FUN/STREAMING FRIDAY: “The OA” Returns

You read that right. That show we all obsessed about two years ago is coming back to Netflix. I’m not sure anyone was really pining for it to come back, but it is. I’m talking about The OA.

Remember “The OA?”

If you don’t remember, here’s a quick reminder. A young woman, missing for seven years, returns and seems to exhibit some really weird tendencies. We learn that she was held captive by a total weirdo who caused her and her fellow prisoners to die over and over again to try to understand… something.

The show got weirder and weirder and in the end we were all left with a disturbing dichotomy. We were either asked to believe that “The OA,” the titular character, truly could transcend death and travel to other dimensions… or that she is just crazy and that she made everything up in order to get attention. The show ends with a cliffhanger that made most people simply wish they hadn’t started watching.

I posted my questions about it here, and in the end I decided it was just a poorly produced show and didn’t give it another thought. Turns out, someone else was doing some thinking of their own.

The season 2 trailer dropped a few weeks ago and I finally got to watching it.

So, it seems that OA wasn’t just nutso, she actually did travel into another dimension. Who knows, maybe she’s in the dimension where Mr. Robot takes place. Whatever it is, she’s not where she was, since apparently no one has heard of Barack Obama. Presumably there are other changes too but the trailer doesn’t reveal them.

It’s still the same question, but bigger

So, the question that most of us had after season 1 was, “was it just a con job?” and I think that still applies. The trailer could be deliberately teasing or misleading us, or it could be something bigger and more insidious.

I think it is.

I think Brit Marling, who created the show with a partner and plays the titular OA, is literally playing a trick on the world. She gained some initial fame by writing The East and Another Earth, both films that center around seemingly unbelievable things that we’re asked to believe. Neither film had a truly satisfactory conclusion, just like The OA. I think that Ms. Marling is simply seeing how long she can get the entertainment industry, and by extension the public to confuse ambiguity with mystery.

Let me put it another way. I think that she has a talent for creating thoughtful pieces of entertainment that ask more questions than they answer. By itself that’s not a bad thing. I think that’s a great talent, but sooner or later people want answers from their popular entertainment. Ask the producers of Lost, who famously created a complete mythology that utterly totally collapsed when it became obvious that the writers didn’t know where to go. Ask anyone who has read Stephen King’s epic The Dark Tower which ends so frustratingly that it almost seems as if King intentionally played a 30-year-long con on the reader.

If Ms. Marling is doing little more than conning the audience, she shouldn’t worry. If she’s following in the footsteps of J. J. Abrams or Stephen King, she has little to fear. And, she would most likely point out that I am a humble blogger and more than a little jealous of someone much younger and much more successful. To which I say, guilty as charged.

But, Ms. Marling, I hope you’ll forgive me if I show no further interest in The OA or your other projects. You’ll likely get paid either way, and I’ll simply have one less concern in life.