The OA Part 2 Episode 5: The Medium & The Engineer Recap

The OA P2Ep5 Homer Looks for OA's Skin in Dream

Episode 5, The Medium and the Engineer, is another action packed episode of The OA, from Homer’s dream to the time OA spends communing with tree roots to the trippy path that leads Karim to reunite with Fola. OA and Karim enter the house through the secret door and follow the labyrinth, which takes them each on a different journey. If I’m reading the signs right, both Homer’s dream and the house’s imagery are connected to Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically the 7th Circle of H-ll. In retrospect, there have been connections to Dante all along.

The mysticism in this episode is intense. I feel like I’m Fola in the hall of mirrors and need Karim to carry me out, or I’ll never stop analyzing it.

Recap

We start this epic episode with a very different Homer stumbling down a dusty dirt road, carrying a bundle of wood on his back. He knocks on the door of a stone house, which is answered by an old woman, who tells him, “I have skin, all textures, all shades, for a price.”

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The OA Part 2 Episode 3: Magic Mirror Recap

The OA P2Ep3 Message from Rachel

The OA takes a break from…the OA in this episode, in order to revisit the home dimension and check in with Betty and the boys. Rachel leads the way on a transformative road trip whose purpose hasn’t become fully clear yet, but with this show, it’s best not to rush things.

Distorted images of the OA’s drawings of Betty and the boys decorate the opening credits. They fade to show Prairie’s body in her coffin, ready for her funeral. When OA jumped to another dimension, the body she left behind, now without its soul and gravely wounded, died.

Steve drives Jesse down a country road, as fast as he can manage without losing control, way over the speed limit. A cop pulls them over, but lets them go when he realizes that they’re the kids who stopped the school shooting and that they’re coming from Prairie’s funeral. He even tells them they’re brave and to get home safely. They don’t know what to do with authority figures who are nice to them.

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The OA Part 2 Episode 2: Treasure Island Recap

The OA P2Ep3 Rachel, OA & Scott

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.

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The OA Part 2 Episode 1: Angel of Death Recap

 

The OA P2Ep1 OA & HR

Recaps of The OA Part 1 can be found HERE.

Welcome back, kids! Are we all ready to ride along with The OA as she questions the nature of reality and causes chaos in the world around her? Part 2 continues where Part 1 left off, with no time jump, though the extended opening segment introduces viewers to the new character Karim Washington, so it takes a while to find out what happened to the OA. Most of the rest of the original cast returns in some capacity.

While part 1 explored the interior of the mind, with themes of reality vs fantasy, the darkness inside, free will, captivity and willing sacrifice, Part 2 expands those themes, taking the dreams, visions and stories of Part 1 and turning them into an interdimensional reality where the boundaries between the dream world, the real world, and other worlds barely exist. It’s not quite as mind-bending as Part 1, but it’s still fun, with new ideas to ponder.

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The OA Part 2: Spoiler-Free Review

the-oa-season-2-complete-poster

If The OA Part 1 was about Near Death Experiences (NDEs), then Part 2 is about dreams. The NDEs become another kind of dream, of which there are many, all of which can be examined for important information about ourselves, our culture, the future and reality itself. Part 2 takes the concepts introduced in the first part and deepens them, turning dichotomies into continuums and turning movement into quests.

The OA remains a mysterious show that needs to be approached with an open mind and a willingness to follow the spiritual metaphor, not the need for logic and continuity. Metaphorically, this is a world of magic and spirit, and our rules don’t apply. We learn the rules of the universe with the characters, and they are applied logically once introduced, but they are complex. I’m not sure that any one character has all of the information in Part 2.

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The OA Season 1 Analysis and Speculation

TOAPrairie&Violin

This show is a meta writer’s dream. So many layers, twists and turns, fantastic complex characters, and questions of sanity.

To start with the broadest layer, one way to look at the story is as a metaphor for science and practicality vs art and religion. Hap, Elias, the psychiatrists, the adults of Crestwood, and the weapons represent science and the practical world. Prairie, Russia, her biological father Roman, and the other captives represent art and religion. Prairie’s present day team represents the battle between the two in our communities and schools. At Alfonso’s scholarship dinner, one of the businessmen even brings up the idea after listening to Buck sing. What good is art, since it’s not practical? Elias gives Alfonso an unsatisfying, roundabout answer in episode 8, by implying that Prairie turned whatever really happened to her into a mythological hero’s journey as a way for her and for them to be able to cope with it more easily. The problem is that Alfonso, like many in our culture, can only see that maybe there was some poetic framing in the way Prairie told the story, and thinks that makes the whole thing a lie, thus useless. He forgets the changes the group’s time with Prairie has made in all of them, and the easily verifiable parts of her story. The therapist forgets to mention those to Alfonso, too. She was gone for seven years. She has the physical hallmarks of captivity, like vitamin D deficiency. She did regain her sight. She has strange scars on her back. Something did happen to her, the science shows that. But it can’t tell us what. It can only give us theories. For the rest, we have to rely on Prairie’s memories and interpretations, even if we think she’s using poetic license or is an unreliable narrator because of mental illness or for other reasons (maybe Hap kept them on mild hallucinogens the entire time). Art and religion are the ways we express things when science and practicality fail us, because not everything can be put into those terms. It doesn’t make the metaphor less true, it’s just another way of expressing the truth. Not everything needs to be expressed in literal, factual terms to be true. Some truths can only be approached by circling them, slowly and metaphorically.

