Apologies to those of you who haven’t yet seen the end of Season 4 of “Orange Is the New Black,” but you probably wouldn’t have discovered this article unless you searched for information on Poussey Washington. The character, played by Samira Wiley, tragically died at the end of the season. Poussey was a beloved part of the series, so her untimely death struck a chord with “OITNB” fans. In the last episode, fans get a glimpse of Poussey’s past, which is drastically different from the tragic way she died.
Wiley explored the character’s death and how it sparked discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is not thoughtless. It is a senseless death, but it’s not a thoughtless decision on the part of the show,” she told Variety Saturday. “It echoes so many deaths that have happened in the last year, even. Eric Garner. Mike Brown. This happens in real life, and people are so upset.”
In the episode, Poussey dies during a peaceful protest. When the guards start to remove the inmates from the cafeteria, pandemonium ensues. One of the guards pins Poussey. She screams, “I can’t breathe,” but he keeps his knee on top of her until she suffocates.
The outraged response of fans is exactly what “OITNB” producers wanted. “The conversations on set were mirroring, I think, the conversations that are happening now by the viewers,” Wiley said, adding, “The fact that people are talking about it, the fact that people are having big, huge, emotional responses to it, I think that that means we did our job well.”
Still, Wiley was shocked by the reaction from fans. “People come out in waves on the internet. And they would never do or say things like this in real life. But people are pissed,” she said. “People are either really, really, really upset and mad and angry and threatening to do something violent, or they’re profoundly sad and wrecked.”
Since not everyone has finished the entire season, Wiley hasn’t given away spoilers on her official Twitter account. She did, however, give a hint when she wore a “Poussey Riot” shirt for the New York Pride Parade on Sunday.
“OITNB” Season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix.
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