Since «Life After Orange» is the concept of a fictional drama show we won’t get to see (right away) what the future holds for Skylar, Riley and Tristan. But why not try and imagine it? Here are some storylines that could happen for each character plus the narrative arc for season 1 which would be 13 episodes long (because let’s face it, Netflix is the future).
Skylar’s infamous ex-boyfriend who she hasn’t seen in years shows up in town. He’s the only man and person that can make her forget who she is and what’s happening around her which isn’t necessarily a good thing. She gets caught up in this relationship again and loses track of her actual mission: saving her little sister from her father. The relationship with her ex distracts her and leads to a fatal mistake on her part, which puts her little sister in danger.
Skylar manages to get in contact with her now 9 year old little sister without their father noticing. They start to meet up regularly until one they Hank finds out that something’s up. The real drama sets in and leads to a dangerous showdown in the season 1 finale.
Ava is actually Skylar’s daughter, which Riley and Tristan don’t know. But who is the father? Skylar’s troublemaker ex-boyfriend or, even worse, Skylar’s own father? She never took a paternity test and the uncertainty has been haunting her ever since. She gathers up all her courage and manages to take the test. Independent from the result, it will stir up some drama and shock Riley and Tristan and everyone involved.
Riley solves the problem with her parents once and for all. She either manages to make amends with them and maybe moves back home or she emancipates herself from them, personally and legally, which would lead to storyline 2.
Riley is convinced that finding her real family will make everything better. Little does she know. She takes the challenge to find her real parents and tracks Debra down in the end. They start to meet up regularly and secretly. While Debra doesn’t tell Tristan about it, Riley hides the fact that she’s found her real mother from Skylar and Tristan because she’s afraid they might stop her from meeting Debra. Of course, Debra doesn’t tell Riley that her sister is Skylar. But the truth is about to come out and the drama that comes with it is inevitable.
After a mourning period, Riley starts dating other people again. But none of them can make her get over Adira. Except for that one girl who might be able to help Riley move on. While Riley starts finding happiness again, Tristan and Skylar have a bad feeling about this mysterious new girl. Both of them feel like they know her but don’t remember from where. At the end of the first season, Skylar and Tristan realize they know her from their time in prison before Riley was incarcerated and that Riley meeting her outside of prison can’t simply be a coincidence.
It takes all of Tristan’s willpower to keep the big secret from Skylar and Riley. In order to do that, he’s keeping his distance from them and the girls soon sense that something’s up. The big reveal of the secret that the viewers don’t know about is in the season 1 finale.
After Tristan returns home from prison the problems are still the same: His mother is still struggling with mental illness and there’s not much money around. After applying for countless jobs and trying everything to get some money for his family, he sees the drug business as his only way out. He calls up Debra who hooks him up with a dealer. He starts working there secretly but how long can he keep that up?
While Tristan was in prison his girlfriend stopped visiting him at some point and after his release, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other in months. She’s Tristan’s first love and their relationship has always been very strong. But it seems that Tristan getting arrested and them being apart for so long time is something they can’t bounce back from. Associating all the trouble with Riley and Skylar, his girlfriend gives Tristan an ultimatum: it’s either her or the girls. Who will Tristan choose? The apparent love of his life or the people he’s sharing a very special bond with and who are the only ones who really get what he went through in prison?
Season 1 Arc
At the beginning of season 1, after the three protagonists are reunited in the free world, they all learn to adjust in the new world. Skylar, who’s been out the longest is already used to her free life while Riley struggles without any of the rules that kept her on track and gave her guidelines to follow. And Tristan is back to where he left off before his arrest: a sick mother and a family without any money. After a few episodes they all seem to have acclimated themselves to being friends in this new, free world.
The several storylines of the individual characters may be happening alone or in combination with each other. But the following arcs will definitely take place in the first season:
- Skylar’s father finds her and she and Ava are in serious danger.
- The secret of Skylar’s and Riley’s real relationship comes out and Tristan is revealed as a liar. Debra appears in the lives of her daughters.
- Riley discovers her roots and finds out more about her birth family.
- Tristan needs to choose between his girlfriend and the girls, literally between his past and his present.
The climatic scenes of these four arcs will take place in the last three episodes of season 1, whereas the revelation of the big secret and Debra’s appearance will be the highlight of the whole season.