Orange Is the New Black’s Season Four Trailer is Dark and Full of Secrets

Orange Is the New Black decided exactly what it wanted to be in season two: A dark drama sprinkled with moments of desperately needed humor. (Up until then it had toyed with the idea of being a comedy!) The season four trailer just landed and it looks like the show is doubling down in that award-winning, critically acclaimed formula. And by formula, I mean: Telling some hard goddamn truths.

Yeah, Black Cindy and Taystee still land the best one-liners on TV. And double yeah, Poussey and Soso are gonna get it. In between that soul reprieve, though, Litchfield is getting more crowded, more dangerous, and closer to an explosion. It doesn’t look like anyone will be spared pain and suffering (there’s a difference, Pennsatucky says) as the now privately owned prison shuttles in more inmates and pushes its original crew to their breaking points.

The new season arrives June 17. (I do not feel ready.)

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Thank lesbian Jesus that I finish my master’s degree before June 17th. I could not handle both finals and this new season at the same time.

  2. Dark and hard stories are my favorite (see: Buffy S6), so all the goosebumps and squees. But where is Sophia?

      • Thank you Erica and Heather. I guess I blinked, so I’ll have to watch it a third time. I hope she has some good story this season between the clearly brewing war and what I hope is an exploration of for-profit prisons.

    • She’s in solitary confinement. She was sent there after her fight with Aleida over her transphobic comments in season three. In the preview you see Caputo check on her and slam the window pane closed. Can’t wait to see what happens next in her plot line!

  3. Any body else notice the lack of Alex in this? I really hope she didn’t get murdered.

    • I assume they didn’t want to spoil what happened to her even if she does survive. Hopefully since they didn’t show any scenes of upset Piper or a shocked reaction shot of someone finding something (like her body) it means she made it.

  4. “Orange Is the New Black decided exactly what it wanted to be in season two: A dark drama sprinkled with moments of desperately needed humor. (Up until then it had toyed with the idea of being a comedy!)”

    This line confused me. I feel like season 3 of this show was about 80% comedy and hijinks and only 20% serious stuff. I know OITNB is constantly bouncing back and forth between the drama and comedy categories at awards shows, but their biggest award sweeps have always been when they compete in the comedy category versus the drama (see: 2014 Emmy’s versus 2015, 2015 & 2016 Golden Globes versus 2014 Golden Globes) so I assumed they were calling themselves a “dark comedy” now, with the emphasis on the comedy. I VASTLY prefer the show when they lean into the drama and don’t drag on panty smuggling storylines for 8 episodes, so I hope season 4 will be as edgy and dramatic as the trailer seems to indicate, but I’m not so sure. Season 3 really disappointed me. It was oddly paced, way too farcical, and some of the story lines didn’t land at all for me (I’m looking at you, Norma). Regardless, I will keep watching this show for Black Cindy alone.

    • There are shenanigans that take place in a camp environment, more than in higher security levels (although they show our OITNB favourites behind wire, which is usually not the case with a fed camp.) There are countless inmate businesses, there are plenty of things to laugh and cry over. In a camp, one is usually reminded it’s a prison about 15 minutes a day (during counts.) The rest of the time, it can be a college dorm atmosphere. Most of the time, until shit goes down.

      • I understand that, I’m not asking for a show that feels like 24/7 PRISON LOCKDOWN DRAMA HOUR, I’m just saying the comedy/drama ratio seemed reaaaaaallly off to me last season compared to the precedent the show had already set for itself in seasons 1 and 2.

          • Funny is subjective, especially with this sort of topic. I spent 21 months in a fed camp, so things might register differently with me than someone who hasn’t.

          • What’s your point?

            My response was directed to Monique in the spirit of fun and friendliness. This just seems like you’re trying to ‘educate’ me.

    • I don’t even remember season 3.

      I think the problem is that Jenji Kohen (or whatever her name is) lives to be cool. She’s motivated by popularity more than artistry.

      See: Weeds. When it hits it hits, but it will always be way too cutesy to be a real drama.

