Do you like synchronized movements, trippy mind-bending plots and cinematography, parallel dimensions, and being strangely attracted to Jason Isaacs even though you know he’s playing a bad character but you just can’t help yourself? Then boy do I have just the show for you! The OA is back on Netflix for Part 2 and eight more episodes, and just when you think you know what’s going to happen next... something else completely different happens.
Season 1 of The OA focused on Prairie Johnson’s (Brit Marling) return to society after she went missing seven years ago — also seven years ago, she was blind. Now she’s not. Wondering what happened to Prairie? So is she, as she tries to make sense of this reality she’s currently living in, while also explaining what happened to her over the last few years.
To make a long story super short: Once upon a time, Prairie was a young girl named Nina living in Russia, until she was involved in a bus crash that not only killed her, but took her sight. She returned back to Earth, now blind, to live with her father until he died and she was given up for adoption. Enter Nancy and Able Johnson (Alice Krige and Scott Wilson), who adopt her and rename her Prairie. Things are going fine for her, but Prairie can’t shake the feeling that her dad is alive and out there waiting for her, so she runs away from home.
It’s there that she meets Dr. Hunter Percy, aka “Hap” (Isaacs), who is performing experiments on those who have survived Near Death Experiences (NDEs). Her persuades Prairie to join in on his experiement — and then he kidnaps her, locks her in his basement with four other unwilling participants, and unleashes a whole lot of unplesantries upon them as he tries to figure out how to control travel between one dimension and the next.
Prairie escapes, and when we last saw her she had found a new group of friends, shared her stories, taught them the movements needed to heal and travel through dimensions, and also stopped a school shooting at the high school. Unfortunately for Prairie, she’s still hit by a bullet and last we see of her she’s being rushed away in an ambulance — will we find her next in this dimension, or another one?
Episode 1, “Angel of Death”
First up, let’s cover what you really are dying to know: The OA drops the opening credits for Season 2 at a whopping 38 minutes into the first episode. Never change, The OA.
This season, it appears as if we’re not just going to focus on Prairie and Co., because now we’ve got a second main character accidentally finds himself wrapped up in Prairie’s life and the dimensions. Say hello to Karim Washington (new cast member Kingsley Ben-Adir), a San Francisco private investigator.
Karim’s been tasked with finding a missing Vietnamese girl, Michelle, who was sending money to her grandmother and then abruptly stopped. This causes the grandmother to come to Karim, and I can’t say he’s that enthused about taking on the case. But he does, because he know no one else will. The missing girl seems to have fallen in with the wrong group of people hoping to play, and also win, some sort of augmented reality mobile game. Karim tracks her to where she’s been squatting — a creepy AF old abandoned house in the middle of San Francisco — and Michelle has scribbled all sorts of notes and drawings into the surrounding area where she’s sleeping. Karim realizes that she was trying to crack the code of the game because if you solve all the puzzles in the game, there’s a huge cash prize. We’re led to believe Michelle was going to use it to buy a home for her and her grandmother.
Before Kaim leaves this creepy AF house (the show never gives it a proper name, so let’s just go ahead and call it Nob House, since it’s on Nob Hill), he encounters another squatter who has apparently gone mad. After charing at Karim, the squatter jumps out one of the windows and lands on the sidewalk below.
And now, enter Zendaya. Yes, that Zendaya. Surprise, Zendaya is in The OA Season 2, playing someone simply named “woman.” (The end credits list her as being named “Fola.”) Karim’s search leads him to a house full of people all trying to play the game together (even though the game really wants you to play by yourself). Michelle used to stop by this house, and no one’s seen her for a while. Zendaya’s Fola is the only one willing to talk to Karim, and she explains the thrill and excitement of creating a puzzle, and solving it, and this sure seems like this is a giant hint for the overall theme of The OA Season 2. Fola takes Karim out to the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Fran, and shows him how to play the game. Via the augmented reality, the mosaic stairs come to life, and sort of serve as a “hint” to the game’s answer. You only have three chances to guess, and if you get it wrong you’ve got to wait a week before trying again.
The game uses the steps to get Karim to guess the flight number of a plane overhead. Weird? Kinda. The next clue for the puzzle simply says “three wise, man." Have fun trying to crack that code.
There’s no time for games right now, though, as Karim’s search for Michelle leads him to what appears to be a sleep clinic, run by the mysterious company CURI. Karim crawls through the vents and finds a group of participants (but are they willing participants?) lying in beds recounting what sounds to be dreams they’ve recently had. It’s weird and unsettling, but the cinematography is gorgeous.
But hey, what about Prairie? After being shot at the end of Season 1 by a rickashaying bullet, she’s rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
But Praire’s not just in the ambulance. She’s also on a ferry going across the San Francisco harbor... as Nina Azarova — aka, her birth name. She’s speaking Russian to someone over the phone, her boyfriend Pierre Ruskin, and they talk about plans and agree to meet later (we also never see Pierre’s face!). That’s then when Nina feels a heart attack coming on and collapses on the ferry. When she comes to, she’s being rushed through the hospital, but not as Nina anymore. Now she’s Prairie, in Nina’s body.
It’s Prairie who suddenly finds herself in the hospital and, what we’re led to believe, a completely different timeline where Joe Biden was president in 2016 instead of Barack Obama (oh yeah, this season takes place in 2016). The fact that Nina/Prairie doesn’t know the president, and asks a whole lot of weird questions — including begging to see a one “Dr. Homer Roberts” — makes the nurses just worried enough to commit her to a psychiatric ward, the Melanu clinic on Treasure Island, for observation for two weeks.
