From left: Kate Mulgrew, Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling aren’t done plotting
Netflix
By Daniel D'Addario
June 8, 2017

Last year marked a stunning high for Orange Is the New Black, the Netflix prison drama that has only deepened its storytelling and political charge. With a story line on the disconnect between guards and inmates leading to a tragic conclusion, a show that had, in its second and third seasons, edged toward staleness has found a fervent new voice.

The fifth season of the series continues in the pitched, passionate style that’s Orange at its juiciest. The whole season transpires during the uprising from the final moments of Season 4–meaning that we’re watching insurrection in close to real time. The inmates taking down the gatekeepers adds yet more anarchic self-assurance to the story. Time is carved out for crafting, a séance and wisecracks. While the story lets its characters show their human sides, it doesn’t condescend.

Orange Is the New Black streams on Netflix beginning June 9

This appears in the June 19, 2017 issue of TIME.

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