The OA returns to San Francisco and follows the journeys of OA and Karim in this episode, picking up with the aftermath of their trip through the puzzle house. Both Karim and OA build toward discovering their true natures. Karim goes through the house in daylight with the police, visits Fola in the hospital and finally meets the crowd-sourcing wizard, Pierre Ruskin. OA wakes up with the trees, meets Elodie, and finally gets to know Nina Azarova.
Episode 7 begins the morning after the end of episode 5 (and maybe episode 6), with Karim returning to the puzzle house, this time busting through the front door with the police in tow. The stairs allow him to follow his previous route, but, since he started from the front door, instead of the secret tunnel, the magic is gone, and so is the model house. The cops prepare for battle when Karim gets ready to open the door to the room with the dirt floor and lost players, but now, all that’s behind the door is a cement wall. All three men are confused. The spiritual realm has closed to Karim.
He must have forgotten how the house works.
OA wakes up covered in dirt, under the trees in a park, still wearing the red evening gown from her performance with Old Night in episode 4, which seems like it was a long time ago. As she leaves the park, OA stops at a drinking fountain. When she splashes her face with water, she has a flashback to the moments when she assumed Nina’s body on the boat, reminding her of Nina’s eyeball keychain. The trees were considerate and left her across the street from her apartment building, so she heads there.
Karim visits Fola in the hospital. She’s angry with him for taking her out of the house after she worked so long and hard to get as far as she did. He tells her that she was dying, but she thinks that was just what he saw.
A doctor interrupts to give them their toxicology results.
Dr Bradfield: “You each have dangerous levels of mercury sulfide in your blood. 990 ppm for Mr Washington, and for Ms Uzochi, approaching 3,000.”
Karim: “Were we drugged?”
Dr Bradfield: “You were poisoned. According to Environmental Health Services, it’s a naturally occurring gas emanating in the area. It’s been reported many times.”
Karim: “Right. And is that enough mercury sulfide to produce hallucinations?”
Dr Bradfield: “More than enough. Any more exposure could be very dangerous. You need to detox.”
Karim rightly assumes that Pierre knows about the mercury sulfide and is deliberately leading kids to the poison. Fola isn’t so sure that Pierre knows, but she already knew about the poisonous gas anyway. She says that everyone who makes it as far as the house has already heard the stories about it. She tells Karim about the spring under the house that was used by the Native Americans to induce prophetic trances.
Karim points out that even if Pierre didn’t know about the poisonous gas, he still had to notice that something was wrong with all of the kids coming out of the house, and he didn’t shut the game down like he should have. Fola explains that Ruskin is crowdsourcing. His wants the kids to figure out what the house is and how it works. She knows that it’s really about getting to the rose window and she intends to go back in.
Karim tells her she’s crazy because she’ll die if she goes back into the house. All of the other kids “cracked up” because of exposure to the gas, nothing more than that.
Fola: “So, what am I supposed to do out here, now that I know if I can get to the rose window, I can see the truth?”
Karim: “Listen, you’re extremely intelligent, okay? There are thousands of young, smart people playing that game. You got further than 99% of them.”
Fola: “Okay, let’s imagine I nab a cush tech job. Then what?”
Karim: “Then what? You know how many people would kill for that?”
Fola: “I don’t give a sh-t what they do. What do I do once I get the job? Work my way up, bigger salary, find a life partner, settle down, have some kids, get old, die and leave my high net worth to a kid who doesn’t even know why she’s alive either?”
Karim: “Why don’t you study philosophy or religion?”
Fola: “That’s what I’m doing. Only not in churches and not in books.”
Karim tells her that he’s going to tell the doctor to keep her in the hospital until he gets back. He’s not going to let her or anyone else back in that death trap.
The police patrol Nina’s building, since officially she escaped from the clinic where she’d been legally committed. Al the doorman helps her slip inside through a service door in the back. He tells her that three different men have been there looking for her. Based on the descriptions, it sounds like Pierre, Hap and Homer have all been there, but it could have been anyone.
When they get to her apartment, it’s been ransacked, but nothing of monetary value was taken. Whoever it was found the tapes and left one playing, which strongly suggests it was Hap or Pierre. Al wonders what they could have been looking for, since they left behind all of the valuables. OA tells him that her father used to say that, “The best place to hide something is in plain sight. Things that are hidden out in the open are the most difficult to see.”