Before she heads to the hospital for her two-week stay, one of the nurses takes Prairie to her apartment. It is a giant penthouse apartment with holographic trees on the walls and birds in cages. It is bougie AF, and even Prairie can’t believe she lives there. There’s a door that appears to lead to a closet, however, it’s locked via a futuristic keypad. Prairie doesn’t know the combination because she’s Prairie, not Nina.
Once at the hospital, Prairie starts drawing on the walls, as if she’s making the “Bandersnatch” code with different forking points where her realities forged into two. She believes that she’s now living in the dimension where Nina survived the bus crash, never had an NDE, never became blind, and consequently was never adopted by Nancy and Abel. It’s convincing, but doesn’t make much sense to her or us — at least not yet.
Then who should appear like a shining beacon of light and hope? Homer (Emory Cohen). We know this is Homer because his hospital badge says it, and he tells Prairie to call him “Dr. Roberts.” Also, this Homer now has a BEARD, and he’s looking pretty good.
Homer leds Prairie down the hall — where she passes her former friends/prisoners, Renata (Paz Vega), Rachel (Sharon Van Etten), and Scott (Will Brill) locked up once again — towards someone we all know is waiting for her: Hap.
Though this is a new dimension, and at first Hap plays stupid, he also knows exactly who she is. Homer introduces her as “Nina,” before leaving. Hap cooly asks, “It is you, isn’t it?” before addressing her as Prairie. She then lunges at him before the episode cuts.
Episode 2, “Treasure Island”
Once alone with Prairie, Hap immediately drops his act. Yes, he’s the same Hap that she remembers from the other dimension and he believes what they’ve all just accomplished is “god like.” Turns out, everyone actually made it through to this dimension, after a group suicide in the middle of a field. But, Homer doesn’t believe what happened to him in his former life is “real,” and thinks that everyone (including Prairie) is crazy. Also, Renata doesn’t buy it, either, and stays out of everyone’s way when the group reunited in one of the common rooms at the clinic.
Scott and Rachel are at least happy to see Prairie, but, Rachel now can’t talk or think clearly – she’s got aphasia. It’s cause from — wait for it — a car accident she had as a child, the same NDE she references in Season 1 (with the red backpack, and one that’s alluded to when Buck bikes by it).
Hap is still doing tests on them, and Rachel’s the only one who’s been invited into his operating room, since he knows she’s not going to relay any information to anyone else (how could she?). When Prairie realizes that Hap is up to something in his new operating room, she asks Rachel to describe it. Rachel tries as hard as she can to use objects around the room to get a message across to Prairie, but all she manages to convey is flowers, house, and children — whatever that means. Hap, realizing the group is trying to reform and eventually overthrow him, separates them.
Meanwhile, Prairie has started having therapy sessions with Homer, and she’s desperately trying to get him to remember their time together in Hap’s basement before this. Homer knows the stories everyone has been saying, but he still doesn’t believe them. While in his office, Prairie hears a noise coming from the vents above them — and realizes that she and Homer are currently in his own NDE that he experienced during Season 1. It’s the same location and everything, right down to the five-sized fish tank that Homer ate the sea anemone from.
Let’s not forget about Karim, who’s off having his own adventure, still trying to track down the missing Michelle. He’s located one of the women from the sleep study and gets her to confess that there’s an older woman overseeing the sleep study, Dr. Marlow Rhodes (Liz Carr). She listens to their dreams, and some of them are more important than others. Also, Dr. Rhodes has recently disappeared, which means now Karim has two missing people to track down.
Through some light cyberstalking and a small hack into the IRS website, Karim finds Dr. Rhodes at a cabin deep in the woods. After some coaxing, Dr. Rhodes reveals everything to Karim.
The long and the short of it is this: the CURI study reveals a pattern in dreams, or as Dr. Rhodes puts it, it’s used to “harness the predictive power of the ‘group-liminal’ mind.” This is all Pierre Ruskin’s doing, as he’s trying to locate a pattern in dreams, and Dr. Rhodes quit not because the study crossed a line, but Ruskin did. She doesn’t divulge what happened, but suggests something from a dream entered the real world, and she couldn’t deal with that. That’s completely unsettling.
Dr. Rhodes also explains what apparently came out of the dream study. There was a pattern, and participants keep dreaming about the same three things: a tunnel the size of a coffin, a curved double-sided staircase, and a rose stained-glass window. Conveniently, there is one house in San Francisco that has all of these things, the Nob House. According to Dr. Rhodes, the augmented reality game was designed to lure people to that house, and also help prepare them for what they would find inside. Karim scoffs at this, because he’s already been inside of it and nothing was out of the ordinary. Dr. Rhodes warns that there’s more to the house than they both realize.
Also, want to know who the house belongs to, via a trust? Nina Avarova.
Remember the guy who jumped out of the house’s window, shocking Karim, and us? He’s now in Hap’s care. Hap takes him to his lab, where he submerges his head in water and something plant-like begins to crawl out of the guy’s ear. It looks like the bud of something about to bloom, and Hap explains that inside every brain there’s a seed and “somehow the [Nob] house awakens it.”
Rachel’s in the lab with Hap, and it looks like things are starting to make sense to her. When Hap’s back is turned, she enters into another locked part of his chamber (he’s left the door open), and though we don’t see what she sees, we certainly hear stuff and watch her facial expressions change from calm to shocked. There’s some watery reflection, and the sound of things growing as Rachel’s eyes grow wide. Hap is understandably upset that she saw this, and as he tries to explain what’s going on, Rachel stabs him. Her small frame is no match for him, as Hap overpowers Rachel and snaps her neck.
