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Why Orange Is The New Black Season 5 Is So Intense, According To One Star

Nicky Nichols in the cafeteria

For TV fans, the summer months introduce an interesting dynamic. While missing our weekly small screen adventures, some of the most popular shows on TV air every summer, including Netflix's massively popular Orange is the New Black. This year will be no different, as the dramedy's fifth season will premiere on Netflix in June. But Season 5 will be a game changer for the series, with the entirety of the season taking place over the course of three days, following the riot started in Season 4's finale. So how will this change the experience of the beloved show?

I recently had the opportunity to speak with many of Litchfield's finest, during Netflix's recent press junket in New York City. When speaking with actress Natasha Lyonne, aka Nicky Nichols, she revealed why Season 5 will be a more intense experience, saying:

An actor's life is always about finding their stakes for their character in that moment. This was a season, because it's so compressed and it's just these three days, it's like ratcheting up the intensity to eleven. It's maximum stakes constantly.

Well, this sounds ominous. It looks like Season 5 is going to turn up the heat, and be full of drama. For a show that usually walks the line between drama and comedy, this may be a big departure for Orange is the New Black.

Then again, this should come as a surprise to no one. Season 4's ending was the polar opposite of Season 3's heartwarming lake montage. During the penultimate episode, we saw the inmates peacefully protest to Piscatella's reign of terror. But things went awry when Crazy Eyes had a manic episode, and it all resulted in CO Bayley accidentally killing Poussey. And when Caputo failed to mention her in his TV interview, Taystee started a riot, which the rest of the inmates were all too happy to join in on.

This riot, which ended in Daya turning a gun on the guards, is going to be completely fleshed out in the new season. With the inmates outnumbering the very few (and poorly trained) correctional officers, the dynamics of power within Litchfield will presumably be in flux. Additionally, the racial divides that the inmates use to govern themselves will surely be an issue. Will Maria and her Dominican crew be the big dogs on campus, or will the various groups be able to put aside their prejudice and unite? We'll just have to wait and see.

Regardless, it looks like Season 5 of Orange is the New Black will likely be the most intense in the show's history. If the stakes felt so high for actors like Natasha Lyonne, then I can't imagine how audiences will feel once editing and music amp up the intensity even more.

Netflix will release Orange is the New Black's fifth season on June 9th. In the meantime, check out our summer premiere list and plan your next binge watch.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.