The OA (Netflix 2016)

the_oa3 Kernels

There is only one thing I have to say about the Netflix Series The OA — it’s Oy vey! (In case you  don’t know your Yiddish – it’s a phrase expressing dismay or exasperation.) Here is another stranger-thing series that is stranger than Stranger Things.

Where do I begin?  Well, I suppose you can start with the opening scene of a woman jumping off a bridge and surviving. After she wakes up in the hospital and tells her name to the nurse (Prairie Johnson), we find out that the young lady has been missing for seven years. As a result of her recuperating, you begin to wonder if she needs to go back on medication or be locked up in the loony bin.

Well, the problem is that she has been locked up for seven years with a group of other young people who have previously died and returned to life. They are held captive by a mad scientist intent on proving life after death. He studies and tortures them so he can find out what lies in the “undiscovered country.” However, before you flip the switch, let me warn you – it’s weird – really weird. And we are not talking about traveling to the heavens after we take our last breath – this afterlife show has zip, nada, nothing about religion.

Prairie, desperate to help those she left behind, recruits four individuals from her neighborhood and one teacher, all of which have issues. They meet in a partially built and abandoned shell of a home where she pulls them into her life story. They all know when she disappeared that she was blind, but now that she has returned with her sight restored. Intrigued by her past, they sit and listen to her tale, and you, as the audience, are popping back and forth from present to past and from life and death.

I could write more about the eight episodes only to say that the story is a bit of a confusing mess and leaves you with the question whether you believe her story or not. Is she really the OA (that means original angel) or is she just a disturbed young woman because of her difficult childhood?  I guess we will never know for sure after the final episode of season one unless another miracle happens, and she’s (SPOILER ALERT) revived from the dead again.

Most of the time you are lost and locked into a cage with the characters trying to figure out what the heck all those strange bodily moves have to do with the entire show.  At least no one is talking to Christmas lights in this odd paranormal story.

As I said – Oy vey!  The undiscovered country…a place we will never know until we get there.

But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
(Hamlet by Shakespeare)

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