A lot happens in the first few seasons of Orange Is The New Black, building the series out from the story of one woman in prison with her ex to exploring the lives and relationships of dozens of women that make up the population of the prison, as well as the guards who look over them. The series is a dense watch, throwing a lot of information at the screen with each episode which is why it's nice to have a guide to what happened on OITNB Season 4 handy before diving into Season 5 when it hits the streaming site on June 9, 2017.
Part of the beauty of new seasons of Netflix shows is that, if you so choose, you can watch an entire season in one sitting. Unfortunately, this often means that some details fall by the wayside — and episodes, plotlines, and characters all start to blur together. Season 4 covered everything from a makeshift underwear company to an accidental white power group, but there are only a few events that you absolutely need to keep fresh in your mind when jumping into Season 5, which picks up right where Season 4 left off.
There's A New Guard
The group of Corrections Officers that served at Litchfield starting in Season 1 treated the job the same way that most anyone would treat a 9-5. They showed up, maneuvered through the day half-awake, and went home. Season 4 switches the formula by introducing a new group of COs that live on-site and are far more menacing than any COs before them. From strict rules and punishment to downright sadism (including forcing Maritza to eat a baby rat alive), the new COs have removed what little comfort there was left in Litchfield.
A Body On Site
Season 3 ends with a killer who managed to sneak his way into the prison to attempt kill Alex for betraying her former drug boss, Kubra. Season 4 begins with that killer being taken out by Alex and Lolly and buried in the prison's garden. Throughout the season, the guilt affects Lolly who seems liable to reveal the truth of what happened at any time. So Alex involves Red in the situation. Before they're able to find a solution to the problem, the body is found by the prison's grounds staff. The COs use this as an excuse to put more pressure on the prisoners, eventually resulting in another body at Litchfield...
In the final two episodes of Orange Is The New Black Season 4, two major disturbances occur that throw Litchfield into a tailspin. The first occurred after a protest in the cafeteria against the COs led to the COs attempting to remove the prisoners by force. The conflict quickly turned messy, and an improperly trained CO attempts to restrain Poussey but accidentally kills her. The second disturbance happens when Caputo refuses to fire the CO responsible and the prisoners march through the halls of Litchfield in protest. In an attempt to end the march, an especially violent CO (the one who earlier in the season forced a prisoner to eat a baby rat) reaches for his gun, which falls out of his hands and lands on the floor in front of Daya. She points the gun at the CO and... the season ends.
Of course, a lot more happened in Season 4 than that, as viewers learned even more about the inmates' backstories and some long-running plotlines (like Piper's underwear buisness) came to an end, but these above events are going to have the biggest impact on OITNB as a whole. The stakes of an OITNB season premiere have never been higher as the prison is already spiraling out of control with the possibility of a thousand different things going wrong at any point that could make the entire situation worse for everybody involved. It's uncertain how quickly Litchfield will be able to get back to a sense of normalcy, but expect Season 5 to start out with a bang.