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OITNB Season 5 and Perception

Hendrick Xiong-Calmes, '18, co-Editor-In-Chief

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Since the theme of 11th grade English is perspectives, I recognized a connection to one of Netflix’s most popular series: Orange is the New Black. OITNB is a commentative and often edgy show revolving around an extraordinarily diverse group of incarcerated women in Litchfield Penitentiary. The show has done a great job of humanizing a group of people that is often looked down upon and shunned, thus granting a second perspective by highlighting the lives of the incarcerated population. June 9th saw the release of the show’s 5th season, and in this season more than ever, there was a strong emphasis on perspective.

Captain Desmond Piscatella becomes the head of the guards in Season 4, and proves to be one of the series’ prominent antagonists, despite not being an inmate. Blatant abuse and general dehumanization of prisoners are among this character’s worst actions, but it is at Piscatella’s most horrifying moments with the women of Litchfield that the producers choose to introduce to us Piscatella’s background story. Piscatella was originally a guard in a different prison when he became the love interest of an inmate. Other inmates noticed this and brutally assaulted Piscatella’s lover, leaving Piscatella in a helpless position as he could only observe the aftermath of the altercation. The images of this helpless man are interspersed with scenes where Piscatella violently assaults the women of Litchfield Penitentiary, and it is in this moment where you can see that Piscatella draws a parallel between these inmates and the ones who violently assaulted his lover in the past.

This is only one instance where the show gives the viewers a different perspective to consider when getting to know a character. The show chooses to do this with almost every single inmate that has a speaking role in the show, showing how seeing multiple perspectives can completely shift one’s opinion of an individual or a group of people. This show does an excellent job of making the viewers sympathize with underrecognized people and teaches a resounding lesson regarding acceptance and judging a book by its cover. This translates to our current political situation. Currently, both left and right wing opinions are rigid and uncompromising. I personally believe that it is necessary to look at a sound perspective of the other side’s argument order to form your own opinion. Orange is the New Black highlights current political issues with alarming accuracy, and is worth a watch if you are interested at all in the different perspective the show offers.


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OITNB Season 5 and Perception