Al says, “Then it must be right in front of our eyes.” OA realizes the meaning of the eyeball keychain- It’s meant to hide something in plain sight, inside an eye, instead of in front of it. She finds the keychain and figures out how to open it. It holds a hidden USB drive.
After his nocturnal investigations into Rachel’s true whereabouts and what Hap keeps hidden in his desk, Roberts has called in sick from the clinic. Hap always assumes he has the power in a situation and doesn’t bother to take hints, so he shows up at Roberts’ apartment, looking to find out what Scott told Homer about his NDE. Roberts plays him the recording.
Scott: “I was blinded by the bright lights. The lights were everywhere. We were in a warehouse. I saw OA. It was her and not her. Hap didn’t call her OA, he called her Brin or something. And he said something to her and she laughed and kissed him, like they were a couple. There were cameras in the air above them. Hap called out to someone, but his voice was different. He spoke with a British accent. And then a older woman, heavyset, comes up behind me, and says, “I’m here to give you the third movement.”
Hap listens closely to the recording, while Roberts watches Hap. When the recording ends, he asks Hap what it means. Hap says he has a theory, but he doesn’t want to discuss it until it’s been tested. As Hap gets up to leave, Roberts confronts him with the information that Rachel isn’t in the hospital Hap said she’d been transferred to. Hap admits that Rachel is dead, but says that she slit her own throat after Roberts allowed OA to interact with her, making it sound like it’s Roberts fault that she’s dead.
Raberts takes the bait and, heartbroken, asks why Hap didn’t tell him the truth. Hap sits back down and explains that he’s worried Roberts is getting lost in the patients’ shared delusion. Roberts looks guilty, so Hap knows he’s hit on a weakness he can exploit. Roberts is upset with himself, so Hap counsels him that it’s okay. This type of thing is an occupational hazard, especially for someone with as much empathy as Roberts. “It’s your greatest strength and your greatest weakness. But I can help you. Will you let me help you?”
Sweet, pure Homer Roberts looks into Hap’s eyes and says, “Can you?” in his most trusting voice.
Satan tells Roberts to clear his head, then they’ll work through the issue together at the office, later tonight.
Why does he want to get Homer alone at the office? Not for any diabolical reason that has to do with jumping dimensions, I’m sure.
Karim is doing research on a police missing kids database when OA knocks on his houseboat door. All four Crestwood boys are in the database (Buck is listed as Michelle).
It’s the first time they’ve seen each other since they took they separate wings of the double sided staircase after completing the floor puzzle in the house. Karim is upset because he hasn’t been able to find her. OA tries to explain that she fell asleep in a park, then asks why he’s so angry? He asks why she always disappears?
These sound like questions they’ve asked each other before, maybe in other lives and dimensions.
OA tells him a little more about what happened in the house, but he dismisses the whole thing by telling her they were poisoned by the mercury vapors. She pulls out her keychain to show him the real reason she came. There are videos on the flash drive. Karim plugs the drive into his computer, and Marlow Rhodes’ face appears.
Dr Rhodes: “Nina, we started in a pure place with your idea. ‘Listen to dreamers.’ That’s all I wanted, to listen. But somehow… This came in today. I wish I’d never looked at it. I’m out, Nina. I’d like to think this isn’t my fault, but that’s a lie I can’t tell myself anymore.”
The video switches to the attic of the house, as viewed from a camera situated above the rose window. Michelle Vu staggers into the room and goes to the window. When she opens it, the video becomes pixelated, then cuts in and out. Possibly, there are flashes in the room, then Michelle collapses, unconscious.
OA is shocked and needs to sit down. Karim asks where she got the video. She explains that Nina had it when she arrived. He doesn’t understand what she means by “arrived”. She tells him that she’s from another dimension, where she knows Michelle as Buck.
Buck and his friends helped her travel from another reality to this one, but she’s accidentally suppressed Nina’s consciousness, so she doesn’t have access to her memories. She needs to get Nina’s consciousness to come to the surface, so that she can find out what Nina knows that she doesn’t.
Karim doesn’t believe anything OA says, won’t even consider that she has legitimate memory issues. He blames her for what happened to Michelle and calls her a coward, saying she just can’t face her own guilt. He thinks she knows where Michelle is.
