Laura Prepon, Taylor Schilling

Bad news, Alex Vause fans. Despite Netflix's (soft) denials that Buzzfeed's report about Laura Prepon's impending departure from Orange Is the New Black are "inaccurate," a source close to the show confirms to TVGuide.com that her character's story line is indeed set to wrap up early in Season 2.

According to the insider, Prepon hasn't been on set since production began on the second season weeks ago, and when she does return, it won't be for long. The Season 2 premiere, which will be shot later this year, will "[wrap] up Laura's stuff and [resolve] the cliff-hanger" from the Season 1 finale, the source explains.

Is Laura Prepon leaving Orange Is the New Black?

The reasons behind Prepon's departure are still unclear, and the actress has not commented on the situation. But to say her exit is surprising is an understatement, given the show's immense buzz and the fact that Prepon told TVGuide.com just last week that she felt there was "a lot of story line left to explore" for her character. Neither Netflix nor reps for Prepon have responded to e-mails about the report.

Looking forward, whether you love or hate Alex, it's undeniable that Prepon leaving would have a huge impact on the show. Here are the five biggest reasons why losing Alex Vause would be devastating to Orange Is the New Black.

1. It would be a stretch, story-wise. 
By her own account, Alex has "a f--- load" of time left on her sentence, so how are the producers planning to write her out? Sure, she could be transferred to another facility or — gulp — get killed by a crazy inmate (we know Pennsatucky has it in her), but that only solves the problem of the present-day plot. What about the flashbacks? The show has barely scratched the surface of Alex and Piper's romantic history and her involvement in the drug cartel — not to mention the details regarding her arrest and turning Piper in.

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2. Piper without Alex = bland.
Let's face it: Piper can be a tad... boring? Privileged? Impossibly grating? Answer: All of the above. Her fish-out-of-water routine is a one-note joke that has been pretty much exhausted in Season 1. Even creator Jenji Kohan views Piper as more of a "Trojan horse" to tell the stories of others rather than as the show's main draw. But what kept Piper fresh and dynamic throughout the season was the way Alex challenged her notions of superiority. Alex is far from perfect (as her eyebrows constantly remind us), but she knows exactly who she is and forces Piper to come to terms with the impolite truths that "nice, blonde ladies" like herself typically ignore.

3. The risk of alienating the audience.
Yes, the entire cast of Orange Is the New Black is fantastic, but for many viewers, Piper and Alex's will-they-won't-they dynamic is what them keeps tuning in. Even if you can't stand Alex, hate-watching and debating her with fellow fans has become a full-blown sport. The dysfunctional couple has particularly struck a chord with OITNB's large lesbian fan base and for many, Prepon quitting the show is the worst news since Dana died on The L Word. Plus, take away Alex and what are we left with? Larry? Piper's more practical love interest lacks any of the passion Alex inspires —whether love or hate — which keeps people enthralled. We threw our pie for you, Laura. And this is how you repay us?

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4. It's an unfortunate distraction.
There's no question that OITNB has been the breakout hit of the summer. But now, in addition to the usual pressure to avoid a sophomore slump, the show's going to be saddled with a ton of unnecessary baggage. The shakeup does a disservice to this groundbreaking series by drawing attention away from what's playing out on screen and instead shifting it to what's going on behind the scenes. Is Prepon leaving because she's a Scientologist? Is on-set drama with other cast members to blame? Was it a money issue?  We'll probably never know — but that won't stop people from guessing.

5. Because we won't have any more GIFs like this one.


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And this one.


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This one too.


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Do you think Orange Is the New Black will be the same without Alex? Sound off in the comments!