Then — just bear with this — we apparently travel to another dimension. We’re transported to a house with the door wide open and enter, POV-style. After heading up the stairs, we find Buck (Ian Alexander) sitting on his bed. His mom calls for him downstairs, using his given name, “Michelle.”
Yes, Buck and Michelle are one in the same, just from different dimensions. There’s a ripple on Buck’s mirror, and a static buzz, because something has now just entered this dimension.
Episode 3, “Magic Mirror”
If you’re wondering about Prairie’s other friends, Steve (Patrick Gibson), French (Brandon Perea), Jesse (Brendan Meyer), BBA (Phyllis Smith), and Buck, we’re about to find out. In this dimension, Prairie sadly died from her gunshot wound, and everyone is coming home from her funeral, except for Buck because he’s at home getting ready to move. He hears something buzzing in his room, and believes it to becoming form his mirror… somehow.
Steve’s the most distraught over Prairie’s death, and believes that they should all travel to a different dimension together for a better life. No one’s super gung-ho about making this happen, and even his new girlfriend, Angie (Chloe Levine), has her reservations. The kids are now semi-celebrities after the school shooting, and she thinks keeping a low profile is the best approach for them right now.
Later that night, Buck hears a buzzing from his mirror again, and upon further inspection he hears not only sound, but believes he sees who he thinks is Rachel in the mirror. He goes to collect the others, but when they all return to inspect the mirror find out that Mrs. Vu has already donated it, and the donation location has already sent it off to a bigger distribution center a distance away. The kids aren’t sure driving two hours away to retrieve it is a good idea, so they ask Buck to sing what Rachel sang to him. After doing so, they realize the notes Rachel was singing are: B, B, and A.
BBA is getting ready to completely leave this town behind and move across the country to be with her dying Uncle, but the kids convince her to come along on this mission. They all pile into the car and head out to find the mirror, which they surprisingly do. Now all they’ve got to do is wait until nightfall and hope for Rachel to return. BBA instructs the kids to call their parents and let them know they’re okay and will be back soon, but spoiler alert, the kids don’t do this.
Everyone heads to a nearby church to wait for nightfall. French also uses this opportunity to hookup with a guy he finds via a dating app. The hookup is mostly uneventful, until French starts talking about how his friend recently died and mentions that she might be trying to contact them. The hookup guy just happens to have an aunt who’s a medium, Aunt Lily, and suggests that they search her out for help.
Rachel doesn’t come back to contact them that night, so they decide to head for Aunt Lily’s. On the way, Steve hits an animal in the road and the mirror — which they’ve strapped to the top of the car — falls off and smashes to the ground. This doesn’t stop them from continuing on, and arrive at Aunt Lily’s with a shattered mirror.
Did you know that if a spirit is trapped in a mirror and it breaks, they’ll look for another mirror to enter? At least, that’s what Aunt Lily tells them when they show up the mirror’s jagged shards. She’s not at all interested in helping them, since they’ve got a broken mirror and explain that they’ve never even met the woman who’s trying to contact them. But, after charging them the most expensive package for her service, Aunt Lily agrees to help them.
At first, nothing happens. And then Aunt Lily’s TV clicks on and via an assortment of random pictures and sounds, manages to get a message across to them: Only safe for BBA to go. The message ends with a stained-glass rose window on the TV — the same one from Nob House — and BBA feels drawn to the message. The episode ends with BBA actually making contact with the television, where it then breaks and short circuits out.
Episode 4, “SYGYGY”
The episode opens with Prairie chasing her younger self through the woods, while wearing the infamous wolf sweatshirt. She’s being led to some sort of glowing, floating box, that upon further inspection looks like a coffin (it also looks a lot like the same glowing, geometric shape that we’ve seen before in the CURI game). There’s actually someone inside the box, and it’s Rachel who suddenly wakes up and starts banging on the frame. We cut to Prairie recounting this dream to Homer, who still doesn’t really want to believe her story.
Prairie has really pinned down her multiple dimensions story — she tells Homer that she knows there are now two distinct timelines, one where she, as Nina, got on the bus as a child in Russia and drowned and came back blind and was later adopted. There’s also the timeline where Nina doesn’t get on the bus, and lives a “soft” life, and that’s whose body she’s in now. She looks at her arms which are covered in weird circle-like bruises up and down both sides. She has no idea what they’re for or from.
She’s also desperately trying to get Homer to believe that Hap is a bad man. Prairie plants the idea that there’s another secret room in Hap’s lab that Homer hasn’t seen, but he still shakes it off. Hap, meanwhile, is disposing of Rachel’s body in the woods.
Karim, with the new information that Nina owns Nob house, tracks her to the clinic, and demands to see her. However, Nina has had her visitor privileges revoked, but Karim isn’t taking no for an answer. Eventually one of the nurses agrees to let Karim see Nina, and he brings her to him in one of the visiting rooms. Karim seems a little shocked to see her. He asks, “do I know you?” and oh boy, can’t wait for that payoff to happen later in the season.
Karim begins to explain to Nina (who’s really Prairie, but he doesn’t know that yet) that he’s looking for Michelle, and says some key words to her: Michelle was squatting at a house, playing a game, with other teenagers. This is exactly what Rachel was trying to tell her before they were seperated, and everything seems to click in Prairie’s mind. She offers to help Karim figure out the house — and find Michelle — if he can get her out of the clinic. They manage to escape a little too easy, and make their way outside.
