What is there to be said about The OA that hasn’t already been said? This powerful, magical, mysterious piece of art is the epitome of modern day TV - challenging, experimental, and frustrating. Is Prairie Johnson the "original angel" or suffering from a strange case of Stockholm Syndrome? Does it even matter? We finished season one with so, so many questions up in the air. We want answers.
With The OA season two officially in the works (release date TBA), Prairie’s sanity, the could-be-silly-yet-surprisingly-convincing "movements", the various characters—invented or not— that are involved with her story in some way or another, and the supernatural mysteries of the show are all items that need to be further addressed. Co-creators Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (who play Prairie) have clearly put a lot of thought and detail into this story, but have purposely not revealed it all quite yet. In season two, we want more.
These are the 15 Biggest Questions We Need Answered In The OA Season Two.
15 Is Prairie Making Up Her Story?
Probably one of the most pressing questions regarding the show (the answer of which will consequently affect every other aspect of it), is whether or not Prairie is inventing this supernatural, mad-scientist narrative as a method for dealing with the trauma she endured. Certainly, there are a lot of red flags that point to the possibility that she could making it all up. The books under her bed, for one, as well as the mysterious resurrection of Scott, the romantic tale of her Russian childhood, and her heavily medicated past. But we don’t like that idea.
A helpful explanation that gives her story some legitimacy yet acknowledges the discrepancies was revealed in an interview with Batmanglij, who explained that the story we see in the show is not a flashback, but the interpretation of Prairie’s audience; her group of five. So while her story-telling may not be made up, the scenes we see play out on the screen are not reality, but rather the imaginations of each individual who is captured by her tale.
14 How Did Prairie Gain Back Her Eyesight?
This is one of the greatest signs that points to the chance that perhaps Prairie’s story is true. The fact of the matter is that she once was blind and now can see. Literally. But, then, how she gained back her eyesight remains a bit of a mystery— did her "Khatun" really give it back to her during the second near-death experience? Or does her eyesight come back in a so-far unexplained test-experiment by Hap, who may or may not be affiliated with the FBI? Could Prairie be some sort of test subject for eyesight rather than for near-death experiences?
After all, some blindness can be cured with modern technology and surgical procedures nowadays, though medical advances remain in their early stages. Others have mused over the possibility that Prairie’s blindness was imagined in the first place, or some sort of psychosomatic fabrication that somehow disappeared while she was captive. Whatever the answer, we want to know it.
13 What Do The Books Under Her Bed Mean?
The final episode of The OA threw a wrench in our comprehension of Prairie’s story when French found four books under Prairie’s bed: the Iliad, by Homer, a non-fiction book about near-death experiences, a book on angels, and a book on the Russian oligarchy. Clearly, the books are telling us that Prairie is unstable and is fabricating this long-winded tale based on these books— or are they?
This may be far too simple of an explanation, and most have written it off as a red-herring. First, Prairie only recently had access to the internet - could she really have read enough of each of the books to have fabricated such a detailed, in-depth story? Fans have also pointed to the fact that her reading skills can’t be that good, considering she was blind for her entire childhood. It’s certainly a possibility, but an unlikely one.
The more viable theory that has come up is that the books were planted by Elias, the FBI therapist. On that subject...
12 Can Elias, The FBI Therapist, Be Trusted?
The FBI has long been known for its rather shady practices, and as much as we like Elias for his seemingly caring treatment of Prairie, something is not quite right. Why was he in the Johnsons’ house in the middle of the night while they were away? Some have suggested that the experiment may not just involve a few select scientists with an obsession with near-death-experiences, but that it’s part of a greater project facilitated by a branch of the FBI.
This would explain why Elias might try to discredit Prairie’s story, how Hap gets the funding to conduct these expensive experiments with such intricate equipment, as well as the mysterious presence of Rachel. Some have suggested that Rachel is an FBI agent supervising the project because she never received a movement and her name is written in Braille on the wall of Elias’s office.
Whatever is happening, we want to learn more about Elias, and this possible connection with the FBI, in the second season.
11 If Prairie's The Original Angel, Where And Who Are The Other Angels?
The OA stands for Original Angel. If Prairie’s the original angel, then there must be other angels, right? More importantly, how could she possibly be the original angel? If we are assuming that angels are real, then shouldn’t we assume that angels have existed long before Prairie?
But, then, how could we understand Prairie’s existence based on a linear timeline when alternate realities and dimensions are in the picture? Do all angels exist in the physical world, like Prairie? Or do they exist like Khatun, in a mystical, intangible space? It’s possible that the other captives in Hap’s basement are also angels, having all experienced near-death experiences like Prairie.
Maybe we are supposed to view angels in a different way—maybe they should be understood in a less literal sense, and instead interpreted as the figurative "guardian angel" that saves others from peril. Whatever the meaning, we need expansion on the meaning of the term in season two.
10 Who Is The School Shooter?
The pattern of the show so far hints that every moment is there for a reason, and every choice is hugely symbolic. Considering this, it only makes sense that the shooter wouldn’t just be anyone, but someone integral to the plot - and not just because they are the school shooter.
At one point, while the group of five is doing the movements, we see the back of the shooter’s head—and it looks a lot like the back of Steve’s blonde and curly-haired head. A possible explanation could be that it is Steve’s alternate dimensional self. While wrapping one’s head around alternate dimensions is hard, it’s not unbelievable that Steve would be a school shooter as an angry, violent, semi-sociopathic loner. That's who he was before he met the OA and found belonging with the group of five.
Other hypotheses consider Hap as the school shooter, or Myles, the chorus boy. Whoever it is, there’s sure to be some sort of symbolic reason for the choice, and we’re excited to learn more.
9 How Is The Russian Oligarchy Involved?
Prairie’s childhood is a fascinating and mysterious fairy tale-gone-wrong that is surely integral to her current experience. Her father’s involvement with the criminal undercurrent of the Russian oligarchy is rather questionable, and his way of getting Prairie to face her fears (forcing her to jump in ice cold water during Russian wintertime) seems like child abuse rather than a smart parenting technique. Could her childhood as a lonely, possibly abused child contribute to her now slightly disturbed current self? How does this affect her story? Could any of this be linked to the Russian government rather than the American one? What if Elias is actually a Russian spy?
There are so many possibilities, and as soon as you include romantic tales of Russian oligarchs, the story becomes so much more fascinating. We want more details and insight on this backstory and how it might contribute to what is happening now.
8 Are They Ever Going To Address That Car Accident That Buck Biked By?
Remember when Buck is biking toward the abandoned house and passes by some sort of accident? Although this is never addressed again, have theories.
At one point in the show, Rachel unveils the story of her near-death experience and mentions a car accident and a red backpack. That’s pretty much the exact scene that Buck passes by, right before Prairie relays the story to the group. This could be symbolic of several things. It could mean that Prairie drew inspiration for her story from what she had probably just passed by herself, which insinuates that Prairie is making the whole thing up. Or it could mean that it is indeed the accident that Rachel experienced, and that this is some sort of portal to another dimension.
What about what Batmanglij said about the interpretation of the audience, though? Maybe the scene that Buck sees inspires his personal interpretation of what Prairie is telling them, which would mean Prairie isn’t necessarily lying, but also that a lot of what we’re seeing isn’t completely true, either.
7 What Is The Symbolism Behind The Wolf Sweatshirt?
The wolf sweatshirt is found under Prairie’s bed along with the questionable books. She is also wearing it when she is shot, and when she first sees it in the grocery store, she exclaims "Homer!" It certainly seems like this sweatshirt is more than just a sweatshirt.
But we haven’t really had any sort of connection with wolves, yet. Or have we? A weaker theory is that wolves are linked to the wolf-god Anubis, the Egyptian God of death, meaning that perhaps Prairie is linked to the devil rather than an angel, in the traditional sense of the word.
It’s also significant that Homer has a connection to wolves: he wears a school sweater that has a wolf on it in one of his first scenes, possibly implying that it’s the school’s mascot. Brit Marling has hinted that this might be connected to his ring, as well.
Then there’s the theory that Prairie is drawn to the sweater because she’s seen it in her premonition of the school shooting, which she connects with Homer.
6 Is Someone Watching Prairie And The Group Of Five?
Several camera angles hint to this possibility. The question is, who is watching them? If it feels like too much of the blame is going to Elias, then let’s consider some other possibilities. Could it be Prairie’s over-protective parents, suspicious of the group of friends she seems to have acquired, and determined to find out what happened during her captivity? Or maybe it's the book writer, eavesdropping on Prairie’s story to write it without permission.
In all likelihood, however, the signs point to it being Elias listening in on Prairie’s story-telling sessions. If he’s the one to have planted the books under her bed, and she didn’t ever tell him her whole story, then this would explain how he would know enough to choose those books. But where is he hiding in these scenes? Among the six of them, you’d think at least one of them would have felt another presence in the room.
Of course, it could be just artistic camera angles—but we doubt it.
5 Can We Trust Prairie’s Over-Protective Parents?
There’s definitely something fishy going on with Prairie’s parents. They certainly love her, but their over-protection is suffocating, and they just seem… creepy. Filming Prairie at night as she sleepwalks is a bit strange, though surely done with good intentions. Right?
The freak-out in the restaurant is also a red flag. Did Prairie’s big reveal inspire her parents to involve Elias and plant books under her bed only to discredit her story so she wouldn’t be seen as "crazy"? Or are they somehow involved in the theorized FBI/Hap experiment? This could then be the real reason for filming Prairie’s sleepwalking escapades. On the other hand, it wouldn’t explain why they would consider having that book written about her, unless it meant that they could manipulate how the story was told.
As the endless theories continue to unfold, they become more far-fetched. All we know is that there’s some questionable parenting going on here, and it’s sure to evolve in the second season.
4 How Much Does Prairie's Drug-Taking Affect The Legitimacy Of Her Story?
There’s also the question of Prairie’s heavily medicated past. This is addressed several times throughout the show, and it’s surely playing an important role. The OA was medicated with anti-psychotics to the point of numbness for the majority of her youth, but at points during her story-telling, she isn’t taking drugs. Is this schizophrenia? Or just a way of dealing with the trauma she experienced?
It’s hard to track when she is and isn’t on the drugs, but it’s clear the creators have linked different parts with specific times when she is or is not medicated. The second season will hopefully bring insight into direct linkages between the drugs and the truth, or lack thereof, of the story being told. Then there’s the question of why Prairie’s parents, and particularly Nancy, are so pushy about giving her drugs. Could this relate to any of the theories brought up in the previous section?
3 Whatever Happened To That 'Project' Of Hap's Scientist Friend?
Probably one of the most shocking, disturbing parts of the show is when Hap goes to the hospital and visits his scientist friend. It’s revealed that this scientist, too, is keeping "test subjects" for near-death experience studies. This plays into the possible greater picture FBI-funded theory, but it also gives us insight into the relative truth of the story.
Hap was unlikely to have told Prairie about this interaction— so from whose perspective are we learning this? This must be true, otherwise why would it be in the show at all? This part might also be one of the greatest faults of the show, unless it is better addressed in the second season. How could someone conduct such a messed-up experiment in a hospital for such a long time? It can’t be that easy! Presuming the scientist’s dead body was found, they must also have found the test subjects. Answers to this question should give us some insight on other theories.
2 Is French Homer's Other Dimension Self?
When French sneaks into Prairie’s home, he stops at the mirror and sees the reflection of Homer stare back at him. French has also acquired a scar similar to Homer's, and they wear similar clothes in some scenes. If the alternate dimensions are a real possibility, then French and Homer being the same person in those respective alternative dimensions seems the obvious answer.
But, then, what about Batmanglij’s reveal that the "flashbacks" we see are what the group of five is interpreting? This could mean that this is all in French’s head, and as he gets more involved in the story, he starts to go a bit crazy himself. Wouldn’t this be far too easy of an explanation?
There have been other parallels drawn between Elias and Hap, Hap and Nancy, Steve and Homer, and so on. The mystery of the alternate dimensions, how they work, and the character parallels will surely be a recurring theme in the coming installment.
1 Where Is Prairie In The Last Shot Of Season One?
At end of the season, we are given a single shot of Prairie in a white room with a small window, asking “Homer?” One obvious interpretation is that Prairie is in a mental institution or hospital having just woken up from an "episode," or something along those lines. But the answer could be far more complex.
Remember when Homer successfully sneaks into Hap’s testing room and listens to a recording of one of his supposed near-death experiences? He hears a man’s voice say, “Your name is not Homer,” and “Do you know Dr. Roberts?” It has been suggested that the two could be the same person in an alternate dimension, and that Prairie is seeing Dr. Roberts (Homer) in the room she wakes up in. Or, what if Dr. Roberts is another mad scientist, and Prairie is waking up as yet another test subject and Homer is there as well?
The possibilities and theories are truly infinite, but one thing’s for certain: season two of The OA can’t come soon enough.
Which questions about The OA do you most want answered? Let us know in the comments!