The phenomenon that is Orange Is the New Black is set to return for season 4 in only a few weeks, but not much more than the recent trailer had been revealed. That changed Thursday night, when some of the cast gathered for a Paley Center screening and panel for the show in Los Angeles. Much of the talk was about season 3 and the show’s overall journey, but EW caught up with some of the cast beforehand to get some scoop on season 4.
Piper’s ruthless turn could be the cause of her downfall.
The Piper (Taylor Schilling) that walked into Litchfield three seasons ago is officially long gone, as season 3 saw her go “gangsta,” as she proclaimed. The character became a ruthless mogul that would fire people at will and frame someone who crossed her, even if it happened to be her new lover. EW asked Schilling what this shift would mean for Piper going forward.
“I think she took that and she ran with it,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily helping her anymore. She takes things to extremes and tends to run herself into the ground.”
Pennsatucky will try to move forward.
Not that long ago, Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) was the closest thing the show had to a villain, as the first season ender saw her attacking the show’s main character Piper. But since her tragic backstory has been revealed, she has become one of the show’s most sympathetic figures. Looking forward, Pennsatucky will continue to face her heartbreaking past — including her rape at the hands of Officer Coates (James McMenamin) last season.
“I think what we’re going to see is somebody that sort of… there’s like a mechanism that people have where they can sort of block things out,” explained Manning. “But I think some of her friends, they sort of wake up her and shake her up, and it’s up to her about how she feels about it.”
Gloria will continue to struggle with what happened to Sophia,
Selenis Leyva’s Gloria spent season 3 dealing with her son Benito’s drama. His friendship with Sophia’s (Laverne Cox) son Michael created conflict that ended with Sophia being attacked and put in solitary confinement for her own protection. The fallout from this will continue to weigh on Gloria as the season begins.
“You’re going to see her struggling with the Sophia relationship still,” Leyva told EW. “She really does struggle with it, and I love that about Gloria, that she’s taking responsibility for her actions, which I really admire about the character that they’ve written so brilliantly.”
Aside from the mess with Sophia, Gloria will need to find her place again now that she’s lost her position as head of the kitchen and must adjust to the ever-changing dynamic in her clique.
“We’re going to see her try to stay out of the mess that’s happening with the Latinas, but Gloria is a force to be reckoned with,” the actress said. “I think that she’s the voice of reason of that group and you’re going to see that play itself out even more so in season 4.”
Red’s return to the kitchen won’t be without its challenges.
Last season saw Red (Kate Mulgrew) struggling with finding her place in her former kitchen, separating herself from her family, and sharing a connection with Healy (Michael Harney), but the biggest development for her might have been gaining her power back in the kitchen by season’s end. Her rise back to prominence will not be an easy road, according to Mulgrew.
“You know how profoundly important this is to Red. My kitchen is a metaphor for my life, my character. It’s a central part of who I am, I have to have it and I have to have it my way,” the actress told EW. “So I think this constant drive to reclaim with excellence, to reclaim it against all odds is at the very core of Red’s being and in season 4 you’re going to see that severely threatened in a way that it has not been before, in a way that is very unusual for Red and extremely disconcerting and unsettling. It discombobulates her very being, so you’re going to see all of that.”
Mulgrew also teased that we will see more of her budding relationship with Healy, which she believes is more than Red taking advantage of him. “I think that Red does not lie. There’s nothing in lying for Red and he doesn’t lie,” she said. “So where they meet is in that very sort of vulnerable, marvelous place where we often do in later life: the unexpected.”
The entire fourth season of Orange Is the New Black will be available on Netflix on June 17.