OA tries to get him to understand that she’s telling the truth, that reality is more complicated than he’d ever considered, but, as with Fola’s ideas, he won’t even listen. He orders OA off his boat and threatens to call the police on her if she doesn’t leave. He also tells her he’s still working on Michelle’s case, until he finds a body. OA says, “That’s your problem. You’re looking for a body.” Then she leaves.
Outside, OA calls SYZYGY to let them know she’s coming over tonight. Later in the evening, she dresses up for the occasion, trying to match Nina’s style.
Hap has Scott brought to him in his office and all restraints removed. He tells Scott that he’s ready to release him, but not Renata. Scott accuses him of keeping Renata so that he has someone who knows the movements, but Hap swears he’s done with dimension jumping. He likes it where he is and plans to stay.
He tells Scott that they can have his paperwork done so he’s ready to be released by the next day. But… Hap really needs a favor from Scott before he leaves. He needs help with an experiment. It should only take a few hours. Scott refuses at first, but agrees if Renata will also be released.
Karim returns to Dr Rhodes house in the woods. The screen door is torn, a sign of forced entry. The house is dark and cold, with no cheerful fire like the one that greeted him the last time he visited. He finds Dr Rhodes dead on the back deck, with a bullet in her brain and crows picking at her body. Given the placement of the bullet, she could have shot herself, but then why was the door torn?
Hap wants Scott to go through the house as a puzzle wearing a mic and helmet cam, so that Hap can experience the puzzle without risking himself. Hap continues to prove how loathesome he is. Scott is already distressed while he’s still in the tunnel, because he’s afraid of water, but Hap doesn’t relent.
Karim tries to call Mo, but she doesn’t pick up the phone, so he goes to her house. It turns out that she’s in labor, with contractions eight minutes apart. Her doula is there helping with the birth. Karim asks what a doula is, then moves on to his own stuff. He’s going to see Pierre Ruskin, so he wants Mo to hold onto the flash drive with the evidence he’s gathered so far.
Mo looks taken aback and starts to say something, but she’s interrupted by a contraction. As they say goodbye, Mo tells Karim not to worry about her, she’ll be okay. He says, “Do I look worried?” She gets annoyed with him and tells him, “yes,” he does.
When she closes her front door, the beveling in the window causes three Karims and three orange cars to appear. In every image, the Karims aren’t really part of the environment. In three of the four I’ve posted below, all of the Karims are translucent. Is Karim a ghost or some other supernatural being? Did he die while working for the FBI and now he’s been brought back as something else, but he doesn’t understand it yet?
OA walks into SYZYGY with confidence this time and asks Victor, the manager, to help with recovering her memories by telling her about herself. He tells her she’s an annoying pain who breaks things, drinks and smokes too much. “But when you started making performances from your own dreams, you bring me many customers. You make this place a sensation. So, I cannot be too mad at you. You even enjoy sex too much.”
Elodie, who is suddenly at the bar behind OA, jumps into the conversation, asking, “Can a woman really enjoy sex too much? It’s a little macho to say that.”
I’m glad someone called him on that BS.
Victor leaves them alone to talk. Elodie says that she recognizes OA as the person “Dr Percy” loves. OA asks how long she’s known him. Elodie tells her she’s known him long enough for him to send her to the hospital, but that was really Hap. OA is intrigued now. Elodie confirms that she is a fellow traveler, but says OA can think of her in any way she likes- as an advisor, a guide, a resource, a messenger.
OA asks if Elodie is able to remember the memories of her host bodies. Elodie explains to OA that she integrates her mind with her hosts, and shares their memories, rather than suppressing them. OA begins to talk about how she plans to help Homer regain his memories, then escape Hap, but Elodie stops her, saying that she can’t escape Hap.
Elodie: “Why do you think the bonds between some people are so powerful? It’s because they exist across many dimensions, like a cosmic family. You, Hap and Homer, you belong within the same constellation. You’re traveling together… That’s why Nina, Dr Percy and Dr Roberts are connected too, long before you arrived in this dimension.”
OA doesn’t want to travel with Hap, but Elodie insists that some part of her does. She asks when OA first met Hap. OA tells her they met 7 years ago at the Oyster Bar in NY. Elodie assumes that’s when Nina and Dr Percy met, too.
OA: “So the events in one dimension…”
Elodie: “Affect the other dimensions around it. They echo. When people meet, and the story between them is strong, it echoes in nearby dimensions. Events will conspire to bring these two people together.”
OA figures out that telling Buck her story and teaching him the movements in the other dimension led to Michelle playing the game and entering the house in this dimension, because it’s all connected.
OA: “How do we escape this echo?”
Elodie: “To leave an echo is very dangerous. You could find yourself inside a life completely unrecognizable to you. You would shatter yourself. Not to mention you and Homer may not even know one another in a dimension outside an echo. You need Hap.”
OA: “He’s a murderer.”
Elodie: “He’s your shadow. Who has no shadow has no will to live.”
OA assures Elodie that she has the will to live without needing Hap to do it. Elodie tells her that she wants to give OA something, since she’s already given something to Hap. She believes in balance, so in order to be able to give OA the gift she wanted to give her, she had to give something to Hap as well. But Elodie is worried that OA is too stubborn to receive her gift. OA agrees to listen carefully.
Elodie; “If you want to rescue Homer, you must first free Nina Azarova. Why should Dr Roberts do what you yourself will not? You came out to the club to find her, but she has always been within you. If you integrate with Nina, you will become whole. You share the same beginning. You must get back to the time before your paths split. You must face your fear. You have to go back to the moment of your greatest trauma… I have high hopes for you.”
Elodie whispers the last sentence in OA’s ear, then leaves her. As she’s telling OA that the way to integrate with Nina is to go back to the beginning and face her fear, we watch Karim break into Pierre Ruskin’s compound. I don’t completely trust Elodie, but it’s true that both Karim and OA will face their fears tonight. Karim has to face his fears of being wrong, of being helpless, of failure and the future.
Pierre Ruskin is the powerful wizard who’s been behind this entire situation all along and Karim can’t go further in his journey without confronting the symbol of power he’s been up against so far. Karim is trying to convince himself that Pierre is ultimately responsible for everything, instead of being the catalyst and facilitator that he is. It’s time for Karim to face that reality is bigger than he’s previously understood.
OA needs to face the person she would have been if her life had stayed on track. She’s afraid of who that person is and the power Nina has. She’s also afraid of receiving the memories of the good times that she was deprived of and being overwhelmed by feelings of loss for what she never had.
If Karim can accept a larger universe and OA can accept Nina’s happy memories, it will be healing for both of them and allow them to move forward.
Breaking through all of Pierre Ruskin’s security measures is a bit like going through another puzzle house for Karim. In the actual puzzle house, Scott makes it through the tunnel and the well, into the house proper. He reaches a room with a dais made up of three platforms, and collapses on the center stage, like a sacrificial offering.
OA returns to Nina’s apartment and draws a bath, while thinking about her conversations in therapy with Dr Roberts and about her most traumatic experience, when the bus was forced off the bridge. She gets into the bath still dressed for SYZYGY and lies down to fully submerge herself.
OA holds herself underwater until she’s taken back into her memory of the bus accident. Her memories of that day rewind until they join with Nina’s memories again. Then she watches her memories move forward in Nina’s timeline. When she reaches the point in their memories where she takes over Nina’s body, OA sits up in the bath, with Nina’s personality fully integrated into her own.
Karim smokes a cigarette as he makes his way deeper into Pierre’s compound. He uses it to help him get through one of Pierre’s security measures. He finds Pierre the demon wizard floating in his rooftop pool in the dark. Not surprisingly, given the level of security surrounding the compound, Pierre is expecting him.
Pierre: “It’s great to finally meet you. Pierre Ruskin.”
KArim: “I know.”
Pierre: “You’re short of breath. You should try meditating. It’s much more effective than nicotine.”
Karim: “How do you know I smoke?”
Pierre gets out of the pool: “You’re a superb investigator, but you must know that. You didn’t do anything the way I thought you would. But when you broke Nina out of the asylum, not only violating your professional code of ethics, but committing a felony, I thought, ‘This man will do anything.”
He asks Karim what he’s there for. Karim shows Pierre the video of Michelle in the attic. Pierre has seen it. Karim confronts Pierre about Michelle and the other kids being lured into the poisonous house by the game. Pierr admits that he knew about it, but didn’t stop it. His lawyers have assured him that a lawsuit won’t stand up in court.
