With episode 2, we move from the Angel of Death to Treasure Island, which makes it sound like the OA is staying on a pirate ship instead of in a mental health facility. I suppose, with Hap in charge, that’s basically true. Will there be buried treasure in this episode?
Homer’s alarm wakes him up in the early morning by saying, “Good morning, Dr Roberts, you’ve had 56 minutes of REM sleep.” Alarm lady repeats the message until Homer turns her off. Interesting that Homer likes to be called Dr Roberts when he’s off duty, too, and he keeps track of how much time he spends in a dream state. Maybe the Homer from the other dimension visits him in his dreams, and he’s trying to maintain the separation by using his formal title.
Homer Dr Roberts gets up, does some pull ups, then eats breakfast while watching a video on shared psychotic disorder. When he’s done, he rides his bike to work.
Prairie, who is now in a straight jacket, is taken to see Hap again. She has to climb a spiral staircase to get to his office, which looks like a room at the top of an old tower or a ship’s captain’s office. It has 360 degree windows with a view of the bay. Hap apologizes that Prairie has to wear the jacket.
Prairie had to climb stairs to Hap’s office in the other dimension, too. That house also had a scenic view and large windows to show it off.
Prairie only wants to know about Homer, but Hap quickly gets her talking about their experiences with dimensional travel. The differences between Hap and Dr Hunter Percy are similar to the ones between OA and Nina.
Hap: “I was wrong. Near Death Experiences are not glimpses into an afterlife. They’re glimpses into other lives.”
OA: ” The Garden of Forking Paths.”
Hap: “A self that made different choices and somehow became a different person.”
Prairie still doesn’t understand why Homer doesn’t remember her. Hap says they’ll figure that out. He picks up a set of of nesting Russian dolls, and uses them to show her that inside the physical body, there is a soul (according to Prairie) or the mind or consciousness (according to Hap).
Hap tells her that a few days after he left her on the side of the road at the end of Part 1, he got everyone out of their cells and took them to an open field, then drugged them with a fatal dose of sodium pentathol, including himself. Either they did the movements and transferred to another dimension, or they all died with their bodies.
When he unties their arms, Homer runs, but he doesn’t get far before he realizes that he’ll die and also doom the others, so he goes back to the circle. Rachel promises that they’ll get Hap in the next dimension, after they jump. The group does the movements together.
Suddenly, they’re in a hospital, sitting in a circle, with carbon monoxide alarms blaring. Hap bursts out laughing, and can’t stop. Homer is unconscious. Scott jumps up, stumbles over to Hap, and strangles him with all of his strength. Rachel wakes up Homer.
After a minute, Homer rescues Hap from Scott. Scott can’t believe what he’s seeing and asks Homer what’s wrong with him. Hap is shocked, too. Homer betrayed OA and the captives again.
(The first “betrayal” was in Part 1 when he helped kidnap Renata by sleeping with her in Cuba and didn’t try to escape or get help for the captives.)
Hap: “Like you always said, ‘Same play, different cast.”
OA: “Across many dimensions, through time.”
Hap: “We’re bound together, you and I, Prairie. We’re discovering the science of destiny. Neil Armstrong was a walk in the park compared to this.”
Hap can still only see his own desires and delusions of grandeur, and has no sense of the needs or desires of others. He desperately wants OA to join him in his work, since his death energy can only take a project so far. He wants control of her powerful lifeforce as much as he wants to master dimensional travel.
Prairie is all about life, hope and empathy. Her thoughts are still on Homer, not just as her lost boyfriend, but as her companion of 7 years, who’s gone missing.
Hap dismisses Dimension 1 (D1) Homer, the original Homer, saying he’s dead in a field in North Dakota. Hap tells OA that Dimension 2 (D2) Homer/Dr Roberts worships Dr Percy, implying that OA will never sway him to her side, so she might as well give up on him.
OA is disbelieving. “It can’t have been for nothing.”
Hap is flabbergasted that she could think that way because of Homer. He has science questions that need to be answered. Who cares if he loses a few lab rats along the way? When Hap is done listing his questions, he asks if Prairie understands the implications of their latest discovery.
Hap: “It’s Godlike, Prairie.”
He finally gets to the million dollar question. How did Prairie find them, out of all the dimensions in the multiverse? Hap took a step into the dark and is lucky that he came to a universe that’s as comfortable for him as it is. But Prairie navigated to the place she wanted to go, somehow.
How did she direct herself?
Prairie turns her body fully toward Hap and sets her jaw. There will be no more cooperating today.
Hap accepts her answer, for now. He calls the orderlies to get her, telling them she’s been uncooperative.
OA argues that she’s not uncooperative, and she promises she’ll wake Homer up and escape. She calls Hap a prison warden, not a scientist.
Hap: “You’re clouded by the past, Prairie. It’s okay. Maybe one day, we’ll find a dimension where you can see me with new eyes.”
That would be a very sad day, unless he’d had a lobotomy.
