The OA: Part II is, in a word, a real mindfuck. Angels fall from the sky. Octopi see the future. Old-timey women barter for disembodied torsos. The OA continues to chase after Homer despite being inches away from the hottest man alive, PI Karim Washington, for most of the season. If you’ve finished the season, you probably have approximately 1 million questions about it. So do we! So we wrote them all down, and then attempted to answer some of them with the help of our own Tree Internet — each other!
What … happens at the end of the finale?
As far as we can tell, Karim, henceforth known as “Hot Karim,” finally made his way to the rose window, where he was able to get an overview of the multiverse, or the various dimensions wherein the OA and her merry band of friends exist. Specifically, Hot Karim was looking at what we’ll refer to as Dimension 3, where, moments earlier, Hap had forced the OA and Homer to travel alongside him. (For reference: Dimension 1 is where season one mostly takes place, i.e. where the OA is known as “Prairie” and was confined to a fancy glass prison for seven years. Dimension 2 is Nina’s dimension, where most of the second season takes place.)
Inside Dimension 3, it’s revealed that the OA is known as “Brit” and Hap is known as “Jason Isaacs” — the real names of the actors who play these roles — and they’re filming some sort of #content that resembles the television series The OA. When we first encounter “Brit,” she’s filming a scene very similar to the one we just saw unfold on our screens: She’s ascending into the air in an almost uncomfortably Christlike pose, ready to travel to another dimension. Suddenly, a white dove flies out of the rose window and hits Brit, causing her to fall from what is ostensibly some kind of wire. (Why was she doing a stunt without padding? Where is SAG in this dimension?!) Brit collapses and ends up in an ambulance alongside Jason Isaacs, who has a British accent, and reveals he’s her husband. At the very last minute, Steve, in Danny Zuko cosplay, hops onto the back of the ambulance and refers to Jason Isaacs as “Hap,” revealing that he successfully made the jump from Dimension 1 to Dimension 3.
It’s important to note that Dimension 3 is also the dimension of Scott’s near-death experience, where, as he tells Homer, he saw the OA going by something like “Brynn,” smooching up on Hap, and a lot of “bright lights” — in other words, a movie set. Scott also mentioned that a “heavyset older woman” gave him his movement in this dimension. It’s possible that he’s referring to BBA, which would mean she did make the jump to Dimension 3 with Steve.
Meanwhile in Dimension 3, the actor playing Buck — who we’re guessing is named “Ian Alexander”? — seems to respond to Hot Karim calling him from the house on The OA’s set and climbs up a ladder toward the rose window. As soon as “Ian Alexander” touches the window, Michelle, who had apparently traveled to Dimension 3 after falling out of the rose window earlier in the season, wakes up back in Dimension 2.
A disappearance, a traumatic injury, and a surprise metafictive non-conclusion? Everyone on that set is getting sued.
Is Dimension 3’s “Brit” supposed to be our world’s Brit Marling?
When Hap gears up his gang of giant dancing robots, he announces he’s going with the OA into another dimension, one where “everyone calls you OA, but you yourself don’t.” In Dimension 3, we learn the context of this sinister clue: Everyone on the set would call Brit Marling the OA, and she’d likely go by “Brit.” But even though this reality resembles our reality, there are a few key differences. The show appears to be shooting in London, while The OA filmed in California, Oregon, and New York. Plus, “Brit” wears a wig over a short haircut, while Marling has long hair in our reality. Also, the “Jason Isaacs” of Dimension 3 insists that “Brit” is his wife.
Wait, is Brit Marling married to Jason Isaacs?
No, the real Jason Isaacs is married to a woman named Emma Hewitt.
Is “Brit” dead in Dimension 3?
Falling from a wire onto concrete could definitely kill you (and would definitely be an OSHA violation), however, it’s important to remember that on The OA, death is essentially meaningless. Prairie died thousands of times in Hap’s lab, and look at her now! Even if “Brit” is dead, it’s possible that she’ll wake up with the consciousness of both Nina and Prairie inside of her brain, or that the Movements will bring her back to life, or some other deranged mechanism we haven’t even learned about will save her. Or maybe her wig cushioned her fall!
Is “Brit” also Nina Azarova?
In Dimensions 1 and 2, both Prairie and Nina started life as the daughter of a Russian oligarch. However, their lives forked when Prairie briefly died in a bus crash, came back blind, and was adopted … while Nina didn’t. The OA is fond of the metaphor of a “garden of forking paths” (hello, Borges!), implying that the dimensions are connected by divergent events. So is there a separate path where Nina grew up to be an acclaimed independent filmmaker, screenwriter, and actor named “Brit Marling” who briefly worked for Goldman Sachs before discovering it wasn’t artistically fulfilling? If that didn’t happen, why is the OA connected to “Brit”? Is this the real Brit Marling’s way of telling us all she’s our savior?
