Warning: Spoilers ahead for “The OA” season two finale.
Netflix’s series “The OA” continues to push the limits of conventional storytelling with a “Part II” finale that manages to be even more stunning than its first season’s polarising conclusion. Co-creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij advance their story of inter-dimensional travel and a network of connected souls with a final scene leaving people with a lot of questions.
We’re here to help answer some of the mysteries by walking you through the many narrative hints laid throughout earlier episodes of “The OA,” all of which help explain the surprising revelation of “Part II.”
Let’s get started.
‘Part II’ ends with the revelation of a new, meta dimension
On the final moments of “The OA Part II,” Karim Washington (played by Kingsley Ben-Adir) reaches the Rose Window in the house. Previously on the seasons, various characters have said that the window is a “portal” to see the truth and that it will provide the seeker with an “overview” of our world.
Just as Karim is about to open the window, OA and Hap are confronting one another at the Treasure Island clinic.
Hap tells OA he is going to take her to another dimension, one where she doesn’t hate him and where “everyone calls [her] OA” even though she doesn’t. Homer arrives to try and stop Hap, but Hap shoots him.
In order to save Homer, OA decides to go to the new dimension with Hap and she asks Homer to come and find her because she won’t know herself.
Meanwhile, in another dimension, Steve, Buck, BBA, French, and Angie are doing the movements in the exact same space at the Treasure Island clinic. They are taking a leap of faith, trying to help OA the only way they know how.
As they finish performing the movements, OA ascends into the air.
Karim opens the Rose Window, and sees OA floating. But then a dove flies past Karim out of the window, and we see a ripple, as if the bird passed through an invisible barrier. That’s when OA drops, as if a harness holding her up has broken.
OA falls, and Karim’s view from the window changes. He’s now looking down at a production set, with props and stages recreating San Francisco and the set of what looks like “The OA,” the TV show. We see OA laying on the floor, her head bleeding as people begin to scream.
Hap is there, having successfully travelled to this new dimension. But he hears someone call OA “Brit,” and quickly catches on. He switches to a British accent, and identifies himself as “Jason Isaacs” while saying he’s married to “Brit.”
As “Brit” leaves the set in an ambulance with “Jason” at her side, we see what looks like a different version of Steve (played by Patrick Gibson) run behind the vehicle and jump inside. He takes “Brit’s” hand, and looks at “Jason.”
“Hello, Hap,” Steve says.
Does this mean everything in ‘The OA’ is fake?
Short answer: No. At least, we don’t think so.
Though at first the finale seems jarring, as if “The OA” decided to break the fourth wall, the dimension shown to us is probably not meant to be the actual real world.
Brit Marling and Jason Issacs (who does have an accent in real life) are indeed the two actors who play OA and Hap on Netflix’s show. But Marling and Isaacs are not married in real life, nor has Marling ever worn her hair in that short, cropped blonde style. Also, that final set of scenes takes place in England, and “The OA” is filmed in the United States.
But more importantly, the whole second season was building up to the revelation of this new dimension in which OA would be an actress playing the character of OA. This wasn’t a last-minute twist, but is instead meant to be a lead into a possible “Part III.”
Breaking down the 3 main dimensions we know about
To get our bearings, it’s essential to first recap what happened throughout the first two seasons that led us here, and the different versions of reality shown so far.
We know OA, Hap, and Homer are bound by some greater force. In all of their dimensions, their lives interlink like a “cosmic family,” as Elodie explains to OA.
“You, Hap, and Homer belong within the same constellation,” Elodie says. “You’re travelling together.”
Not only are Hap, Homer, and OA connected, but in turn OA is now linked to Steve, Buck, BBA, French, Jesse, and Angie. Elodie says events in one dimension “echo” in nearby dimensions around it at the same time. We can map their connections across dimensions by looking at how their stories all connect.
Dimension One: Michigan and North Dakota
Season one’s dimension was one in which OA and Homer were held captive by Hap in his North Dakotan house (the location of which he revealed on “Part II”) and forced to die again and again in his experiments. In this dimension, OA’s name of Nina Azarova was changed to Prairie Johnson by her adoptive parents.
Over the course of their many deaths, OA and Homer and the other prisoners were given a set of movements that would allow them to travel between dimensions. By proxy, Hap was shown the movements too. Realising they had all five movements and would use them to escape, Hap took OA to a random road and left her there.
Hap then returned to his other four captives and forced them all to do the movements and travel to a new dimension where they had alternate lives in San Francisco.
Left behind, OA formulated a plan to get back to Homer (with whom she had fallen in love). She gathered five people: Buck, French, Steven, Jesse, and BBA. These characters are also known by fans as the Crestwood Five. They learned the movements, and by the end of season one they would perform the movements and help OA travel to the same San Francisco dimension where Hap had taken Homer.
Dimension Two: San Francisco
In the San Francisco dimension, OA arrives into Nina Azarova’s body. Nina never had a Near Death Experience (NDE) as a child, and therefore was never blinded. But she is a wealthy writer and “medium” who can communicate with nature and trees.
Nina was working with Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy, who in this dimension is not the NDE-obsessed Hap from season one but a renowned psychiatrist.
Hap travelled into Dr. Percy’s body, just as OA travels into Nina’s body.
In this dimension, Hap is continuing Dr. Percy’s work of experimenting with the house Nina owns in Nob Hill. He discovers that the house “awakens” a literal seed inside of people’s brains. Hap has been keeping these people in a pool inside his lab, where the seeds bloom into a garden.
More than once on the show, “a garden of forking paths” has been used by Hap as a metaphor for the existence of multiple dimensions. This metaphor became literal in the San Francisco dimension. Hap says he’s been making an inter-dimensional map of all possible universes.
