Sunday, March 24, 2019

The OA (Season 2)

I’ve been thinking about what level of spoilers I want to put into this review.  On the one hand, talking too much about Part II would reveal a lot about Part I.  If you haven’t seen the series at all, it might be unfair to ruin the experience.  (Note that I will be discussing the first part here, so be warned if you haven’t seen it yet.)  It would also entail a lot of reading.

On the other hand, it’s not the kind of show where spoilers would necessarily turn you off.  The first part was known for being a bit supernatural.  If you’ve seen it, you’ve probably already made up your mind whether or not to come back.  I will say that the show has turned up the strangeness, leaving behind any doubt as to the nature of the storyline.  (If I mentioned that one episode featured a telepathic octopus, would you even care?)

I imagine that there are a few people that have forgotten about The OA.  Part I was released December 16, 2016.  Part II was released a few days ago on March 22, 2019.  We’ve been hearing hints and rumors during the intervening years, hoping that the new episodes would live up to their predecessors.  If you let your Netflix membership lapse during that time, you might want to consider renewing.  Part II has taken the story to the next level.

It starts right after the end of the first part.  However, the first half hour deals with Karim Washington, a private investigator that was hired to find a missing teenager.  It isn’t until the second half that we get any continuity.  Prairie finds herself on a ship, having some sort of chest pains.  She wakes up in a hospital to find out that her name is still Nina Azarova.  (She was adopted by the Johnsons and renamed Prairie.)

She comes to realize that she’s in an alternate dimension, where many of the same people exist.  Joe Biden is the president, for instance.  Hunter Aloysius "Hap" Percy is there, too, and it’s the version of him from the main dimension.  So, her story was real.  And several characters made it over.  So, what does that mean for getting back?  That much, I don’t want to give away.  It is discussed, but is a minor point.  Instead, it focuses on the mysteries of an unnamed game and a strange house meant to guard psychedelic spring water.

In case you may have been on the fence for Part I or reading about the show for the first time, Part II seems to have refined the writing a bit.  It is a much better narrative that doesn’t really drag as much.  There’s no ambiguity.  We know what’s going on.  It takes on the metaphysical aspect head on.  Instead of asking if there’s another dimension, we wonder what that means.  There’s even a traveler who has been to many dimensions.

This isn’t for someone who likes simple stories.  This isn’t Law & Order or the Hallmark Channel.  This is full-on Twilight Zone/Outer Limits stuff.  (Did I mention the telepathic octopus?)  I would recommend starting from the beginning.  I do recommend it for people who are looking for something different.  Netflix took a risk on such a strange show and it paid off.  I look forward to Part III.  Unfortunately, we’re left with another ambulance-chasing cliffhanger which promises to be interesting.  I just hope we don’t have to wait another 2½ years for it.

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