Now free, Karim and Prairie pour over information about Michelle and the house. Karim also shows Prairie a photo of Michelle, who she immediately realizes is Buck (but doesn’t let on with this information). The two decide to go to Nina’s apartment to see if there are any clues there — but mostly they go try to figure out if they can crack the strange keypad for the locked door. The same keypad in Nina’s apartment is the one being used by CURI.
Whatever you think is inside this locked closet it probably wrong. Because what’s really inside is a room full of tapes, all labeled with different dates. Karim and Prairie play one, and it’s Nina recounting a sexual dream. It’s not much of a lead, but Karim opens her desk to find a notebook with a note reading, “SYZYGY.” If this doesn’t click for you immediately, that’s okay! The OA is weird sometimes! But this random string of letters translates to: “Three Y’s, man” which is the same clue from the augmented reality game.
Before this gets any weirder — and trust me, it’s about to get super weird!! — let’s check in with Hap.
We find Hap hanging out at the bottom of a pool after burning Rachel’s body. There’s someone else hanging out down there, too, a woman named Elodie (Iréne Jacob). She follows Hap into the sauna where she correctly guesses that he has tinnitus — we saw a tiny sliver of this after he came to this dimension, when his ears started ringing. Turns out Elodie’s guess that he has it is true, because she has it as well, and there’s a reason for it. As Elodie refers to them, they’re “travelers,” who don’t belong here and she arrived in this new body only just the other day. This little bit of information is enough to completely transfix Hap, as clearly no one has ever approached him like this before.
Hap is then informed, by Homer, that Nina has escaped and he is pissed. He wants Homer to check in with the police as many times as possible until she’s found, but he can’t give it his full concentration right now because he’s got a date with Elodie. They start at dinner, and then head to the opera where Elodie reveals that yes, she’s died many times before.
Hap is fascinated. Elodie has figured out how to influence where she ends up in each new dimension, and Hap needs to know how she’s doing this without other people and the movements. She laughs, because silly Hap, there are different ways to travel through dimensions. Of course!
Okay, let’s go back to Karim and Prairie because things are about to GET WEIRD.
Using Nina’s phone, Prairie impersonates her and calls the mysterious SYZYGY. Turns out, it’s a nightclub/speakeasy, hidden behind a seamstress shop. Okay, nothing too weird yet. Once inside, everyone recognizes Nina, as she’s clearly a regular here and does some sort of “performance” act. The crowd’s excited to see her do it again, and she’s hurried away to get ready for the show.
Karim heads into the tech booth, where he sees the guy in charge of the lights label a tape to record — the same tapes he and Prairie just found in Nina’s apartment. Prairie is then seated in a chair with her arms and legs restrained and brought before the audience. A curtain behind her drops, and a giant octopus appears and attaches himself to her arms — SO THAT EXPLAINS THE STRANGE MARKS ON HER ARMS. If you guessed “giant octopus,” you were right!
This octopus calls himself Old Night, and immediately knows that the woman in the chair is not Nina. Old Night says that he and Nina have been talking for a while, as she’s a medium. He knows the woman with him now is The OA and demands that she tell the crowd she’s an angel. Then, Old Night offers to kill her for 37 seconds so he can relay some important information to her. Ooookay.
Old Night is like, super ready to kill Prairie, and she’s worried she won’t survive it. That’s when Old Night drops the biggest bombshell to date, and tells Prairie that her fate is being left up to her brother. HER BROTHER. Prairie is quick to point out she doesn’t have a brother, to which Old Night explains “in every dimension, she sent him to protect you.” Is this supposed to be Homer? Karim? Someone else we haven’t even met? Who is this “brother” Old Night speaks of? Who knows!
Prairie is then choked to death by Old Night, and she has 37 seconds to figure out what the hell is going on. We cut to footage that looks like it was shot on an iPhone in low light, as Prairie crawls along the ground and up into an airplane bathroom. The plane is in completely darkness as Prairie walks through the aisle to a passenger. The passenger’s face is completely obstructed, and they have what appears to be blonde hair, and are wearing some sort of green floral jacket. Just as they’re about to turn around, Karim intervenes and kills Old Night, stopping Prairie’s dream short. Was this passenger on the plane supposed to be her brother? Someone else? We’re not going to find out now because Old Night is dead, and Prairie and Karim have to escape.
The two duck out through the back of SYZYGY and discover the mysterious door that we’ve seen before represented in the CURI game. With absolutely zero hesitation, Prairie and Karim walk through to the other side.
Episode 5, “The Medium and the Engineer”
Let’s start with Hap’s story first, because it’s bonkers, but not as bonkers as what Prairie and Karim are about to go through.
Hap and Elodie have sex. Elodie knows that Hap’s thoughts are elsewhere, so she gets up to leave and he begs her to stay. However, he’s got other plans — because he clearly wants to figure out how she’s able to travel through dimensions without the help of anyone else — so Hap decides he’s going to kill her to try and find out.
Before he can do this, Elodie jumps up and heads into the other room, arranging five boxes on the floor. The boxes spring to life, literally, because they’re tiny little robots that can perform the movements. Of course she’s got robots to perform the movements. This is all set to Live’s “Lightning Crashes,” and we really hear the lyric, “the angel opens her eyes” and it’s maybe a little too on the nose for this situation.
If you’re like “wtf,” Hap is also like “wtf.” He doesn’t have time to process what is going on because Elodie crashes to the floor, apparently dead. You think Hap is jumping down to try and resuscitate her, but he’s really trying to grab one of her little robotic movement boxes before they close up. He manages to stick his fingers inside of one and pry it open, just as sirens appear in the distance. Elodie knew what was going to happen to her, and she’s already reported her own death.
