The various contributors at Gabbing Geek all have their quirks. For example, Jimmy cares a great deal about hyphen usage, and Ryan loves the hell out of Broadway.
But then there’s Watson. Among Watson’s quirks is he generally hates TV. So, anytime Watson endorses a TV show, it’s probably worth a look. That led me to the myserteous Netflix series The OA.
Let’s face it: this show seemed to come out of nowhere. Not long after the streaming service gave us the fun and exciting Stranger Things, we got another unexpected sci-fi show with a central mystery at its core. The trailer for the show told the audience next to nothing. A young woman named Prairie Johnson reappears after being missing for seven years. She was blind when she vanished. Now she can see again. Where did she go? She won’t say. What happened to her? She doesn’t seem to be saying anything about that either.
Here’s a question: what’s the OA?
As it is, that question is answered. “The OA” is what Prairie asks everyone to address her as. As far as she is concerned, that’s her name. Why she thinks that, the pilot doesn’t say. It’s only beginning to fill in Prairie’s backstory when the episode, a little over an hour, comes to a close. Heck, the series doesn’t run the opening credits until an hour or so into an episode that runs about an hour and thirteen minutes.
As it is, The OA has a mission she needs five “strong” and “adaptable” people to help her succeed in. Her first recruit is Steve Winchell, a troubled high school student. She manages to impress the sometime bully, sometime drug dealer when he sics his large dog on her. While the dog initially bites down hard on OA, she bites back and somehow manages to tame/befriend the dog by doing so.
That’s the sort of weird stuff that happens around this woman. By the end of the first hour, she’s assembled a team made up mostly of high school aged kids and one of Steve’s teachers, all of whom seem to feel a spiritual connection of some kind to a young woman who is only starting to tell her story by explaining how she regained her sight is nowhere near as impressive a story as how she lost it in the first place. She wants to find someone named Homer, a high school football star who like her seemed to have a near death experience, though in Prairie’s case, we saw what she saw as a mysterious woman in a room full of stars. Was the woman God? The show doesn’t say just yet, but the price of returning Prairie to her Russian childhood is the girl’s sight, something this God-like woman does to spare the young girl from seeing the painful things that are yet to come to her.
Actress Brit Marling plays The OA as a mysterious, driven figure. She also co-wrote the series with director and longtime friend and collaborate Zal Batmanglij. I tend to like that level of cohesion over multiple episodes.
There’s some deep stuff going on here. Will it all add up to something in the end? Well, Watson thought it did. Let’s see if he’s right.