Hap takes a small clock and hits himself in the jaw with it. When the orderlies arrive, he says that Prairie used her head as a weapon, and sentences her to full isolation in her room.
Dr Roberts is there when they get to the bottom of the spiral stairs. Prairie runs to him. He holds and comforts her, but it’s a ruse so that he can give her a sedative injection. He tells her it’s so that she can sleep and so that she won’t wake everyone else up.
Prairie tells him that he’s forgotten who he is, but he’ll remember.
Hap and the clock suggests that time isn’t on his side, and he’ll be the agent of his own undoing. Dr Roberts giving Prairie the sedative is just irony all over the place, with him telling us exactly what Homer’s been doing to stay sane in that place without her. As far as Homer knew, she was dead, so he’s been grieving her.
Karim has spent the rest of the night staking out CURI from his car. In the morning, the dreamers are loaded onto a bus, but two women head for the bar down the block, so Karim follows, after a quick in-car grooming session.
He orders a PBR, with the cap, because he wants to know his future. He gestures toward the two dreamers from CURI, trying to start a conversation, but they try to shut him down. They can’t talk to reporters because of their NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). And they saw him sleeping in his car. His coolness factor has dropped exponentially. They hammer it home by dissing his poor little orange car, but Karim likes the color. When one of the women makes the suggestion, he says that he doesn’t want to paint it.
Karim gets the 5 of hearts on his bottle cap. The women tell him it means he’ll fall in love 5 times. He still has a few love affairs left.
He confesses that he’s a detective searching for a missing girl and flashes Michelle’s photo. The women say CURI doesn’t hire girls that young. Karim asks them to clarify what they mean by that. One of the women doesn’t want to get any further involved and risk her dream job, so she leaves.
Get it? Dream job?
Karim continues talking to Carmen, explaining what he knows so far and making educated guesses about CURI. He guesses that she was recruited because she’s a particular kind of dreamer, and shows her the game on his phone to ask if that’s how she was recruited, but she doesn’t recognize it. He can tell from the look on her face, so he says that he doesn’t want her to risk her dream job, but if there’s anything she can tell him that would help him find Michelle, he needs to know.
Carmen says that there is one thing, but they need to go someplace else, so they take a walk. She explains that each night, each dreamer has 4 or 5 dreams, and they’re woken up after their REM cycles to record their dreams.
An older British woman who uses a wheelchair, Dr Marlow Rhodes, listens to hundreds of the dreams every night. Carmen thinks the woman is looking for something, but she doesn’t know what. She just knows that some dreams are more important to Dr Rhodes than others.
Two weeks ago, around the time that Michelle disappeared, Dr Rhodes quit her job at CURI and disappeared. Ruskin was furious when he found out. He hasn’t been able to find her since. Carmen thinks Dr Rhodes saw something that Ruskin didn’t want her to see.
Karim calls Mo and asks her to find an address for Dr Rhodes. Mo is currently working with a feminist author to make sure that her accounts aren’t hacked when her new book comes out. She has powerful magic in her own right. Karim asks how Mo is. She’s very pregnant, and feels as big as a cow. Karim tells her a joke: What did the sexy brown chicken say to the sexy brown cow? Brown-chicka-brown-cow. Mo laughs and hangs up on him.
Karim stops in at the police station for the questioning about Liam’s jump that the police insisted on. The officer he was supposed to meet isn’t there, and his racist partner can’t be bothered. Karim has a fit because Michelle, who was squatting in the green puzzle house, is missing, and now a second kid jumped out a window.
The cop tells Karim that there’s no way Michelle was in the house, and shows him security footage of the front entrance from the last 4 weeks. No one has gone in or out but Karim, Donald and Liam. (There no sign of Liam entering, only his exit.)
Ruskin calls Dr Percy to check on Nina. He wants Nina back with him as quickly as possible. They discuss whether Nina went to the house alone, even though she promised she wouldn’t, or if just finding out about whatever she found out was enough to lead to her psychotic break, which Hap insists is serious. He convinces Pierre that giving Nina time alone at Treasure Island to recover from her episode and to cool off after her argument with him is the best course of action.
Dr Roberts stands at the door and waits for Hap to get off the phone. Pierre tells Hap that he’s sending a new subject over in the morning. Then Pierre tries to go back to talking about Nina, but Hap cuts him off so that he can deal with Dr Roberts, saying he’ll call Pierre back.
It sounds like Hap and Pierre are business partners and Hap is also Pierre’s psychiatrist, which would be a giant breach of ethics. Even being Nina’s psychiatrist is unethical, but the code of ethics seems to be very different in this dimension.
Hap says, “Yes, Homer, speak,” like Dr Roberts is a dog. Roberts is upset with himself for giving Prairie the sedative, even though he knew it would traumatize her. He also doesn’t like using isolation as punishment when it should only be used therapeutically. In fact, he feels like he’s been a prison guard instead of a doctor for the last two months, and he doesn’t like it.
Now we know how long Hap’s group has been in this dimension. Approximately 2 months.