Where is Barack Obama in the other dimension?
This has kept us awake at night. In Dimension 2, which takes place in 2016, it’s revealed the Joe Biden is president. Does Barack Obama not exist in Dimension 2? Did he merely fail to win enough primaries? Did he never meet Michelle and have his political ambitions sufficiently nurtured to the point that his name would be recognizable to a nurse in San Francisco?
What’s up with Old Night?
Old Night is a psychic octopus who also has the ability to communicate with humans — specifically with Nina Azarova, a medium who can communicate with nature. The octopus tells the crowd at Nina’s show that its name is Azrael, as in the angel, but Nina’s a good pal and gets to calls it “Old Night.” The two have a Mulholland Drive–esque sideshow inside a club called Syzygy, wherein Nina dresses up in couture, lets Old Night feel her up, and translates its thoughts for the audience.
What’s the deal with the airplane? Why does Old Night send the OA onto a flight?
When the OA sits down to communicate with the psychic octopus, it tells her that they won’t be “performing” as usual, because this time, it has the “rare opportunity” to “communicate with the OA.” Old Night also wants show her something that will help her mission: “In the future, you don’t know who you are,” it says. “You forget your true nature. I want to send you there to the moment you can show yourself your true face and reawaken to your mission.”
Old Night proceeds to strangle the OA, transporting her to the inside of an airplane bathroom, which is where I imagine I will also end up when I die. In a matter of 37 seconds, the OA crawls out and approaches a short-haired blonde woman. As we now know, this woman is likely “Brit,” who, in Dimension 3, has forgotten her true self and her mission. In season three, maybe we’ll see this moment from Brit’s point of view — and maybe it’ll serve as a catalyzing moment that restores her memories.
Wait, didn’t we learn something else about planes?
In the first episode of Part II, Hot Karim solves a puzzle on Pierre Ruskin’s prophetic smartphone AR game with the solution “BA411.” That flight doesn’t travel above San Francisco, but between Liege, Belgium and London. Considering the British-accented flight announcements in the OA’s Old Night–induced NDE, it seems like she’ll end up on this exact flight. Perhaps it’s also a clue Hot Karim could use to find Brit?
Why does Old Night say that Hot Karim is the OA’s “brother”? Are they related?
During their show, the octopus notes that it’ll have to get Hot Karim’s “permission” to kill the OA, because he’s her brother. “I don’t have a brother!” she gasps. “In every dimension, she sent him to protect you,” replies Old Night.
In a later episode, FBI agent Elias Rahim (Riz Ahmed) reveals that he was actually sent to protect the OA in Dimension 1. Ostensibly, that means he’s her “brother” in that reality. In other dimensions, maybe her mother didn’t die and she has a literal brother?
Should the OA and Hot Karim still hook up?
We insist on it.
Who is this “she” sending people to protect the OA?
Likely Khatun, the sort of “spirit guide” for the OA’s NDEs, who once forced her to eat a white dove (the same animal that maimed Brit in Dimension 3).
So, who’s her brother in Dimension 3?
We don’t know yet, but we really hope it’s The OA co-creator Zal Batmanglij, Marling’s collaborator and friend who forces her to go on Instagram sometimes.
What about the Tree Internet?
In episode five, the OA chats with a giant interconnected web of trees that has been “calling to you from inside the earth for many years.” The Tree Internet tells her that “the one who seeks to own you is going to make a powerful discovery,” which he’ll use to “destroy your faith in yourself.” This seems to referencing Hap’s plan to launch the OA into Dimension 3, where, as “Brit,” she’ll be reliant on her husband, “Jason Isaacs.” The way to escape, according to the Tree Internet, is to “form a tribe.” Thus, Steve, Karim, et. al, will have to find a way to reawaken the OA from “Brit.” The Tree Internet adds that “Nina Azarova is the key,” because yes, even trees think Brit Marling characters are special.
Is it also annoying to you that the guy French sleeps with just happens to have an aunt who’s a spiritual medium?
To be honest, guys who have aunts who are mediums are pretty common on Grindr.
What’s the point of that creepy scene with Emory Cohen, the sticks, and the skin saleswoman?
