In the OA, a blind woman presumed dead returns to her hometown, and, inexplicably, she can see. There, it’s immediately clear she’s less interested in reconnecting with her parents, reminiscing old memories, making up for lost time, than she is running about and gathering a crew of strangers. Well, at first they’re strangers.
Pretty soon, they become kindred souls who listen, with hawk-like attention to detail, to Prairie’s stories. Where she’s been while she was gone. What happened to her. And what she’s here to do. They involve murderous men, glass prisons, near-death experiences, and voluntary drowning. And quite impossibly, the universe, the galaxies, fates, mystery, and all phenomena larger than us human beings but somehow still embedded in the mystery of how we express ourselves, how we connect with each other, and perhaps most importantly, how we listen to other people’s stories. How we believe.
Was that vague? Well, that’s only fitting for a show that’s brimmed in so much mystery it’s sometimes frustrating to continue watching. But like a rainbow, there’s a reward waiting at the end if you’re bold enough to go through this whole journey. There’s only two ways you will receive this ending — you will love it, and it’ll be the best ending you will have seen in the history of serialized dramas. Or you will absolutely hate it and consider the whole eight-chapter arc a complete waste of your time.
Either way, The OA is worth talking about. Even if you disagree with its artistic choices, of which there are plenty to question and critique, it’s still one of the most ambitious, no-holds-barred shows in the last few years, or even decades. When it goes “there,” it really goes there — then takes it even further. Abandon all logic if you dare enter its world. The first and second seasons are available to stream now.
Episodes That Deserve Special Mention: Homecoming, Forking Paths, Invisible Self
Director: Zal Batmanglij, Andrew Haigh, Anna Rose Holmer – Screenplay: Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij, Melanie Marnich, and more – Cast: Brit Marling, Emory Cohen, Scott Wilson – Run Time: 2 seasons, around 50 minutes per episode