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  • Writer's pictureIlana Davis

The OA: A Conspiracy Post

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

This blog entry is less of a review/analysis, but rather a conspiracy theory for one of my favorite TV shows - The OA. The series was one of Netflix’s first originals, premiering back in 2016. Created and produced by, as well as starring Brit Marling, viewers can expect this sense of supernatural fantasy in any of her roles (The OA being no exception). 

The show has run for two seasons - parts - with creators claiming to have ideas for three more seasons. But the most recent saw the characters reach a major turning point in the show’s plot, only to have it be announced that the show would be cancelled with little further explanation. 

I’m not fighting back against this decision. If it were to be cancelled I would be distraught, but given its limited audience rating and exposure, it is understandable. 

But what if the ‘cancellation’ is, in fact, a part of The OA’s plot for the third season? Let me explain further, with the help of other conspirators and my own knowledge of the show and what it is trying to claim or even reveal about our society. 

Season One

Season one follows Prairie Johnson, a young woman adopted into a loving suburban family. Prairie returns to her adoptive home seven years after she’s gone missing - no longer blind like before, and wanting to be called ‘The OA’ (‘Original Angel’). For now, I will still call her Prairie. 

Reluctant to work with the FBI or her parents, Prairie finds friendship and comfort in four local high school boys, as well as a teacher at their school. Just like Prairie, these five individuals are lost for purpose, struggling to define the meaning of their own lives. Quickly they become closer, as Prairie reveals her own story of struggle, torment, and ultimate escape. 

It’s revealed that Prairie was held captive by Hap, a scientist working out of a hidden lab in upstate New York. She is kept in a large glass cage with four other captives, and are continuously subjected to cruel and deadly experiments (literally, they are killed and revived repeatedly). Hap’s research on near death experiences prove to be the catalyst for Prairie’s intentions with the school boys. 

The ultimate goal of the group is to transport Prairie into another dimension. This involves the use of body movements and dances done in tandem with one another, thus connecting the group to an alternate timeline of their own. 

Season Two 

Following a shocking season one finale which led to even more unanswered questions, Prairie does in fact transport to a new dimension - here, we can now call her ‘The OA’. 

The OA finds herself in San Francisco, but in a world slightly different from the one before. Hap is still a scientist, though he is working in a mental institution now - his patients are those that were held captive with Prairie in season one. 

Embracing this new dimension she has found herself in, The OA finds a way to escape the hospital with the help of a private eye, Karim Washington. Washington is searching for a missing girl in connection with a mysterious and supernatural abandoned house that The OA apparently owns, but proves to be even more deeply intertwined with her mission.

While this is taking place, the boys from season one (the original dimension) embark on a road trip across America in an attempt to find The OA and help her complete her new journey. 

The movements from season one are wholly present in this dimension - only they are performed by pieces of technology artificially mocking the human gestures. This creates a sense of past (season 1) and future (season 2) narratives being told within the show, as well as the struggle between the two points in time. 

The final scenes of season two are the very instances that leave me thinking that we are - in this reality that I’m writing in - living out the present moments of The OA’s story. It’s hard to explain, but here is a brief synopsis from wikipedia:

Prairie helps Homer remember his memories and manages to convince Hap to show his research: mutated humans in a vegetated pool that serve as glimpses to other dimensions. They are revealed to be Scott and alternate versions of French, Jesse, and Steve. Prairie reverts back to herself and belittles Hap for his cruelty. Hap corners her into a spot surrounded by robots that initiate the movements to send them to another dimension. 

Hap fatally shoots Homer and Prairie tells a dying Homer to look for her in the next dimension. In the original dimension, Steve and the group reunite at Treasure Island, where BBA can sense OA's presence in danger and they initiate the movements to help her until Steve collapses. Karim makes it into the attic of the Nob Hill house, having solved the puzzle, and witnesses Prairie floating in the sky. She suddenly falls down, transitioning her to the third dimension with Hap. 

It is revealed that the next dimension is inside the soundstage of a television show, where an injured Prairie is referred to as "Brit" and Hap is her husband, "Jason Isaacs", who has a British accent. Karim notices a version of Buck in that universe and calls for him, as Buck is pulled inside the attic by Karim, waking up Michelle from her coma. Prairie and Hap get inside an ambulance but Steve, having successfully jumped dimensions, catches up, reuniting with Prairie and recognizing "Jason Isaacs" as Hap.

What We know So far 

Season one depicts a traditional setting bound to the past; one lacking meaning, purpose, or something greater to believe in. The OA is in her purest form, in that she first discovers she is the ‘Original Angel’ while in this dimension. 

