Orange Is the New Black returns to Netflix this month after a slightly longer than usual hiatus, and following the harrowing events of Season 5, Season 6 contains some grisly consequences for the inmates of Litchfield. Most notably: they're no longer inmates of Litchfield. After a prison riot that resulted in multiple deaths and utter chaos, the women are moving to a maximum security facility. Naturally, fans are buzzing with Orange Is the New Black theories based on the Season 6 trailer, which dropped on July 9. Despite critical consensus that the series wobbles in quality between seasons, these robust theories prove that many fans are still as excited as ever to learn the fates of their beloved characters.
After a tightly contained and impressively crafted Season 5 — 13 episodes covered the events of just 3 days — Season 6 appears poised to loosen up the format once again. Last season told the story of a prison riot with dual objectives: 1) to protest the death of inmate Poussey Washington at the hands of a correction officer, and 2) to protest the prison's privatization, which robbed the inmates of GED classes, valid healthcare, tampons, and edible food. Ultimately the riot ended in a standoff between Freida, Suzanne, Taystee, Cindy, Red, Piper, Alex, Nicky, Gloria, and Blanca hiding out in Freida's converted pool bunker and special ops who literally detonated a bomb to climb their way in. So what now? Here are some ideas floating around.
Lolly, Linda, Ouija, And Big Boo Are In A Psych Ward
Eagled-eyed Redditors (are there any other kind?) noticed that, in the Season 6 trailer, Lolly, Linda, Ouija and Boo are all wearing light blue uniforms similar to the ones Lolly and Pennsatucky wore in previous seasons when they were being held as psych patients. The theory goes that, even though the women are being held at a different facility, the color-coding for the uniforms remains the same, so it's possible that these characters are being held for psychiatric care. Lolly has schitzophrenia, so it makes sense that she would be in psych. Linda claims she's from MCC and not a real prisoner, which lends itself to disbelief. And while Linda was trying to set the record straight, Ouija and Big Boo also chimed in to say that they worked for MCC, too. It's possible that they all landed themselves in psych while their real identities get sorted out.
Alex Screws Over The Group
Conspicuously absent from the Season 6 trailer is Alex, which, given that a heavy focus of the season seems to be Litchfield authorities trying to bring up the protestors on various charges, implies that Alex ratted out the group to save herself. Hey, it's been known to happen before. Alternatively...
Alex Is Dead?
Before the riot came to an end, a video of Piscatella snapping Alex's arm like a twig for fun went viral. Her old drug cartel kingpin Kubra sent an assassin to Litchfield to kill her in Season 4, but, as we all know, Alex managed to kill him first. She texted Kubra a photo of herself playing dead from her assassin's phone to assure him that the job was done, but the viral video proves that Alex is still alive. If Kubra sees it, he could send someone else to finish her off.
The Rioters Will Turn On Each Other
The pressure to give up the riot leaders is high, as time and again, we see the inmates being interrogated by authorities and encouraged to rat each other out in the trailer. Some of the women are stronger than others, but some have a lot to lose. It wouldn't be OITNB without some gnarly betrayals.
Morello Gives Birth
There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of Morello caressing her baby bump in the trailer, but the fact that she's still pregnant in Season 6 means we could see a little lasagna delivered on the show.
Pennsatucky Is Recaptured
During the course of Season 5, Pennsatucky sneaks out of Litchfield through a hole in the fence and hunkers down in one of the remodeled CO cabins out in the woods beyond the prison gates. It's left up in the air whether Donuts will rat her out or let her be free, but 'Tucky pops up in the Season 6 trailer, incarcerated as ever, so I guess we know how that turned out.
New Alliances Will Be Drawn
The maximum security facility to which the erstwhile inmates of Litchfield are transferred already has its own population of inmates and its own social hierarchy. The trailer shows the Litchfield population having some trouble adjusting, especially Suzanne and Morello. Piper reveals that the dark-blue-uniformed inmates and the khaki-uniformed inmates have some sort of standing beef with each other, and reassures Suzanne that, as a pink-uniformed inmate, she's safe. (Another possible clue embedded here is that pink is also a potential uniform color for inmates who are a psychiatric liability, as we know Suzanne has a history of mental illness.) Needless to say, the women of Litchfield are not on their home turf and this new territory seems very hostile toward them. They could end up turning against each other just to fit into the prison population.
New Characters Means The Series Will Be Extended Beyond The Original Cast
The Season 6 trailer introduces a bunch of new faces at the maximum security facility, which means more characters with more backstories to explore. It's possible that closing down Litchfield and moving the inmates to a new environment is a device the show will use to extend the series by giving us new stories to mine. In an interview with the New York Times last summer, showrunner Jenji Kohan hinted that she was leaning towards ending the series after Season 7, but that "the nature of the show is one that can go on and on because you can bring in new people." It's possible that Kohan could pass the baton to someone else while she pursues new projects so that Orange Is The New Black can continue.