Hap undermines and manipulates Roberts throughout the conversation, playing on his greatest weakness, his self-doubt. At the end, he turns over Prairie’s treatment to Roberts, probably hoping he’ll fail and Prairie will give up on waking up her Homer. They both acknowledge that Prairie thinks Homer is her soulmate. Hap wants Dr Roberts to use that relationship in therapy to get information out of her. He especially wants to know how Prairie thinks she got to this dimension. For Science, of course. Science is curious to know how Prairie’s story differs from the other 3 with shared psychosis.
Karim works on his notes in his houseboat, stopping when he hears a loud noise outside. CURI already has him paranoid, so he grabs his gun and kicks his door open. It’s Mo, who tripped while she was getting on the boat. She’s investigated Dr Rhodes, who was MI-5 until 2010, when she went to work for CURI. She went off grid 14 days ago, and Mo hasn’t been able to find anything since then. Mo assumes Dr Rhodes pulled in some favors in order to be so thoroughly scrubbed.
But- Dr Rhodes was audited in 2013. Mo hacked the IRS and still didn’t get an address, but she did get the address of Rhodes’ favorite book store, Calendula. As Mo is leaving, the baby kicks. Karim doesn’t want to feel the baby kicking, but he squeezes Mo’s hand with love.
OA is taken to her first therapy session with Dr Roberts, which is awkward for both of them. The first thing OA does is ask if Hap watches the sessions. Sweet, sweet, cherubic Dr Roberts naively thinks that the sessions are confidential and that Dr Percy will respect that. Hap, is, of course, watching the session live.
Before they get into the session, they go over some housekeeping, with OA explaining why she calls Dr Percy “Hap” and Dr Roberts explaining the confidentiality ground rules as he knows them. If a crime was committed in the past, it remains confidential. A simple, yet profound statement. No official help is coming.
Homer’s weaknesses, self-doubt and the need for a leader to follow, apply to Dr Roberts as well. Without OA to help him keep the faith, he loses focus and his considerable strength is wasted. Hap assumes that D1 Homer is gone, and working with Dr Roberts will torture OA and the doctor, undermining their sanity the way Renata’s has been undermined. Hap has been away from OA for too long and has forgotten who she really is, if he ever knew.
From what little we saw of Nina, she seemed to share OA’s weakness, her “never say die” attitude. OA accepts no authority but her own, doesn’t know how to give up, and speaks her truth, no matter the consequences. As with so many truly great people, her greatest strengths are also her greatest weaknesses. I love her for her confidence, but it gets her into constant trouble and turns many men against her, or at least it would in real life. It’s probably no coincidence that her male tribesmen, in particular, are young or outsiders.
Now that they’ve each established their positions, OA feels Roberts out on dimensional jumping. Roberts knows the story that Scott and Renata tell, but doesn’t believe it. He says that he likes Scott, but he’s an attempted murderer, so Roberts dismisses his credibility.
If only Roberts knew the truth about Hap. He doesn’t mention his feelings about Renata, perhaps because, somewhere inside, he knows what D1 Homer did to her, and he has the decency not to judge her. If this is where Homer came on his NDE, then the veil is thin here, so memories and emotions could bleed through, even if the entire consciousness hasn’t arrived.
OA asks Dr Roberts why he doesn’t find it strange that Scott and Renata told him the same story. Roberts thinks it’s stranger that she has a different story, and asks why she thinks that is. OA immediately knows that Hap told him to ask that question, and tells him so. She doesn’t answer it.
Why would Nina Azarova have the same story as Scott and Renata, since she jumped months later, in a different place, and is a stranger to them? The only person who would think to connect them is Hap, because of his own previous experiences and ulterior motives, but OA isn’t going to get Dr Roberts to see that right now.
OA tries to remind Homer that Hap has used him as a pawn before. Then she asks about Rachel’s version of the story. He informs her that Rachel has a form of aphasia that makes her unable to form or understand words, speak, or sing. She’s been that way since she was in a car accident when she was a teenager. He’s been trying to teach her sign language, but without much success. Sometimes she’s able to nod in agreement.
OA gets Roberts up and doing jumping jacks, like they’d do each day in captivity, hoping to jog his memory. Roberts says that they feel familiar to him from football practice. OA reminds him that he had his NDE after a football accident, but this version of Homer has never had an NDE.
Roberts brings up Nina’s father’s death as a reason for her preoccupation with NDE’s, but OA says that she doesn’t care about Nina’s experiences. Roberts asks where Nina is, if OA isn’t her. She says she doesn’t want to talk about Nina, then makes a passionate speech about her and Homer’s experiences together as captives and how their love and faith overcame their circumstances. “That is why I cannot give up on you. I will not give up on you.”
They stare intensely into each other’s eyes as she speaks, but he ends the moment by giving her a tissue, since she’s crying. As she’s wiping her eyes, they hear someone in the ceiling ductwork. OA realizes that it’s Homer, experiencing the NDE that gave him his movement. He went to the future, in an alternate dimension, rather than a dream or the afterlife.
