Netflix’s new show The OA ended on a mysterious note, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. The show slyly hints at this when the teacher asks the OA: “why do we always have to understand things?” And as our narrator shares her questionable story in the abandoned house, she does attempt to answer some of the many questions raised by her survival tale. But when it comes to understanding the eerie, inter-dimensional series, there’s plenty of unfinished business to explore.
Here, eleven questions The OA still needs to answer.
1. Did the OA fear a shooting because she heard about the shooter on the news?
Midway through the season, when Phyllis is at her house reminiscing about her late brother, we hear a news broadcast about a shooting. Did the OA (Brit Marling) catch this news too? If so, maybe the OA isn’t a clairvoyant whose premonitions come true. She could be, as Elias suggests, simply absorbing information around her that later pops up during dream mode.
2. How could she possibly have known that Hap killed his mentor?
For reasons not fully explained, the OA flashes back to a story about how Dr. Hap (Jason Isaacs) shared some ego-stroking banter over baguettes with the scientist who trained him. The show seems to present Hap’s eventual drowning of his mentor as the OA’s account. There’s one glaring issue with that telling, however, as we never hear the doctor divulge any information about this late-night meeting. When Hap is about to experiment with OA’s life, he says he got his forehead scar to protect the work, but that’s it.
3. So how do these magical group dances “work” exactly?
For reasons that remain unclear, the path to freedom is a performance of five movements with “perfect feeling.” The choreography does heal Scott and the cop’s wife, but the show doesn’t explain why these moves open up a portal to another dimension. Maybe it works because together, the group directs an energy current toward Khatun. Or perhaps it’s about the power of forging a new family full of desperate survivors. We know it’s the key—but the show doesn’t tell us why.
4. What made the OA the “original angel”?
According to Khatun, the OA is the original, but why is she so special? She did gulp that glow-in-the dark bird so she can “fly freely.” Not to mention she was Hap’s favorite prisoner—the only subject who could challenge the too blessed to be stressed scientist. But what distinguishes her from the rest?
It can’t be that time her dad had her take a super helpful dip in freezing water to prepare for the wild ride ahead. And for that matter, how much happens naturally or because she wants it to?
5. Why can’t this angel dance troupe stand to be called by their real names?
Prairie, a.k.a. Nina (a.k.a. “cabbage” to her dad), can’t stop reminding everyone that she’s the OA, even when she’s pretending to be Steve’s stepmom. Similarly, Betty Broderick-Allen corrects the principal with her abbreviated angel name just as she’s deploying that classic “I got to go, I’m eating a sandwich,” excuse to get off the phone with him. Perhaps the names “OA” and “BBA” are just meaningful to them, but why do they seem incapable of going by their given names?
6. What’s going on with French and Homer?
The OA and Homer shared a romantic fantasy while imprisoned—which is exactly what the OA is chasing when she recruits her squad. Homer certainly seems real. But in a chilling finale scene, French morphs into Homer in his own mirror image. It could simply be that French identified with the star athlete’s pep talks. But oddly enough, he gets into the fight with Steve that earns him a scarred forehead in the “Champion” episode; two episodes later, in “Paradise,” Homer gets a strikingly similar scar. Is it possible the OA saw a little Homer in French and used French’s scar in a made-up Homer story?
7. Why was Nina’s father killed?
The OA says that the Voi orchestrated the bridge tragedy that claimed the OA’s sight in order to intimidate her father and other titans of industry. Before he died but continued to live on in another world, it appears the OA’s Papa somehow ended up in what looks like a prison cell for reasons she never explains. His sister-in-law did run a house of ill repute and sell babies, so what was his connection to organized crime?
8. What was the FBI guy who was counseling her even doing at the OA’s house?
For most of the series, Elias comes across as low-key and on her side, only “passing along” the most crucial tidbits if they could help bring her captor to justice. But by the end, it seems like he’s much more invested in this case because he’s already lurking around her house when French breaks in. The likeliest explanation? He’s trying to uncover more information for the FBI, or maybe he’s increasingly obsessed with her disappearance because it’s just that bewitching.
9. Why doesn’t she like being touched?
Her need for personal space after years of suffering abuse is understandable. But why does the OA say she lived seven years without touching someone else’s skin? Hap touches her several times: once when she was trying to poison him with beet soup, and routinely when he uses gel to keep her hair in place. Either Hap doesn’t count, or this is just an exaggeration.
10. So where do they go when they go dark?
As the OA and other NDE survivors play a seven-year game to escape a life of torture, Hap drowns them repeatedly to record the sounds of wherever they’re going until he finally concludes that the OA’s been to Saturn. But the experiences are different for each angel, so does that mean they go to different places in their travels or is Saturn the main hotspot?
11. So was this town touched by an angel or is this one elaborate Netflix Punk’d episode?
French finds books on angels, near death experiences, the oligarchs,and Homer’s Iliad under the OA’s bed, which convinces him—for awhile—that she just made the whole thing up.
Here’s the evidence that could hint she fabricated the whole thing:
- She says herself victims suffer from amnesia.
- In the finale, she takes up creative writing. This could be an inside joke about her natural knack for storytelling, but it could also just mean that she’s weaving figments of her imagination together, and this was all elaborate addictive fakery to get her through some very dark years and give her troubled listeners something to believe in.
- Speaking to Homer, wherever he is, she says: “there are moments when I think I made you up.”
- She lost her true family and wants to feel special and connected, just like her listeners.
- The show ends with the OA asking “Homer?” Not even the seemingly extra perceptive angel trusts her own memory.
Why she might be telling the truth:
- The teens find evidence that the bridge accident actually happened in the ’90s.
- She survives another fall from a bridge.
- She miraculously regains her sight.
- Homer did appear to have that near death experience because YouTube’s local news channel clips don’t lie.
- She was gone for seven years.
- French finds the YouTube clip of her playing violin in the Grand Central subway station.
- Those scars.
- She’s originally from Russia.
- When she’s rushed to the hospital, we hear the “woosh” sound.
- The portal is an invisible thing that’s tough to verify.
12. Were we watching the OA’s story or just secondhand interpretations?
As the OA tells shares her story, it seems like she’s giving everyone her version of what happened. But the creators revealed that we’re not just watching Prairie’s questionable memories about how everything really went sour after her oyster date with a total stranger. In fact, we might actually be watching how her companions imagined her stories went down.
So by season’s end, we’re still left wondering if we’ll get any confirmation as to how much of these implausible events are coming from the OA. Or maybe her followers imagined it all took place, making the accounts even less reliable than they already seemed.