13. 'The Reverse Midas Touch' (Episode 10)
Season 5 devolves into torture porn in episode 10 as Piscatella spends the entire hour abusing Red and the other women he’s kidnapped. As Piscatella scalps Red and breaks Alex’s arm, the episode reveals why he killed that inmate at the beginning of his career; however, those flashbacks don’t add any depth to this one-dimensional villain or explain his horrific actions.
12. 'Pissters!' (Episode 3)
Raise your hand if you were dying to see Linda from MCC’s days as a sorority sister in college? No one? Okay, then, moving on!
11. 'Litchfield's Got Talent' (Episode 4)
What does every great riot have? A talent show featuring the hostages, of course! The combination of the guards performing for the inmates and Judy King being held hostage results in a largely forgettable episode, with the exception of CO Stratman’s impressive Magic Mike moves.
10. 'F—, Marry, Frieda' (Episode 2)
Caputo’s office struggles with 21st century tech, Frieda is one hell of a survivalist, and, oh yeah, we get some ultra graphic descriptions of ways to torture people, courtesy of Humps. Thanks for that.
9. 'Tattoo You' (Episode 12)
Clearly, the OITNB writers didn’t watch Lost. Because if they had, they would have known to avoid doing flashbacks centered on the origin of their main character’s tattoo. The rest of the episode is solid, but the unsuccessful detour puts a slight damper on the show’s end of season momentum.
8. 'The Tightening' (Episode 9)
While Red fights the power in flashbacks, she succumbs to the drugs and paranoia in the present and Piscatella picks off inmates one by one and stores them in a closet, thus giving the episode a horror movie vibe. And if that weren’t scary enough, Fig is back to handle MCC’s negotiations.
7. 'Tied to the Tracks' (Episode 8)
Turns out, Fig isn’t the monster we grew to know. Aleida, though, is still a monster as flashbacks show her less-than-traditional mothering during Daya’s formative years.
6. 'Full Bush, Half Snickers' (Episode 7)
This episode leaves a sweet taste in our mouths (no thanks to that coffee… or those Snickers) when doors open to Poussey’s touching memorial.
5. 'Riot FOMO' (Episode 1)
Beginning right where the season 4 ended, the premiere nicely sets up the season-long prison riot arc and showcases what’s to come, including Danielle Brooks’ incredible year.
4. 'Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally' (Episode 6)
Cheetos bring everyone together, until Taystee and co. take them away, set them on fire, and signal the resistance. Who knew cheesy munchies could be so symbolic?
3. 'Sing It, White Effie' (Episode 5)
In episode 5, Danielle Brooks emerges as the season’s MVP as Taystee delivers a powerful speech to the media detailing exactly what she and her fellow inmates are fighting for. “Sing It, White Effie” also features one of the season’s most successful flashbacks, these detailing when Watson first realized the system is rigged against people who look like her.
2. 'Breaking the Fiberboard Ceiling' (Episode 12)
This episode could also be called “Give Uzo Aduba Her Emmy Nomination,” as Suzanne has a meltdown upon discovering Humphrey’s death. With Taystee tied up negotiating, the others struggle to deal with their off-her-medication friend, leading to the heartbreaking scene of Cindy unwisely giving Lithium to Suzanne to calm her down.
1. 'Storm-y Weather' (Episode 13)
The season couldn’t have ended any other way: The fragile order of the Litchfield Revolution comes crashing down in this tense finale when the CERT officers finally barge to reclaim control of the prison — and it’s downright brutal to watch. As most of the prisoners are bussed off to other parts unknown, the women hiding in Frieda’s bunker stand on the brink of death (or at least severe injury) as they await the S.W.A.T. team’s assault on their hideout.