Orange Is the New Black is known for tackling heavy subjects related to real life events, and Season 7 will do just that by shining a spotlight on immigration in the U.S. The beloved Netflix dramedy hinted at the powerful storyline at the end of Season 6 when inmate Blanca Flores (Laura Gómez) believed she was being released from maximum security prison, along with Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), only for her group to be diverted to another van sending them to PolyCon's new immigrant detention center.
Tackling the heated subject of immigration on the series felt like a privilege to Gómez, who exclusively told PopCulture.com the opportunity to explore an issue affecting the country right now is a huge service.
"The fact that [creator Jenji Kohan] and our writers were brave enough to go there as it's happening. It's in a way so brave and so important," Gómez said in a phone interview with PopCulture.com Monday, June 17. "I've been saying lately that people disconnect, you know, like I'm aware, the Latino community's aware. Many people are aware of what's happening, but a lot of people also want to disconnect because there's too much going on at the same time."
"When you have a show that is this iconic and has so much following, then you have a story being told through fiction that is happening in real time and there's no way of looking over it... These are characters that you are invested in and these are characters that you have been following for a long time and now you are seeing reality through fictional characters," she added.
Gómez admitted tackling the issues as Blanca on the show gave her an outlet for all her anxieties and frustrations related to what is happening in the country.
"There's like a collective pain that we're going through right now, you know? And I was very grateful that my work and my craft allowed me to have a space to put this and to be a part of this," she said. "It was painful, exhausting, but also in a way a privilege to be a part of a show that is bringing such important conversation."
Gómez also reflected on the heartbreaking Season 6 finale moment in which Blanca's love interest, Diablo, stood anxiously waiting for her to be released, unaware she was being sent to ICE. The moment left fans broken hearted at the time, and while she wouldn't share details of what will happen with their relationship, she said these heartbreaking moments are commonplace in the country.
"Heartbreaking, but also humanizing. And if I can say anything about that finale is that those are real people living those realities," Gómez said. "This is really happening for people and as painful as it was for the audience to see this, and as difficult it was for us to portray it, I always think ... but people are actually living through this. Families are actually being separated. Husbands are actually left with flowers waiting for their partner. That never goes out. So I feel like this is why this show is so important."
How will Blanca and the rest of the inmates stories wrap up? The final season of Orange Is the New Black is now streaming on Netflix.