The teaser for the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black was released on Sunday, and it's full of surprises: Nicky's back from max! Sophia's out of the SHU! Taystee's working a desk job! A SWAT team is raiding the grounds! And... Alex is alive?
The last time we saw Alex Vause, Piper's on-again, off-again girlfriend, she was in Litchfield Penitentiary's greenhouse. As she stayed behind at the end of her work shift to clean up, a new Litchfield guard approached her — and it's Aydin, one of Kubra's assassins.
Alex has been on Kubra's bad side before, and when it happened, Aydin was the one tasked with disciplining her. Alex also watched Aydin kill Fahri, so she's well aware of his capabilities. She spent all of Season 3 feeling terrified that Kubra was after her for testifying against him, and when Aydin appears in the final episode, we realized that her fears were actually quite justified.
Or were they?
Since Season 3's release last summer, plenty of fans have been convinced of Alex's fate.
I've run out of #OITNB ! Is Alex dead? Argh!— P (@beccahans) July 1, 2015
So is Alex dead or @OITNB— reagan del rey (@thatso_reagan) June 16, 2015
ALEX BETTER NOT BE DEAD @OITNB I SWEAR TO VAUSE GOD— Rosie (@RoseCraigg) November 7, 2015
@OITNB You better not be implying Alex is dead— Laura (@Lonely_Robots) August 25, 2015
Yet, the teaser for Season 4 opens with her voice, asking: "How am I back here?"
To be clear, this isn't a new line of dialogue. It's a question Alex asked Piper at the start of Season 3, when she was getting over the shock of returning to prison for violating her probation. But the choice to include it in the Season 4 teaser is suggestive, to say the least.
One implication is that Aydin didn't come to Litchfield to kill Alex — perhaps, instead, he came to save her. Sure, Kubra can't be please to know that his former protégé has been testifying against him, but it's possible he knows that she's still capable of doing a lot of good for him — and it would be in his best interest to keep her alive, protect her and even help her escape.
There wouldn't have been any safe or logical way for him to communicate this plan to Alex, though. Not before the plan was ready to be implemented. All he could do was get a henchman like Aydin to weasel his way into the prison and try to break her out. Which, naturally, Alex would perceive as a death sentence, because what else has ever come of Kubra's scheming?
So my new theory about OITNB Season 4 is that Alex's murder is an elaborate setup to conceal her escape. We already know, of course, that it won't work; just like the others, Alex always ends up back in Litchfield. And we know that she'll be returning this season, and it's highly unlikely that her character is going to have an elaborate subplot outside of the prison gates.
Dead or alive, escaped or confined, Alex Vause will be returning for the new OITNB season this summer. We'll just have to wait a few more months to figure out how, exactly, she's been surviving all this time.
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