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Everything You Need To Know About THAT Scene In "OITNB" Season 4

Yes, that one. All the spoilers ahead — you've been warned.

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If you avoided spoilers and made it through the entire fourth season of Orange Is the New Black, you know that Poussey Washington, one of the show's most loved characters, was killed off in what is now easily the most controversial and emotional episode of the Netflix series.

Jojo Whilden / Via Netflix

In "The Animals," the penultimate episode of Season 4 in the Jenji Kohan series, Samira Wiley’s character is killed off in a scene that calls attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and echoes circumstances surrounding the deaths of Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the final minutes of the episode, a peaceful protest put on by the Litchfield inmates over CO Piscatella's inhumane treatment goes awry, leading to CO Baxter Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) restraining Poussey on the ground with his knee placed squarely on her back. Distracted by the commotion, the guard fails to notice he is applying so much pressure she can no longer breathe. Poussey even uses Garner’s own words, struggling to shout out “I can’t breathe” before losing consciousness. Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Poussey's closest friend throughout the series, is instantly by her side as the episode comes to a close.

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Here's everything you need to know about the loss of one of OITNB's most beloved characters.

1. Samira Wiley found out her character was going to be killed off at the beginning of Season 4 production, but she had to keep the storyline a secret from her castmates, and the world, during filming.

Netflix

In an interview with Vulture, Wiley said keeping this secret from her castmates and friends was one of the hardest things she's ever had to do.

"You're on a show for so long and you feel a part of it and then, all of a sudden, you get news like this, and it's a real shock," Wiley said. "I definitely needed the time and am grateful and thankful for all the executive producers being able to understand how delicate and sensitive this situation was. They made sure I was okay throughout the whole process."

2. Wiley asked permission to let a few castmates hear about the twist directly from her. She sat down Danielle Brooks and Uzo Aduba over a bottle of wine to break the news.

Netflix

Wiley described the moment to The Hollywood Reporter as being filled with wine and tears.

"I’m so grateful that I was able to have that night with them. It was really special to just be able to sit down and talk to each other and let them know some finality was coming ahead," Wiley said.

"It was almost like a movie, our jaws dropped simultaneously," Aduba told Variety. "We were just aghast and agape and couldn’t believe it."

3. The episode was directed by Mad Men's Matthew Weiner (his first time directing on the series) and written by Lauren Morelli, Samira Wiley's real-life girlfriend.

Wiley didn't find out her actual girlfriend would be writing the episode right away, but told The Hollywood Reporter she felt safe with the story in Morelli's capable hands.

"I knew that she would take so much care, I knew that she understood the magnitude and the impact that we could have with the story we were trying to tell," Wiley said. "Our relationship started as a professional relationship and I admire Lauren's work as a writer, I’m such a fan of hers from the beginning. So I again felt so honored to be able to have Lauren write the final episode of Poussey in prison."

When Morelli finished the first draft of the scene, she burst out in tears. "There was something in the actual writing of that paragraph that tore me apart. So when I got to set, I had done my grieving," the writer told the New York Times.

4. On the day they filmed the emotional scene, the entire cast was on set.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Samira Wiley descibed the emotions on set that day to Vulture:

"We had to do that scene on a special day, a Sunday, because they wanted everybody there. You want to see everybody's face that you've seen from the beginning when you have a moment like this on a show with a character that's been there from the beginning. It was actually pretty fun. We hadn't had a day like that on set since maybe first season, when we were all in there rapping together in a circle."

"The weepfest and crippling behind-the-scenes heartbreak of knowing that we were shooting Samira’s last days, it was like sitting vigil for our favorite person," Natasha Lyonne, who plays Nicky Nichols, told THR of the cast's reaction to Poussey's death. "Samira’s not just a fan favorite, she’s our favorite."

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5. To film the scene with CO Bayley leaning on Poussey's back, the crew constructed a cast over the lower half of Wiley's body so she wouldn't get hurt.

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"I was hanging out on the floor in between takes because they made this little thing for me so he could lean on my back and not hurt me for real because I'm actually really tiny. He would have for real hurt me," Wiley said in an interview with Vulture.

6. And Wiley cracked jokes in between takes to lighten the mood.

Netflix

"I would be hanging out there, they would stop the take, and people would get all emotional," the actor continued. "I'd just run around and make jokes and try and break the ice because it's hard. When everybody around you is sad, I do the opposite. I gotta cheer people up. Even though I'm the one that's gone, I was cheering people up."

7. Wiley was informed, even before she had the script, that the storyline would mirror the Black Lives Matter movement.

"At the end of the day, I honestly feel pretty honored to be able to be the person or the character or the actor they entrusted with the responsibility of bringing this story to light and bringing this story to a bunch of people in whatever parts of America or whatever parts of the world where this hasn't really permeated their world yet," Wiley added in her Vulture interview.

8. Wiley's only regret now that she's leaving the show? Never getting the chance to film a scene with Red (Kate Mulgrew).

Netflix

"[Mulgrew] sent me an email after she read the script and said she needed to have me over for dinner," Wiley told the New York Times. "It was me, her, Taylor [Schilling] and Uzo. We had a night and it was beautiful, and we cried and we ate amazing food and we drank wine. And I don’t know who would have known I needed exactly that other than Kate."

9. The show's creator, Jenji Kohan, was the one who directed Wiley to look directly at the camera, breaking the fourth wall, in that New York City flashback scene.

As Wiley told Vulture: "We were on set and we were doing it over and over, and then somebody comes over and they're like, 'Jenji said look in the camera.' I'm like, Jenji said what?! She ain't say that. I thought they were playing with me. And they were like, 'No, she wants you to look straight into the camera.' I was like, This is ridiculous, because we had done it a lot of times just me looking off. I was like okay, this is just the genius of Jenji Kohan, I guess I’ll do this and then she'll see or everybody will see later it don't work. But no, they obviously used it."

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