Karim threatens to expose Pierre by sending out the video of Michelle and letting people know that Dr Rhodes was murdered because she wanted to leave the company. Pierre says that it was tragic that Marlow took her own life. Like many brilliant people, she was troubled. Karim wants to know how Pierre already knows that Marlow killed herself, since her body was still warm when he found her. He insinuates that Pierre had Marlow killed, but Pierre replies that he has no motive.
Pierre leads Karim upstairs to show him something and talks as he walks. He tells Karim about the change in perspective that seeing the earth from space gave the astronauts. He feels that every sacrifice was worth gaining that new perspective. The puzzle house gives people a similar change in perspective. If a few people are lost in order to gain so much, it’s a worthy sacrifice. Karim disagrees. He thinks that everyone who sacrificed for the space program chose to make the sacrifice, which Pierre calls naive.
Once they’ve gone up several flights of stairs, Pierre opens a beroom door, and shows Karim that Mrs Vu is sitting and reading a newspaper next to a bed where Michelle lies comatose.
Hap has brought Scott, who’s still unconsious, back to his supersecret lab. He has Scott set up like Liam, floating on his back in a few inches of water. A seedling emerges from Scott’s ear, which Hap gently tugs further out, then watches rapidly grow and bloom. He clips off and eats a piece of the flower.
He sees and hears another dimension in his mind’s eye. We only hear it. In the audio, someone has been hurt and needs an ambulance.
Karim is upset with Mrs Vu for setting him up, when Michelle isn’t lost at all. She insists that the person in the bed isn’t Michelle. Michelle is still in the house and she still expects him to find her. Karim is sorry, but he’s been looking for a physical body and Michelle’s physical body is here. He still resists seeing any other perspective.
As Karim is on his way out, Pierre stops him one more time, to ask if Marlow told him the story about the 4 things the CURI dreamers saw. 4, not 3. After a while, all of the dreamers who saw the tunnel, the stairs and the rose window began to dream of a man’s face. Pierre brought in sketch artists to draw the face from the dreamers’ descriptions. They ended up with 20+ drawings of the same face- Karim’s face. Pierre plays a film that show the drawings of Karim.
Pierre: “The house is calling you. You and only you. I don’t know what it wants to show you, but I have a feeling it’s akin to what the astronauts saw when they looked at Earth from the moon. It’s an overview.”
OA stalks into the lobby of the Treasure Island clinic in a posh white suit and tells the receptionist, in a Russian accent, “Tell Dr Percy that Nina Azarova is here to see him.”
Spirit Guides, Elements and Traveling
When OA gets to SYZYGY, Victor tells her that Aleksei is angry about the death of Old Night, the octopus. OA says that she’s still angry as well. She also walks past a dancer in a mask consisting of 10 or 12 white wings with eyes on them. They could be angels’ or doves’ wings. The octopus and the wings are references to her affiliation with the elements of water and air.
We’ve seen OA play with earth, in the garden in P1 and with the roots of the trees in P2, so she’s on her way to expertise with that element. She has to get over the trauma of being kept underground in a basement for 7 years before she can be fully versed in earth. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen her play with fire, other than the normal activities of cooking and using candles. She has to harness the fire within herself in order to effectively tame Hap. Nina seems like she has more fire than OA and can help her fill that gap.
Elodie would be OA’s guide to the elements. Nature is her spirit guide, especially Old Night and the trees from her visit to the puzzle house. Elodie’s task was to ground OA in the body she shares with Nina, and future bodies she’ll share with other versions of herself, and to help her accept the bad with the good in each life she visits and in each traveling companion. Old Night and the trees helped take her out of her body, into visions of the future, other dimensions, and other ways of being.
Karim’s preferred elements are earth and fire. Karim’s journey is to become as well-versed in air and water as he is with fire and earth. Pierre just might be his guide to the elements, while Fola is his most prominent spirit guide. Pierre lured Karim up into the air and spoke to him from a pool. The puzzle house gains its powers from a spring.
Pierre has probably gotten further than anyone in convincing Karim that there’s some form of magic and spirit involved in this story, but he did it by focusing on Karim’s physical body and grounding him in the reality of what life on Earth really is. Meanwhile, Fola tries to get Karim to see beyond carnal life and to go even deeper into the mystical nature of the universe.
Elodie tried to convince OA that she has to travel with Hap if she also wants to travel with Homer. What does that say about Betty, the boys, and the other captives? Are they all bound together as a tribe in every dimension?
