This New Netflix Show, The OA, Is Like Stranger Things For Grown Ups

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Netflix just pulled a Beyoncé on us. Yesterday they dropped a new original series with minimal promo, info, or details leading up to it’s release. And it’s fire. The first trailer for The OA wasn’t available until Monday, the same day they told us that the entire series would be available to stream the following Friday. It was Lemonade all over again, except for TV. It’s a sci-fi infused series that will definitely quench your thirst if you’re really missing Stranger Things - there’s even a bald girl.

The premise of The OA is that a blind woman who has been missing for seven years is found with strange scars on her back, and her sight is restored. She won’t tell anyone, including the police, where she’s been for nearly a decade or how she was miraculously healed of her visual impairment. The OA is a mystery drama with supernatural elements and themes exploring reincarnation and time travel. Bonus: Brad Pitt is one of the executive producers. I only watched the first episode and I’m already planning to binge-watch the rest over the weekend.

Here’s what happened in the first hour. A mobile phone video captures a woman in a flowy dress jumping off of a bridge. An older couple watching the video gets really freaked out by it and goes to a hospital to meet the woman. It turns out the jumper is their daughter, Prairie. She’s alive and has avoided any serious injuries, thanks to falling feet first. And her vision is suddenly restored. Prairie seems disappointed when doctors inform her that she didn’t flatline. She doesn’t recognise her parents at first but when she feels her mother’s face with her fingertips she makes the connection. She also won’t let them call her Prairie, preferring to go by “The OA.” How Prince of her.

When the couple takes their daughter home, the family is met with hoards of reporters, neighbours, and police who all want to know how the OA managed to overcome blindness and an apparent abduction. She won’t talk to anyone about what happened. But the OA is obsessed with technology and using it to try to find someone named Homer. She records selfie videos on an old camcorder and in her desperation for internet access she asks a local teenage bully, Steve, for help. They become allies — not before the OA mind controls a dog that Steve sicks on her — and gets her some internet in exchange for her pretending to be his guardian at a parent-teacher meeting.

When their swindle on Steve’s teacher comes to light and his parents irrationally confront the OA’s parents, she kicks a mysterious plan into high gear. I still don’t know her end game, but she records a video that inspired 5 locals (including Steve and his teacher, which still doesn't make any sense to me) to leave their front doors open, join her at an abandoned house, and listen to the story of how she lost her sight. It’s a wild tale that goes like this: The OA was the daughter of a wealthy Russian oligarch who taught her about bravery and adversity. When she was a child, her school bus crashed off of a bridge, killing everyone inside, including her. The OA was sent back to her life by a divine female entity who warned her that to continue her life would mean facing hardships and suffering. (She must have seen the 2016 election coming.) The woman also took the OA’s eyesight so that she wouldn’t be able to see what was coming.

So we know how The OA was blinded. But what was she doing for seven years? Who is Homer and how do they know each other? What are those weird marks on her back? What does the OA even mean?
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