Okay, now back to Karim and Prairie. Buckle up, everyone.
Through the mysterious door, Karim and Prairie encounter a tunnel the size of the coffin — something that was discovered through the group conscious dreams. They find themselves in a well and climb out of it, now entering the Nob House. In the foyer, they find a curved double-sided staircase. Now all they’re missing is the rose-colored window, which Karim knows is up in the attic. However, it appears as if they're trapped in the foyer because there’s no door to head anywhere else (except outside). Never fear, though, as Prairie realizes the tiles in the foyer are magnetic and there’s a pattern on the back of them; she deduces that this must be a puzzle they need to solve.
While Prairie and Karim get to work trying to figure out the house, let’s check in with Homer for a second. He’s off on his own side quest, because finally Prairie’s words have started to get to him, and he’s starting to grow suspicious of Hap. He breaks into Hap’s office and decides to check up on Rachel — she’s supposedly been moved to a different clinic, but they’ve got no record of her there. Homer also finds some a stack of files in Hap’s desk labeled “Ruskin.” He pops them into a player to listen, and Ruskin’s narration overlays with Prairie and Karim’s journey through the house.
As Ruskin explains, the Nob House was built after the 1910 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco. A couple in their ‘40s — the husband was an engineer, the wife a medium — decided to build a big house on this site, after the previous one was lost to a fire. The wife thought the site of the house was ~special~ and it was later discovered that it was the site of a natural spring and a former holy site for the Ohlone tribe. The wife doesn’t want to build on the site anymore, but the husband insists so they managed a compromise: let’s build a house that’s a puzzle! Those who can solve the puzzle, and are worthy, will “reach their revelations on the other side of the rose window in the attic.” Those who tried the puzzle and were not worthy would be “trapped and destroyed.” Oh. Okay.
The husband then decides he wanted to try and solve the puzzle himself, but the wife advises against it. The husband goes through with it anyway. One day the wife returns home to find that he has collapsed in the attic, with the rose window wide open. The wife was fine, because she had “walked through the house as a house,” while the husband tried to solve the puzzle. He slipped into a coma, and the wife held out hope that one day, someone would get through the house as a puzzle and wake her husband from the coma. However, no one ever did, and he later died.
Prairie and Karim solve the puzzle on the foyer’s floor, and accidentally find themselves separated. Karim is now trapped in a bedroom without doors or windows, and Prairie is now, uh, trapped in a tree. Just like she talked to Old Night, Prairie is now talking to a tree (who at first addresses her as Nina). The tree explains that they’ve been calling her for many years, via the wind. The tree then warns her that “the one who seeks to own you is going to make a powerful discovery.” It’s assumed they’re warning her about Hap, but it’s so vague it could be about anyone. And the only way to stop this is to form a “tribe” and that “Nina Azarova” is the key to unlocking it all.
Meanwhile, Karim finds himself in an endless red room with a thousand mirrors and no way out. In there, he discovers a super old Fola (Zendaya’s back!!), who tells him to “go deeper,” but Karim has no time for that. He smashes a mirror for both of them to escape. Once outside, the two are splashed by a puddle from a passing car, and Fola’s old age appearance disappears. The seed — the same one that Hap talked about earlier — appears in Fola’s ear.
Episode 6, “Magic Mirror”
Wondering what’s happening with Steve, Buck, French, Jesse, and BBA? TBH, not really. Much rather try and figure out what’s happening with the seed in Zendaya’s ear since that seems of utmost importance right now, but it’s time to circle back with this group in the other dimension.
Their car has broken down and they hitch a ride with a passing truck. Everyone seems to be enjoying the new ride, especially the one sin the back of the pickup, as the wind whips through their hair. Considering what we just learned about the wind, is it possibly talking to them?
They stop at a diner for food, where Jesse reveals he’s been doing some research on his own, and has discovered that there’s a Dr. Roberts in San Francisco. A lot of details from San Fran fit the description of what Prairie told them about the NDEs. This is also when the group learns that there’s an Amber Alert out for Buck. His mom has reported him missing, and since they’ve crossed state lines, now the FBI is more than likely going to get involved. Not wanting to be traced, they all smash their phones.
Thankfully, BBA’s still got the plan to head to stay with her dying Uncle and cousin, and everyone has a few moments of joy (and a swim in the ocean) before things get bad again. BBA’s cousin, Amy, wants to go to the police because she thinks BBA kidnapped the kids. But, things are only going to get worse before they even get a little bit better, because Jesse steals BBA’s uncle’s fentanyl patches and uses them. BBA has a dream that directs him to Jesse, who’s outside sleeping on the beach, but it’s too late. He’s killed himself and no one knows exactly what to do at first. A hysterical Steve starts doing the motions in order to try and bring him back, with Buck and then BBA joining in.
It’s no use. Amy hears the commotion from outside and the group flees. They start driving again, but Steve can’t take it and jumps out of the car; Angie says that they should continue on without him, and they do. Steve goes back to the beach and does the motions again, this time by himself, but it’s still apparently no use as off in the distance we see an ambulance take Jesse’s body away.
Everyone else checks into a motel, where French goes off to call FBI Psychologist Elias Rahim (Riz Ahmed) from Season 1. Instead of immediately springing into action to help the kids, he asks them questions, most notably one about “space.” BBA is able to piece together that dimensions are connected via these spaces, and also lets on that she might be a medium herself.
