, to reclaim it against all odds is at the very core of Red’s being and in season 4 you’re going to see that severely threatened in a way that it has not been before, in a way that is very unusual for Red and extremely disconcerting and unsettling. It discombobulates her very being, so you’re going to see all of that.”
15. There Might Be More Red/Healy Developments
16. Yadriel Is Returning in Some Capacity
Yadriel, who we last saw telling Maria that he doesn’t want to take their baby to visit her anymore, is slated to appear in the second episode of Season Four. Hopefully this means he’s come back for visitation, but it could just be a flashback scene.
17. So Is Fig
She’s set to appear in Episode 12.
18. Somebody is Attending “CorrectiCon”
Multiple extras including several Conference Attendees and a “CorrectiCon Expo Manager” suggest Episode Five will include what is likely a for-profit Correctional Facility Convention. Personally I’m very much looking forward to meeting the “Prison Slop Vendor.” By the way, conventions like this absolutely exist, such as the Annual Conference & Jail Expo, which is sponsored by many companies including the appalling and oft-criticized prison food provider aramark.
19. There Are Heaps Of Nameless Characters With Interesting Descriptions
imdb also lists a bevy of Season Four characters without names, including:
- Young Activist
- Happy Clappy Waiter #1
- Happy Clappy Waiter #2
- Professional Looking Girl
- Anorexic Patient
- Seattle Bicycle Cop #2
- Diner Chef
- Bottle Girl
- East Village Woman
- Singing Inmate
- Art Patron
20. THIS IS OFFICIALLY A THING