Getting to the essence. The fifth season of "Orange is the New Black" makes the show grow in new ways, holds Liam Hoofe of Flickering Myth. A riveting and dark plot is combined with humor to great effect. The cast continues to prove its high quality with fantastic performances that accentuate each character’s growth and multifaceted personality. Season 5 introduces a spark of disorder that reveals the flaws that reside in all of us. By throwing its characters into taxing situations, it offers brilliant social commentary on a deeper level than in past seasons. Spreading hopelessness, it challenges viewers to think about human nature.
Biting off more than it can chew. "Orange is the New Black" Season 5 tries too hard to combine comedy with gripping social commentary and trips over its own feet because of this, infers Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic. With a bloated cast that prevents viewers from feeling connected with characters to flashbacks that are unnecessary and distracting, the show makes all the wrong choices. The quick alternation between extremely dark scenes and humor robs either of their substance and disorients the viewer. The show can’t decide whether it wants to stay loyal to itself or evolve, and in failing to do so, it creates something that feels convoluted.