Poussey Washington, Orange is the New Black
[This post contains possible spoilers for Season 4]
Oh, Poussey. I can scarcely type your name without crying out ‘Whyyy?’ or more pertinently ‘Why wasn’t it Piper?!” Still, sadness aside Poussey Washington was a chirpy little figure, brewing illicit hooch and flashing her Hollywood smile all over Litchfield’s Ladies Correctional.
Self-confessed “military brat” Poussey really hit her stride in season 2 during the reign of evil Vee. Despite Vee’s many attempts to intimidate her – which include having Crazy Eyes beat the smile off her face – Poussey remains free of Vee’s nebulous influence.
Her (unrequited) feelings for BFF Taystee are explored and gently rebuffed before she finally finds love in Season 3 with extremely annoying, but admittedly attractive, Soso. Together the two make an adorable couple.
A little too adorable…
…And when a character is shown to be exceedingly happy or hopeful, it’s usually a safe bet that something EPICALLY tragic is about to happen to them. Such is the fate of poor Poussey, whose death harkens to real life events beyond the walls of Litchfield. Gentle, tiny Poussey is crushed to death by a well-meaning but inept, inexperienced guard during an incident in the prison.
What plays out is a microcosm of the plight of many African-Americans, whose bodily liberty is subject to violence and violation by the police and penal systems. An innocent woman is killed, accidentally, and then left to rot in the prison’s canteen for days while the authorities figure out ways to defame the victim and frame the incident as a case of justified homicide.
A tragic ending for one of OITNB’s most beloved characters. RIP, Poussey.