What's Next For Soso In 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 5? That Shocking Twist Will Affect Her Deeply
I'm going to go right ahead and make the assumption that you're completely up to date on Orange Is The New Black — but if you're not, then you might want to watch out for major spoilers ahead. For the rest of you fine people, I can only offer my condolences in what is truly one of the most devastating and unexpected on-screen deaths ever shown on TV. When fan favorite Poussey Washington was killed by prison guard Bailey during a protest against unfair living conditions, the main question I had was how her death was going to impact on the close-knit prison family she'd formed around her, and more specifically on her vulnerable girlfriend. Now that Poussey's dead, what's going to happen to Soso in Season 5 of OITNB? The character had a rough time of it before she paired up with Poussey, and it doesn't look too likely that her environment is going to improve without the loving support of her girlfriend. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Soso actress Kimiko Glenn talked about Poussey's death and shared similar concerns surrounding the future of her character now that her incredibly supportive lover is dead, stating: "I imagine she's going to have a really tough time with it. She’s had such a tough go of it in general and she finally found someone she could really talk to."
Remembering the fragile, depressed Soso of OITNB Season 4 reminds me of just how bleak her character's future could get without someone to talk to. Confined within the prison walls without a single identifying pack with which she felt she belonged, the character was isolated and withdrawn, until she eventually attempted to take her own life. It was also this suicide attempt, it must be remembered, which brought the happy couple together in the first place, as Poussey saved Soso's life and then made the romantic gesture of grabbing her hand in the season finale. Glenn also went on to explain to The Hollywood Reporter how Soso's environment is going to dramatically affect the way that she deals with Poussey's death in Season 4 of the show, explaining:
She had a bit of a purpose when she was with Poussey, because she was able to love someone and communicate with someone and have someone hear her and treat her with respect. She hasn’t had that this entire experience. So I imagine that this is not only a huge loss because she’s dealing with the death, but it’s also 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.
It's easy to imagine that Soso will quickly become withdrawn again, but it's also important to remember that love and death can both impact on a person in a way that transforms them. As such, it could be that Soso will obviously have a "rough time with it" as Glenn suggests, but that she might not become the person that everyone expects her to. She may not take the murder of her girlfriend quite as quietly or submissively as her personality has so far implied. It's also worth noting that the couple had an argument regarding the importance of protest prior to Poussey's tragic death. As a result, the last time the two shared a "moment" was when Soso gave Poussey an appreciative, proud nod when her girlfriend joined the rest of the prisoners in protest by standing on top of a table with them. An act which, horrifyingly, would actually contribute towards her death.
It'd be easy to imagine that such a detail could linger in Soso's mind and that over time she could become fixated on feeling in some way responsible for her death, but it's also easy to imagine her seeing Poussey as a victim of her own sweet nature and kindness. Though Soso has hardly shown much kindness herself in the show so far (and her back story definitely didn't paint her in a very compassionate light), it would be great to imagine that Poussey's death makes her outspoken rather than withdrawn, tough rather than vulnerable and that she expresses her rage in a way which isn't internalized but is instead aimed at the people who are truly responsible: the prison guards and the MCC.
If the conversations that Caputo was having in the penultimate episode were any indication then it also sounds as though there's even more inbound prisoners set to join Litchfield, and whether Season 5 of OITNB reveals that to be the case will remain to be seen. Interestingly, new prisoner's could be just what Soso needs in order to reinvent herself and meet a set of people with whom she feels she belongs, and there could be a small clue concerning how she could go about this from the Season 4 finale. The last time we saw Soso, she was drunkenly stumbling along the halls of Litchfield having found and drank Poussey's homemade hooch. In order to remain close to her dead lover, it feels plausible that Soso could start creating the infamous Pruno for herself; and who knows, maybe that sweet booze is just the currency that she needs with which to gain power, win friends and influence people. One thing seems pretty certain: Soso surely won't let anyone push her around ever again, after this. And that will be a character twist that I greatly look forward to seeing.
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