"Orange Is the New Black" wasted no time shocking viewers during its third season when Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne) departed Litchfield in only the third episode. Lyonne's departure was so final, her name was even removed the opening credits, making us question the actor's future with the Netflix series.
During the show's 2015 Summer TCA press tour panel, Lyonne looked cool as a cucumber as she fielded questions about her fate in season 4 like a goddamn pro. "I feel a great deal of solidarity with the cast of 'Game of Thrones,'" she joked. (Too soon, Lyonne. TOO SOON.) But hey, she was there, which has got to count for something.
The last time we saw Nicky, she was being sent down the road to maximum security after she got busted with a bag of heroin. Originally, she and Big Boo planned to sell Vee's remaining stash, but it quickly became apparent that no amount of money or white privilege could save Nicky from her own self-fulfilling prophecy. Not only did she steal the heroine and lie to Big Boo about it, but she later made a deal with Joel only to, once again, steal a bag for herself.
"I'm pretty much a person who is up for adventure and I thought it was wise to have there be a big consequence for Nicky's playing around with heroin," Lyonne told reporters. "It can't all be fingering and cookies all the time. There's going to be hell to pay at a certain point for playing with her personal fire."
"I think it makes sense," she added. "And I think that the stakes of the show and the reason it resonates and continues to is ultimately because of this underlying intensity to the fact that these people have lost their freedom and are up against themselves behind these walls."
Nicky may have brought this upon herself, but that doesn't mean we don't miss her like hell. We want to see Nicky confront her addiction -- with the support of her prison family: Red, Lorna and Big Boo. Nicky may think she's too far gone for saving, but if season 3 taught us anything, it's that there's always hope -- even in a place like Litchfield.