‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season 4 Recap: Litchfield Grows Deadly
We just stayed up over 14 hours starting at 3 a.m. ET in case you don’t want to watch Orange Is the New Black Season 4 and would rather read this recap. (But really, you should hunker down and watch it — it’s worth the butt-shaped sofa imprint.)
Here’s what went down at Litchfield in Season 4.
Season 4 picks up where Season 3 left off, with a hitman posing as a prison guard trying to strangle Alex to death. Lolly saves her by bludgeoning and seemingly killing him, but when Alex goes back to dispose of the body, he’s not quite dead. She suffocates him to finish the deed.
Frieda helps them cut up and bury Aydin’s body in the vegetable garden. Later, Lolly nearly exposes the crime when the voices she hears inspire her to confess. Healy chalks up her confession to the meds she’s on, though.
Later, however, the crime is literally unearthed when a construction project cuts through the greenhouse and the garden.
Piper and Maria’s turf wars
Spurned by Piper when she and her friends try to join Felonious Spunk — Piper’s panty smuggling business — Maria forms a rival operation doing the exact same thing. Racial tensions escalate as Maria amasses a Dominican crew and Piper attracts white accomplices, reluctantly welcoming some white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Piper rats out Maria, getting her in trouble with the officers, so Maria takes revenge by searing a swastika on her arm with a branding iron. (Red later re-brands Piper’s arm to make the swastika look like a window.)
Sophia’s torturous absence
With Sophia stuck in the SHU, wife Crystal becomes increasingly concerned about her condition. Crystal tries taking legal action against Management & Correction Corporation, the private corporation that owns Litchfield, but she first needs incontrovertible proof Sophia is actually in the SHU.
Sister Mary wants to aggravate the guards so they send her to the SHU, as well — hoping to take a photo of Sophia with her contraband cell phone as proof Sophia is there — but the guards shrug off her offenses until she punches Gloria (with Gloria’s approval).
After being sent to the SHU, Sister Mary suddenly coughs and drops the phone out of her you-know-where. Busted, she explains her plot to Caputo — who picks up the quest, takes the photo, and anonymously gets the photo to Crystal.
Sophia gets released back to Minimum Security, but she’s a broken woman, having harmed herself and having lost her sense of self-worth. With the help of Gloria, she starts feeling like herself again.
Lifestyle maven and TV host Judy King arrives at Litchfield on a tax evasion conviction… but hardly inspires domestic bliss. At best, she’s out of touch with the general population, especially with her special “business class” cell. At worst, she’s a racist, especially with her involvement in a minstrel-like puppet TV show resurfacing in the media.
The girls try to get a photo of her for the tabloids, but she exploits their plot by kissing Cindy while they take a pic, hoping to convince the American public she’s not racist.
Prison guards’ brutality
The prison’s new guards become increasingly abusive, particularly Dixon, Humphrey, and Piscatella.
For example, Blanca refuses to shower, realizing her odor dissuades guards from frisking her, so Dixon orders her to stand on a mess hall table until she relents. She ends up standing there for over two days, even soiling herself.
But it’s the otherwise moral Bayley who delivers the fatal blow, killing Poussey at the end of the penultimate episode. Just when Caputo seems ready to tell the truth, he calls Bayley the victim and doesn’t even mention Poussey’s name. The inmates revolt, and Daya ends up with Humphrey’s gun, pointing it at him and the other COs.
Other characters’ storylines
Aleida gets an early release, promising daughter Dayanara to reclaim Daya’s son and leaving Daya under the supervision of Gloria.
Nicky is released from Maximum Security, where she had been sleeping with Stella (!), but she relapses and stays high until Red breaks down sobbing over failing her.
Morello is in happy wedded bliss but suspects Vinnie of sleeping with her sister. Afterward, Morello falls back in lust with Nicky.
Coates quasi-admits to Pennsatucky that he raped her last season, and she gradually forgives him and even becomes sweet on him, much to Boo’s disgust.
Caputo falls for an MCC colleague named Linda but eventually realizes how little she cares for the inmates’ morale and even finds out she’s never been to Litchfield nor any prison.
Healy has a crisis of conscious after sending Lolly to the psych ward, nearly walking into a lake and ending it all and eventually checking in to a psychiatric facility.
Suzanne and Kikudio share a flirtation, but Suzanne initially reject’s Kikudo’s sexual advances, which makes the latter spiteful. A misunderstanding, however, triggers Suzanne and she brutally beats Kikudio.
Piper and Alex reconnect and eventually sleep with each other.
Poussey and Soso start dating, and their relationship even endures her offensive assumptions about her background (inspired by her viewing of The Wire). But, as we mentioned above, the relationship ends in tragedy.
Orange Is the New Black Season 4 is streaming now on Netflix.