Roberts climbs up and sticks his arm between the ceiling panels to feel around for Homer, but misses him. OA says the same thing happened in Homer’s NDE. Roberts decides their time is up, and she needs to go back into isolation. She pleads for time out in gen pop, but Hap has Roberts convinced she’s too volatile and will upset the other residents.
The receptionist, Darmi, steps in to tell Roberts that a patient is running around in a pink coat and his underwear. He’s too fast for them to catch. Plus, there’s a plumbing issue. It all matches Homer’s NDE.
Before Roberts leaves, OA makes one more plea for him to let her visit with her friends. Roberts snaps at her that he can’t let her out of her cage, because he has to think of everyone’s safety and wellbeing.
Karim takes a scenic drive up the coast to visit Dr Rhodes’ favorite bookstore. He pretends that he’s been staying with her and wants to get a thank you gift. The bookseller suggests speculative fiction or a memoir. She recommends the classic Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler. They can deliver it that day. When the delivery woman leaves to take the book to Dr Rhodes, Karim follows her. The house is on a mountain, in an isolated, old growth forest.
Sounds like Dr Rhodes is ready to retire and record her life’s story, since she’s begun reading memoirs. That could be dangerous.
Dr Roberts writes up his notes from his session with Prairie. He has a flash of memory of being Homer and meeting Prairie for the first time in the other dimension.
Back in her room, Prairie cries in desolation and loneliness. She misses Homer, Betty and the boys. Then she notices that she has drawing materials, so she draws a detailed picture of BBA and her boys. When she’s done, she seems shocked at her talent. Prairie is a musician, but Nina is a visual artist.
The drawing is the same image used in the opening credits in Part 1, Episode 7.
Dr Roberts decides to let “Nina” join the gen pop in the rec room. He has to talk Darmi into changing her status in the computer. When OA is brought out to visit the others, the first thing she does is look into the aquarium. Then she sees Renata, who is confused about which story is the truth of her life. Did she live in Cuba until Hap kidnapped her? Or did her family immigrate to Florida when she was a child? OA tries to convince her of the truth, but Renata doesn’t want any more confusion and pushes her away.
Scott is next. They hug, speechless. It’s the first time they’ve ever touched. They take their first good look at each other since they left Hap’s basement. Rachel and OA sadly press their foreheads together, then all three share a group hug. Renata looks on from across the room. Scott tells OA not to take Renata’s rejection personally. Hap has convinced her that their previous lives are part of her mental illness.
OA: “We’re alive, together. We’re gonna get out of here. All of us.”
Scott asks how she got there. OA pulls out her drawing to show him and Rachel.
When Karim gets out of the car at Dr Rhodes’ house, he sees and hears crows circling behind the house. His book is still waiting outside the door. He knocks but no one answers. The front door is wide open, so he lets himself in. He walks through the cozy log cabin, but she’s not inside.
Is Dr Rhodes waiting for a spirit?
Karim finds Dr Rhodes on her back patio, with her back turned to him. She is a tiny woman, in a motorized wheelchair. She says that she can tell he’s not from the police or Ruskin. So who is he?
Karim introduces himself, and tells Rhodes about Michelle, Liam, the game, CURI and his suspicion that she’s either involved and quit because things went too far, or because she saw something she wasn’t meant to see and refused to continue working there. Rhodes doesn’t look at him while he’s talking. She watches the drone she’s flying amongst a group of crows.
When he finishes, she doesn’t answer. She tells him that she went through 20 drones before she learned to mimic a crow well enough to fit in with the group. Before that, the crows would destroy the drones.
The moral of the story is “go along to get along” or maybe “hide in plain sight”. Then she accidentally on purpose lets her drone crash into the forest, and apologizes that she can’t help him. NDAs and ruthless bosses, you know how it is.
Karim tells her that he used to work undercover for the FBI. He would recruit emotionally needy young men, gain their loyalty and trust, train them to be terrorists, then arrest them. None of them had thoughts of terrorism before they met him. Like her, he followed the law, but did things that were morally wrong. He implies that he can be trusted with her secrets. She asks him to help her find her drone.
OA tells Scott and Rachel about her time at home and how she traveled to this dimension. Scott asks how she was able to find them. She says that she thought of Homer, so he must be here. Scott’s tried to wake him up, with no success. OA points out the aquarium, and tells them they’re in the dimension of Homer’s NDE.
She suggests they discredit Hap instead of trying to wake up Homer. Roberts is watching them behind the 2 way glass mirrors, so they can put on a show for him. Rachel is Hap’s latest lab assistant, since she can’t tell anyone what she sees. OA tries to have her draw what she’s seen, but it doesn’t work. Scott says that Rachel can’t communicate with words, letters or symbols.
OA wonders how they can talk without words, which gives Rachel an idea. She goes to a stack of board games and knocks them onto the floor, scattering the pieces.
Rhodes: “Overlap Specialist. It refers to dream overlap, and that’s why Ruskin hired me, to find the patterns in their dreams.”
Karim: “What’s that got to do with Michelle?”
Rhodes: “That has everything to do with it, Mr Washington. See, CURI was based on a graduate thesis, written by a Russian student at the Sorbonne about a mystical phenomenon in Germany in the 1920s, where a few dozen psychoanalysts discovered their patients were dreaming the same dream. The rivers of Berlin were running red with blood, men in black shirts, paired snakes. I mean, this was a decade before the Nazis… Books have been published on it.”
[Could the Russian student at the Sorbonne have been Nina Azarova? That would help explain Ruskin’s obsession with her.]
Karim: “They had nightmares about a war, and then there was a war. There’s always a war. There’s a river of blood out there right now, whether someone’s dreaming of it or not.”
Rhodes: “I knew someone would eventually find me. I’m glad it’s you… See, it was Ruskin’s idea to use the same methods to harness the predictive power of the group liminal mind.”
Karim asks if Ruskin developed the game through the use of dreams. Then he guesses that it was Rhodes who designed the game, but she quit when she realized children were involved. Rhodes says that the game didn’t come from CURI. She quit because a line was crossed, but not a moral one.
Rhodes: “There is a boundary that must be respected. I quit because Ruskin crossed that boundary.”
Karim: “What boundary is that?”
Rhodes: “If something from the waking world enters a dream, it’s natural. If something from a dream enters the waking world, well that is unnatural.”
They’ve reached the drone, which landed in the center of a small pond, out of reach of the wheelchair. It’s time for some gratuitous semi-nudity in the name of an elderly woman’s safety!
Though he insists he’s not wearing a wire, Karim undresses. Rhodes says there are no precautions safe enough for what she’ll tell him next.
Rachel uses the pieces of the board games to play a game like charades. She holds up a green house from Monopoly, several kids from Candyland (teenagers), and the playing board from Risk, which is a map, as Renata supplies. OA figures out that, “Hap’s building an interdimensional map.”
Hap returns to the clinic and discovers that Prairie is with the rest of the patients. Dr Roberts is excited that Rachel has had a breakthrough in communication. In retrospect, it seems obvious for them to have tried a picture board or a basket of objects. Hap was purposely holding back her communication skills. But the Rachel from this dimension may not have been able to do this, since it’s symbolic. It could be that only D1 Rachel’s mind is able to overcome the physical brain’s aphasia to use this method.
Hap is panicking, because he absolutely doesn’t want anyone to find out what she’s seen. Rachel continues her explanation, picking up a tulip. Hap comes in as the others are trying to put together how the tulip/flower/garden fits in with the other clues. He starts shouting and creates chaos. The orderlies use a taser on Scott.
OA is carried away, shouting to Roberts, “Why is he so afraid of us if we’re just patients, huh?” She tells Hap that they’ll die before they help him travel again. Hap orders OA, Scott and Rachel put into isolation. Roberts is stunned that everything went wrong so quickly.
Karim retrieves the drone. Rhodes rewards him with a blanket and a story. Rhodes explains the process of collecting and making sense of the dreams, which Carmen already explained. Rhodes tells him that when thousands of dreams are analyzed and turned into images, the patterns can be seen. Last year, she noticed a new pattern amongst the women’s dreams, appearing slightly more frequently than coincidence. Within a week, the probability of coincidence was gone.
Rhodes: “The details of the dreams were very different, but in each, the same three things emerged: a tunnel the size of a coffin, a curved, double-sided staircase, and a rose stained-glass window… There is only one building, one building in the whole world, which contains all three.”
The green puzzle house, obviously. CURI was how Ruskin found ridesharing and blockchain. Both were confusing at first, but made sense after enough analysis.
Rhodes: “The house though, I don’t know what that house is or what it does. I don’t think anyone does. The game was designed to lure them to it. To prepare them for it. To help Ruskin figure out what it is. That’s…all I know.”
Karim: “I’ve been inside that house, It’s just a regular old house.”
Rhodes: “Then you have not really been inside that house.”
Back in his houseboat, Karim prints out a document titled, “They Dreamed of Blood Rivers,” by Nina Azarova. So she was the student who wrote the precog Nazi dream thesis.
He examines a copy of the blueprints for the house and quickly finds the staircase and the rose window, but can’t see the tunnel. Mo calls to let him know that Nina Azarova owns the house, through a Russian trust. She discovers that Nina’s been committed to Treasure Island. Karim connects the house and the clinic on a map of San Francisco.
Early the next morning, while it’s still dark, Hap and Rachel meet Ruskin’s van as it delivers Liam to the clinic. Liam is not brain dead, as has been reported by multiple authorities. He’s still ranting about all of his other selves. The driver tells Hap that it’s been 60 hours since “the subject” was in the house.
That means that OA has been in this dimension for about 2 days.
Liam: “I can see them. I can hear them. 47 selves. Don’t stare at the staircase.”
