Let Us Answer All Your Important Questions About The OA

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Netflix's enigmatic series The OA rode into our lives atop a wave of mystery. The streaming platform barely promoted the Brit Marling vehicle, so when it appeared on Netflix this December, we knew very little about it. All we had was a single tweet from the Netflix account that read, "Have you seen death?"

Now that we've had a moment to binge and digest the show — well, we still have questions. The series is as confusing as it is beautiful. The show is truly stunning, and just as perplexing.

The internet has already staked its claim on OA theories. (There's nothing the internet loves more than a good television theory.) But even a viewer watching closely might not understand the theories. As I said, this show is a bitch to unravel. Like, what are these movements? Who is Hap? Why is Homer appearing in mirrors all of a sudden?

Ahead, find answers to the questions that plagued your OA viewing. Or, if you haven't watched the show yet, these answers will help you understand what everyone's been talking about. (Believe me, if you haven't watched, the theories will sound like pure gobbledegook.)

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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Who is Hap and what is he trying to figure out?
Hap (played by Jason Isaacs) first encounters Prairie in the New York subway. He seduces her with French fries and a helicopter and — ka-blam — Prairie is stuck in a basement in god knows where inside a clear cage. Turns out, Hap is a scientist and he's looking to understand the afterlife. He's a nerd, delighted by the idea that science has not discovered the afterlife just yet. Hap specializes in survivors of near-death experiences (NDEs, as per the show's lingo).
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Explain to me why the subjects were sucking the gas from the vents.
Prairie and her fellow captives discover that the gas induces an amnesia. So they hatch a plot: If three of them — at this point there are four captives — suck the air from the vents, then the fourth won't be affected by the gas at all.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Sorry, what does "The OA" mean again?
"OA" is short for Original Angel. Sweet, right? It applies to our blonde, braided heroine because, er, she's the original angel. This is actually not directly addressed in the first season. In episode 7, Prairie tells her mother that she is the "original angel." From this, viewers have made the logical conclusion that OA stands for "original angel."
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
What are the five movements?
A dance! These movements are collected during the NDE's of the captives. Fun fact: these movements were choreographed by Ryan Heffington, who also choreographed that Sia video from 2014.

In actuality, these motions are more than just modern dance moves. The subjects allegedly collect the movements from their NDE's — the OA gets the first movement from Khatun, the angel who greets her in the "afterlife," which, in this show, is a surrealist starry night.

Allegedly, all five movements, when performed together, will open a portal to another dimension. Reddit has a lot of speculations about said movements and their meanings — there's even a guide on how to perform the movements. One redditor theorizes that the motions correlate with the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Walk me through the OA's childhood.
The OA was born in Russia to an oligarch — her mother is already dead. When she's still very young, her school bus drives off the road and into a river. This is the OA's first near death experience, and the first time she meets Khatun.

After the accident, she is blind, courtesy of Khatun, who essentially took a bridge toll for the OA's passage back to the living world. The OA was then sent to an American boarding school for blind children.

Still following? Eventually, the Russian father allegedly dies, and the OA is sent to live with her wheeling-dealing aunt. Enter: Nancy and Abel, the kindly parents who just want to adopt a child. They come to the OA's aunt looking for a baby, but they find the OA instead. They adopt her, and — voila! — Prairie Johnson is born.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
What are the markings on the OA's back?
When Hap's subjects — Scott, Rachel, Homer, and Renata — travel to another dimension during their NDE's, there is unfortunate side effect: amnesia. But they need to remember the movements, which are collected in said other dimension. What's the best way to remember something? My mother always told me to write it down. These folks notated the movements on their skin. (You're not hardcore unless you live hardcore.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
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