In episode five, we also get treated to an unsettling flashback where Emory Cohen is a stick collector (?) who trades a bundle of sticks (??) to a woman who has a collection of the world’s finest human skin (???). The old woman guesses Emory is “looking for lost love” and then he gets to fondle, smell, and lick the back of a woman he “only touched one time.” This is revealed to be a dream Dr. Roberts is having in Dimension 2 — though Homer and the OA did touch once back in Dimension 1 — and it seems like something the show will revisit. The skin woman also says something about all the trees in England, so perhaps Homer and the OA are playing out some drama that repeats across the ages, which we’ll explore in England in Part III?
The skin store scene serves another purpose, too. In the first season, Hap forces the OA and Homer to perform the Movements in order to cure the local sheriff’s wife of multiple sclerosis (so that the sheriff won’t arrest Hap for his one billion crimes against humanity). The Movements work — Evelyn is able to speak for the first time in years. She quickly tells the OA and Homer that, as a child, she almost drowned and was visited by a young girl who showed her the fifth Movement, then told her she’d one day use it to rescue an angel. Evelyn demonstrates the Movement for The OA and Homer before Hap, freaked out that they’ll all escape, shoots and kills Evelyn. Evelyn pops up again as the “Skin Store Proprietor” this season — meaning that she, too, is part of the “constellation” of people who are drawn together across time and space and the multiverse.
Did Steve’s movements bring Jesse back to life?
We’re not sure, but it is worth nothing that when the OA comes upon Hap’s flower-corpses in the final episode, everyone’s eyes are closed except Jesse’s. Does that means he’s trapped somewhere inside that flower-corpse? Or does it means he’s the only one who’s actually dead? Maybe the rest of the people we see in Hap’s garden — Dimension 2 Steve, Dimension 2 French, and that kid who jumped out a window in the first episode — are just comatose.
What happened to Rachel?
The last time Rachel communicated with the supporting cast of The OA, she was inside of a TV, telling BBA that she needed to travel across dimensions to help save the OA. She hasn’t shown up since, but back in season one, a few strange moments suggested that her spirit and/or consciousness might be bopping around in Dimension 1. Remember when the name “Rachel” popped up in Braille inside Agent Rahim’s office? And when Buck randomly stumbled upon the remnants of a car wreck that looked like the crash that paralyzed Rachel’s brother? These unexplained scenes might indicate that Rachel is hopping around in time and space, sending signals to the OA’s “tribe” to get them to believe and help her accomplish her mission. It’s also worth noting that, back in Dimension 1, Rachel was the only captive who never received a Movement, and that within her cell, all of her plants were dying, while the other plants thrived. There’s always been something about Rachel that sets her apart from her fellow travelers.
Let’s talk about the medium and the engineer. If this guy built his own puzzle house, how did he get trapped in it and die?
I don’t know how one builds a puzzle home and then forgets how to solve it. But I do think that “the medium” and “the engineer” are themes that echo across the series and its dimensions. In each dimension, the OA functions as a medium, whether she’s talking to trees and fish or waking up from prophetic dreams with nosebleeds. She also always finds an “engineer” to help her out, transforming her more esoteric ideas into reality. In Dimension 1, it’s Steve; in Dimension 2, it’s Hot Karim; in Dimension 3, maybe it’s Zal? (Can you tell we just really want Zal to show up in season three?)
Let’s get back to “Brit Marling.”
If they’re filming some version of The OA in Dimension 3, when does it take place?
Time seems to be fairly consistent across dimensions, save for the occasional NDE-induced jump forward, so if Part II took place in San Francisco in 2016, we’re just a little bit forward in time, likely 2017 or so. If we take our own dimension as a model, The OA premiered in December 2016 and got renewed in February 2017. They’re shooting what would be the finale of season two when the OA arrives in the body of “Brit,” but of course productions shoot out of sequence all the time, so that’s not too much help. Point is, if we take that series of events as a premise, people in Dimension 3 will have already watched some of The OA and might well ask “Brit” questions like, “What was up with that finale?” Perhaps we will get a scene where “Brit” pages through blog posts like, “Brit Marling Injures Herself in Freak Accident During OA Stunt.”
If Dimension 3 is our dimension, and The OA is filming its second-season finale in 2017 while the events of the second-season finale are taking place in Dimension 2, how are we already watching this episode in our dimension?
Please, my brain, it’s very sick.
Does the Harry Potter cinematic universe, in which Jason Isaacs plays Lucius Malfoy, exist in this new dimension?
Yes, “Brit” has clearly borrowed his wig.
Does Alexis Bledel, Gilmore Girl and wife of The OA guest star Vincent Kartheiser, exist in this dimension too?
The question you should be asking: Does Alexis Bledel watch The OA, in any reality?
If Dimension 3 is our dimension, do we exist inside the show’s universe?
Who is “we”?
Vulture dot com.
If not, it feels personal.