Fans of Netflix’s 2016 surprise hit series The OA, rejoice—the first trailer for Part II just dropped. Be forewarned: it’s fairly spoiler-y for those who haven’t already seen Part I. Then again, there are probably people who are still puzzling over what, exactly, happened in Part I of this genre-busting show—is it science fiction? Fantasy? A supernatural drama? So perhaps a refresher would be welcome.
(Warning: major spoilers for season 1 of The OA below.)
Part I opened with an adopted young woman, Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), miraculously returning home after being missing for seven years. Her adoptive parents are thrilled and perplexed, not just about where she’s been all this time, but because now their once-blind daughter can see. Prairie befriends several misfits from the local high school: four boys (Steve, French, Buck, and Jesse) and a teacher, Betty Broderick-Allen (Phyllis Smith), dubbed “BBA.” Over the rest of the season, she tells them her story, beginning with a near-death experience (NDE) when she was a child, the same accident that left her blind.
Prairie tells them she was missing all those years because she was being held captive with four others by a man named Hap Percy (Jason Isaacs), who was obsessed with NDEs. He routinely drugged them and performed weird experiments, hoping to trigger more NDEs that he believed were evidence of another parallel dimension. He was convinced that if five strong people performed a series of secret “five movements,” it would be possible to travel to that dimension. The forced NDEs were his way of figuring out what those movements were.
Prairie tells her band of misfits that she escaped by this means, suggesting she was being held in some parallel dimension. She asks for their help in rescuing the other four. Entranced by her story, they agree to learn the movements. Over time, questions arise over whether Prairie is telling the truth, lying, or is simply delusional, especially when she insists she is “OA” (for “Original Angel”). The series ends ambiguously, with the misfits performing the five movements to distract a school shooter in the cafeteria and Prairie possibly being hit by a stray bullet before passing out (maybe even dying).
The OA caused quite a stir upon its release, with people torn between admiration for its gorgeous visuals and strong performances and annoyance at the occasionally overwrought dialogue and increasingly bizarre premise. Count me among those who had mixed feelings about the series. I was inevitably drawn in by the narrative; apparently, co-creators Marling and Mal Batmangli told each other the story out loud while developing the series to get that seductive flow, and kudos to them. But I was also frustrated by the overly portentous tone, and I was dissatisfied with the ending.
“Do you understand what we’re on the edge of here? It’s godlike.”
I suspect I may have similar mixed feelings about Part II, based on the trailer. It picks up where Part I left off, with Prairie waking up in a hospital. She can blink, figure out how many fingers the nurse is holding up, and knows it’s 2016 (still), but when she says Barack Obama is the president, the nurse has never heard of him. “I did it. I jumped,” Prairie realizes. And her life in this new dimension looks pretty swell, with a swanky pad in the heart of San Francisco that should make Bay Area viewers burn with envy.
It’s not perfect, though. Hap is here, for starters, pretending that he somehow isn’t evil. “We traveled into another dimension. Into another version of ourselves,” he tells Prairie. “Do you understand what we’re on the edge of here? It’s godlike.” We get a glimpse of her friends from the original dimension, as well as the others Hap held captive: Homer, Rachel, Scott, and Renata.
There’s also a handsome private investigator named Karim Washington looking into a teenaged boy’s disappearance, so Hap might be up to his old tricks again. And that teen looks an awful lot like someone Prairie knew in Michigan, so she begins to suspect that everything is connected. Naturally she’s determined to get to the bottom of things. Maybe this time, we’ll all get more satisfactory answers.
The OA: Part II will be released on Netflix on March 22, 2019.
Listing image by YouTube/Netflix
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