Dimension Three: London
One of those possible destinations on the map Hap makes is the London dimension we see at the end of “Part II.” We know it’s London because of the uniforms worn by the medics seen in the ambulance.
In this dimension, Hap and OA and Homer and Buck are all apparently characters played by actors in a TV production. Those actors share the same names with the real cast of Netflix’s “The OA.”
How the new ‘meta’ dimension was foreshadowed throughout season two
The existence of this alternate “Brit Marling” character in another dimension was teased from the very first episode of season two. When Karim meets Fola (played by Zendaya) on the first episode, she tells him that the game goes “in real life” at a certain point.
That is what happened to Michelle (played by Ian Alexander) in the San Francisco dimension. She made it to the Rose Window in the house, and we believe she was transported into “Ian’s” body in the London dimension.
We also saw a glimpse of Dimension Three when Old Night suffocated the OA and sent her to a new NDE on the fourth episode.
“In the future, you don’t know who you are,” Old Night told OA. “You forget your true nature. I want to send you there, to the moment you can show yourself your true face, your pure being, and reawaken to your mission.”
She then had a flash of a scene on an aeroplane, and the aspect ratio for the episode changed (the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen get slightly wider). The resolution quality also changes, and becomes slightly more granular. In this NDE, OA walked through an aeroplane and came up behind a woman with cropped blonde hair.
Though OA (and the audience) couldn’t have known at the time, she was looking at herself in Dimension Three, where “Brit” the actress plays OA. This is what Old Night meant when he said OA would “forget her true nature.”
We know it’s the same dimension because the aspect ratio and resolution quality match those final scenes of “Part II.” The aspect-ratio difference is most clear as the episode cuts from “Ian” (Michelle/Buck) to Karim, as seen in the GIF below:
Another clue about this dimension came from Scott’s NDE.
As Hap explained on the finale, Dimension Three was the place where Scott’s NDE’s happened. We heard a description of this on the seventh episode of “Part II,” but again there wasn’t the proper context for us to understand it at the time.
“Lights were everywhere,” Scott told Homer. “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. 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.”
The finale twist was also set up by Elodie when she came to OA with her message/guidance. After explaining to OA that she was in a perpetual Echo where Hap was bonded to her, OA asked how to break out of that pattern.
“To leave an echo is very dangerous,” Elodie said. “You could find yourself inside a life completely unrecognizable to you. You would shatter yourself. Not to mention you and Homer might not even know each other in a dimension outside an echo. You need Hap.”
That “completely unrecognizable life” turned out to be one in which OA was an actress playing OA in a fictional production, therefore creating a psychological barrier between OA’s consciousness and “Brit.”
What this tells us about what could happen on ‘Part III’
If a season three happens, the main narrative would likely be focused on OA trying to integrate with “Brit” the actress. In order to do that she needs help from the Crestwood Five.
We only saw Steve collapse in the courtyard after doing the movements and then reappear in Dimension Three, but it’s possibly the others travelled there, too. OA told Homer to come and find her, so he might be somewhere in Dimension Three as well.
Our best guess is that the Crestwood Five will be the ones who help Homer and OA remember themselves and break away from Hap once more.
Remember episode five of “Part II,” when OA found herself underground among the tree roots, and they spoke to her?
“The one who seeks to own you is going to make a powerful discovery,” the trees told OA. “He will use it to destroy your faith in yourself so that you will need him to survive. The only way to recover is to form a tribe.”
“I’m alone,” OA said. “I can do it alone.”
“No, child. No tree survives alone in the forest,” they replied. “When one tree falls ill, we all send food. For if one tree dies, the canopy is broken. Then all suffer the weather and pestilence that flood in. You will not survive on your own.”
The trees told OA “they were already coming” for her, likely referring to the Crestwood Five. That’s why they wound up at the Treasure Island clinic, and why we believe they all travelled to Dimension Three in London. It would make sense if they help her rediscover her identity and “recover,” just as the trees said.
Last but not least, the aeroplane scene would likely be very important.
As we noted earlier, Old Night told OA he was sending her to “the moment you can show yourself your true face, your pure being, and reawaken to your mission.”
It’s very likely that on a third season (if Netflix renews the series), we’d see this moment play out again from the perspective of “Brit,” just like Homer’s first season NDE came to pass on the second season inside the Treasure Island clinic.
The pilot speaking over the PA system on the plane had a British accent. This, paired with the London location of the third dimension, makes it very likely that this flight took off from London’s Heathrow airport.
Guess what that connects to? BA411: The flight code Karim finds to solve one of the puzzle levels on the first episode of “Part II.”
As a cursory Google search reveals, BA411 was a British Airways flight logged in 2016 that went from Belgium to London.
Most of the events of “The OA” have taken place in 2016, the same year that this real-life flight took off and landed.
Given what we now know about the “echo” in dimensions, and how Karim’s houseboat was part of the TV set shown in the London dimension, it’s likely there is a version of Karim in that new setting. Other characters may also echo too.
When “Brit” falls to the ground, a woman comes to her side. That woman is credited as “line producer,” played by Jane Wall. We’re pretty sure Wall appeared earlier in the episode as the doula helping Mo (Karim’s hacker friend) in labour, though representatives for Netflix did not immediately return INSIDER’s request for confirmation.
Clearly “The OA Part II” has raised more questions than it answered, but fans cannot say they came away with unsatisfying resolutions to the mysteries of season one. We know now that OA didn’t buy those Amazon books and make up her story in Dimension One, and have a much clearer understanding of the rules of interdimensional travel.
Where the story takes us next, only Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij can know for certain. What we do know is that there’s a potential five-season plan for the series, and many fans are along for the unpredictable and transcendent ride.
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