Hap:” There’s a seed inside every brain, and somehow the house awakens it… It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Every time.”
Hap has Liam laid out on an examination table, with the back of his head immersed in water so that the water gets in his ears. A plant seedling appears to grow out of Liam’s right ear canal. Hap delicately extends the seedling until it’s exposed to the air, but still connected to Liam’s ear. It grows a small upright stem and leaf.
There is a locked door at the end of the lab, with another keypad. Rachel looks toward it, but Hap tells her she can’t handle the truth, and he won’t trust her with it anyway.
Once Liam has been removed from the main lab room, Hap comes out of the locked room, implying that he took Liam into the secret lab. He hands Rachel a bunch of tools to sterilize. The lab door didn’t quite close behind him, but he doesn’t notice. Rachel does.
Hap goes to the other end of the lab to divest himself of his lab uniform. He looks at the wound Prairie gave him at the end of episode 1, and rambles on about the greater good of science vs petty human issues, or something to that effect, that’s easy for him to say, since he’s always the one in charge and doing the damage. He’s sure that they are explorers who have to move beyond their biases and reawaken their imaginations.
Rachel creeps into the locked room and is horrified by what she sees. She starts to cry as Hap drags her out of the room. He starts to tells her that what’s in the room is “one of the greatest scientific achievements…” then Rachel stabs him with a scalpel.
They wrestle and fight, until Hap shoves Rachel to the concrete floor. She bangs her head and bleeds profusely. As she lays dying, the camera slowly moves closer to her face, then her eye, and into her pupil. Fiery red sparks fly through her pupil, until they coalesce into the Crestwood neighborhood where the boys live.
Rachel and Liam are in the same position, but Rachel’s eyes are wide open.
We see through Rachel’s eyes as she floats down the street in the dark. The front door is open at one house. Rachel goes in and up the stairs, into Buck’s bedroom. She faces the mirror, where we see Buck’s reflection. He mother calls, “Michelle, Michelle, you left the front door open again!” Buck hollers back that his name is Buck, not Michelle.
Just in case anyone missed that the girl Karim is looking for in the other dimension is Buck in this dimension.
As Rachel gets closer to the mirror, we hear the whoosh sound that heralds the arrival or departure of a soul. Rachel’s name in Braille briefly appears on the bottom right corner of the mirror, then fades.
The house’s address is 9783 Sutter.
Rachel’s last name is DeGrasso. Renata’s is Duarte.
There are several times that it seems like OA and Homer have a subtle psychic connection that neither is aware of yet.
The brain seed and its activation in the house, which stimulates it to grow into a plant, is just weird, at this point. Is that what Rhodes didn’t tell Karim about? The house’s puzzle definitely changes something in the brain. But what is the meaning of it?
As in Part 1, gardens, trees and plants are a motif. What does The Garden of Forking Paths, which was also mentioned in Part 1, have to do with it?
Karim’s Mystical Journey
Fola was correct in her assumption that the game was connected to the house and preparation for the house. Rhodes’ assertion that Karim hasn’t really been through the house, along with the video that didn’t show anyone else entering or leaving, suggests that there’s a secret entrance that’s meant to be used in order to go through the correct process to awaken the mind or the house or whatever happens. Clearly, whatever happens isn’t something that can be analyzed in any normal way.
But what did Rhodes mean when she said, “If something from the waking world enters a dream, it’s natural. If something from a dream enters the waking world, well that is unnatural.” That was her reason for quitting, the boundary she wouldn’t cross. The house looks like it’s been there for decades, so it isn’t what crossed-over from the dream plane. She knows of several instances where dreams became reality- Nazis, ride sharing, blockchain, which didn’t overly disturb her, though she did take the Nazi predictions seriously. What is it that she considers so unnatural? Were there other predictions she’s not mentioning? Something going on in the house?
I have a sense that Karim may have entered another state when he went to Dr Rhodes house. It played out very much like a fairy tale. Maybe the green puzzle house isn’t the only place with mystical qualities.
For the record, this is his process of getting there and getting information from her, in fairy tale language:
Karim got the address from Mo while in a boat on the water in the Bay. Then he took a long drive through woods and mountains to the bookstore, where a wisewoman helped him and gave him an item that would help him find what he needed, the book, The Parable of the Sower.
He followed another wisewoman up a tall mountain to a secret place in an old forest where a witch lives in isolation. His gift was outside the door, but the door was open, inviting souls to enter, but suggesting the book was only enough to get him a meeting, not enough to pay for what he needed.
He passed through the house, as if it was a portal. On the other side, The witch, Dr Rhodes, mingled a robot and crows (very symbolic in folklore) and spoke of prophetic dreams. She tells him that she knew someone would come, and she’s glad it’s him (he’s a Chosen One).
Karim shares a truth from his life with her to show what’s in his heart (FBI story), performs an act of bravery to show his commitment and strength (swimming in gross pond-who knew those muscle were hiding under his clothes?), and undergoes a baptism to prove his worthiness to share in her secrets (he completely submerged himself in the pond, symbolically a rebirth to a new life and self).
