Netflix Review: The OA (Part 2)

Has anyone else been watching The OA? Every time I talk to someone about it, I feel like I’m stuck in an alternate dimension. It took more than two years between the Netflix release of Part 1 and Part 2, during which time co-creator, writer, and lead actress Brit Marling was devoting all of her cinematic energy into this project. And while I was stuck with it in my Netflix cue, impatiently awaiting any news (good or bad), I have to applaud the production team on this one. Big time. Because as a fan of science fiction, this show is a gold standard.
The OA has no source material to pull from. No rhyme or reason to episode length or production cost. The writers and director (Zal Batmanglij…coolest last name ever) create the concept of the season and plan and script out each individual episode before ever shooting a frame. And as Marling went on record saying, “it takes time.” So, if they are able to continue moving this show in the directions (yes, with an ‘s’) it has taken the characters thus far, count me in to happily wait two more years for Part 3. If you haven’t seen or even heard of the show (and like I said, who has…?), I’m not actually sure I could do it justice with a synopsis. Like for real, yo. But heck, that’s kind of what I try doing here with these posts, and probably why you clicked on this link (unless you’re my wife, who I think secretly only reads my posts to tell me she read them 😉 jk, ❤ u!), so I guess I can think of a few crazy things to say.
Crazy thing number one: In the first episode, Marling’s character, Prairie, returns from being missing/presumed dead for seven years. Crazy thing number two: Prairie went blind after a childhood accident which killed everyone except for her, yet upon returning has regained her sight. Crazy thing number three: She refuses to tell the FBI what happened, but comes completely clean to four high school students and Phyllis “Vance” Smith. Crazy thing number four: Most of Part 1 is told in flashbacks to what happened during her years missing. Crazy thing number five: OA stands for something, and you have to wait until episode seven to find out what that something is (no spoilers here!).
Yeah, I’m not gonna tell you any crazy things about this season because they are so crazy, you probably wouldn’t believe me. It would also completely spoil the plot/finale of the first season before you even watch it. And I’m just not that guy. I’m a lot of guys, but not that one. So just trust me, if you enjoy a well-made sci-fi film/series, this is definitely for you. If not, well then why did you even bother reading this far? Oh right, because you still want me to tell you to go watch it…you should go watch it. At least the first four episodes, and I know that’s weirdly specific and a bit of a time commitment, but that’s where the feeling of “what the hell is happening here???” turns into “what the hell just happened here?!?” (Excuse my very fitting language). I don’t know if I can highlight any character performances that stand out among the rest, only because they each get a really great arc that is performed almost flawlessly, even in the first season, and especially into the second season. Oh, and Jason Isaacs is in the show too (probably best known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, but also The Patriot‘s evil Col. Tavington, and my personal favorite, Lord Felton of the 1996 film DragonHeart, who ‘famously’ quoted that “one of us [nobles] is worth a hundred of them [peasants],” and was later dispatched by one of them [peasants]…classic).
Alright then, I guess this really wasn’t a review of Part 2 at all. But I don’t want to change my post title, so deal with it and JUST WATCH THE SHOW (Part 2 is super crazy, mind-bending, btw…like Part 1 on quaaludes). This is a very strong recommendation from me, and currently sports a 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with an IMDB average episode rating jump of 8.3 –> 9.0 from the first to second season (this may not mean much to you, but for me it accurately reflects the uniqueness and intensity that the show continually builds on throughout the story). In other news, I’m in the process of watching the recently released Season 3 of Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime, so that will likely be my next streaming review. I also have my ticket for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and will be in the theatre Friday night, so come back here Saturday to read that review. I, for one, really enjoyed the first two films and am very excited to watch Keanu go full “Baba Yaga” one more time. Cheers!

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