The last we saw from the Orange Is the New Black cast in support of their upcoming season was a not-that-funny (but charming in its Netflix-branded sibling appreciation) OITNB-specific adaptation of Titus Andromedon’s “Pinot Noir” from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. What that video mainly did, however, was remind us of how much the OITNB characters were missed, and how welcome a full trailer for the upcoming season would be. So, give a warm welcome to the just-released trailer below.
Even among those of us who thought the third season saw a decline in quality, the promise of new episodes of the show will never not be enticing, and this trailer does more than merely entice: it electrifies. Seeing Cindy and Suzanne casually joking about how Obama is a symbol for changing race relations while the country’s system of mass incarceration continues to oppress black Americans is a fast reminder of one of the show’s strengths — pointed but conversational politicized humor that also furthers character development. And when that character development then fuels drama (rather than, as in season 3, the occasional drama seeming to come inorganically from a need to make the TV series feel like a TV series, as with Piper’s continued on-again-off-again-on-again-off-please-stop relationship with Alex), Orange Is the New Black is tremendous.
The trailer reveals the results of the cliffhanger the Season 3 finale left us with: the surge in inmates, with the addition of 100 new residents to the precarious Litchfield micro-society. And while Season 3 was often aimless, much of the chaos of Season 4 seems to come from the very traceable aforementioned catalyst. Among the trailer’s fragmentary images of unrest are a major fight between Piper with Maria, who threatens to “bury” Piper, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren being hospitalized, a swat team advancing on the prison, Red being furious as usual about assorted things, new guards enacting new forms of tyranny, and Morello’s sudden turn into a serious and seriously dysfunctional character perpetuated here. If Season 3 could feel digressive or fluffy, the trailer certainly gives the impression that the show may have figured out how to bring back its bite.
The new season will drop on Netflix on June 17.