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The OA Season 1 Episode 8: Invisible Self Recap

TOA108Alone

This episode brings us to the end of season 1 and the end of the story of Prairie’s captivity. It’s full of endings, and possibly beginnings. We’re left with an ambiguous ending to the episode, after everything Prairie has told us has been questioned, reminding us that her mental health has been in question since Nancy and Abel adopted her. It’s left up to the viewer to decide how much to believe is real, and how much is fantasy, delusion or coincidence.

This episode picks up exactly where episode six left off, with Sheriff Markham walking in on Hap engrossed in listening to the rings of Saturn, while sitting in front of the captive monitors. Hap immediately confesses, but offers to use the captives to heal the Sheriff’s wife, Evelyn, who is dying from ALS. The sheriff appears unmoved as he cuffs Hap, and protests that he doesn’t make deals. Hap quotes his late mentor, Leon, saying that they both know there is no good or evil, only what a man can stand. Sheriff Markham says nothing as he drives Hap away in his patrol car without checking on the hostages. The next scene shows him carrying Evelyn to the car. He’s given in.

The captives get excited when the sheriff brings Hap downstairs at gunpoint, but only Homer and Prairie are taken out of their cages, then forced upstairs. Hap leads them to a bedroom, where he shows them Evelyn lying twisted on the bed, and tells them that he is going to lock them in the bedroom until they heal her. He and the sheriff will be watching through the monitor. He leaves Prairie and Homer alone with Evelyn.

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The OA Season 1 Episode 7: Empire of Light Recap

TOA107Prairie&Boys

This is a difficult episode. Buck’s front door slamming shut was indeed a bad omen. We spend the episode entirely in the present day, as those characters are faced with increasing emotional challenges. Prairie starts moving back out into the world and confronting people’s image of her as a victim. She’s forced to face the pain she’s caused her adoptive parents, and the trauma they caused her as a child. Her story starts to come full circle.

Abel and Nancy are woken up in the middle of the night by Prairie screaming and crying. He goes in to check on her and finds that she’s had one of her premonitory nightmares. He sits with her as she recovers. Prairie asks Abel if he’s mad at her for running away. She tells him that she thought he’d understand her note, and that she’d be back in a few days. He looks surprised, then tells her that he forgot about the note.

Prairie tells Elias, her therapist, about her dreams. He asks where the latest dream took place. She describes a place with high ceilings, lots of glass, and metal clanking, like silverware. He suggests that the dreams may be her mind putting together small clues from her environment rather than true premonitions. The dreams occur at important junctures in her life. This could mean that another juncture is coming.

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The OA Season 1 Episode 6: Forking Paths Recap

TOA106Hap

Hap is spiraling out of control, as the captives’ bond grows. He’s forgotten the original premise of his experiments, and become obsessed with Khatoun’s movements. He’s as driven to find the last movements as the captives, and to understand what the movements lead to. His obsession leads him to start making mistakes.

Buck is trying to sneak out to the regular meeting at the empty house, but his parents are still downstairs. He practices the movements until he can slip out unnoticed. On his bike ride to the house, he sees flares lighting the remains of a crash on the side of the road. The others wait for him before they start, even though he’s a little late.

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The OA Season 1 Episode 5: Paradise Recap

TOA105Homer&Hap

What is Paradise? It’s subjective, in the end. Growing up in one of the snowiest cities in the country, with a depressed, Rust Belt economy, paradise always sounded like a warm tropical island to me. But warm tropical islands have depressed economies and natural disasters of their own, making the people who live there want to find a different sort of paradise just as much. This episode looks at the expectations we have for escape, for each other, for paradise, for whatever we think should be perfect in our lives.

Hap is in a bar in Cuba to listen to a woman who plays flamenco guitar. After the performance, he approaches her on the patio. They chat, and he steers the conversation toward his study. She is an NDE survivor, and only took up the guitar after her experience. Hap makes her his usual offer, and includes helping her escape from Cuba. But she’s not as young or desperate as his other subjects. She rejects him, even though she wants to get off the island. He looks shocked, like it’s the first time this has ever happened. She dances away with a much younger man.

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