Dear OITNB: Nazis And Rapists? Not A Good Look
Start writing a post

Dear OITNB: Nazis And Rapists? Not A Good Look

Watch season 5 before reading. I hope you'll be as angry as I am.

Dear OITNB: Nazis And Rapists? Not A Good Look

Amidst all of the backlash Netflix has received over the past few weeks over cancellation of series like Sense8 and The Get Down, Orange is the New Black just had its best season yet.

This season got down and dirty without apology by elevating its best stories and characters. Uzo Aduba continued to outshine every actress within a hundred mile radius, especially in her powerful “black is beautiful” scene that I dare you to watch without crying. Danielle Brooks as Taystee, Selenis Levya as Gloria, and Brad William Henke as Piscatella had the opportunity to bring their characters to new heights, and they snatched it. Speaking of, this season also gave us the first guard backstory that simultaneously drew sympathy while reminding the viewer the character could still be a monster, something the show botched last season with what was supposed to be a sympathetic look into Healy’s mommy issues.

All in all, this show hit in every area it set out to, infusing the season with drama, incredible acting, horror, and small little social justice jabs, including the perfect conversation on gun laws in the first episode, when every person who reports the shots fired inside the prison compares it to a recent gun tragedy: and they never had to repeat an incident.

However, in a show that has been praised for its diversity, you would think there would be some sensitivity towards racially charged and misogynistic behavior. There would have to be some sort of condemnation for characters portrayed as Nazis and rapists, at least to the extent of vitriol that has thus far been reserved for the guards. And yet, in that area is where season 5 loses its footing, turning characters who are more monster than human into quirky wanna-be favorites.

Race was one of the central themes of season 4, between the Dominican women finally finding a community of their own to prop themselves up on the power ladder, to the race war started by Piper who accidentally calls for a white supremacist gang intent on a witch hunt, to the finale closing with the death of Poussey, recalling all of the black citizens who have lost their lives to police brutality over the years, specifically Eric Garner, who died while saying the words “I can’t breathe."

After a season like that, I was ready for the Nazi girls, particularly the frontrunners Skinhead Helen (Francesca Curran), Brandy (Asia Kate Dillon), and Sankey (Kelly Karbacz), to feel some pain. And I was incredibly disappointed.

While the show never tries to hide the fact that the inmates are Nazis (well, Sankey insists on being called a white nationalist instead), their attempts to shove them in with the rest of the inmates is… insulting, at the very least. Brandy, particularly, seems fine interacting with the other inmates of color, even helping two of the Latina girls with a coffee shop for a brief amount of time. And yet, in that same scene, she openly admits to being in prison for poisoning black and Jewish people as a barista, and during one of the million times that Sankey insists she’s just a white nationalist, she points to Brandy as an actual Nazi who turns around and gives a smile that’s supposed to be… coy? Cute?

During the storming scenes of the last episode, the three white supremacists team up with some of the Latina girls again to defend themselves against the soldiers coming to round them up. It almost makes them seem like heroes, putting aside their disgusting and, at least on Brandy’s part, literally murderous beliefs in order to be just another one of the inmates.

I sincerely hope season six proves devastating for the Nazis to make up for these weird attempts to make them just a part of the big prison gal pal gang, especially in light of how the black and Latina girls are continuously treated by the guards and other prison members.

But you know what, I would take the Nazi girls being embraced by the entire prison and crowned as the heroes of Litchfield before I have to stomach another Coates(Donuts)/Doggett episode.

In case anyone has fallen for the weird romanticizing of their relationship this season, and I wouldn’t blame you since even Boo’s protests against it revolved more around him being a guard than being a rapist, Coates raped Doggett. She hated him for a while, apparently forgave him, and is now actively pursuing a romantic relationship with him, with her season ending in a domestic love scene in his home after escaping the prison.

Putting women back in bed with their abusers, especially when you’re going to frame it as a choice made out of love, is horrifying, insulting, and a slap in the face to any abuse survivor who watches this show.

I understand that people can get redemption arcs. Hell, Tiffany Doggett’s is one of the best on the show, with her best friend now being someone she would have condemned to eternal damnation when we first met her. But a rapist? Someone who commits the ultimate violence against someone else’s body besides killing them? Yeah, try harder, OITNB. There better be some sort of ulterior motive on Tiffany's part at play.

And Coates isn’t the only one who gets off on the teensy tiny issue of rape. Comedic relief Leanne (Emma Myles) and Angie (Julie Lake) force one of the guards into sexual acts, right before Angie reveals she “raped a bunch of guys” to make Leanne feel better. And what is their payment for that on the show? They also get to be heroes, burning the records of the inmates at Litchfield before being caught by the guards and forced out of the building.

Another rapist (and murderer) getting off scot-free? Pornstache! That's right, we get a glimpse of him living happily with his mom and demanding she take in Daya's child so he can help raise her. It just keeps getting better. Even when justice seemed served...

So, lesson learned: be a lovable, complicated character like Poussey, Daya, or Miss Claudette? Get some rough treatment by the show that ends in death or being locked up till God knows when. Be a Nazi, rapist, or just plain insufferable (did anyone say Piper?), you get to be a happy hero.

At least we finally get rid of Piscatella and Humps.

OITNB, if you want to continue building a legacy off your diversity and deep storytelling, you need to start doing better with, we’ll say, “controversial” characters.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Panic! At The Disco Announces Breakup After 19 Years

Band Makes Breakup Announcement Official: 'Will Be No More'

panic at the disco

It's the end of an era. Originally formed in 2004 by friends in Las Vegas, Panic! At The Disco is no more.

Brendon Urie announced on Instagram that the band will be coming to an end after the upcoming Europe tour. He said that he and his wife are expecting a baby, and the life change weighed heavily in his mind to come to this decision. "Sometimes a journey must end for a new one to begin," he said.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Odyssey's response writer community is growing- read what our new writers have to say!


Each week, more response writers are joining the Odyssey community. We're excited to spotlight their voices on as they engage in constructive dialogue with our community. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

To Mom

There are days when you just need your mom

To Mom

There really is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of someone. Imagine that someone being the one who carried you for 9th months in their belly, taught you how to walk, fought with you about little things that only a mother and daughter relationship could understand. You can have a countless number of father figures in your life, but really as my mom always said, " you only get one mom."

Keep Reading... Show less

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

I need someone to show that they want me for me, not that they're using me to chase the idea of being in a relationship.

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

You hear your phone go off. He's asking you to hang out. Then, of course, you get the advice of your friends to decipher this text. Is it just hanging out or is it more than hanging out? You've probably done this at least once in your life or at least seen a tweet where someone posted their screenshots with a potential love interest.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Winter Break As Told By 'Friends'

Is a month at home too much to handle?


If you're anything like me, winter break is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel after a long, stressful semester. Working hard for 15 weeks can really take a toll on a person mentally, physically AND emotionally. It's a nice change of pace to be back at home with your family and friends, but after a couple weeks, it can get, well... boring.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments