I thought I was done writing about The OA. Last week, I discussed Netflix’s announcement that the show was cancelled following the conclusion of its second season. Now, some people are saying that this is just a marketing ploy to set up a third season of the show. Normally, I’d say that sounds like a conspiracy theory created by desperate people clinging to the hope that their failed show will come back. After taking a look at the (possible) clues Netflix left behind, I’m not so sure the cancellation is a thing. It’s also inspired me to take a second look at a Netflix series I once called a “stone cold loser.”
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
I once vowed that this column would stay spoiler-free. Now, I have to be that dude who goes back on his word. It’s not without good reason though. Simply put, there’s no way to discuss the possibility that The OA might come back without discussing its second season. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how the second season has led to this conspiracy theory that the cancellation is all part of the plot to set up a (potential) third season.
The Dimension of Playing Oneself
Apparently, the second season’s finale plunged the character into another new dimension. In it, The OA’s cast played fictionalized versions of themselves. In other words, The OA/Prairie, played by actress Brit Marling, plays Brit Marling in this new dimension. It’s the same for some of the other characters/actors in this show, notably Hap (Jason Isaacs), Steve (Paddy Gibson), and Buck (Ian Alexander). In this dimension, Brit, Jason, Paddy, and Ian are working on a TV series called The OA. Weird, huh?
It’s important to note that there are some differences between The OA’s third dimension and our reality. For example, in The OA’s world, Marling and Isaacs are married. (In our world, which I’m now starting to question, the two aren’t husband and wife.) Many are calling this approach a “meta-narrative” both inside and outside the show. If that’s the case, then the cancellation is part of a larger marketing campaign. Okay, so the show might be too clever for its own good, but how does that equate to a (possibly) staged cancellation
Netflix Didn’t Really Say “Goodbye” to The OA
That’s what some people believe, and there is some evidence to back it up. In its press release about the cancellation, the Netflix mentioned that it hopes to continue to work with Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij (The OA co-creator) in “this and perhaps many other dimensions.” Don’t you find that a bit suspicious from a show that’s about people jumping between alternate dimensions. I have to admit that the language is hardly what I’d expect in a severance letter.
There was something said in season two that some fans consider a clue. The character Fola (Zendaya) says that, “At a certain point, the puzzle goes IRL.” IRL is a popular acronym for “in real life.” So, what exactly did Fola say there? Have Brit and Zal transposed our worry for the characters in the show to concern about the show in ours? This is what many people are doing now IRL. The joke could be on them if the cancellation is part of the marketing campaign and Netflix plans to bring The OA back to TV.
There are some who think that actress Brit Marling is dribbling out clues that the show will return. You’ll find plenty of evidence of this on social media. These folks tend to see hints and clues in everything Marling says, tweets, and posts. Some point to this April 17 tweet, which was made by Marling through her official Twitter account, @The_OA. In it, she describes her appearance on Ellen Degeneres’s talk show as a “jump.” This does muddy the waters between what is a fictional TV show and reality.
The Cult of The OA
It seems like a cult has popped up around this original series. There are also people publicly performing these movements in hopes that their efforts will bring the show back. If you search social media, you can’t miss this stuff, especially if you use type in #TheOA on Twitter and Instagram. Do you want to get in on the fun? There are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to do the show’s “five movements.” Here’s one of them:
Personally, I think this is all a little complicated for five movements, but whatever. If it makes you feel good, and doesn’t harm anyone else, then I say go for it. There are worse things a person could do. If you do intend to use this video to learn the movements, there is one warning: it’s 18 minutes and 26 seconds that you’ll never get back.
Here’s What I Think…
…The creators of The OA are trying to tell us something, and the message is simple and true. It’s not about travelling between different words, realities, or dimensions. It’s about questioning the nature of the reality we live in, and doing something to change that. The goal is to live a more fulfilling life in this dimension. And the five movements? Those are a metaphor meant to encourage us to do something to change our lives. Does this mean I’m going to watch The OA’s second season? Probably not. Sitting around watching TV shows won’t help me make the changes I want to make in my life.