Who does Elodie have in her constellation of travelers? What about Karim? Is he now a member of OA’s tribe? Is Mo part of his constellation? Pierre? Marlow? The time they had together was short, but profound.
Homer’s spirit guide this season was Evelyn, as the old woman in his dream. Phyllis had Rachel and Elias, both of whom are angels. Actually, Fola and Evelyn might be angels now, too. Fola probably would have died, if not for Karim, so they are likely bound together (Fingers crossed. I need more of their dynamic.)
Karim, Fola & The Meaning of Life
I love the conversation in the hospital between Fola and Karim so much, at least until the end, when Karim’s sexist control issues take over completely. Before that, we have Karim arguing that Fola should live a conventional life and be happy with it, even though he spent years working for the FBI and following orders, no matter how awful they were, and now feels crushing guilt over what he did. Of course, he eventually quit the FBI and his conventional lifestyle to become a private investigator who’s picky about the cases he takes. He broke up with his girlfriend when she decided she wanted kids and he moved onto a houseboat that never seems to move.
Karim is not at peace with his unconventional lifestyle, but he absolutely doesn’t want go go back to a conventional life. OA hasn’t had to do much to get him to go along with her crazy plans, despite his fussing along the way, so we know that he truly does want the unconventional, he just won’t allow himself to be fully open to it.
He is another liminal character, living on the edge of his career (not quite a law enforcement officer, but not quitting the field, either), living on the edge of the city and nowhere, living on the edge of having a family. Everything about him, from the control issues to the house that doesn’t leave the shore to the need to intellectualize everything, speaks of fear of the unknown, especially the future. He’s afraid of what comes next, after he lets go of the conventional world completely, and right now, he’s clinging by his fingertips to his old reality for as long as possible.
Fola, on the other hand, wants nothing but the unconventional. She fearless to the point of recklessness and very articulate about why an unconventional life is worth risking everything for. It sounds like neither she or Karim want kids, but Karim hasn’t told us why. Fola tells us that she doesn’t want to be tied to a life that feels hollow and empty of meaning and she doesn’t want to then pass that hollow feeling on to a child. She’d rather live a short life in which she learns The Truth.
Fola came close to the end of the puzzle and can’t wait to get back to seeking the meaning of life. Karim came close to the end of the puzzle and can’t wait to shut the house down.
Does Karim’s fear, guilt and need to control others arise simply from what he did to others during his time with the FBI, or is there more to it? Is there a bigger loss in his past that made him so numb he was able to lead all of those young men into
h-ll terrorism for years and not feel the guilt until the end?
When he was with the FBI, he used his need for control to lure others into wrong doing. Now he channels his need for control into what he sees as helping and protecting others, whether they want to be helped and protected or not. Either way, Karim is always the one making the decisions for others and he doesn’t listen to their concerns, especially to women. We’ve seen him dismiss Mrs Vu, Fola, OA and Mo, despite the fact that he knows they’re all intelligent women.
His desire to avoid having children is a manifestation of both his fear and his control issues. Having children is one of the riskiest things you can do in life if you’re afraid of the future, because so much can go wrong, you care so much about the outcome, and so much is beyond your control. These hit every one of Karim’s buttons. The fear starts with fear of losing mother and child during pregnancy or labor, as we see when Mo goes into labor, though Karim throws up his standard defense mechanism of pretending he doesn’t care, to hide just how deeply he cares and how much that terrifies him.
Even though Karim doesn’t want kids, he spends the season trying to find a child and to protect others. He persists in his quest even though the fact that the ones he’s trying to save won’t listen to him makes him angry sometimes and his need to explain away everything closes his mind to the truth for a long time.
There’s an aspect of atonement to his journey. He’s hoping that saving the kids who are being destroyed by th house will make up for the ones he destroyed for the FBI. Every one of the guides he meets, from Mrs Vu to Fola to Pierre Ruskin, tries to tell him that there’s more to the situation than a simple missing persons and poison vapor case, that more than atonement is being asked of him, but he’s not ready to hear it.
The Hunters- Hap vs Karim
Hap had Elodie as a guide, and the knowledge he could steal from the angels. Elodie might be the only one who’s willingly helped him, without being tricked into it. Or, at least, that’s the way she made it sound to OA. But it seemed like she didn’t know that Hap planned to kidnap her until just before he went to get the syringe, and she only showed him her robots as a way to escape him. She shared some wisdom with him freely, but not the robots.
