Wait, WHAT Happens To Natasha Lyonne's Character In OITNB Season 3?

Photo by: JoJo Whilden/Netflix
They can't really do that to Nicky...right?

Warning: Spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn't started watching season 3!

If you're deep into your Orange Is the New Black season 3 binge-watch like we are (watch along with us in our R29 Binge Club!), you may have noticed something around five episodes in: Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) is gone, and no one knows if she's coming back.

In episode 3, "Empathy Is a Boner Killer," we learn that no amount of will power and white-knuckling can save Nicky from temptation. After she gets busted for stashing one pesky bag of heroin in the electric shop, she's full of self-hatred as guards drag her to the ominous and unseen world of maximum-security prison. Max, in OITNB parlance.

But given that Lyonne is one of the biggest stars of the show — not to mention one of its 2014 Emmy nominees — it seems hard to believe that Nicky would just vanish from the series entirely after three episodes. Red (Kate Mulgrew) and Morello (Yael Stone) dutifully mourn for a couple of scenes, but by the time we get to Chang's (Lori Tan Chinn) episode, we have to wonder: Is Nicky ever coming back?

Sorry to disappoint fellow Nicky fans, but Lyonne's name is completely absent from the rest of the episodes' opening credits. Before blaming the writers, however, consider how busy Lyonne's 2015 is shaping up to be. With four projects currently in post-production (including Kevin Smith's Yoga Hosers, co-starring Lily-Rose Depp), it's entirely possible that Lyonne asked to be written out this season.

Whether or not Lyonne returns for season 4 remains to be seen. Knowing Nicky, we doubt she'd last a year in Max without digging her own escape route back to Litchfield — even if it's just for one last romp with Morello.

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