The OA Part 1 Season Recap
Published 3 years ago
If you’re like me, you are a huge mega fan of The OA. You started watching it in December 2016 as a skeptic and couldn’t get enough by the end. You asked everyone, Did you watch The OA? What does it all mean? And most people were like, What show is it again?
Well, it’s finally back. Part 2 dropped on Netflix and March 22nd and everyone is ready to dive right in. Except…
That was over two years ago and I don’t remember a single thing about it.
Well, okay. I remember some big stuff and then bits and pieces started coming back but I felt it was worth a total rewatch.
If you’re in the same boat but don’t have a spare EIGHT-ISH hours to devote to watching 8 episodes from Part 1, I’ve lumped them all together right here, right now. Let’s get started.
The Cast of Characters
Prairie Johnson, aka The OA: The Original Angel; Prairie has been missing for 7 years. She reappears and slowly tells her story to 5 other individuals.
Khatun: The spiritual figure OA sees during her near death experiences
Nancy and Able Johnson: The couple who adopts Prairie as young girl and raises her as their daughter
Steve: The douchebag teenage drug dealer with a heart of gold (maybe); part of Prairie’s five
Michelle, aka Buck: The choir-singing trans gender kid; part of Prairie’s five
Jesse: The mellow stoner kid; part of Prairie’s five
Alphonso, aka French: The all-American athlete with a scholarship; part of Prairie’s five
Betty Broderick-Allen, aka BBA: Steve’s teacher who becomes part of Prairie’s five
Dr. Hunter Aloysius Hunter, aka Hap: The scientist who holds Prairie and other captive while studying their Near Death Experiences (NDE)
Homer: The captive who previously died from a spinal football injury; became close with OA
Scott: The captive who previously died of a drug overdose
Rachel: The captive who previously died from a car crash
Renata: The captive who previous died from a drowning in Cuba
Elias: The Victim Support Specialist from the FBI
Episode 1 – Homecoming
This episode opens with Prairie jumping off a bridge and jumps to her in the hospital. We learn she’s been missing for 7 years. She’s reunited with her parents but doesn’t know them since she was apparently blind before her disappearance.
She doesn’t want to be touched and is sporting very strange scars. She’s released from the hospital and is taken home with her parents but desperately needs access to the internet.
Prairie wanders into an abandoned house under construction and meets a drug dealer (Steve). Since she needs internet access, she forges a relationship. Steve needs someone to play his mom for a school conference with his teacher (BBA).
Prairie pretends to be Steve’s stepmom and convinces BBA that her role isn’t to teach the kids that are fine. She should “teach the boy who needs you; the one who’s lost.”
With her internet access, Prairie discovers the video of Homer talking about surviving his near death experience.
Steve’s jig is up and he’s in danger of being sent away to a military school so his relationship is terminated with her until…
She creates a video asking for help. She asks for at least 5 individuals to meet her at midnight and to leave their door open because “you have to invite me in.”
We see the convergence of 5 people: Steve, Jesse, French, Buck, and BBA. She wants to tell them a story but asks them to “pretend to trust me until you do.”
She starts her story “I was born in 1987 in Russia.”
At this point, the show has been running for a full hour and the credits finally roll. It opens in Russia with a stark white landscape.
We learn that Prairie, then known as Nina, clearly had visions or premonitions when she was young with nosebleeds. The most prominent one is an image of her drowning.
Her wealthy father tries to clear her vision and help her overcome her fear. Her visions comes true when a school van of wealthy children goes over the edge of a bridge to send a message to their wealthy parents.
She’s the only one that finds her way out.
We see beautiful imagery as she’s floating toward the light and is helped out of the water into a universe of stars. She meets Khatun who offers her a choice – to stay or return to earth but without her eyes, so she couldn’t see the horrors that lay ahead for her.
Episode 2 – New Colossus
Nina goes into hiding to an American boarding school for the blind where she intends to wait for her father. We learn that her father has died and she ends up in the care of her aunt, who is also a madame (and apparently baby trafficker).
An older couple (Nancy and Abel) visits to adopt a baby but convinces the aunt to allow them to adopt Nina (who they rename Prairie). They soon realize she has “mental problems” and decide to medicate her.
She tells her group of five that she believed she had premonitions but she was medicated for 13 years and felt numb inside.
“Normal dreams don’t make your nose bleed.”
Her premonition shows a calling to meet her father on her 21st birthday at the face of a giant, surrounded by water – the Statue of Liberty. She doesn’t see her father but talks about the man that changed her life.
After the first meeting, she has to limit her meetings with the five to one hour per day. For the next session, she talks about the doctor she met in the subway (Hap).
