Tense and driven by internal character development, Orange is the New Black is back! 

Orange is the New Black was always a series that was enjoyable. It stayed a long of the line of a series worthy of watching and most definitely an enjoyable series but not a series that stood above the rest. With Season 5 it no longer stayed a long the line of just another series worthy of a watch and a few shout outs. It became the series I always wanted to see. It hit legendary status on my series viewing experience. A platform that has really only been hit by three series that felt complete in every sense of the word. Season five had all the fixings to get lost in the season and deliver the most bold and profound storyline the show has dared to explore while still keeping true to thing that matters most in the world of television; Characters.

While Piper Chapman is still techinically the lead character of this series the show has definitely learned where the strong actresses are and which characters need to be the central focus and when. This season it belonged to three characters. Taystee, Red and Daya. 

Daya will be the first one discussed as she was the first character who really had a major impact on the events that transpired over the course of season 5. Daya without her mother in prison with her wanted to feel heard and feel like she had a place within the prison. Daya makes a life altering decision for all the prisoners when she shoots the guard in the leg. It plays out through the narrative as Daya becomes the one in charge as she is the one with the weapon. Daya as most people would takes the reigns but instantly sees the pressure of the now escalating prison riot. Within her story was the acceptance of ones own choices and how you can only really hope for better for the ones you love. With her mother gone she tried to grab one moment of acceptance which took away a lifetime of experiences in the outside world away.

Red comes next. Kate Mulgrew has always been one of the highlights of the series thus far and Season 5 of course took her character in a new almost unexpected turn with the abuse of speed and the frantic searches to prove Piscatella had alterior motives. It allowed for emotional moments of role reverseal between Red and Nikki which were some of the best scenes they have shared together. Red was always strong for her girls and her family and this time it was there turn to show their solidarity with her and take down Piscatella when things escalated. While on the subject, the episode featuring flashbacks to Piscatella’s past was one of the best use of the flash backs to date. It added depth to a character who in order to feel like the seasons big bad needed more dynamic and purpose within the story.

Of course the guards and their lack of respect for the inmates gave way for the best performance of the season and definitely the biggest character progression and that is Danielle Brooks as Taystee. Poussey’s death and her subsequent rally for justic were Taystee’s driving anger to display emotions we have seen very seldomly in this series. It lead back to everything we constantly read every day about needless violence against black people all over the world. We get Taystees thirst for justice as it is time for change and for people to pay for their actions. This played out very heavily in two scenes. The first one a small brief scene where Taystee meets Poussey for the first time in the library. It was small, short but it was an absolutely beautiful and emotional scene from a writers stand point to show how deep and how far that connection grew. The second was the scene where Taystee is the voice who speaks instead of Judy King. It was brave and the message behind what she said was a message that holds true. People deserve rehabillitation, they deserve the right to be treated with respect and not like animals while in prison. Stop with the needless violence and stop forgetting that everyone should face justice for their actions. 

Orange is the New Black definitely took on a much darker tone for the new season and with the way it ended it is definitely up in the air about where the show will go next. Will the remaining inmates left in the pool all survive? Will the show decide to focus on the core group as they are relocated? Its some tough decisions to make as a show runner but if they continue to make smart and tension filled decisions like they did for season 5 then season 6 will be just as good. If they choose to bring in new blood to Litchfield it may end up taking a step back and becoming the slightly formulaic show that it once was.

It definitely makes sense to show perspectives as they begin to integrate back into normal life as it is a minmum security prison and their chances at Parole would be significantly higher. It has definitely elevated itself to legendary status for now. Whether it stays there falls primarily on the writing staff. With two seasons left on the current renewal deal with Netflix there is most definitely the question about considering the shows inevitable final season. It’s popular and that always has a major impact on situations moving forward but first and foremost it is a story and I hope it does not try and stay on for 10 seasons just to end on a mediocre final few seasons.

Netflix right now has an early candidate for drama of the year and with the ending we were given summer 2018 should prove to be just as eventful as summer 2017 for the inmates of Litchfield. Will it take the next step towards cementing a legacy or will step back towards familiar ground that tells a predictable and less intense story. Only time will tell and waiting is something fans of this series have grown accustomed to. 

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 Love for Manchester

Manchester my heart breaks for you. I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and grief the people affected by this horrible tragedy are feeling. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to now feel unsafe buying concert tickets. Ariana Grande my heart also broke for you and the immense sadness you must be feeling, the shock, the anxiety of now never feeling 100 per cent comfortable on stage must be immensely overwhelming.  Ariana please dont blame yourself. Please dont feel like this is something you did wrong. This happened because of one reason: Hate.

