The seventh and final season of Jenji Kohan’s groundbreaking dramedy Orange Is the New Black will find Piper Chapman navigating life outside the walls of Litchfield Penitentiary following her early release, including her complex relationship with Alex Vause. Wading through judgmental attitudes, attempting to find a job, and slipping back into everyday life, Taylor Schilling revealed that Piper will ultimately make the decision to stick by Alex’s side.
“That’s really what gets dealt with in the season. I think that ends up being what is explored most,” Schilling told Entertainment Weekly. “Piper really realizes that Alex is fundamentally a part of her journey. That’s the choice that Piper is making, that Alex’s love is very important to her.”
In the Orange Is the New Black universe, Piper and Alex had met long before either of them wound up behind bars, though it was their love story shrouded in international drug trade that ultimately landed them in prison and brought them back together.
Although their relationship has notably had a number of ups and downs, they committed themselves to one another in Season 6 when, just before her early release, they had a wedding officiated by Nicky and witnessed by Lorna.
“I want you to promise me that you'll get out of here. I need you. You're my partner. Get out of here as soon as you possibly can so that I can be with you. Do you promise me that you’ll do that?” Piper said in her vows.
Following the Season 6 finale, the fate of their relationship had been left up in the air, and many wondered if the distance would ultimately lead to the end of their relationship. According to writer Brian Chamberlayne, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, creating the distance between them was necessary to the story, as Kohan “wanted to be able to tell stories about post-prison.”
“It wasn't just a Season 6 end, it was partially about getting into the arc of where Piper goes,” he said. “It's about what is significant about the criminal justice system and what is significant about Piper's story and journey, so there's plenty to be told."
Fans got their first look at Piper’s life outside of prison in the first trailer for Season 7. The trailer also detailed the heartbreaking journey that Piper and Alex will go on in the final episodes.
Orange Is the New Black Season 7 premieres on Netflix on Friday, July 26. Seasons 1-6 are currently available for streaming.