With hints from the cast, naturally.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from season four of Orange Is the New Black.]
The season four finale of Netflix's prison dramedy Orange Is the New Black capped a season that explored the Black Lives Matter movement and the injustice that exists in the prison system. The final episode, like many season-enders, also set the stage for next season — leaving many die-hard bingewatchers in the lurch after a stunning conclusion.
In the two weeks since season four dropped on Netflix, The Hollywood Reporter has spoken with several castmembers and, while no one knows what creator Jenji Kohan has in store for season five — which went into production this week — Litchfield's favorite inmates all agree that things are only going to get crazier.
The prison dramedy, which has been renewed through season seven, delivered its darkest frame yet by killing off fan favorite Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) in a provocative storyline with real-life parallels to the Black Lives Matter movement. It also left several of the characters' fates up in the air and ended on a cliffhanger that is sure to propel the series into even darker and uncharted territory.
Here are the 13 biggest questions left unanswered after season four, with hints from the cast as to what might happen when season five launches next summer.
The final moments of the season see Daya picking up CO Humphrey's loose gun and aiming it back at him during a prison-wide riot, Attica-style. Given Humphrey's abusive nature — he forced Maritza, at gunpoint, to swallow a live baby mouse and pushed Crazy Eyes into a bloody brawl with Kukudio — none of the cheering inmates around her are going to step in to stop her. After being abandoned by fiance Bennett, losing her daughter and seeing her mom released from prison, Daya has so much pent-up anger and frustration, she might just shoot. Would she really risk ever seeing her baby again? What will mom Aleida do, after seeing Caputo on TV and once she finds out what Daya has done? And will Bennett make a swooping return to at least save their baby in season five?
What Dascha Polanco (Daya) told THR: "I could see her pulling the trigger. Daya's definitely experiencing some postpartum depression. She might pull back and think about being a mother and not wanting to miss the opportunity of being with her child. But a woman going through postpartum — at that point, they’re very fragile and very sensitive."
Even if Daya decides not to shoot Humphrey, she's likely to get slammed with more time and there's still a prison riot to break up. With Piscatella and Bayley on leave, and Humphrey and McCullough kneeling at the whim of Daya and the other prisoners, what guards are even on the Litchfield grounds to fix the situation? The PR nightmare is sure to send the MCC into a frenzy — could it cost Caputo his job? — and begs a few questions: Will all of the inmates survive the riot? How will they be punished? Will any of the the old guards be brought back to help? Either way, the stakes are raised when season five picks up with Daya and tracks the fallout. It almost makes us miss Pornstache. Almost.
What Laura Prepon (Alex) told THR: "The riot is a cool place to go because it really happens. We’re dealing with that and we’ll see the aftermath. Nothing is taboo for Jenji, she goes there and she doesn’t steer us wrong."
Poussey's death left her best friend, Taystee, and girlfriend, Soso, reeling. This season saw Taystee collapse on the floor next to her friend's lifeless body and Soso being cradled by a singing Norma. In Soso's case, Poussey was the only person to understand her and welcome her in inside Litchfield. Will Poussey's friends adopt her into the group, or will she be left to finish out her sentence alone? Taystee already reacted by inciting the prison-wide riot in the first place — how will she react if she doesn't find any justice?
What Danielle Brooks (Taystee) told THR: "It's war. Taystee has nothing to lose; she’s lost everything that she cared so deeply about. It’s time to fight. I think that’s where we will see Taystee go."
What Kimiko Glenn (Soso) told THR: "Dealing with the death in a prison: You’re trapped. You have nowhere to go, you don’t have family to fall back on. She doesn’t have much of a family in the prison in general. I can’t imagine she’s going to have an easy time dealing with it from here on out."
CO Bayley is left in shambles over becoming an accidental murderer in Poussey's death. During the press conference, Caputo defended Bayley and announced that he would be taking a temporary leave. With Bayley's innocence and sweet-natured personality smashed into a million parts, will Orange fans see him attempt to pick up the pieces? Can he ever return to the halls where the horrific tragedy occurred, by his own hands?
What Alan Aisenberg (Bayley) told THR: "This is obviously a life-changing thing: To accidentally kill someone would break any person, especially a 21-year-old kid who is not very well educated and just floating through life. I think it will be a very interesting ride."
Caputo sent Piscatella home after discovering the tragic events surrounding Poussey's death. Given that he defended Bayley and stood by his staff, it doesn't seem that MCC will support him firing the guard who was on duty when it all went down. Will Piscatella's reign continue in season five?
