It’s like Lost 2.0, but a whole lot weirder: The OA, Netflix’s thrilling, new-agey, interpretive dance-filled masterpiece, is inspiring the same level of intense scrutiny and fan theorizing as Lost, which is impressive, considering Season 1 of The OA is only eight episodes long. But each episode is jam-packed with hints, clues, and easter eggs, leaving behind a ton of unanswered questions Season 2 had better address.
Of the many, many questions about The OA, the one that looms largest is, “Did Prairie make it all up?” Your opinion about that big question will inform your opinion about most of the unanswered questions below. Vote up the questions you think Season 2 most needs to address.
What Is the FBI Counselor Doing in Prairie's House?
After French discovers the mysterious box of books in Prairie’s house, what is FBI victim counselor Elias Rahim doing there? Was he watching the house? How did he get in without a key? Did he plant the books? Why?
His behavior with French is a little odd, as well. Yes, he’s a counselor, but it’s unusual to hug a teenage boy you’ve presumably never met in a dark house you just broke into. What’s his connection with French?
Who Ordered the Books Under Prairie's Bed?
Prairie’s disciples thought the books were evidence she was lying, but why? The books appeared to be brand new from Amazon and almost entirely unmolested (there was one dog-eared page, but that’s it). Steve knows she didn’t have internet access until a few days before she started telling her story, because he’s the one that hooked her up with a router. So even if she had the books overnighted to her home, how did she pay for it? Did she steal her mother’s credit card? Why wasn’t Steve more skeptical?
If Prairie didn’t order the books, who did? A popular theory points to the FBI agent planting them to discredit her for some mysterious reason. Prairie’s mother, Nancy, is another suspect, if only because of access and knowledge (she’s aware of Homer from the videos). One of the disciples - let’s call them the Crestwood 5 - may also be in on it, considering they know her whole story, so they would know what it takes to make it look like she was fabricating it.
It doesn’t seem likely that Prairie ordered the books herself. The box was covered by her favorite wolf hoodie, meaning she would have noticed that the box was missing when she went to retrieve it, which means she would have known the Crestwood 5 were on to her if she was lying. It’s also likely that Prairie wouldn’t have been able to read in English very well, anyway, whether she ordered the books or not, considering she was a Russian native when she went blind and there’s no evidence she learned to read in captivity.
If she’s lying about her past, she may have been able to learn English well enough in seven years, of course - anything’s possible if her background is a total fabrication - but why order these specific books? She had internet access before she started telling her story, so she could have looked up anything. Many translations of the Iliad, for example, are in the public domain and available online. Why order a new paperback? The Homer connection aside, what does the Iliad have to do with anything?
Where Is Prairie at the End of Season 1?
Is Prairie in a mental hospital at the end of Season 1? It kind of looks like the site of Homer’s NDE vision, when he ate the sea creature. Did she survive and get put away by her parents? Is she in purgatory? Is she a prisoner once again, perhaps locked up by Hap, who retrieved her using the five movements? Does she actually see Homer in this moment, or is she calling out to him?
Will Season 2 find Prairie with a new cast of disciples in an alternate dimension, or will she free her old cellmates? What is her new mission? If she made her whole story up, is this final scene just meant to be symbolic of her afterlife? If she’s actually dead and can’t return, will Season 2 of The OA not feature the Original Angel? It seems unlikely, considering how many loose ends there are to tie up, like how Hap’s prisoners pooped with no access to a toilet. Seriously: are we to believe they all pooped in that little stream? Gross.
Why Do the Front Doors Have to Be Left Open?
Prairie insists that everyone in the Crestwood 5 has to leave their front door open before meeting at the unfinished house. Why? She says that each person needs to "invite [her] in," but that's not really much of an explanation. Does it have anything to do with Hap leaving his front door open, leading to the discovery of the fifth movement and Prairie’s eventual escape? Is it just a trust exercise? Did she see it in a premonition? Does she want the neighborhood to discover the Crestwood 5 meetings? They eventually do, leading to a chain of events that ultimately prevents the school shooting. Is it all part of the plan, or just a made-up detail?
What Is the Significance of the Wolf Sweatshirt?
Yes, it’s sexy as hell, but why else does Prairie love that hoodie so much? Homer wore a similar one in captivity, featuring his high school mascot, but is that it? If Prairie is making it all up, as some theories claim, then why would she say “Homer!” while she was alone in Costco and then make her mother buy it for her? Is she just insane? Why else, if she was lying, would she invent a reason to buy a sweatshirt but not tell anyone about it? Is the wolf supposed to be symbolic? Did Prairie have a premonition she would be wearing it while stopping the school shooting?
Why Is Steve Back in School?
BBA bribed the military school thugs into letting her take Steve, which, presumably, combined with her involvement with the Crestwood 5, led to her being forced to resign from her teaching job. The day of the thwarted school shooting, perhaps a month or so later - enough time for Prairie to get on new meds, get assigned an ankle bracelet, and for her parents to put their house on the market, at least - we see Steve back in public school. Why? His parents were dead set on sending him to military school, right? So what happened? Did they think he was being manipulated by Prairie and BBA? Did they take pity on him? Why isn’t the little throat-puncher just in a different military school, one with more ethical henchmen?
Why Is Rachel's Name in Braille on the Wall at the FBI Office?
There’s no “in-universe” reason for the FBI office to have “RACHEL” – the name of one of Hap’s other captives, played by the amazing Sharon Van Etten - in braille up on the wall, but there it is, as clear as day. Is it just an easter egg, like Paul Thomas Anderson’s “82s” in Magnolia, planted by the show’s creators, hinting at a Season 2 connection between Rachel and the FBI counselor? Was Rachel undercover for the FBI? Does that explain why she never received her “movement”?
Why Did Homer Appear in the Mirror?
After French discovers the box of books in Prairie’s house, he looks in the mirror, touching the cut on his forehead. Homer appears, shirtless, sporting the cut on his forehead he got in Cuba. Does French actually see Homer, or is it just a hint to the audience that the two characters are connected? Are they actually the same person, just in different dimensions? Is Homer somewhere seeing French and wondering the same thing? Since French has never actually seen Homer, are we to believe that this is how French imagines Homer to look? Is this just supposed to indicate that French thinks it's all made up?