“I’ve been in Litchfield for a while now,” says Piper Chapman. “And I have started to feel unsafe lately.”
Frankly, Piper (Taylor Schilling) summed up what season four of Orange is the New Black looks to be all about: Piper’s still in prison, and things are getting scary again. After a third installment of more light-hearted moments than sour–most famously, the sun-shining finale where Litchfield’s inmates rush into the water–it seems like Netflix’s biggest hit is living up to its recent “drama” reclassification.
A new trailer for the fourth season dropped this morning, and it is apparent that the good times have rolled on by for America’s favorite inmates. Tensions are building up between existing characters, mostly between different race groups, it seems. Litchfield Penitentiary is also now a for-profit prison, following the events of last season where Warden Caputo (Nick Sandow) sold the place to investors in order to save it from breaking apart. And that means that the government is starting to cram in as many prisoners as possible, making the place like “a can of sardines,” according to Aleida Diaz (Elizabeth Rodriguez).
Scores of “new blood,” as the trailer calls it, are joining the cast this season, and they’re nothing like what viewers of Orange is the New Black have known before. Most notably, Blair Brown struts in as celebrity chef turned convict Judy King to join the inmates, as well as Brad William Henke, Mike Houston, and Kelly Karbacz.
And with one hundred new types flooding in to the once-spacious yet tightly-knit Litchfield, a shake-up in the way things are done is bound to happen. To compensate, Caputo demands his benefactors bring in new COs, and the guards they bring in are nothing but inexperienced and brutal. Some characters are slammed against walls, hustled off to solitary, and in one flashing moment, a black-armored squad of SWAT officers creep forward, guns pointed.
It seems like everyone’s angry with one another or barely holding each other up. You see characters that have barely spoken to one another before, let alone clashed, rushing up to one another in fury.
“I will bury you,” Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) says nose to nose with Piper at one point. If inmates aren’t screaming, they’re crying, laying broken in a hospital bed, or looking solemnly into the distance at something horrible we as viewers can’t yet see.
Some inmates are also seeing a new power leap. In one clip, Taystee Jefferson (Danielle Brooks) is sitting at a desk answering the phone for Caputo, or at least, trying to. And while the scene is mostly funny–showing that Taystee has had absolutely no career experience as a receptionist as she fiddles with the phone buttons to no avail–it is completely likely that Taystee’s place on the totem pole is going to shake some relationships up.
After all, some people have eyes on the bigger picture. “You got power now,” Suzanne”Crazy Eyes” Warren (Uzo Aduba) says to her at one point in the trailer.
You can watch the full video below. Season four of Orange is the New Black comes all at once to Netflix June 17th.