It could be that she went to OA convince her to stay with Hap, so that Hap wouldn’t try to find Elodie again. In exchange, Elodie gave OA a way to strengthen herself and Homer against Hap. I’m not sure it’s true that it would be terrible to leave the echo to escape a hunter like Hap, as long as that’s what you meant to do and made arrangements to meet up with your fellow tavelers somehow.
In part 1, Hap was established as an angel hunter who captures the angels, steals their magic, then eventually kills them. Karim is also a hunter, but he searches for lost souls and returns them where they belong. The universe has spent this season telling him that he is indeed looking for souls in the metaphysical sense, not as a synonym for people or bodies.
Once Karim and OA are both at full strength, it seems like they’d be strong enough to take on Hap. When they believe in their cause, they’re fearless. Either Elodie was wrong about OA and Homer needing to travel with Hap, or she didn’t give OA the full story. I think Karim was introduced to eventually fight Hap alongside OA.
OA is an angel of life and not strong enough alone. All of the other angels in her tribe, with the possible exception of Steve, aren’t fighters. Karim is a fighter and an angel of death, the perfect combination to help beat Hap/Lucifer at his own game.
The deeper I delve into The OA, the more sure I am that one of Hap’s aspects is Lucifer. In some parts of the Bible, Lucifer is described as a vain human king who became so enamored with what he perceived as his own godlike qualities that he began to think he was deserving of being equal to God.
In many ways, Lucifer is described as being somewhere between a normal human and a being who dwells in heaven with God. His punishment is to live on Earth rather than in heaven. Though he can visit heaven, he has no access to God or anyone close to him. It’s similar to the way Hap can travel, but he hasn’t been able to attain spiritual knowledge without stealing it, and his own soul hasn’t made any spiritual progress. He might briefly reach the highest levels someday, but he won’t be able to stay, because he’ll have arrived mechanically, rather than through growth.
This would correspond to Lucifer/Satan then crashing down into the lowest levels of the underworld, the proverbial fiery pit. The worst thing that could happen to Hap would be to reach the promised land of the highest reaches a soul can evolve to, but then to be cast out because he cheated his way in.
In his other aspect of ruthless scientist who believes the science is more important than anything else, making science a religion and the scientist a priest of the God Data, Hap has made many human sacrifices and condoned his mentor doing the same. He justifies everything with the excuse that his results are important enough to forgive any sins.
Pierre just said the same thing to Karim in this episode. Did he get this attitude from Hap, or is he another aspect of Satan? Is he the human version of the devil king in the Bible, Tyre, while Hap is the fallen angel, Lucifer?
The OA’s theology is more forgiving than the Old Testament God (The OG 😉), which means Hap, like Karim, still has a chance of redemption. That could be the reason Elodie insisted OA and Homer stay with Hap, despite the terible things he’s done. Maybe the universe is ready to push Lucifer to redeem his soul and has sent all of the archangels to push him into it.
In this episode, Karim is dressed in a hunting jacket, made of orange plaid, which hunters wear to make sure that other hunters see them and don’t accidentally shoot them. He’s wearing the hunting jacket over an all black outfit that looks perfect for a cat burglar, which is basically what he becomes when he sneaks into Pierre’s house.
This is yet another liminality from Karim. He can’t decide whether he wants to stand out or go unnoticed. He knows he’s a predator, but he’s not sure of his prey yet, so he doesn’t know the best way to stalk it.
As Pierre tries to tell him, maybe he’s taking the wrong approach in seeing himself as a predator who’s outside the system. Everything we’ve seen suggests that he’s part of the puzzle. The dreamers dreaming of his face is just the latest piece that connects him.
He’s still connected by way of death and endings, which is part of why black and orange (the color of fire) are his colors. He senses this somehow, and it’s probably part of why he’s afraid. But he does also have that protector and guide energy. This brings us back around to the aspect of Karim as psychopomp, which is a guide responsible for escorting souls from earth to the afterlife.
The Jewish and Islamic archangel Azrael, the Greek ferryman Charon, and the Roman god Mercury are all psychopomps. Karim seems to have other shamanic powers as well, since he can bring souls back from the brink of death and find lost souls. But he avoids Mo’s pregnancy, and especially touching her belly, so he must not have the power to help guide newborn souls into life. Instead, it seems like he’s afraid his touch will damage the baby.
