“Don’t believe what you see in the opening scene of Orange Is the New Black season six.”

 

I’ve heard it said that you don’t just watch Orange is the New Black, you live Orange is the New Black.

This intense viewership feeling stems not just from the brutal reality that seeps off the characters we have come to love and the grimy world we launch ourselves into for hours at an end as we binge watch.

It is also due to the fact that this cast of diverse women is the most realistic of any group we see on TV.

Most of us will (hopefully) never end up in prison, but Orange is the New Black gives us the tiniest little taste of the extreme emotions that take place there.

Which is why you might find yourself a little bit off kilter, and even feeling a little lighter, after watching the opening scenes of Orange is the New Black season six, but don’t be fooled by what you see.

This season is just as dark and dangerous as the seasons that have come before it, it will just take you a while to realise it.

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After the experiment that was season five, having the entire season’s worth of drama take place across just a few days, season six is a return to normal pacing but not so much a normal setting.

"This season is just as dark and dangerous as the seasons that have come before it." Source: Netflix.

This time around our incarcerated ladies are being held in a maximum security prison thanks to their actions in the riot in season five, a scene some viewers may be keen to move on from. However, the writers very much milk it from a different angle.

Nobody is getting a "get-out-of-jail-free-card" this time around, so to speak, as the consequences from the season five riot are dire and now the characters are in a much more brutal setting than they have ever been before. They are now forced to navigate a whole new world.

Which brings us back to the jarring opening scenes of season six, in which Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren (Uzo Aduba) is locked in a cell, yet seemingly adjusting to her new life in max.

She happily makes her bed and then settles down to watch "TV", which turns into her starring at the closed doors as all the characters from Orange is the New Black perform in front of her dressed in colorful costumes and portraying new characters.

This opening almost lulls you into a sense of faux security with the thought that maybe some of your favourite character are faring well, but that is false.

You'll have to grit your teeth a bit as the premiere episode plays out in front of your eyes, as a large portion of it is seen through Suzanne's eyes and since she is off her medication the hallucinations are running at full force.

It's a lot to sit through as you eagerly await the fates of the other characters to be revealed.

"This time around our incarcerated ladies are being held in a maximum security thanks to their actions in the riot in season five." Source: Netflix.

Taystee (Danielle Brooks), is in a terrible state, enduring near daily beatings from the guards and cut off from her friends, while Piper (Taylor Schilling) is fretting over being separated from Alex (Laura Prepon) and Daya (Dascha Polanco) is only allowed to venture outside while trapped in cage, thanks to being labelled a "guard killer".

While our characters are not in good place when we are reunited with them, the change in locations actually leads into the strongest element of season six.  This is the introduction of two new "big bads" who appear in the form of two longtime convict sisters who start a war that sees the prison divided.

One the biggest downfalls of season six is that thanks to the move to max a lot of the rioters are transferred to other prisons, meaning many of our favorite characters don't appear at all this season, while others make only the briefest of cameos.

Orange is the New Black season six can feel like a bit of a slog at first, like a rehash of the season five events, but I highly urge you to hang in there. Once the real action gets going, you'll be hooked into the end.

But don't be fooled by the whimsical opening sequence, because there's just not a whole lot of fun to be had here.

For more stories like this, you can follow writer and Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook. 

Season six of Orange is the New Black will premiere on Friday 26 July on Netflix. 

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