Warning: Spoilers for The OA season 2 are ahead.
Have you ever had a house call to you? Probably not in this dimension, buf if you jump to another one you just might find yourself drawn to a mysterious house with unusual beginnings and an even stranger attic. That’s just one of the many unraveling storylines of The OA Season 2, as the Netflix original series introduces us to a house on Nob Hill in San Francisco. This isn’t any ordinary house, as it plays a huge role in the greater mythology of the show.
The Nob Hill house is introduced in the first episode of Season 2, and we make a visit there just about every episode. Private Investigator Karim Washington has been tasked with finding a missing girl, Michelle, and his search for her leads him to the house. He believes that Michelle has been to the house, and is possibly trapped in the house. But not in like a “she’s dead” way, more like “her soul is trapped inside” way. Yes, this Nob Hill house is confusing, and so is the larger story and unfolding mystery behind it. Let’s dive in.
The History of the Nob Hill House
The Nob HIll house was built after the San Francisco 1910 earthquake that destroyed much of the city.. The previous house was destroyed in a fire, and an engineer and a medium bought the land and planned to build anew. (While these two are referenced many times during the season, they’re never once given proper names which is… interesting). While building, they discovered that the land sat on a spring that was once a holy site for the Ohlone tribe. Hearing this, the wife (the medium) wanted to stop building, but the husband (the engineer) persuaded her to keep going.
The two managed to reach a compromise about the house. Yes, they’d keep going, but the house would also be a puzzle. Those who tried to solve the puzzle of the house and succeeded 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.”
Upon completion, the husband decided he would try to solve the puzzle, even though the wife objected to it. One day she came home to find that her husband had collapsed in the attic and slipped into a coma after attempting the puzzle and failing; the wife could walk freely through the house, though, since she wasn’t trying to solve any puzzle, she was just using the house as a house.
The wife assumed that some day, someone would finally solve the puzzles and free her husband from the coma. It never happened. He died, never having awoken again.
The House Before The OA Season 2
Aside from this major backstory dump, we’ don’t know what happened to the house between the engineer and the medium and the start of Season 2. However, we do learn that eventually the house was owned via a trust by Nina Azarova — Prairie’s original name/identity, who’s still alive in this dimension (well, alive for a little bit).
Nina and her boyfriend, Pierre Ruskin, start to do some maintenance on the house, but their workers are going crazy. That’s when Nina enlists the help of Hap, after reading his book.
Hap realizes what’s going on in the house, and plants the idea of a crowdsourcing game in Ruskin’s head. This game, CURI’s Symphony, will basically lure kids to the house in hopes that one of them will be able to solve the mystery of the window in the attic.
The House During The OA Season 2
We’re introduced to the house in Season 2 via Karim’s search for Michelle. We eventually learn that she got into the house and managed to make it all the way to the attic when she then opened the rose, stained-glass window and collapsed (slipping into a coma).
Karim and Prairie try to solve the mystery of the house, but don’t manage to make it all the way to the end. Prairie gets caught up talking to some trees (yes, really), and then Karim stumbles upon Fola, one of the kids who’s trying to solve the puzzle herself. Karim literally breaks himself and Fola out of the house before they reach the attic.
The Brain Seed
Somehow, thanks to the magical properties of the house, those who enter in search of the puzzle manage to activate a “seed” inside their brain. This seed turns out to be an actual seed, because from it a flower sprouts and blooms. Hap is trying to harvest these seeds because if you eat the flowers (yes...really) that grow from them you can hear into other dimensions. By hearing a new dimension, you’ll be able to figure out where you’re jumping to before you do so you’re not doing it in the dark anymore.
The Attic & The Rose Window
The only one who actually makes it to the attic, aside from Michelle, is Karim. After realizing the house is calling to him — because those who were initially dreaming about the house in a CURI sleep study then start dreaming about Karim’s face — he returns back there during the season finale.
Upon reaching the rose window in the attic, Karim pulls it open to reveal that this is a window into another dimension, where you can see what’s going on. Karim spots Michelle in this new dimension and is able to pull her back into this one before the dimension disappears and Karim is left with a view of San Francisco.
Michelle then wakes up from her coma, something the medium’s husband never did after trying to look through the window himself.
Will The House Be In Season 3 of The OA?
At the end of Season 2, we’ve jumped to a brand new dimension, so now there are three dimensions on the show. While some of the plotlines for Season 2 have been wrapped up, there are still so many lingering questions. It’s likely that we’ll return back to this Nob Hill house eventually on the show, but it more than likely won’t be a major focal point anymore. Or maybe it will be because there are other houses just like it in other dimensions, and this is only just the beginning. With The OA, anything’s possible.