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Those who were hoping to see things work out for Alex and Piper in Orange is the New Black are in for a disappointment. Rumor has it, Laura Prepon's prepping a departure from the series. Her involvement in Season 2 of Jenji Kohan's prison-set Netflix drama will reportedly be for a limited number of episodes before she makes her exit. But all hope isn't lost, as it sounds like she's being written out in a way that allows for a return at some point down the line, should things work out that way.
Buzzfeed reported this news, citing "sources close to the show." From what the site reports, Prepon, who plays Alex on Orange is the New Black, will return to the show for Season 2 for a limited number of episodes. "And the door will be left open for her to return in the future," the BuzzFeed adds, noting that Prepon didn't sign a contract for Season 2, but the site doesn't outright state that it was Prepon's decision to go. We might assume that's the case, however, as i can't imagine why the writers would want her out. Not only has she delivered a pretty great performance in the role, but her character's extremely relevant to the lead's story.
Spoilers if you're not caught up on Orange is the New Black through the end of Season 1!
Prepon's Alex is not only the lesbian ex-girlfriend to the lead character Piper (Taylor Schilling), but she's also the on that - somewhat - landed Piper in prison. Granted, Piper has only herself to blame for getting actively involved in Alex's drug trafficking work. But Alex drew her into the lifestyle and Alex was the one to rat her out, resulting in Piper's imprisonment a decade after committing the crimes. But the two characters managed to reconcile while in prison, rekindling their romance in the process. And then things fell apart all over again as Piper tried to make things work with her fiancé Larry. At the Season 1 finale, Piper and Alex were on the outs and it was looking like something may be starting between Alex and Natasha Lyonne's Nicky Nichols.
Not only is Alex a big part of Piper's prison experience, but she's also a big part of Piper's flashbacks, particularly the ones that have defined Piper's backstory in how she ended up in prison. That may be another aspect of the the story that will need to be resolved before Prepon leaves, assuming there's any more of that part of Piper's history to tell.
At the very least assuming Buzzfeed's intel is up to date and accurate, Prepon will return so there can be some semi-closure for Alex, at least for the time being. Will she be transferred to another prison or sent to another part of the prison? Or perhaps released completely? There are a few ways they could go with her exit. It's disappointing news regardless, as Prepon was one of the things the series had going for it. But it sounds like there's a chance she could come back down the line. And perhaps Alex's exit will open up some new opportunities (or romances?) for Piper as she moves forward through this strange, occasionally scary, occasionally funny prison term.