About a month after Netflix released the first season of Orange is the New Black, a dramedy that would go on to garner praise and lots of buzz in the months that followed, we learned that Laura Prepon, who plays Alex in the prison-set drama, would only be appearing in a limited number of episodes when Season 2 returned, after which she was exiting the series. An update has made its way online, and while it doesn’t sound like the situation has changed all that much, we at least know a bit more about what to expect from Prepon’s involvement in the drama going forward.
When we heard that Prepon was exiting the show, the vague word was that she was going to appear in a limited number of episodes to wrap up her character’s arc on the series. In Orange is the New Black, Prepon plays Alex, the former love to the series’ lead character Piper, and a fellow inmate. (SPOILERS if you aren’t caught up through Season 1) Alex and Piper had rekindled their romance at one point during Season 1, but they were on the outs when the first season wrapped up. What we knew as of August was that Prepon would return for Season 2 to wrap up her character’s story for now, but the door would be left open for Prepon to return in the future. Apparently, Prepon's contract was only for the first season.
This week, BuzzFeed shared an update on the situation, stating that their sources say Prepon will be appearing in four of the thirteen planned episodes for Season 2. That’s three more than the one episode they were previously led to believe was planned for her, so that’s good. The site goes on to say that Prepon is currently negotiating her Season 3 status, which could mean we’ll be seeing her back on the show in some form or another after Season 2. In the meantime, it sounds like the original plan was to give Alex a quick exit, but with four episodes to work with, Buzzfeed says series creator Jenji Kohan and the writers have tweaked that and sources say the story will now be a bit more open-ended, whatever that means. Was she going to die, originally? That would certainly be a “quick exit” wouldn’t it? As opposed to an open-ended one, which could be that she’s either released from prison or transferred to another one. I guess all we can do is speculate, though I’d be interested to hear what was planned for the character originally.
While Alex and Piper’s relationship was one of the driving forces of the series’ first season, I don’t see it as being such a crucial part of the show that the series will suffer without it, or without Prepon for that matter. The series has enough great characters — and a great cast — to move forward onto other stories.
Here’s the trailer for Season 1:
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