Out of almost nowhere, Netflix released one of their newest shows, The OA, in mid-December. At first glance, you could mistake the science fiction show for Stranger Things, one of the more popular Netflix shows. The OA begins with an unknown blonde woman, later to be known as Prairie Johnson, jumping off of a bridge. With a bystander’s video gone viral, it leads the Johnson's, Prairie's mother and father, to seemingly find their lost daughter, who had gone missing seven years ago. Also, an important thing to note, is when Johnson went missing, she was blind, but when her parents see their daughter for the first time in seven years in the hospital, she can see.
The single season of The OA, goes on with Prairie, now living back in her suburban home with her family, telling the local teenagers, all misfits or outcasts within their families, and a local high school teacher who becomes included after Prairie, who now prefers to be called the OA, sent a video out asking people for their help with an unknown problem. The seemingly odd group of people then meet in an abandoned house in town.
By now, the show is engrossing. I hadn’t left the couch, my eyes glued to the screen. The gloomy, science-fiction oddity on the screen kept me watching just as Stranger Things had.
While meeting at the abandoned house, Prairie, every night for an hour, tells the story of her life, her disappearance, her death, and her escape. Born in Russia, Prairie lost her eyesight when she died when her school bus drove off of a bridge. Dead, Prairie is transported to this “world”, pitch black except for the glimmer of what looks like stars around. There, a woman asks Prairie is she would like to go back, and she says yes, though, the woman says, she must take Prairies eyesight to shield her from the evils of the world. Prairie awakens, blind, washed ashore. She goes to America at a school for the blind, and while in America, living with her aunt, her father dies, leaving her aunt to pull her from school and live with her.
The Johnson’s go to Prairies aunt’s house in hopes of adopting a baby, but fall in love with Prairie instead. Years go by, and insistent that her father is not dead, she escapes her home on her 21 birthday, only to meet a man while she played violin in the subway. He kidnaps her, taking her to his is cabin in an abandoned mine where other people live who have also had near-death experiences are held captive. The kidnapper, a deranged scientist, is hoping to find out what happens after death: whether there is a heaven or hell, or anything at all. While trapped in these clear cages, like animals, Prairie falls in love with Homer, another captive.
For seven years, the group of people try and escape, but to no avail. When Prairie finally escapes, she is stopped and killed again by this mad scientist. She awakes, with her sight back, although she does not allow him to find out. Prairie and the others find that there are specific movements to “escape” as told by the woman in this other “world." The movements are strange, and as I watched I got secondhand embarrassment. To me, this is when the show started going downhill in an embarrassing fashion.
Prairie enlists the group of teens and the teacher to perform these movements to save Homer. They practice the movements, and it is very unsure what will happen if they all successfully complete the movements, but they’re put to the test in the oddest way.
While at school, the teenagers are eating lunch and the teacher is about to leave her job, when another teenager, with a gun, comes into the lunchroom. The OA (the Original Angel) has this feeling that this whole debacle is going on and rushes to the school, where she and the teenagers, and the teacher do the five movements, and somehow save the school? It was strange, and cringey. Also the OA is somehow shot in this situation. It was all very slowly portrayed, and gave me major secondhand embarrassment. The show ends with The OA riding off in an ambulance.
Overall The OA was strange, and cringey, giving me second-hand embarrassment. But will I watch season 2 (if there is one)? Did The OA makeup Homer and her abduction? There are too many questions to be answered to not watch Season 2.