Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black has a plethora of iconic quotes that convey the series’ blend of comedy and drama in its prison setting. Most of the character’s first lines focus on their life behind bars and are played out for comedic purposes. However, many of them get to express their newfound freedom and redemption in their final lines.
Even the characters who didn’t finish their prison sentence seem to have found a new purpose in life by the final season, as can be seen from the cases of Taystee and Suzanne. At the same time, some characters like Red and Pennsatucky undergo a darker fate while muttering their final lines.
‘Look at you, Blondie. What’d you do?’ – ‘You’re gonna be okay.’
Despite her issues with drugs, Nicky is usually helpful and supportive towards others. Calling her ‘Blondie’, she is ready to greet Piper with a smile despite the majority of the inmates shunning her.
By the final season, Nicky starts handling the kitchen. In her very last scene, she reassures a new inmate going through withdrawal, saying ‘You’re gonna be okay’. This maturity makes for one of the most perfect endings on Orange Is The New Black. Once largely careless and fickle, Nicky has successfully fought her inner demons.
‘Maybe this is a bad time to say Hi.’ – ‘Hey Jones, what does Judy King look like naked?’
After finding her ex-flame Alex in Litchfield, Piper has a panic attack. Meanwhile, Alex just remarks, “Maybe this is a bad time to say Hi”. This provides the perfect introduction for Alex, who is initially depicted as a villain.
Even though Piper and Alex have a successful relationship later, Alex serves a longer prison sentence. In her final scene, she jokingly asks Jones about her encounter with Judy King. While Alex never interacted much with other inmates earlier, she’s trying to cope now with Piper’s absence.
‘I’ll wait. There better be some hot water there.’ – ‘This is financial literacy. This is gonna help you get off the poverty bus.’
Taystee is introduced in the very first scene when she asks Piper to hurry up in the shower, hoping to get some hot water. She’s then introduced as a merry character sharing a strong friendship with the late Poussey.
However, the final season finds Taystee struggling with depression until she gains a feeling of acceptance of her situation. To ensure the financial future of her fellow inmates, Taystee sets up The Poussey Washington Fund. Despite her darkly realistic arc, Taystee finally found a way to honor her dead friend.
‘You got what I asked you for?’ – ‘I’ll kill you.’
Red always gets what she wants and does what she pleases. During lunch, Red slips a few puddings to Nicky and Jones following which Big Boo also asks for a treat. But as Boo fails to get what Red asked for (a board from the woodshop), Red outrightly dismisses her, establishing her power.
By the final moments, Red’s dementia makes her forget Freida snitching on her. But when Red finally remembers, she simply says ‘I’ll kill you’. Despite her failing memory, she still retains her usual temper. Still, Red gets a slightly abrupt final moment when compared to the fitting endings of other characters.
‘Sue. It’s short for Suzie which is short for Suzanne.’ – ‘I didn’t prepare them for the outside world. Of course, they turn to drugs.’
One of the most lovable supporting characters on Orange Is The New Black, Suzanne had developed feelings for Piper in the first season, awkwardly introducing herself as ‘Sue’, ‘Suzie’, and ‘Suzanne’. Piper judges her at the start but later on, they became good friends.
Towards the final episode, Pennsatucky’s death saddens Suzanne and she frees the prison farm chickens in her memory. As they run away, Suzanne adds, ‘I didn’t prepare them for the outside world’. The line is quite profound as after spending years, many inmates are indeed not ready to face the world outside.
‘Be with you in a sec. Just gotta finish here.’ – ‘Oh wow. That’s beautiful.’
Gloria’s introductory scene finds her painting nails in Daya’s bunk as she says in Spanish, ‘Be with you in a sec’. When Daya mentions that she doesn’t speak the language, Gloria responds condescendingly. Her disdain towards Daya probably stems from her salty relationship with Daya’s mother Aleida.
Her final scene is warmer as she gets to see her granddaughter and simply says ‘That’s beautiful’ on seeing some childish art that she scribbled. The simple line captures the happiness that she finally attains after years.
Lorna drives Piper to Litchfield in Season 1 and asks if this is Piper’s ‘first time in prison’. Given her positive nature, Lorna hopes to make Piper feel comfortable, a stark contrast from the judgment that awaits the new inmate.
Due to her own issues, she’s unaware of Red’s growing dementia in the final episode. So, when Lolly asks her about Red’s fight with Freida, she just says, ‘She didn’t get to see her grandson’. It is a painful moment as the viewers have no clue about Lorna’s future.
‘Such pretty hair.’ – ‘I did my time. Looking forward now. And you and your hair are still the same.’
Sofia’s first interaction with Piper was around her ‘pretty hair’. This scene sets the tone for Sofia’s character who is also the hairstylist for almost everyone in the prison.
A complete circle is achieved as Sofia and Piper’s final conversation is around the same lines as Piper visits Sofia’s newly-opened hair salon. The quote ‘I did my time. Looking forward now’ seems to be quite impactful as Sofia hasn’t just finished her time in prison but is also ready to live a life with her new identity and business.
‘The Jews never put the markers back in their box.’ – ‘Would you need some help with that?’
Pennsatucky is introduced as an extremely devoted Christian, as she complains to the prison chaplain about Jewish inmates ruining the sanctity of the common religious space – a complaint that shows how small-minded and racist she is, too.
But towards the final season, Pennsatucky has really grown – until the moment that she cannot deal with a possible disappointment. Thinking that she failed the GED test, she looks at an inmate with a bag of drugs and asks ‘Would you need some help with that’ – and is later found dead from an overdose. These last words definitely make for one of the most heartbreaking deaths on Orange Is The New Black.
‘I’ve always loved getting clean.’ – ‘I’ve always loved getting clean.’
The main character of the series, Piper Chapman, starts and ends the story with the line, ‘I’ve always loved getting clean’. In the pilot, it applies to her early days in prison. Depraved of the comfort of the outside world, Piper’s life has clearly turned upside down as she can’t even have a proper shower in peace.
The debut season unleashes her crankiness but by the final one, Piper realizes her own privilege when compared to other prisoners. In her final monologue, a now-free Piper has a new take on ‘getting clean’. She now believes in a clean life that would include learning from her mistakes and starting all over again.