She tells him her secrets, but not all of them. He is skeptical of some, but she tells him enough to convince him her secrets are true, and that he is her successor, the one who needs to figure out the magic that she could not. She shares all she can with him, without endangering him more than necessary, for there are evil forces at work here. He descends from the mountain to fulfill his quest and move to the next level of growth.
Karim has been on a journey through time and space all along during these two episodes, and female helpers have regularly appeared to assist him: Mrs Vu gave him the quest, Mo is his trusted partner (though she works in the background) who also represents life, Fola, Carmen, the bookseller, the delivery woman, and Dr Rhodes have all given him the next step or clue at the right time. Fola and Rhodes also mentored him.
Crow Symbolism– “The Crow is one of the most powerful spirit animals in the world.” It often means change, death, prophecy or magic. Dr Rhodes has flown with the crows for many years, making her magic exceptionally powerful, but also connected to death, as well as prophecy. She’s passed that magic on to Karim, as her chosen successor.
Could the movements of the crows and the drone mimic the 5 movements that facilitate interdimensional travel? Is that what Dr Rhodes was perfecting? Was she teaching the crows to do the movements for her as much as she was teaching the drone to blend in with the crows?
The one thing missing from the fairy tale is food or drink. Karim didn’t eat anything at Dr Rhodes house, which suggests he still has the choice to turn back and the transition isn’t complete. Dr Rhodes started Karim on a particular path, but he’ll have to finish it on his own.
He did have the beer at the bar with Carmen, with the prophetic bottle cap, no less, so that may be what began the spell that drew him to Rhodes. It seems like a stretch to count it as food coming from her, though.
Callbacks to Part 1
“Rachel” on the wall in the background in Part 1. Did Rachel write it there herself, hoping Prairie would notice? Did Prairie notice, but stay silent about it? Did Rachel visit the FBI as a disembodied spirit, or did she jump into another body? Maybe Rachel has jumped into Elias, since her name is behind him, at his place of work?
Buck rides by the remains of a car accident on the way to one of OA’s meetings at the abandoned house in Part 1. It appears to be Rachel’s accident, because the red backpack that the camera lingers on matches Rachel’s brother. The color red also makes it significant. It was a life changing event for Rachel and killed her brother. In this episode, Treasure Island, Rachel makes contact with Buck. Is he connected to her brother in some way?
Rachel’s floating view of the street that we see at the end of this episode is the same as the view of the street we’re given from Buck’s POV when he’s riding his bike, just before he discovers the accident.
OA’s drawing, as seen in the opening credits of P1 Ep7. In the credits, it’s initially covered by water, and possibly sand, then is revealed the way the sand at a beach is revealed when the waves move away from shore, foreshadowing Treasure Island.
I suspect that time isn’t linear when it comes to dimension hopping (look at the way Homer’s NDE took him to the future), and that areas where people are practicing the movements or doing other activities that might activate a hop, like having NDEs, create a thin wall between dimensions, because all that practice has the door nearly open so much of the time. That could explain the remnants of Rachel’s car accident that Buck rides his bike past in Part 1 Ep6. The veil between dimensions is thinning, and events from other dimensions are bleeding through.
In Ep1, Fola put an emphasis on the game/puzzle being a mystery, not a war, and on players getting stuck, not losing. She favors perseverance and avoiding distractions. It was somewhat unspoken, but she also disagreed with the gamemaker’s desire for them to work alone, since we saw her supporting others and looking for support.
Hap is playing his games like battles, and has turned interdimensional travel into a war, when it should be a mystery to unfold. He keeps a band of hostages to do his bidding and facilitate his research, but ultimately, he works alone. His concept that his prisoners are his collaborators is a delusion. Hap’s delusions and his isolation will likely eventually lead to his downfall.
The other characters are frequently stuck and might take years to get past the obstacle. The OA’s entire tribe is made up of true collaborators. Some are more persistent than others, but as a group, the 2 heretofore separate branches are able to explore mysteries, even though the outside world threatens to turn the members against each other.
Death helps with dimensional travel when you’ve done the movements and have the will to travel. Does death unstick you in other ways that allow dimensional travel? Is that how Rachel got to Crestwood? Did she go by accident, because she’d been thinking about it, or did she will herself there? If the NDE’s are actually short-term travel to another dimension, is true death long-term travel to another dimension? When you die without preparation, can you will yourself to a certain dimension? Is that what Rachel did? Does death unstick you in time, from loved ones, or from the tether to your own parallel selves? Or are you reincarnated in another dimension?
Hap’s Science Questions
How many dimensions are there?
Are they infinite?
Can we affect them?
Is there a perfect dimension, and if so, how do we find it?
How do you control the jump?
Do you understand what we’re on the edge of here? [He technically asks Prairie this one, then answers it for her, but I reject his answer and want him to think about it some more.]