BBA realizes that they’ve got to continue on to Treasure Island (which was Jesse’s plan), and asks Rahim why he’s even helping them. Rahim tells them that he’s been sent to help “her” because “she’s going to need it.” Is he talking about OA? More than likely. Is he the “brother” Old Night alluded to? WHO KNOWS.
Before the episode ends, it sure looks like the mirror behind Rahim vibrates and buzzes, while the light outside their motel room flickers on and off.
Episode 7, “Nina Azarova”
Karim, now free from the house on Nob Hill, has brought the police back with him to investigate. He’s got an entire team of them, and they storm the house looking for any sort of evidence regarding Michelle. What they find instead is a bunch of dead ends — literally. The tunnel that Karim came through earlier has now been boarded up, and yes, the police with Karim think he’s going crazy.
At the hospital, Karim goes to visit Fola. She is pissed. She’s furious that Karim took her out of the house, because she worked so hard to get that far. Karim explains that she was dying inside the house, to which she snaps, “that’s what you saw.” Before they have time to argue more, a doctor appears and gives them their diagnosis: They’ve both got high levels of mercury sulfide in their system, and that’s making them hallucinate.
Karim thinks this explains everything, and that Pierre Ruskin is at fault for luring the kids into the house in the first place, and Fola will hear none of it. The naturally occuring spring — the source of the mercury sulfide — predates Ruskin, and he’s simply “crowdsourcing” the kids in order to figure out the greater puzzle of the house. Fola also swears she’s going back inside the house, and Karim tries to persuade her to let it go.
Let’s not forget about Prairie, who wakes up underneath a tree the next morning. She gets up and staggers to a nearby water fountain where she takes a sip and splashes water on her face. This gives her a flashback to Nina’s heart attack at the beginning of the season.
Returning back to her apartment, Prairie’s let inside by the doorman who explains that three people have come looking for her: her boyfriend, a tall man with dark hair who is not her boyfriend, and a not-so-tall man with dark hair who’s not her boyfriend. It sounds like he’s describing Pierre Ruskin, Karim, and Hap but...is he? Both Hap and Karim could be described as “tall.” Is he actually talking about Homer?
Once inside her apartment, Prairie and the doorman discover that it’s been completely trashed. Someone has ransacked her place looking for something, but what? Whatever it is, they didn’t find it, and Prairie starts thinking about her father and how he used to say that the best place to hide something was in plain sight. This leads her to her keys on a silver tray in the foyer, where she picks up the keychain there. It’s an eye — we’ve seen this eye keychain flash before — and pulling it apart, Prairie discovers a hidden USB drive.
She takes it to Karim, where the two watch it together. It’s a video from Dr. Marlow Rhodes, and she’s talking to Nina about how she can’t do this anymore. When Karim first went to see her, she alluded to seeing something from the dream world enter the waking one, and well, we’re all about to see it now. It’s a video of Michelle reaching the rose, stained-glass window in the Nob Hill and it’s got a symbol/watermark we’ve never seen before. The video is also labeled “rose - 8,” and so does that mean there are seven other cameras in the house?
The video of Michelle is incredibly grainy and distorted, and parts of it are hard to make out (and trust me, I tried!). The video cuts between Michelle and static, and we all know there’s 100 percent something hidden in the static that’s impossible to see (because trust me, I tried this, too!). As soon as the window’s open, Michelle collapses to the ground. Dead? Unconscious? It’s unclear.
Prairie can no longer keep her knowledge about Buck and the other dimension a secret. She tells Karim about the Buck she knows, and how she’s the OA, and Karim believes none of it. He thinks Prairie is actually crazy now, and is upset that this information is coming out now, and also that it doesn’t make any sense. He threatens to call the police and send her back to the Treasure Island clinic, so she storms out. Prairie then calls SYZYGY and tells them she’s coming in tonight.
Karim clearly can’t let the video go, and decides to pay another visit to Dr. Rhodes. He finds her sitting outside in the backyard, surrounded by crows with a gunshot wound to the head.
If Prairie and Karim are having a bad days, Homer is having an even worse day. He’s called in sick from work, so Hap pays him a little house call. Homer is also starting to catch on to Hap’s nefarious ways, and asks him about Rachel. Hap confesses that yes, she’s dead, and that she took her own life after the groups initial re-meeting back at the clinic.
Homer also plays a snippet of a talk he had with Scott, where Scott recalls his NDE. In his NDE, he’s in a warehouse-like place, with lots of lights and cameras around. Hap and OA are there too, but Hap calls her “Brit,” and also has a British accent. Before Scott can investigate this place anymore, a woman gives him the third movement. Oh, this is not at all what Hap wanted to hear today.
As a clear form of punishment for Scott, Hap decides he’s going to release him. But first, he’s got something he needs Scott to do: Go into the house on Nob Hill.
That night, Nina heads to SYZYGY, hoping to get someone to talk to her about Nina. Insead, she meets Elodie. So Elodie... didn’t die... in the other episode? Honestly, Elodie is the most mysterious character out of EVERYONE on this show, and I do not trust her for a second. But Prairie does, and the two begin to talk about traveling. Are you ready for this?
Elodie basically fills in all the missing pieces about traveling, dimensions, and Prairie, Hap, and Homer’s connection. According to her, events echo in nearby dimensions, and this unfortunately means that Prairie, Hap, and Homer are cosmically connected — like a cosmic family. Prairie wants to leave this dimensional echo and escape Hap, but Elodie warns against this since it’s dangerous, and she might end up in a dimension that she doesn’t recognize. Also, no matter how hard Prairie tries, Hap is her “shadow” and it sounds like he’s just going to follow her around forever.