What Brad William Henke (Piscatella) told THR: "A lot of the stuff those guards do, I didn’t tell them to do. I told them to be firm, but they took it to another level. There are some things that went on that I didn’t know was going on. [At the end] as my character, I still felt that I was in the right, I still felt I was doing good work."
After attempting to hightail it out of Litchfield following Poussey's death, the celebrity chef gets caught in the crossfire of the prison-wide riot. With four hallways of inmates storming toward her, Judy is stuck in the middle with the guards and could be in the line of Daya's fire. If she survives the riot, will she still be released? If she is released, she has the star wattage and power to right at least some of the wrongs she witnessed inside. Will she avenge her friend Poussey's murder?
What Blair Brown (Judy) told THR: "I hope Judy commits another crime. Maybe she could shoot somebody and then she’d be there forever, that’d be good."
Not only did Suzanne beat her on-and-off lover Kukudio to a bloody pulp, she also incited the protest struggle that left Poussey dead. The last Suzanne scene shows the inmate being wheeled into the hospital ward, ironically, next to Kukudio, so she can treat her bookshelf wounds. The scene is a reminder of how much power Kukudio has if she wants to rat on Crazy Eyes, or if any of the guards label her a danger to others after the protest riot. Or will she and Kukudio heal their wounds and their relationship together?
What Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes) told THR: "When someone’s view of the world is somewhat incapacitated or different, what sort of repercussion is the result?"
Lolly (Lori Petty) was shipped off to the psych ward in devastating fashion after Healy, who is struggling with his own mental health, reluctantly turned her in for the murder of the guard whose body was discovered in the garden. Orange has never sent an inmate off to the psych ward — is Lolly off the show forever?
What Lori Petty (Lolly) told THR: "I can’t say for sure, but I absolutely think we will [see Lolly again]. They are just now filming episode one [of season five] and you know how we ended season four. They have a lot to deal with right now! ... I just assumed they’d go to psych, like they go to the SHU. When I saw the [psych] set, that's what I thought."
Healy's past demons about his mother — who abandoned him as a child after her mental health issues weren't properly treated — meet his present ones when he's forced to turn Lolly in. After finding himself in such a dark place that he attempts to commit suicide in the nearby lake (he is saved by the cell phone ring from Piscatella's call), turning Lolly in wrecks him and causes him to check himself into a psychiatric hospital. Will anyone come to help him and can he ever return to Litchfield?
What Michael Harney (Healy) told THR: "There are people working in the prison system who are mentally ill. Healy is in continual contest with himself and that contest will expose what it exposes."
After three years of sobriety, Nicky fell off the wagon and returned to general population. It took Red shutting off Nicky's access to drugs before she finally got clean. Thanks to help from Pennsatucky, she's now off the drugs and, after Poussey's "sobering" death, it appears it may stick. She even told Lorna in their final conversation that she always feared her mother would get the call that Poussey's father received. But will she stay clean?
What Natasha Lyonne (Nicky) told THR: "In the same way that Sophia played a huge part in Nicky’s relapse, Poussey’s death, whether we end up seeing it or not, I definitely think it’ll have a real impact on everyone in the prison and for sure Nicky as well."
The season three breakout (played by Ruby Rose) made a quick one-scene cameo this season when it was revealed that she and Nicky had a one-night stand in Max. Will Stella ever return to general population and have more than a bit part next season?
What Natasha Lyonne (Nicky) told THR: "I’m assuming that Nicky would have gotten off on everybody being scissor sisters, I think that’s right up Nicky’s alley — stone-cold sober or high, I think that would really appeal to her sensibilities. And also, she’s hot."
The on-and-off core couple of the series is together again after Alex and Piper experienced their own set of traumas (Piper's Nazi branding and Alex committing murder and subsequently dismembering the body). They gravitated back to one another and, when rocked by Poussey's death, admitted they need each other as Piper convinced Alex not to confess. But will it be enough to keep them from breaking up ever again?
What Laura Prepon (Alex) told THR: "That incident really solidifies a lot of the relationships in the prison. Alex and Piper, because it is a tumultuous thing, I don’t know if people like that can stay together for too long. Something happens where they break up but because they really care about each other they get back together, and it’s this whole push-pull thing. That’s not going to change anytime soon."
Figueroa dropped a sly bomb on Caputo when she asked him if he had been informed about the next influx of inmates when he visited her house. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss moment, but it signals that the already overcrowded prison is getting more characters when the show returns. Where will they all fit and what drama will they bring?
Jenji Kohan (creator) told THR: "We're already starting on season five and it's bananas."
Read all of THR's interviews with the cast in full here.