I loved the first season of “The OA”, or the first part as they call it. It was different, philosophical and spiritual at the same time. All the things that I love. There are no many series like these, that work with philosophy. German series “Dark” is the other one that deals with the philosophical question, though it’s very different from “The OA”.
“The OA” is a show made for binge-watching – it’s slow-paced and you really have to get immersed in its universe to completely get it. If not, you might escape its message and it’s philosophical nature.
You can’t watch it as you do other tv series. It obviously has a plot but that plot is secondary to the mind-opening questions it raises. It’s the first series that deals with NDE (near death experience) in such an organic yet deep way. Usually, there would be a super dramatic plotline involving people being brought back to life, then some mobsters would try to hunt them down, etc. Typical Hollywood stuff. It’s the same with “Lucy”: it has great ideas and great lines here and there but it’s no different from any other action movie out there.
“The OA” is qualitatively different from all that. In a sense, you stop being a spectator and become a part of the plot. You are not given straight answers and it is up to you whether you want to believe what is going on or not. The series speaks to your sensibility on a personal level. You are asked to think, not just observe. You are asked to think about this world, about Nature, the Universe or Multiverse, about all the things quantum mechanics is dealing with, too.
Both “The OA” and “Dark” draw upon the findings and theories of late Stephen Hawking and quantum physics. I would love more series like that. Series that will bring these extraordinary theories to the large masses of people and make them question the defined, materialistic reality they believe they live in.
Beware of spoilers!
I was very happy when the second part was announced on Netflix. I didn’t know how it would go and if the creators had only the first part in mind and now that it became a success, they had to make something for the sake of making it. If they had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve. Unfortunately, there are too many series with great first seasons and bad or even terrible second seasons. As if the creators lost all their ideas and creativity after that first season. So I went out to watch “The OA: Part II”.
In this part, there is an abundance of ideas but I feel like there are one too many. For the first couple of episodes, you’re not even sure what you’re watching. A completely new character, a private detective named Karim, is hired by an elderly woman whose granddaughter has disappeared. It looks and feels like any other detective show out there. Karim finds that the granddaughter, Michelle, was playing a mobile game that offered an indecent amount of money to those who manage to solve it.. Because, the game is a puzzle. I immediately thought of “Riverdale” and the deadly game of “Griffins and Gargoyles”. And all the other tv shows, movies, etc. that revolved around a dangerous game that lured unsuspected teenagers in. No, this game has nothing to do with “Riverdale” and I’m not even sure the creators were aware of “G&G” when they started working on part II. Whether the game is their original idea or not, it feels old. We’ve seen it millions of times before. Still, it’s impossible to find a completely new idea, because all of the ideas were thought or and explored before. It’s what they do with the idea that matters. But what they felt old and uncreative. Until they maybe shed some light on the game in the next parts, the whole idea is completely pointless and useless to me.
This game lures teenagers into an old and abandoned house. We later find out that that house was built by a Medium (wife) and an Engineer (husband) who made it into a puzzle so that the forces that reside there, in the ground the house was built on, would get confused and only those who are ready can solve the mystery of the house and look through the “rose window”.
Sounds familiar? I bet it does. It’s strikingly similar to Sarah Winchester Mystery House in California. It is believed that Sarah was told by a medium to build a house like a maze to confuse the spirits killed by Winchester rifles. She was told never to stop building the house because the day she stops great misfortune will befall her (or she’ll die). That’s why the house is full of stairs that lead nowhere, windows that open to either brick walls or the abyss, and the hallways with dead ends.
The house in the second part of “The OA” shares all the same features with Sarah Winchester’s house. It’s also a maze with windows and doors that lead nowhere. And it was built by a medium. It houses forces/spirits. It’s clear that Winchester Mystery house served as an inspiration for “The OA”.
After a few episodes where Karim is searching for the missing Michelle, we find out that OA died and was transported to a parallel universe where she lives as Nina Azarova (her birth name). In this universe, she’s the same person, but she never had a near death experience, never went blind, never became OA and never lost her father (though he died a year before OA woke up in Nina’s body). Here we have another idea – when we die we go to a parallel universe. Or at least we do when 5 people do the 5 five movements.
We already have a few different ideas – nde, parallel universe, dangerous game, Winchester Mystery House. There’s more.
It turns out that Nina is a medium and is capable of communicating with the natural world. She even performs it live. She sits in a chair and a giant octopus in a huge water tank behind her speaks through her. A giant octopus, seriously? It sounds like H.P Lovecraft and Cthulhu. I don’t get why they needed that reference, too.
With all these different ideas and referencing I’m left to wonder if they had any ideas on their own. The first part was an original idea centered around one theme: nde. This part feels like a mish-mash of dozens of themes. Unfortunately, not all of them are connected and too many of them seem forced. Like: Look how many cool ideas we have! Sure you do, and I congratulate you, but you should have left at least half of those ideas for a completely different tv show or shows. When you put too many ideas into just one show, it feels overwhelming. It feels too much.
I hope that the creators will find the right balance in the next season, something that they’ve lost in this one.