  5. I’m looking forward to the new season. The show gets some things right and embellishes others, but what it does exceedingly well is a) show the inmates as human and not so evil, b) there is a very fuzzy line in morality between inmates and COs, and c) that no matter how friendly one is with someone, in a power-over relationship when it matters, it will be wielded against the one on the short end of that dynamic.

  6. Ugh, Soso. I wonder if they can do something for her to make her tolerable, like how Grey’s sent April off to a war zone to adjust her personality.

    • Soso actually sort of grew on me after a while. Especially after learning about her backstory. I’m more annoyed by Piper at this point

    • I’ve read a number of trailer reviews that seem to think that Maritza’s scenes indicate she’s going to have some sort of prisoner/guard romance a la Daya… lol que? (Leaving aside the idea that consent is inherently problematic in a prisoner/guard relationship due to the obviously imbalanced power dynamic…) The last we saw Maritza, she was taking over Pennsatucky’s driving job after Pennsatucky was raped. That doesn’t bode well for her. And in these scenes, we see the guard getting up in her face, another scene of Maritza crying, and Flaca comforting her. Trailers can be misleading, but this doesn’t scream star-crossed romance to me.


      • SO GLAD someone commented about this! She’s been one of my top concerns all year!

    • Man, I’ve been dreading over what’s going to happen to Maritza this season. Watching the trailer I have a gut feeling that the guard staring her down may know her from the outside. My theory is that Coates is going to attempt to rape her and the Hispanic crew will kill him for it. I can’t just see him sexually assaulting people and getting away with it constantly. Not only that but Maritza has a much stronger support system then Pennsatucky.

  7. I was doing such a happy dance in my seat when watching this. That is until I saw Sofia in SHU, and remembered oh yeah, trans people have it shit in prison. Still can’t wait to see how the story progresses!

  8. Holy shit that’s scary. I already see so much crying happening for me.

  9. I hated season 3 because I think it tried to be *too* funny and it was way too different of a tone than seasons 1-2. Season 4 looks like it’s going to even things out…I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    Also, I’m dying to know Brooke’s backstory, so I hope we get more of that in season 4.

    • YES, I need a SoSo flashback! She went from being my least favourite character to, like, let me stroke your hair and feed you grapes and tell you everything’s going to be OK because v soon you’ll get to date Samira Wiley.

  10. I am not ready. Probably gonna need the next month or so to build up the old mental/emotional walls so this season doesn’t wreck me like season 2.

    So so so glad there was no mention of the panty business or otherwise brilliant babes looking to ruin their lives over Piper.

  11. Guys, I just wanted to mention (since looks like nobody else has) about this other prison show that is so much better then OITNB, IMO. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s Wentworth and it’s awesome! Anddd? It’s on Netflix! :D
    Also, it’s from the UK so British accents :D
    But it might be hard to take OITNB serious after watching Wentworth.

    I highly recommend giving it a try. Did I mention it’s on Netflix?

  12. I also do NOT feel ready. So happy to have moved on from panties and Ruby Rose though (sorry, her acting and the nonexistent chemistry between her character and Piper… *groans*)

    • I think Ruby Rose is fantastic and hope she has a long, successful career. But I can’t say I’ll miss her OITNB character. Just felt really one-dimensional and boring to me.

      But they better bring Nicky back to the show and if that isn’t going to happen then DO NOT TELL ME let me live in ignorant hopefulness.

      • yeah agreed, Ruby Rose’s character wasn’t the best thing to come out of season 3. and I ALSO really miss Nicky and Natasha Lyonne’s wild, beautiful mane

  13. Hmm I’ll watch season 3 again to refresh my memory. But I’ll skip the rape episode

    • good idea. That episode was so hard to watch, especially because it doesn’t turn away from the ugliness of it.

  14. This trailer gives the impression that this is going to be a traumatizing season and I’m actually kind of afraid to watch it because I don’t handle that shit well. All the creepy COs were really freaking me the fuck out.

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