Netflix pulled a super sneaky Beyoncé-esque release just before the holidays and dropped a new series called The OA without almost any type of amped up promotion. Keeping the show shrouded in mystery totally paid off, though. It's a creepy, bizarre, dazzling, visually gorgeous and incredibly cinematic show that plays more like an eight-hour film than a TV series. The show packs in as much mystery as its silent release implies, which means the internet is already abuzz with The OA Season 2 theories that desperately try to answer some of Season 1's questions and navigate where we go from here (if the Netflix gods bless us with a second season).
Thankfully, show creators Brit Marling (who also plays Prairie/The OA) and Zal Batmanglij confirmed for fans that there are a lot of answers to the questions they raise baked into the show if you're watching closely enough. "There are a lot of clues. Very few people have really picked up on all the clues," Batmanglij told Variety in an interview. "Our sound engineer picked up on a major one that kind of blew my mind. I was like, 'That is designed for only the closest, creepiest viewer to find.'"
So definitely track down that sound guy on social media and beg him to spill his findings, but also, check out these other fan theories floating around out there.
The Books Do Not Discredit The OA's Story
One of the theories that literally made me scream aloud "OMG game changer!" came from Redditor whatsthisforanyways, who believes that Elias Rahim, The OA's benevolent FBI counselor, planted the books under her bed for one of her followers to find in an effort to discredit her story to them. It makes sense that Prairie would buy books about things that really happened to her in an attempt to better understand her trauma. Simply reading up on the Russian oligarchy, angel lore, and near death experiences doesn't automatically mean she's inventing her history. It could just be that she wants to learn more. As for the Iliad being in the mix — Alfonso jumped to the conclusion that it's The OA's inspiration for making up Homer's name. But the Iliad is a prequel to the Odyssey, which is about a great journey. Perhaps The OA enjoys reading a story of a war that leads up to a great journey because it mirrors her own experience, or what she believes is about to happen to her.
Alfonso Is An Allegory For Peter The Apostle
The OA feels steeped in Christian mythology, and the fact that it dropped right before Christmas seems to support the idea that fans are supposed to be drawing parallels. Redditor amythests sees The OA as a Christ-like figure, the five people she draws into her plan as her "disciples," and Alfonso as Peter the Apostle, who, according to Christian scripture, denied Jesus three times leading up to his death. When Alfonso finds The OA's books and doubts her story, he's loosely following the Biblical story of Jesus' death. Maybe doubting The OA must happen in order for what has been prophesied to come true.
The OA Wakes Up In A Mental Hospital
It's infuriating to imagine, but where The OA wakes up at the very end of the first season looks a lot like it could be a room in a psychiatric ward. The "it's all an illusion!" trick seems like a cruel card to play on behalf of the creators after crafting such a sumptuous show, but it could be that, rather than successfully traveling through dimensions, The OA simply woke up trapped in another cage on this plane.
The Five Are Already In Another Dimension
This theory hinges on two premises the show sets up. The first is that we know memory loss is a side-effect of inter-dimensional travel. So it's possible that the five have dimension-skipped already and don't even know it. The second part — the hint that they're already on another plane — is that Steve is back in school during the final sequence in the cafeteria. Steve has already been expelled due to his parents' attempt to ship off to Asheville. So how did he get back in school? Also, the cinematography of the final sequence is very different from the other present-day school scenes. The colors are extremely vivid, the lighting is super bright, and the whole vibe of the sequence feels more like the fantastic scenes where we jump inside Prairie's story than the present-day scenes of the show. Maybe that whole final sequence is taking place in another dimension.
Rachel Is An FBI Agent
One super eagle-eyed fan, Redditor mporso, noticed that a door in the FBI building where The OA and Elias have their meetings has a sign outside of it that reads "Rachel" in braille. Presumably, it's an office belonging to an agent named Rachel. Rachel is also the name of one of The OA's fellow prisoners. She's the only one who never received a movement in her repeated NDE experiments. The five movements came from The OA, Homer, Scott, Renata, and the Sheriff's wife. What if Rachel was never an angel capable of receiving a movement in the first place? What if she was merely a plant/undercover agent placed there by the FBI? This would mean that the FBI knew about Dr. Hap's work, was endorsing it, and conspiratorially sanctioned inhumane experimentation on humans in an effort to unlock the secrets of inter-dimensional travel.
It's almost too mind-blowing to bear, but hopefully Netflix gifts us with a Season 2 renewal for The OA to give us some answers (and, invariably, raise more questions). Content aside, the show is such a masterwork of craftsmanship that the creators deserve to keep making it.