And, since Elodie gave something to Hap to help him on his journey, she’s going to give something to Prairie, too. Elodie says that the only way that Prairie can free Homer now is to free Nina from her subsconscious. The two are still incredibly intertwined, and in order to do this Prairie must “get back to the time before their paths split.” In short, Elodie is telling Prairie to drown herself again.
While this leaves Prairie slightly confused, across town Karim continues to be pissed. He decides to finally pay a visit to the mysterious Pierre Ruskin and — SURPRISE — he’s played by Vincent Kartheiser. Oh yes, Pierre is a perfectly slimey and creepy role for Kartheiser.
Karim and Pierre come face to face for the first time, and Pierre isn’t scared of this private investigator at all. He’s willing to talk freely about the house on Nob Hill, and the game, because his lawyers have told him it’s unlikely someone will ever come after him and win. Also, Pierre has a surprise for Karim. Leading him into an upstairs bedroom, Pierre has been taking care of the bedridden Michelle. She’s hooked up to an IV, and her grandmother sits nearby.
The theme of this episode is clearly “Karim is pissed,” because this sends him over the edge. Karim storms out of the house, but Pierre has more to share. He tells Karim about Dr. Rhodes’ work, and how the dreams dreamed of four things, not the three we previously knew about. This fourth thing was the face of a man, so Pierre brought in a bunch of police sketch artists to try and visualize this man. As Pierre explains, they were all the same face, and whose face might that be? Karim’s face. The house is calling him.
Speaking of the house, Scott did not fare well inside of it. Hap’s got his body back in the lap, his head submerged in water so the seed inside his brain can awaken. It does, and we see the seed sprout into a flower. Hap is thrilled, and he sticks one of his instruments in to pull out a piece of the flower and then he — oh god, no Hap, don’t do it!! — eats the flower.
Of course Hap eats the flower. Of course the flower has some sort of dimensional power, and as Hap chews on it he hears voices from other dimensions crying out for help.
That’s how Hap’s toying with dimensions right now. Prairie, meanwhile, submerges herself in Nina’s bathtub, in hopes of awakening Nina inside of her. It works. We see flashes from Nina’s life, and when Prairie comes to, she’s a changed person. Literally. She speaks with a Russian accent and marches right back to the clinic on Treasure Island where she asks to see Hap.
Episode 8, "Overview"
We have finally arrived at the season finale of The OA Season 2. Are you ready for major questions to be answered? Are you ready for even more questions to be raised? Are you buckled in and ready for this? Because it is one hell of a journey with a lot of different moving pieces.
Prairie has finally awoken Nina Azarova inside of her, and returns back to the Treasure Island clinic as the latter. The fact that she has returned on her own free will and is standing outside the building smoking worries both Hap and Homer, who are watching her on security cameras inside. Hap tells some BS story about how maybe she has a personality disorder, and suggests Homer head down to try and figure out who they’re dealing with right now.
While this is happening, simultaneously in another dimension, BBA, Angie, French, and Buck arrive at the Treasure Island clinic. What they see is a deserted, graffitied building. As this group heads inside, in her dimension, Nina can feel it.
Once inside, the group starts searching for something, anything, to try and help Prairie back in her dimension. They realize that this building is what Prairie described to them as being Homer’s NDE, so they know they’re on the right track. Steve then shows back up, with a freshly shaven head, and somehow this all clicks for BBA: All along she has been having dreams, thinking she was supposed to be helping her deceased brother, Theo. Rather, she’s supposed to help Steve.
Also, BBA knows that Prairie is here — because it’s finally stated out loud, BBA can “feel across dimensions” — and they're in the right place, just in the wrong room.
Back in Nina’s dimension, she and Homer head up to Hap’s lab. Nina tells Homer a joke which he can’t stop laughing at, and before she exits the elevator, she leans into him and they ever so slightly touch. This seems to be all that Homer needs to have his original memories start coming back to him. He starts seeing flashes of his time underground with Prairie locked up in Hap’s basement, and finally, Homer realizes what’s going on.
Unfortunately, there has been a power outage and the backup generator kicks on. This locks Homer in the elevator, as he frantically screams after OA. He remembers!
Up in Hap’s office, Nina is full Nina at this point. She suggests they drink vodka and discuss business, where Nina then quizzes Hap on their relationship together. Hap gets every single question wrong (including the location of the vodka), to only further prove that he’s never been able to access the memories and consciousness from this dimension’s body.
Nina also explains how she came to work with Hap in the first place. While she and Pierre Ruskin were rebuilding the Nob Hill house, she came to Hap for help since the workers were going crazy inside. Hap realized what the how was, and what it was doing, and then somehow persuaded Ruskin to use his “crowdsourcing” technique to lure “mostly young men” into the house to try and figure it out. This excited Ruskin, who went along with it, even though it was all Hap’s idea in the first place. Nina also knows the real truth of the house: it’s a portal. The rose window is a portal to seeing the truth, but not many people can actually access it in the first place.
She now demands to see what he has been doing all this time with the money she and Ruskin have given him.
Downstairs, Homer is still locked in his elevator until Renata comes along and finds him. She asks who he is — is he Homer, or Dr. Roberts? — to which he replies “both.” That’s enough for her to grab the fire extinguisher off the wall and try to break him out of his cage, even though she notes that he’s the one who locked her in her cage back in season 1.
