Of the many inmates at Litchfield Prison in Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) has one of the most transformative character arcs, going from doe-eyed newbie to callous survivor — but even survivors have their weak spots, as we now see in the latest season. Piper's fate in season four is perhaps one of the show's most unexpected plot turns of all — here's what happened.
(Editor's note: Spoilers for Piper's fate on Orange Is the New Black ahead).
Early in the series, Piper was the viewers' window into Litchfield, entering the prison as a novice to the prison culture her new peers had mastered.
However, by the end of season three, she had created the most profitable business inside the prison: selling used women's underwear online. By recruiting other inmates into her operation, Piper was able to grow her business and, by most accounts, become the most powerful woman in the prison.
However, it's clear by the end of the season that the power's gotten to her head. Now, this is mounting up to lead her into some dangerous territory in season four.
Piper's sense of entitlement comes from her betraying her lover, Stella (Ruby Rose), who stole some of Piper's money as a means to secure herself financially at the end of season three — she was about to be released before Piper hid contraband in her bunk as retaliation. However, the fourth season presents a new conflict for her and the operation, led by Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel).
Ruiz's group initially asks to join Piper's underwear-selling network, but Piper arrogantly declines. Undeterred, Ruiz and Co. start their own underwear operation — much to Piper's annoyance. Piper calls the power play the start of a war, which Ruiz scoffs at, but it's clear from previously released photos from the new season that this threat to her will soon be palpable.
As for Piper's fate, that has been revealed, and it isn't pretty. Put simply, she's going to be branded with a swastika, as retribution, for her ongoing conflict with Ruiz's group and inadvertently starting a "White Lives Matter" group at Litchfield.
For Piper, it's certainly a painful punishment. But it's oddly fitting from what the actors have been saying about the new season. Season four is the darkest one yet, and not everyone is making it out unscathed. Clearly, that includes Piper.
"You've seen the tsunami when it swept through Japan, right?" Kate Mulgrew, who plays Red, said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. "Not many people survived, but it's how they do it that is so absolutely captivating. That's season four."
The new season of Orange Is the New Black is now streaming on Netflix. You can check out the trailer below: