Orange Is the New Black returns Friday, which means we're spending the bulk of this week spewing theories about what we'll learn about our favorite inmates in season 4. Mainly, what will happen to Piper's panty smuggling operation? Will we finally get Maritza's backstory? Will Judy King's character take control of the kitchen? Below, InStyle's resident fan-girls Marianne Mychaskiw, Claire Stern, and Katie Donbavand discuss what they think will transpire.
"We'll finally get Suzanne's entire backstory (after learning more about her, I can't bring myself to call her Crazy Eyes). Her character continuously tugs at my heartstrings, and I hope this season gives us insight on how she ended up at Litchfield in the first place. I was also obsessed with her being the resident E. L. James of Litchfield, so I'd love to see her pen a sequel to the Fifty Shades of Alien Lovin' she brought us last season. I also need to know what happens with the whole Daya and Bennett saga. Now that she's had her baby, I'm hoping Bennett will come back into the picture. Matt McGorry posted a very cute picture with Dascha Polanco a few weeks back, so although his IMDb page may beg to differ, I'm still optimistic.
I think Pennsatucky will get her revenge on Coates, too. Over the course of three seasons, she's transformed from one of the most insane characters I've ever seen in my life to my absolute favorite. I would honestly watch a spinoff of just her and Big Boo bantering back and forth—and Big Boo was such a good friend after Coates manhandled Pennsatucky. I'd like to see justice get served, even if that means the dynamic duo must take matters into her own hands.
We'll also find out what happened to Alex Vause—last we saw her, she got cornered in the greenhouse by one of the new guards, who was actually working for Kubra, her ex-drug dealer. The jury is still out on whether or not she's working with him again. There are so many questions I need answered about Maritza: What's her story? How did she end up in Litchfield in the first place? Most importantly, will she be okay taking over van duty from Pennsatucky? Perhaps she and Big Boo will tell Maritza what happened so the three of them can take Coates down. One can only hope."
—Marianne Mychaskiw, InStyle.com Associate Beauty Editor
"Piper's been slowly unraveling as the series goes on, and I'd bet money that her illicit panty-smuggling ring grows beyond her control and falls into the hands of the Hispanic prisoners. (Let's face it: Piper can barely keep it together, and she's by far the least badass of all the inmates, especially without Stella by her side.) Speaking of that tatted, Bieber look-alike, I wouldn't mind if she paid Litchfield a visit and stirred up some drama between Piper and Vause. Since a lot of the season deals with the issue of prison overcrowding, I suspect some new antagonistic relationships will form between guards and inmates, à la Coates and Pennsatucky. In the trailer, we see Maritza lock eyes with a handsome new correction officer, which was oddly foreboding.
I also predict Taystee and Caputo's new working relationship will turn into a friendship of sorts, like the one Piper had with Healy once upon a time, which hopefully means good things for her bestie-slash-partner-in-crime, Poussey. And because Poussey and Taystee's relationship was never anything but platonic, I have high hopes for her blossoming romance with Soso. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Morello embraces married life.
New characters like Judy King are sure to add intrigue to the plot, but I also hope we'll see the return of Sophia from the SHU and Nicky from Maximum Security (that scene where she's hauled off in the van, set to "Coming Down" by Dum Dum Girls, absolutely crushed me).
—Claire Stern, Associate Editor
"I'm afraid season 4 is going to be a dark turn for the convicts. The major, overarching issue will definitely be Litchfield's transformation into a for-profit prison, which will invite serious overcrowding (and steel-booted guards). I have a feeling that Caputo is really going to be struggling to maintain his authority, not only with the prisoners, but with the new SWAT-style law enforcers. Not to mention, he'll still be dealing with last season's jaw-dropping reveal of his love-hate (or is it hate-hate?) extracurricular relationship with his former nemesis, Fig.
Since season 3 ended with Sophia being sent to the SHU, I predict she'll emerge with an eye for revenge. She'll likely either take it out on Gloria (who led a brutal attack on her) or Caputo (who allowed her to be locked up in the first place). I also hope to see more from Big Boo and Pennsatucky's newly-forged friendship. I could watch hours of those two bridging the enormous political/cultural/socioeconomic divide between them and finding a rock solid affinity for each other.
In terms of new characters, Judy King will surely stir up some drama (no pun intended). The chef and lifestyle guru, loosely based on Martha Stewart, turned herself over to Litchfield at the end of last season, so I'm guessing she's poised for a major clash with another flame-haired chef we know and love: Red.
We'll also surely find out more about Suzanne. In the trailer, we get a blink-and-you'll-miss-it flash of her in a hospital bed with a bandage on her head. And I know I speak for all of us when I say I'm hoping for the return of Daya's baby daddy, Bennett. While he likely never looked back after leaving the baby crib on the side of the road, I'm hoping he'll redeem himself. After all, we never did find out who called the DEA on Cesar in the season 3 finale. Wouldn't it be too perfect if it was Bennett?"
—Katie Donbavand, InStyle.com Associate Producer