Homer’s NDE & Karim as Spirit Guide
In Part 1 Ep 4, during Homer’s NDE, he’s wearing a pink bathrobe. He crawls through ducts (tunnels) and (we now know) D2 Homer reaches into the duct for himself. Homer crashes out of the duct onto the floor into a flooding bathroom, and runs down tunnel-like halls while being chased, eliciting a stress/fear response. Then he eats the sea creature (anemone) from the glass aquarium in the Treasure Island rec room. The creature is orange, like Karim’s car.
Images from Homer’s NDE:
I think colors in the red family have something to do with reaching the next spiritual level. Everytime we see an important use of a color in the red family, it’s accompanied by a major spiritual event. Karim drives an orange car, and discovered the dreamers while in a glowing red light. In his NDE, Homer is wearing pink and eats orange.
In Part 1, Prairie visits Khatoun in a red house, Homer eats an orange creature, Prairie’s purple wolf sweatshirt covers the books under her bed and she wears it when she runs to the school during the shooting. I listed other uses of the color purple in Part 1 Here. In retrospect, in Part 1, purple shows up at several moments that are important.
Part 2 seems to be focusing more on red and orange, so far, judging by the car and the window. We’ve also had a couple of glimpses of fire red, in Rachel’s eye and Marlow Rhodes fireplace.
Karim is already evolved and acts as a spirit guide, as evoked by his solitary nature, his home in water, and his use of orange to move through the world. The question is, where does he guide spirits to and from? In this dimension, does a guide function more as a detective, helping others solve the mysteries of the universe?
Fola seemed to recognize him as someone who could help her solve her mystery. So did Mrs Vu and Donald. People are willing to break solemn agreements to give him information. They implicitly trust him, for no good reason, just like they do with Prairie. Is he another important angel?
Then there is the fact that for much of the episode, Karim wears a t-shirt with a graphic of the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Virgil is Dante’s guide through H-ll and Purgatory. In the Middle Ages, Virgil was thought of as a great prophet and magician. Is Karim a spirit guide, prophet and magician? The OA could be described that way.
The 5 of hearts on Karim’s PBR bottle cap could simply mean that he’s responsible for saving or protecting 5 souls. For a more official reading, there are as many interpretations of the meaning of individual cards in a fortune as there are decks and fortune tellers, but the basic meaning of the 5 of hearts is:
5 of Hearts: Major change is coming to your home or family, such as a divorce, a loved one moving away, or a new home
Given his presence on this show, the approach of major change in Karim’s life is probably an accurate fortune. A change in dimension and/or his activation as an angel would be my guess.
The Parable of the Sower
Plot Synopsis- Set in the 2020s where society has largely collapsed due to climate change, growing wealth inequality, and corporate greed, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman named Lauren Oya Olamina who possesses what Butler dubbed hyperempathy or “sharing” – the ability to feel pain and other sensations she witnesses. As a teenager growing up in the remnants of a gated community near Los Angeles, she begins to develop a new belief system, which she comes to call Earthseed. When the community’s security is compromised, her home is destroyed and her family is murdered, and she travels north with other survivors. Society outside the community walls has reverted to chaos due to resource scarcity and poverty, and mixed race relationships are stigmatized amid attacks against religious and ethnic minorities. Lauren believes that humankind’s destiny is to travel beyond Earth and live on other planets, forcing humankind into its adulthood, and that Earthseed is preparation for this destiny. She gathers followers along her journey north and founds the first Earthseed community, Acorn, in Northern California. — Wikipedia
There are obvious elements that The OA has in common with this story. Both Crestwood, the neighborhood from season 1, and Treasure Island, are forms of exclusive gated communities which are broken. The characters are all kept in prison-like environments that become their whole worlds for all or part of each season.
Empathy has played an important role in the series, which has a female lead, like the book. Part 1 had many references to to space, from Khatoun’s star field to Hap’s interest in the rings of Saturn. Could the 5 levels be used for preparation to leave earth before disaster destroys it? Is the fifth level of dimensional travel to a moon within the rings of Saturn?
The sparks in Rachel’s eye as she was dying looked like stars and constellations, then she was back in her original dimension, presumably as a disembodied spirit. What is the connection between space and dimensional hopping? Or are they atoms/something quantum?
Dr Rhodes was examining dreams, and saw more than she wanted to see. Maybe she saw much more than she let on to Karim or Ruskin. Maybe she saw signs of the end of the world. She might have been looking through recent memoirs for mentions of the same ideas she was seeing in the dreams, to get an idea of how close to the end we are.
The mysteries of The OA are bleeding into reality here at Metawitches- The editing keeps changing things from the way I could swear I’ve done them. Ghost in the machine? Rachel? Is that you?
These long episodes take forever to recap. If you add up the episode lengths for the season, and figure that a “normal” episode time is about 45 minutes for most shows, the OA actually snuck in 2 extra episodes by making the lengths so long over the course of the season. This is really a 10 episode season. (And I’ve really recapped 3 of them. 😘)
Images courtesy of Netflix.