Orange is the New Black started with a huge bang, becoming the unexpected viral binge of the summer. People decried the follow up seasons as inferior, but for the most part, the fourth season was mostly highly acclaimed. One of the things the show tends to handle well is balancing an enormous cast and getting you to care about near all of them.
This last season was no exception, shedding light on the backstories of airhead Maritza, Lolly’s tragic mental illness, Bianca’s subversive rebellion, Suzanne’s tragic mental illness (more meaningful because we already know her), and Poussey’s path to incarceration. It’s a season that introduced a few new interesting characters, like famous chef Judy King, getting involved in quasi-racist actions.
It’s a season of arcs and growths and falls, watching the tyranny of sociopathic guards or the pain of Caputo’s attempts at doing the right thing. Of course, the final tragic death of the season, which everything led up to and leads from, still hits pretty hard. It was a season I certainly enjoyed, even if I always end up forgetting some of the specifics when a new season is coming around.
And I can’t say I care about all the backstories equally; the Suzanne story, while done well, was predictable, and some of those flashbacks don’t seem to matter much to the overall story other than fleshing out some of the less interesting characters. But it worked well enough that I’m certainly still on board for the next season, and I’ll be waiting for the official release.
The three disc Blu-ray arrives with crisp, clear video with precisely the audio needed to understand all the dialog easily. I’d have to liked to see some additional features, a better reason to buy the collection than simply a few commentaries and higher quality, but we get what we get.
Video is 1080p High Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1) and audio is English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM, French 5.1 Dolby Digital DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital.
The collection is short on features, but includes three episode commentaries and two short featurettes:
- Gag Reel (02:03) – silly thing but not that interesting
- “Visitation: Set Tour” Featurette (09:59) – a few mildly interesting anecdotes
- Audio Commentaries with Cast and Crew (on Episodes “It Sounded Nicer in My Head,” “The Animals,” and “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again”) – These include actors Lori Petty and Samira Wiley plus writer/producer Nick Jones, Lauren Morelli and Tara Herrmann. A few interesting notes but overall not the best commentaries out there.
If you don’t have Netflix but have followed the series through its home video releases, then Orange is the New Black Season 4 is certainly a worthwhile addition to your collection.