Karim’s journey this season is to awaken to his powers, aided by the house and the guides he’s sent. Fola, in particular, is teaching him. He’s the one the medium was waiting for, but what did she think he would do after he came and woke up the engineer?
Virtues and Deadly Sins
I’m always fascinated by the way Hap hangs on to Homer as fiercely as he hangs onto OA, and neither attachment is sexual. He had Homer before he had OA, and has never let go. While OA is light, faith and determination, Homer is pure love and goodness. He’s the true opposite to Hap, while OA is the balance that stands between them. Or maybe Homer stops OA and Hap from wrestling each other into a very dark place.
Between the three of them, they also represent the Three Theological Virtues of the season, Faith, Hope and Love. OA’s Faith keeps Homer’s Love alive. Hap’s unbreakable Hope manifests as his belief in the scientific veracity of the dimensional shifts and NDEs, and his belief that they can be understood and controlled.
The three corresponding Deadly Sins are Pride, Envy and Wrath. Pride corresponds to Faith. OA was traumatized by the bus accident, but she was too proud to share those feelings with Nina. OA thought she and Nina had nothing in common, because of Nina’s happy childhood with their father, which has held her back from integrating with Nina. The cure for Pride is Humility. OA had to work through her feelings to share in Nina’s happiness and see it as a source of comfort and assistance for herself as well.
Homer’s virtue of Love/Charity corresponds to the Deadly Sin of Wrath. He became consumed by negative feelings after Hap took OA away in P1, to the point where he didn’t care if he died. He lost faith without her and lost interest in living. This led to him being suppressed by Dr Roberts, instead of the other way around. The cure for Wrath is Patience. Glimpses of Homer are coming forward, learning to trust the world again and integrate with Roberts, but finding himself and his love for OA again is a slow process.
Hap’s Virtue of Hope corresponds to the Deadly Sin of Envy. Hap practices many of the Deadly Sins, but his biggest crimes come from his Envy and Greed. He wants what others have, and once he’s gotten it, he’ll do anything, including torture, murder and grisly experiments, to keep it. The cure for Envy is Kindness.
Hap only fakes Kindness, sometimes even lying to himself, so it’s hard to imagine a cure or redemption for him. But I believe it could be possible in other dimensions, where some amnesia and other identities are involved. If Hap is going to change, rather than be left behind, he might need the help of a different echo, no matter what Elodie said.
Marlow Rhodes’ Death
Was Marlow Rhodes murdered? Or did she find an alternate way to travel and her death was part of the process for her to jump dimensions? We may never know, but I’m still struck by the similarity between the way the birds and her drone were moving in sync, compared to Elodie’s little robots. There may be more than one set of movements that works for dimensional traveling or the crows may have been tracing the essential points of the movements. When Karim met her, Marlow was tracing those movements with her eyes and hand.
Dr Rhodes looked awfully paranoid in her video, like she knew it was all over for her in this life, because Pierre would never let her go. She doesn’t have the physical capability to go through the house as a puzzle or to do the movements, but Elodie’s robots allow anyone to travel. Elodie knew to find Nina/OA at SYZYGY, so it’s not too far fetched to think she might have crossed paths with Dr Rhodes, maybe even in a previous dimension.
Dr Rhodes would also have the industrial connections, through CURI, to have the robots made for Elodie and a special drone or drones made for herself. The crows could actually be robots in disguise. Or the live crows could travel with her each time she jumps as helping spirits. That would bring us full circle to the idea of Marlow and others as the wind spirits known as Harpies and her woods as part of the Wood of the Suicides.
Marlow was also close to Nina, who didn’t have an NDE to provide her with mystical knowledge, but did have conversations with Old Night and could have spent some time in the house, as well. She also had vivid and possibly prophetic dreams. Marlow and Nina may have been interpreting the CURI dreamers’ data together, with help from Old Night. With the three of them working together, they’d have amazing insights.
Thanks to Pierre, we know that Marlow was glad that it was Karim who found her house in the woods because he was the face from the dreams. She got to meet him and know him a little before she died or jumped. I don’t think she told Pierre everything she discovered from the dreams or everything she and Nina knew about the house.
Marlow firmly came down on the side of helping Karim. I hope we get to see another iteration of her someday.
Images courtesy of Netflix.