When someone is driven by hate we have grown witness to the fact they will do atrocious things to be seen and heard. Ariana you did what you do best, allow your fans the show they deserved and its a horrid act of cowardice to use your safe haven for your fans as a means to destory such beautiful lives. As I have made clear Ariana Grande before this to me was an artist who made catchy pop songs that made me jam from time to time. Ariana you have now proven to the world and me you have one of the biggest hearts in the world for offering to help  cover the funeral costs for those who lost loved ones. You have shown dignity, class and respect for the situation. For everyone who is telling you that leaving Manchester was a cowards act I say they need to go feed under the bridge. You needed family and loved ones. Trust me, if that was me I would immediately just want to be able to hold my wife and child. There is nothing wrong with needing to be around the people who always have your back during one of the most horrific events you will ever experience. 

We live in a world where judgement is our first reaction. Revenge is the second. We immediately want to make people understand the pain we feel through experience. Thats a road of loneliness and despair. Our first question when responding to tragedy should be “How are people capable of such things” not “How can we make them feel what we feel or worse”.  All the people calling these attacks “fake” and “controlled” are the ones downplaying the grief being felt by people all over England and across the world right now. Personally the responses “It is coming from mainstream media, how can be it true?” Or “I’m not sure why people died if it was a controlled experiment gone wrong” are appaling and disgusting. It is one thing to feel like a couple times perhaps the government has been shady but it is another thing all together to believe that somehow the US and other governments are staging attacks all over the world just to maintain a war with ISIS. 

The mainstream media already 90 per cent of the time portrays Islam as the biggest danger to the US freedom and constitution. People have even told me that if I study Islam it will be a truly eye opening experience to their religion and everything they stand for. The same way not all Christians stand for the extreme view points of those who literally whip themselves if they sin, I am sure not all 2 billion or more Muslims believe that death to all infadels is the true word of Islam. Much like Christianity and all other religions Islam has been turned into a method of madness to spread fear and hate. It has been the easy target of the western civilization because it is the easy way out for us to place the blame on a religion that has many different cultural view points than the ones most practised within the safety of our own homes. Judgement based on religion or between religions is probably the most hypocritical form of judgement. Let me use Jesus to shame those who spread the word of Allah because “Allah is not Jesus and Jesus is the one true Holy being sent here to rid the world of our sins”. Well sorry to disappoint big guy in the sky but in the 2017 years since you came to earth to rid us of our sins most of the sinning and righteous indignation has come from your most loyal of Sunday followers against those who on a daily basis do a better job of practising your words out of common kindness to their fellow men and women than those who attend bible studies and weekly church services.

ISIS is to blame. Not Islam. Not Allah. Not the 2 billion practising Muslims who have no ill intent to anyone trying to live their lives in peace. Extremism is to blame. Extremism is not only a word associated with ISIS. Neither is radical. Western Culture again out of fear for the unknown has told us there is a direct correlation between the two. Some of my devout Christian friends stayed silent during the Manchester bombings or quickly used the tragedy to blame Muslims for the attack saying that by letting them into our beautiful nation we are giving ISIS a chance to grow. I love Canada because we are open armed and loving of the world. I dont like the idea of walls to keep people out or not feeling safe in public. Generally for the most part here in Canada I do feel safe. Hate gets us absolutely nowhere. Ariana Grande’s concert should have been a safe haven for fans to let loose. 22 people can never be held by their loved ones again. Many more will never feel safe in a crowded place ever again. Yet through the sadness and heartbreak we stand together when someone like Ariana Grande reminds us through selfless giving and honor that money and fame dont really mean all that much. Respect, love and dignity mean a whole lot more than those every could.  Ariana Grande has now become a beacon of sunshine in an otherwise horrible moment for all of Manchester and has made me realize that as long as I am here on this earth I never want to stop spreading peace and kindness to my fellow human beings. Not in the name of god or any religion in particular but merely out of common decency to those who cohabitate this insanely wonderous planet we all live on. Kindness should not be granted on the grounds that a book tells you “these are the right people to extend courtesy to” but only on the principal that until they disrespect you we are all born equally and exit this world as eqauls. 

May Peace and love always shine no matter how dark the day is. May artists like Ariana Grande and many others show us that music and art is greater than hate and violence. May we together hold hands and mourn the lives lost while still holding onto hope that one day we wont have to suffer through these events as a society. Love and respect your fellow humans. It can be life changing to extend your hand to someone you least expected.