Brit Marling, star and co-creator of Netflix’s mind-bending and polarizing mystery show The OA, recently announced that a Season 2 is underway. Although she didn’t say much about it, her wording confirmed a major question in Season 1 and set up an idea of what Season 2 will be like.
“The first part is the story of a young woman who is traumatized and tells a group of boys this story and in so doing, allows them to face a moment of their own crisis at the end,” she said. “That is the self contained story but the more science fiction metaphysical threads are open ended, so there can be a part 2 in which we can dive into those spaces.”
Season 1 ended ambiguously. French — a member of the group Prairie had been relaying her story to — found books in her house that correlated to her tale, indicating that she’d made up its fantastical elements. To make matters worse, he also encountered her FBI therapist (Riz Ahmed) who backed this up. But Marling’s statement about diving into the sci-fi elements in Season 2 indicated that her tale was not fabricated.
There are three main interpretations for the ending of The OA Season 1. The first is that she made it all up. She did suffer some sort of ordeal when she was away; perhaps she truly was kidnapped by Hap, but made up her fellow captives and the metaphysical journeys into alternate dimensions in order to cope with her harsh reality.
If we can scratch off the “she made it up” angle, that leaves two other takes on Season 1: That one dimension is leaking into another and the boys she told her story to are versions of the captives from her tale. This is hinted at when Buck bikes past the red backpack from Prairie’s fellow captive Rachel’s story about her Near Death Experience, indicating that Buck is Rachel or the two are cosmically linked. Recall that Buck and Rachel are also both singers.
The most prominent evidence for this theory is of course the moment when French looks in the mirror and sees Prairie’s fellow captive Homer in his place. French also occupies the same space in the group dynamic, as a jock who is a caretaker.
But Marling’s statement seems to confirm the third interpretation — that Riz Ahmed’s FBI agent knows more than he’s letting on and there’s a Stranger Things style conspiracy to cover up inter dimensional travel.
“There were things we thought it would take the audience to find,” Marling continued in her announcement video. “Like to unravel the braille that’s in the background of the FBI agents office. Within 48 hours someone had posted it — we thought that would be harder to find.”
The braille she’s referring to reads “Rachel,” the name of Prairie’s fellow captive who is the only one who didn’t unlock a Movement in her Near Death Experiences. Recall that Rachel was also the only captive whose plant were dead in her cell — another indicator that she’s somehow different than her fellow captives.
If that stood out to you, you’re onto something. “It was very important that it was all ultimately solvable,” said Marling. “We designed the ending from the very beginning.”
The fact that she cites the braille on the wall indicates that it is indeed “solvable” and will play a role in Season 2. While there are a myriad of theories that can come from that — some think Rachel was an FBI plant; others think it’s a clue their dimension is leaking into Prairie’s — it’s safe to say the “she made it all up” interpretation is fading in the wind.
Season 2 will be out on Netflix at an as of yet unspecified date.