Hap leads Nina into his other secret lab, the same one Rachel saw in episode 2. Back in their dimension, the kids and BBA reach this room at the same time. BBA notes that “she’s in here,” and then realizes “and so are you,” looking at the kids. What’s inside of this room? A shallow dip for some sort of pool. BBA and the kids find it completely deserted, while Hap shows it to Nina full of life.
“Every human mind contains the multiverse. An actual garden of forking paths...just waiting to be fertilized,” Hap tells Nina. These flowers that sprout out of the seed in the brain “offer a glimpse into other dimensions.” Hap has made a map of the universe off of them, because of course he has. Nina bends down to examine these flowers in the pool and realizes they’re bodies. This also kicks Nina to the backburner, as Prairie emerges again and begins to freak out over what she’s seeing. Scott’s in this pool, and Hap tells her not to worry about him. He’s alive and well in other dimensions! In this dimension, though, his body is being used for these flowers.
Hap pulls one of the petals off of Scott, and eats it. Ugh, again with the eating flowers. He’s trying so hard to tell Prairie not to worry about this, because with these flowers “they’ll never have to jump into the dark again” when they travel to another dimension.
Prairie is still having none of this. She looks at the other bodies in the pool, and finds French, Jesse, and Steve. Ah, BBA was right. In another dimension they are all here, after having being lured to the house and then taken for Hap’s experiment. Prairie actually pulls a lifeless Steve out of the pool to cradle him.
This sends her over the edge and she starts off on a long monologue about how Hap tried to destroy her, but she’s stronger than that. The analogy she uses is she’s like dust pressed into a diamond. She’s also got something Hap doesn’t have: Power and faith.
Hey, want to check in with Karim for a second? Let’s do it, because he’s making his way through the Nob Hill house. He’s answered the calling and is now following the giant puzzle through the building, on his way to the attic. He’s making great time!
But back at the Treasure Island clinic, Hap and Prairie arrive outside in some sort of garden with five giant box sculptures surrounding them. If you’re thinking, “Wow, those look a lot like the robotic boxes Elodie was using to do the movements,” you’re right. Hap has recreated them. In their dimension, BBA and the kids also make it outside to this same spot.
The boxes spring to life, and Hap reveals his evil plan: He’s planning to take Prairie to another dimension where the two aren’t fighting anymore, and actually care for one another. His destination is Scott’s NDE, which we heard him tell Homer, and Hap glimpsed after eating one of his flowers. The boxes around them spring to life and start performing the moments. In the other dimension, BBA and the kids start doing the motions, too, since BBA can sense that something’s wrong and Prairie needs their help.
So we’ve got the kids doing the motions in one dimension; the robots doing the motions in the other dimension, as Prairie refuses to go along with Hap’s plan; and back in the Nob Hill house, Karim reaches the attic to find the rose window. To say that there’s a lot going on here right now is an understatement.
Hap then shoots Homer in the back, because Hap is a jerk. Homer slowly dies in Prairie’s arms. Prairie demands he come find her in the next dimension, because they’re all about to jump. Then, like a literal angel, Prairie starts floating up to the heavens, her white pantsuit radiating light. And guess who’s finally looking on the other side of the rose window? Karim. He sees Prairie floating and glowing in the sky. Then, a bird comes and literally breaks the entire moment and Prairie’s levitating concentration, and she crashes to the ground in her new dimension.
Are you ready for this new dimension?
We find ourselves on a soundstage somewhere in London. Hap’s ears immediately start ringing as people frantically rush around him, screaming for someone to call a medic. He looks around to see lighting rigs and set pieces around him, and everything looks like the Treasure Island clinic they just left...because they’re filming this scene right now.
Prairie has just fallen from a suspended harness and she’s got a head injury. Hap starts cradling her, trying to get her conscious again, when someone calls her “Brit.” It’s easier if we just cover this now: In this dimension, Prairie/Nina/OA is now “Brit,” which is the actual name of the actress playing her, Brit Marling. Hap is no longer Hap because he’s “Jason Isaacs,” and at one point he literally says, “I’m Jason Isaacs.” The OA has gone full meta. The aspect ratio has also changed for this new dimension. It’s not really important (or at least not yet), but it’s interesting to note as things from this dimension are now viewed in widescreen.
Karim is watching all of this from his spot in the window, which has also been built on this soundstage. However, no one can see him since he hasn’t jumped to this dimension; he’s just peering into it. From the back of the stage, Buck appears, and Karim recognizes him as Michelle. Somehow, across dimensions, Buck is able to hear Karim yell his name and rushes over to the house set. There’s a ladder conveniently located there, which Buck begins to climb. Upon reaching the window, and grabbing for Karim’s outstretched hand, the two of them fall into some sort of vortex. On the other side, Karim finds himself in the attic, staring out at a view of San Francisco, the new dimension completely gone. Meanwhile, Michelle sits upright in Pierre Ruskin’s bed, finally awake from her dimensional coma.
Prairie/Nina/OA/Brit is then rushed away in an ambulance to the hospital, with Hap/Jason Isaacs in there with her. But, there’s someone frantically chasing the ambulance, clearly mirroring the end of season 1. Finally, this person reaches the vehicle and pulls the back doors open. It’s Steve.
Hap looks terrified and confused (and honestly, same) with this new arrival. Steve says one thing to him: “Hello, Hap.” Hello, how did Steve get to this dimension? Is this even Steve? What is going on?
Those are questions season 3 of The OA is going to have to answer, because here’s where the episode ends. I told you the end of season 2 was going to be an interesting journey.