She connects with him and his studies of Near Death experiences and voluntarily flies with him from NYC to an unknown place several hours away.
He leads her to her room so she can rest and she soon realizes she’s been locked in a glass box.
We’re introduced to Homer.
Episode 3 – Champion
Nancy is shopping in Costco and meets an author who wants to writes Prairie’s story. Prairie discloses that there’s no end to her story. It’s just the beginning.
We’re back to Prairie’s storytelling.
She relays the madness of no days or nights. with no sun or air. All of the captives are fed animal pellets and made to use the natural spring for all of their needs..
She’s led upstairs to help Hap in his home and quickly makes sandwiches for all of the captives, her first act of leadership.
We then see gas coming into one of the chambers and we learn some of Homer’s backstory, including his school ring hidden in Hap’s medicine chest.
Prairie earns Hap’s trust and becomes his housekeeper. She crushes sleeping pills and put the powder in a homemade Russian stew but he quickly has an allergic reaction to the tomato paste she’s used. She goes to the bathroom for the Epi-pen and finds Homer’s ring, as well as the body of August (a former captive).
They all attempt to write a note along with Homer’s ring in hopes of sending an escape message but Prairie loses it in the stream of the natural spring.
In a desperate attempt to survive, Prairie has an opportunity and pushes Hap down the lab stairs and makes a run for it. He catches up to her and hits her over the head with the butt of a rifle.
Episode 4 – Away
Prairie is dead and sees Khatun who offers her words:
“To exist is to survive unfair choices”
“Now you know sacrifice. Now you know what comes with this gift.”
She tells her to “Swallow the bird and you will know the gift of flight.” This is where she learns the first movement.
She cryptically tells Prairie that “all 5 of you must work together.” Prairie asks, “Khatun – am I like you?” and she replies, “No, you are the original.”
We see Hap who reveals that she had no pulse for 7 minutes and reveals his special relationship with her. “You were a happy accident. The others I had to hunt down.”
She’s back down with the other captives and tries to explain their connection: “We all touched another side and came back different.”
We switch to Prairie’s 5 and learn that Jesse’s mother committed suicide and BBA’s twin brother who died in rehab. Steve and Jesse help BBA to clean out her brother’s room.
Prairie’s parents convince her to talk to the FBI and meets Elias from the Victims Support Program.
“Knowledge is a rumor until it lives in the body.”
She takes a bit of a lie detector test with Hap. Turns out the gas is meant to make them compliant.
After a year, Homer is able to stay awake to remember most of the experiment. Three years pass and Homer successfully tries to make it work again. During his NDE, he finds a fishtank and eats a fish. When he wakes, Homer has the second movement.
Episode 5 – Paradise
This episode opens with Hap in Cuba listening to Spanish guitar.
Prairie and Homer are trying to figure out their movements and Scott doesn’t believe anything they’re doing. He thinks they’re insane.
Hap tries to unsuccessfully convince the guitarist to come back with him.
The captives are working on their movements and a cop shows up at the door. We learn that the cop wants help to save his dying wife from ALS.
Prairie and Homer start to develop a relationship while Hap watches. Hap takes Homer away.
We see Prairie’s five hanging out at lunch trying to piece the story together while Prairie talks to the FBI.
Alphonso is at the banquet with his mother who tells him, “You will be the man that you are going to be.”
Hap didn’t know what was going on the in the basement but he knew it was dangerous to let it continue. So he takes Homer with him to Cuba. Homer doesn’t know how to handle freedom. He freaks out in the shower and thinks about escaping but Hap makes it futile.
Homer convinces the guitarist (Renata) to come to his room where he has sex with her. Hap pipes in the sound so Prairie and the others can hear.
When Hap and Homer are back with Renata, it’s Scott’s turn for another NDE. In fear, he tells Hap everything about the movements trying to open a celestial door and reveals Prairie can see.
“She calls you the Angel Hunter,” he tells him.
Scott accidentally dies while Hap is trying to experiment on him. Hap takes him back to his cell and blames Prairie for the death. He lies on the floor looking very Christ-like as blood runs onto the floor.
Homer and OA do the movements together after 11 hours, the blood returns to Scott’s head and he awakens. He’s been resurrected and he has the third movement.
They learn that the 5 movements open a tunnel to another dimension.
Episode 6 – Forking Paths
Michelle’s parents are arguing and we see her practicing the movements.
Prairie reveals the movements they had learned:
First = Prairie/OA
Second = Homer
Third = Scott
Fourth = Renata
They wait for the fifth movement. Rachel has received nothing but they show that Hap wis trying to learn the movements too.
