By Chancellor Agard
May 24, 2019 at 10:00 AM EDT
Cara Howe/Netflix
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Jenji Kohan’s groundbreaking dramedy Orange Is the New Black began with Piper Chapman’s (Taylor Schilling) imprisonment, and its seventh — and final — season finds her readjusting to life on the outside.

“She’s beginning to navigate what it’s like to live in the civilian world again, and learning that freedom doesn’t come immediately when she steps outside of prison,” Schilling tells EW. “She becomes a little bit bolder expressing what she wants rather than trying to fit in and make it about other people.”

One of the challenges Piper faces in the new season is being separated from Alex (Laura Prepon), whom she married at the end of season 6 before her release. “That’s really what gets dealt with in the season. I think that ends up being what is explored most,” says Schilling. “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.”

As the Netflix series reaches the end of its sentence, Schilling hopes season 7 helps “people feel seen, and that there’s a reflection in the series of what has been happening to the cultural collective.”

For more Summer TV scoop, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy your choice of two different Game of Thrones covers — Daenerys or the Starks — now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Related content: 

Jenji Kohan’s absorbing ensemble dramedy, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, takes viewers inside the walls of Litchfield, a minimum security women’s prison where nothing’s as simple as it seems—especially the inmates.
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  • 6
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  • 07/11/13
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