Orange Is the New Black’s seventh and final season will leave fans shocked, if series star Danielle Brooks’ reaction to the final season’s scripts is any clue.
Warning! Spoilers for Orange Is the New Black Seasons 5 and 6 lie ahead!
Brooks, who portrays Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson in the beloved Netflix original series, opened up about her reaction to the final season while speaking with PureWow, revealing that she was left “shocked” and with her mind blown after she sat down and read the scripts for OITNB’s final episodes.
“I was actually shocked when I was receiving the scripts and reading them,” she said. “I was shocked at how much further they could push these characters, especially Taystee. My mind was blown.”
As fans of the series will remember, Season 6 ended on a less than stellar note for Taystee, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of C.O. Desi Piscatella, who was shot and killed by rookie officer Natoli during the Season 5 riots. His death, however, was covered up by the other officers who put an end to the riots, and Taystee was framed for the killing, leading to a season-long murder trial.
Although the charge doesn’t carry the death penalty due to laws in the state of Pennsylvania, it does mean that Brooks’ character is now facing life in prison, a reality that not only left Taystee visibly shocked, but also broke the hearts of fans.
As difficult as Season 6 was for her and her character, Brooks explained that Season 7 pushed her even further.
“In season six, I was like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do this,’ and then we get into season seven and I'm like, ‘I really don’t know how I’m going to act this out,’” she said.
Brooks added that following the series’ conclusion, fans will not only be left with answers to some lingering questions, but also with a sense of hope for her character.
“We did it and I think people are gonna leave satisfied,” she said. “I think they’re going to feel full and feel like we’ve answered all the questions that they wanted answered. I think people will still leave feeling hopeful for Taystee at the end of the day.”
Seasons 1-6 of Orange Is the New Black are currently available for streaming on Netflix. Season 7 is expected to premiere in the second half of 2019.