We see a scene where Hap is having discussions with his mentor, Leon, and we learn they have both been performing unethical experiments. It’s a race to the finish to change the world’s thinking about life after death. But Leon doesn’t want the competition and he pulls a gun on Hap. He defends himself and kills his mentor by drowning him in what looks like in formaldehyde.
Hap, clearly shaken, takes OA for another turn at the NDE. He records the sound she heard. When he plays it back and she confirms the sound, he reveals that the sound is from the rings of Saturn. She has traveled across the solar system.
Homer and OA talk about having a garden someday and the cop walks in on Hap watching his subjects.
Michelle’s father shuts the door and we see two lights closing out the episode.
Episode 7 – Empire of Light
Prairie/OA is back in the present and wakes up from a terrifying dream. She talks to Elias, the Victim Specialist at FBI, who tries to help the family normalize.
Steve’s life is looking up. He’s doing well in school. He meets a girl. And everyone meets to practice the movements during the day. Steve gets busted for the throat punch.
OA and BBA talk about the other dimension and her difficulty in letting go of her twin brother.
“Objects carry meanings in difficult times.”
OA describes the transitional state “like an invisible river that appears” but says you have to jump in..
Steve gets hauled off to military school and BBA follows them.
Prairie is out to dinner with her family and sees Alphonso working. She has a difficult moment when a girl snaps her photo. Her mother is frustrated that she doesn’t know what happened to Prairie. She tells her mother she’s the original angel and mom slaps her across the face. Alphonso leads her out. They spend time talking and he tells her to appreciate her parents, even though they medicated her.
BBA tries to help Steve escape and offers a $50,000 cashiers check from her brother’s estate for the release of Steve. She feels compelled to save him but Steve takes out his anger on OA when they meet at the house. He stabs her in the leg and she hugs him.
He asks through tears, “How did you survive down there?” She replies, “I survived because I wasn’t alone.”
She says she’ll finish the story.
Episode 8 – Invisible Self
Back to Hap and the cop who knows he has captives. Hap tries to cut a deal by claiming he can cure Evelyn (the cop’s wife) from ALS.
Hap brings Homer and OA upstairs and commands that they heal Evelyn. If they fail, Hap will go to prison but OA knows that they must help the woman.
She soon begins to move and speak and tells the story of being saved from drowning when she was a little girl. She’s been holding onto a message for years and finally reveals she has the fifth movement. Unfortunately, Hap gets it too.
He kills the cop and his wife. He drugs OA and drops her off and leaves her alone in this dimension because he no longer needs her.
Back to present day, the parents come to the abandoned house and walk in at a most awkward moment to find that OA has been with all of the kids. None of them understand anything.
She finally gives pieces of her captivity to her parents. Nancy pulls out the note that Prairie left.
French is trying to put pieces of the story together and goes to Prairie’s house. Finds books: The Oligarchs, Encyclopedia of NDEs, Angels, The Iliad by Homer. They lead him to believe this was all a fantasy story.
In the bathroom, we see Homer as a reflection of Alphonso in the mirror. Elias, the FBI agent, is also at the house and backs up the idea that Prairie made the story up.
We see Prairie is back to being medicated and BBA is packing up after an unsuccessful school board hearing.
All the kids are back to their same old crowds. OA is in the tub (with and ankle monitor) and drifts off. She awakes and suddenly says she knows what the dream is.
There is a shooter at the school who enters the cafeteria. All of Prairie’s five make eye contact with each other when BBA enters the cafeteria and they know this is the moment.
They rise and begin performing the movements long enough to distract the shooter who is taken down. But not before a shot is fired and we see Prairie outside the cafeteria window having taken a bullet to the chest.
As she’s taken away in the ambulance, Steve chases after her yelling, “take me with you!” The movement in the trees indicate that the invisible river is flowing and she’s ready to jump in.
Questions We Want Answered
Why didn’t the other captives warn Prairie when Hap was putting her in her cell for the first time?
How does Hap revive the captives after each NDE?
Where exactly do they go to the bathroom? Is that stream used for EVERYTHING?
Why did Hap keep August’s body? Why did he put Scott back in his cell after he died?
What is Rachel’s purpose since she hasn’t received a movement?
Where did Steve go after BBA won his freedom? Did he go back to his parents?
How can OA reveal the story of Hap and Leon if she wasn’t there?
Is Elias really an FBI agent? What are his motives?
Why was Elias at Prairie’s house? Did he plant the books?
Why would Hap discard Prairie? How could he be convinced that he could get the other captives to do the movements with him?
What’s the connection between Alphonso/French and Homer?