It’s not difficult to see the powerful impact Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black has had on viewers during its seven seasons on the streaming platform. While chatting with People, actress Laura Prepon, who plays Alex Vause, shared a story of how the popular prison series affected the life of one fan.
“This young girl came up to me and she must have been 21 years old and she said, ‘Thank you so much for portraying Alex because watching you as Alex gave me the courage to come out to my family,'” she said. “And to watch my character give her the courage to make this huge decision to tell her family about her orientation, like that is huge to me.”
During the seventh and final season of Orange Is the New Black, Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is struggling to adjust to her post-prison life. Before being released from Litchfield State Penitentiary, Piper marries Prepon’s Alex and the two women vow to keep their relationship alive while separated. Alex soon realizes it might not be fair to ask Piper to wait for her to be released from prison, so she suggests that they pursue an open relationship. Piper tries having sex with other people, but ultimately decides that no one compares to her wife and that she’s more than happy waiting until they’re reunited.
Meanwhile, Alex is struggling with her own trust issues and insecurities which lead her to start having an affair with one of the female prison guards. She eventually tries to end things, but the guard becomes angry and shares the details of their affair with Piper. The unexpected betrayal pushes Piper into the bed of another woman, and Alex makes the decision to end their relationship.
As the season ends, Alex is transferred to another facility in Ohio and Piper decides to get a fresh and healthy start. At this point, it’s assumed Piper’s relationship with Alex is completely over but during the last few minutes of the series, she visits Alex at the Ohio prison and the two women are seen holding hands and laughing. It seems Piper’s fresh start may also include a love from her past.
While talking about the final season of the show, Prepon said she was beyond proud of the way things wrapped up for her character and that the “writers and the actors and the crew and everybody” did an amazing job. Prepon also confessed that the idea of saying goodbye hasn’t completely set in yet.
The seventh and final season of Orange Is the New Black is currently available for streaming on Netflix.