The final season of the breakout Netflix hit, Orange Is the New Black, dropped on July 26, meaning it's time to say goodbye to Litchfield Penitentiary and its inmates. The final 13 episodes had a lot of explaining to do — especially regarding the whereabouts of certain characters (hello Brook Soso and Officer Bennet).
We finally have some answers to questions and closure on how characters will survive outside of the prison. From Taystee's heartbreaking future to the status of Alex and Piper's relationship, how does Orange Is the New Black end?
Season 6 left us with a lot of loose ends.
The last time we "visited" Litchfield, Piper and Alex were briefly separated after a riot, leading the two to want to make their romance official with a prison wedding. Any sign of utter bliss is always derailed when it's the season finale of a show, and Piper and Alex weren't about to get their happy ending — not even close.
Piper got news of her early release, which meant she and Alex would have to put their plans on hold.
Other prisoners also got an early release, including Blanca, who was then placed onto an ICE bus to be deported. The fallout from the riot meant that some inmates had their sentences extended. Dayanara — who was a fan favorite in the early seasons of the show — became a drug addict and confessed to shooting a guard during the riot.
Her sentence was extended to life, so she joins a prison gang. Even more heartbreaking? Her mother, Aleida, was sneaking the drugs that Daya is addicted to into the prison.
Red also got a longer sentence, as did Taystee. Much of the season surrounded Taystee, whom we saw lose her best friend, Poussey, in the Season 4 finale. In a heartbreaking twist, Taystee suffers the most fallout from the riot.
She's convicted of killing a prison guard, Piscatella, who was actually killed by another guard. Crazy Eyes and Black Cindy helped get Taystee the new conviction by giving false information to the police. Ready to learn how it all ends?
So how does Orange Is the New Black end? Warning: Spoilers ahead!
When Season 7 begins, Alex and Piper are trying to move on with other people. Piper is free and begins dating a wealthy woman named Zelda, while Alex starts a romance with a prison guard. When Alex's new relationship ends, the guard arranges a transfer for her, and Alex is sent to Ohio.
She initially tries to tell Piper to move on, but it's clear that the two are meant to be. Piper and Alex hint at a reconciliation during the final scene when Piper visits Alex in prison. It seems like the two will make it work during the last few years of Alex's sentence.
What about Taystee?
Though many fans were rooting for Taystee to get justice after having her sentence wrongfully extended, she manages to make her own happiness at Litchfield. Initially upset and even suicidal over the injustice, Taystee makes the most of her future and puts her efforts toward the GED program at the prison.
She's an educator, and she wants to help other women get their GEDs. In a tender moment, she sets up the Poussey Washington Fund to give small loans to former inmates.
Things don't end well for Dayanara or Pennstaucky either...
Dayanara's ending showcases one of the darkest character descents in the show, with her murdering the drug gang leader. She takes the position as the head of the gang, and her mother threatens to kill her in Daya's final scene.
Other characters with sad endings? Pennsatucky, who dies from a drug overdose just ahead of the series finale. She had become convinced that she failed her GED exam, but we find out that she didn't after she dies. Crazy Eyes keeps her friend's memory alive.
Multiple characters find their role in the kitchen to help with the prison and other efforts. Nicky, Gloria, and Flaca help detainees by working in the ICE detention center kitchen. Lorna and Red get moved to the elderly block of the prison and serve as each other's support system.
Cindy has a rough return home after her release, and gets scared to see her family. She eventually makes it home and reconciles with them. Blanca makes the devastating decision to return to Honduras to be with her fiancé, even after she was given a green card to stay in the U.S.
Some former characters did return — but not all.
When it was announced that Season 7 of the show would be its last, fans called out for certain characters to get conclusive endings. We did get to see Sophia again — and she gives Piper a haircut. Maritza returns as well, and she goes to ICE custody with Blanca. Soso has a cameo in the finale, but not much is revealed about her life.
Sadly, Officer Bennet does not return.
It's certainly the end of an era now that Netflix's first big hit has ended. Orange Is the New Black Season 7 is available to stream on Netflix.