Season 3 Sends 'OITNB' Favorite Nicky To New York & You Can Bet We've Got Some Theories About It

Whether you're reading Piper Kerman's memoir, rewatching Season 1 for the fifth time, scouring the internet for spoilers, or cheering for Orange is The New Black's 12 Emmy nominations, one thing is certain: you're dying for more OITNB in your life. You know it, I know it, and it's okay. It's not Netflix's fault if I chose to marathon all thirteen episodes of Season 2 in one sitting so I now have to wait 12 months for more Litchfield action. It's my fault for having no self-control. But can you blame me? It's a damn good show! (Actually, it sort of is Netflix's fault. Damn them and their binge-able business model.)

One piece of good news: showrunner Jenji Kohan and the cast and crew of OITNB are already hard at work shooting Season 3, which means we should start getting some hints from set reports and cast teases. One such hint came just last week when Natasha Lyonne was filming OITNB in New York, outside of Athens Cafe in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens. On the show, Lyonne portrays brassy lesbian Nicky Nichols, Piper's friend and Red's protege. The fact that the actress is filming far from the Litchfield Prison set means that Nicky is getting another flashback episode — finally. We've only had one brief glimpse into the character's past, in Season 1 Episode 6, "WAC Pack."

In that episode we learned that Nicky, long a drug addict, had once contracted an infection in her heart from a dirty needle. She had to have open heart surgery and blood transfusions, and she nearly died. When her mother visited her in the hospital, we learned that Nicky came from a very affluent family, but she is estranged from her mother. Nicky was raised by a nanny in an apartment separate from where her mother lived, and has always blamed her mother for her drug problems. Ms. Nichols only visited Nicky this time because the doctors told her that her daughter was going to die. Nicky promises that she's done with drugs for good, but it's clear that her mom doesn't believe her.

While this was a fascinating examination of a strained mother-daughter relationship, it didn't actually offer that much in terms of information. There are still many lingering questions about Nicky's past, and we can only hope that her next flashback episode answers at least one of them:

Why are Nicky and her mom estranged?

It would be interesting to see what drove Nicky and her mother so far apart in the first place. Was there a specific instigating incident that led to their estrangement? Or was it a slow decline of neglect and resentment? Sadly, this seems like the least likely of our questions to be answered, since it seems like the conflict between Nicky and her mom traces back to childhood, which would require a child actress to portray the future drug addict and wouldn't involve Lyonne filming in Queens.

When did Nicky first become an addict?

It would be equally fascinating — and just as important to Nicky's history — to see when she was first introduced to drugs. It's clear that her addiction defined her pre-Litchfield... and, in fact, continues to inside the prison. (Remember that bag of heroin she was eyeing in the Season 2 finale?) However, there's one thing working against this possibility: the story of a young female NYC addict would likely play out too similarly to Trish's Season 1 flashback episode, "Bora Bora Bora" (pictured above).

How did Nicky end up in prison?

Most likely, Nicky's second flashback episode will revolve around the events that landed her in Litchfield. Thanks to a conversation she had with Piper in Season 1, we know that the inmate has two years left of a five-year sentence. What did Nicky do to earn that time? Two whole seasons in, that question is still a mystery, and one that wants solving.

No matter which of these questions Nicky's flashback ends up tackling, we're pumped to see Lyonne tackle a dramatic storyline deserving of her talents — and not just another comedic subplot like her Season 2 sex contest with Big Boo. Not that there's anything wrong with making us laugh. We just know Lyonne can do more, and we're excited to see what Kohan and the writers have come up for her this year.

Images: Netflix (5)