Orange Is the New Black star responds to THAT heartbreaking moment in final season
Note: This article contains spoilers for Orange Is the New Black's final season, which some readers may wish to avoid.
Viewers may be saying goodbye to the women of Litchfield for good, but Netflix hit series Orange Is the New Black isn't going out quietly, delivering more than its fair share of tearjerker moments during its final season.
And now Danielle Brooks, one of the stars at the centre of one of season 7's most heartbreaking moments, has opened up about filming the scenes – and how it compared the *other* devastating moment she was a part of.
Throughout the majority of the seventh season, "lifer" Tasha 'Taystee' Jefferson (Danielle Brooks) is seen struggling to come to terms with the fact that she'll spend the rest of her days in prison, but she stumbles across a sense of purpose again when she starts tutoring Tiffany 'Pennsatucky' Doggett (Taryn Manning) for the GED.
Related: Orange Is the New Black's final season features an unexpected Love Island crossover
Their unlikely friendship ends in tragedy though, when Taystee ends up walking into the laundry room to find that reformed meth addict Pennsatucky has died of an overdose.
Talking to TVLine about the scenes, Brooks admitted that she's "always wanted" to work with actress Taryn Manning.
"Taryn Manning is someone that I've always wanted to get to work with," she shared. "I think she's so freaking brilliant. She lives her character through every ounce of her hair… through every pore in her body."
Brooks also reflected that it always seems to be Taystee who finds herself in these situations, noting that Taystee previously saw her best friend Poussey (Samira Wiley) dead on the floor in season 4 too.
"I'm not gonna lie to you. I was thinking, 'Taystee, how many times do you have to go through this?'" she said. "It's been a lot."
Brooks was keen to differentiate the two reactions in the way she played it though, noting: "It gets harder on so many levels.
"From a technical standpoint, I'm trying to challenge myself. These aren't the same people, so every breakdown I'm having as Taystee has a different weight to it.
"I don't want to give the audience the same old crying and the same old whining. I want it to cater to whoever's dying, or whatever the situation is."
Elsewhere in the episode, Taystee has another crisis of faith when she learns that Suzanne Warren's testimony about what really happened the night of the Litchfield riot is unlikely to alter her prison sentence, prompting her to consider suicide.
But just as it seems that Taystee has lost all hope, she flashes back to a memory of a conversation she had with Poussey when she was struggling to adjust to life out on parole, with the show bringing back Samira Wiley for the scene.
"Doing a flashback in the seventh season [of a show] reminds you of how far you've come, especially with my girl Samira [Wiley]," Brooks said. "We're both cut from the same cloth. We knew each other before [the show] and went to the same college.
"We've gotten to take this journey together, and I'm glad that we got that reflective moment with each other — even if it was through a phone call.
"Just hearing her voice was enough to remind me of the plethora of blessings that have manifested themselves through this process, and what we've been able to accomplish, together and separately."
Orange Is the New Black is available to watch on Netflix now.
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