‘Orange Is the New Black’s Taryn Manning Reflects on Pennsatucky’s Fate
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 7 of Orange Is the New Black.]
Not everyone got a happy ending in Orange Is the New Black‘s final season, and one of those characters was Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett (Taryn Manning).
At the end of the penultimate episode, Taystee (Danielle Brooks) found Pennsatucky after she overdosed, and her death was confirmed when her body was taken by the coroner in the finale.
Manning learned of her character’s fate about a year ago. “They actually ended up calling me before the season to let me know that was going to happen,” she told TV Insider. “I understood the impact and why they thought that this was the best way to end her journey, and it made sense. It is a show for entertainment, so I understood the entertainment value for it.”
During Season 7 while studying for the GED, Pennsatucky found out she had a learning disability, but the instructor failed to submit a request for more time during the exam. After turning in her test, she went to Daya (Dascha Polanco) for drugs. But as Taystee would discover later, Tiffany had passed the GED.
According to Manning, her character’s arc regarding her education in Season 7 showed “her determination.” “What it was designed to convey just how hard some people work to overcome learning disabilities or speech impediments,” she said, pointing out James Earl Jones’ impediment and his success. “He went on to become the voice of Darth Vader. I think those types of things are really important.”
And Pennsatucky’s frustration is part of her character. “She’s highly reactionary,” Manning explained. “We have a lot of doubt in ourselves and we’re very hard on ourselves as humans. … She’s just human.”
When she looked back on her character and the show, Manning said Orange Is the New Black “was really a lot of fun and challenging.” “She really does have quite an arc. She starts in one place and really ends in another,” she explained. “I really liked watching her grow into a better person.”
Orange Is the New Black, Seasons 1-7, Streaming Now, Netflix