This past dimension has school shootings, broken families, and a sense of rebellion within the youths of society and those that are young at heart. It’s a past that one tries to escape from, as the characters themselves attempt to do.   

Season one transitions so beautifully into the narratives of season two, in that they almost mirror one another in plot and execution. 

The OA first meets Katun in season one, during her first near death experience. Katun is almost like a mother figure for the universe itself, carefully displaying one’s projections of themselves and what they could potentially become. 

In season two, following The OA’s dimension jump, Katun once again meets with her - this time telling her to ‘choose life’. The OA does, and continues to live within this new dimension. 

Parts of the series have revealed profound details as to the world the show takes place in: 

  • There is a puzzle game within the series… is the series itself a puzzle to be solved?… There are five levels to this puzzle. Have we seen the OA solve the first level (season one?) Does that account for how many more dimension jumps the OA will experience? 

  • Prairie, The OA, Nina… these are all identities belonging to the same soul, in a sense. The OA’s mission is to use parts of each of these identities to solve the aforementioned puzzle and explore alternate dimensions.... To solve the puzzle? 

  • Hap begins to cultivate a ‘garden of forking paths’ in season two, using the decaying bodies and minds of his subjects to map out the mult-dimensional universe the show finds itself in. 

  • In season two, the OA is in the hospital after jumping dimensions. She is examined for a head injury and is asked who the president is: the year is 2016, and the president is Joe Biden 

  • In season two, there is an extensive dream study being conducted on young women. Supposedly, dreams are a gateway to alternate dimensions and to understand this may assist those who want to jump dimensions. 

  • There are various methods for travelling through dimensions, though they ‘all require fuel’. We see the original movements from season one and robotic beings in season two. But in each of these instances, death must occur to move through worlds. 

  • The boys from season one are shown in season two to be hopeless, traumatized, unbothered by their potentials, and debating over whether they should remain home or go away to college. The OA served as their inspiration, an influential figure for self preservation and righteousness in the world, and quickly became a martyr for her cause upon jumping dimensions. 

  • There is ample commentary on the nature of both death and immortality, and the desire for each. Each character proves to grieve differently, understand mortality in his or her own sense, and cope with loss through different means. These facets of the human mind motivate the characters’ to act accordingly. 

What Season Three Would Look Like

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The OA has proven itself to be one of the most original and thought provoking series on any streaming service at the moment. The ways in which it works to reflect a society growing frail in hope and longing, and the external circumstances that results, are simply genius. 

For the time being, The OA is officially cancelled. But what would it look like if it weren't? How would it play out, given the finale of season two, which saw the characters jump to a new dimension so eerily parallelling our own? 

The way I see it, season one depicts a broken past fueled by loss of hope and a lack of belief in something greater. Season two portrays a future of endless potential, only for the characters to be brought down by the very things they desired. 

Whether it's called religion or science or displayed through prayer or technology, these two dimensions have been proven failures, as The OA no longer resides in them. But season 3 would hold the potential for change; to bridge the gap between spirituality and psychology or religion and science or whatever you want to call this dichotomy of belief that seems to hold mankind captive with misplaced meaning. 

Season Three is Based in Reality (An Argument) 

  • Tik Tok Dances: What has an entire generation been doing nonstop since the pandemic began? Tik Tok Dances and Trends which promote connectivity. Millions of people perform the same movements with little understanding as to why, other than the slight chance of fame - or an instant chance at immortality. This concept mirrors the dances done by the boys in season one, and the technology in season two; the movements are what transports The OA through dimensions (to ours?). 

  • Religious Questioning: The memes, posts, shows, and articles boasting existential concepts and questions about our purpose have run rampant since the start of the pandemic. This alone ushers our reality into that of The OA almost too perfectly, as the people of the world cling to their fleeting beliefs of a future that will inevitably hold different results from whatever scripture or news piece, self help book or scholarship they abide by. 

  • Collective Thought: Groupthink often occurs when mass populations are seeking the same resolution. Whether a group is motivated by death or life, wealth, or injustice, a sense of shared perceptions of the world is bound to ensue. We see this amongst social platforms, apps, scholarly environments like universities, and more. Season one saw a group of lost boys drawn together through the words of storytelling. Is that not what any good film, series, novel, or influencer preaches before the world? 

Closing Thoughts

Is The OA really cancelled? Are we living within the dimension with which season three is set? Am I projecting my own wishes for this show to continue, because I can’t fathom the thought of it ending how it did? 

These are all questions I’d like to find out, but for now I stand my conspiracy. And maybe, maybe, there’s a reason for all this shit that has been seemingly thrown at us again and again within recent months, years. Maybe The OA just hasn’t arrived in our dimension yet. 

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