Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The OA Piles Riddles on Top of Mysteries

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I’ve decided, based on how long last week’s write up turned out, to not cover each episode blow-by-blow. Instead I’ll give a general recap covering important happenings, and then my review. How’s that sound?

Let’s get to it…

Episode 3: Champion

This episode focuses largely on OA in Hap’s basement prison thingie. She meets her fellow prisoners: Scott, a white dude with dreads; Rachel; and Homer. There are four cells with plexiglass walls, and I read someone compare it to an Apple Store, which…what kind of crazy dystopian Apple Stores are YOU visiting?

Seems a lil dark and damp to me.

OA (still called Prairie at this point) begs Hap to let her “see” the sun. She can’t function without feeling the sun on her face, she says; the others can manage because they’re not blind. He reluctantly agrees, and because she can’t see what he’s doing, she eventually becomes his maid and cook.

She starts collecting ground-up sleeping pills to put in his food, because Homer tells her he left his football championship ring in the bathroom medicine cabinet. If she can get the ring and an envelope, they can trick Hap into mailing the ring out with his bills. Or something.

She offers to make Hap borscht, one of her favorite foods from childhood. She manages to slip the pills in, but after 2 bites he starts choking. Apparently he’s deathly allergic to tomatoes! And the veggie broth she used has tomato paste in it! He goes for his epi pen, but it’s empty, so he sends her to the bathroom to get another one.

Mmm, death borscht.

She finds Homer’s ring, but also the dead body of a girl named August. The girl, I assume, that Prairie’s replacing in Hap’s little experiment. Anyway, Hap sticks himself and he’s okay, but while he’s out of it she manages to get ahold of a bill.

Once she’s back in her cell, they see she’s gotten his Verizon bill. They write notes on it and stick Homer’s ring in, but when he tries to float it back to her it floats away. Oops.

In the present, Betty has gotten Steve enrolled in a special school that allows him to do class online. It’s her attempt to keep him from getting expelled and being sent to military academy. While he’s there, a girl flips out because she thinks some kid is staring at her tits. She yells at him, pours water down her shirt, and storms out. It’s an interesting group.

Back in OA’s story, she manages to push Hap down the steps and run away! She runs through a forest until she reaches the edge of a huge quarry. She stands there, confused by the sudden drop off, and someone smashes her in the head with a gun. So much for escape.

Episode 4: Away

The bonk on the head must’ve been pretty serious, because she dead. “Away” opens in the afterlife place where she went as a little girl. The same old woman offers to let her stay; even shows her her father; but she insists on going back, because she has to help the others.

The woman gives her a bird and tells her to eat it (it turns to light), and OA suddenly understands all the secrets of the universe or something. But she can’t really remember them. Oh, also she can see.

Apparently it was Hap who hit her on the head. I guess he recovered from his fall down the stairs much faster than anyone was expecting. Is he made of rubber??

In her cell she tells the others that to look for means of escape is stupid. Instead they need to understand what Hap’s doing to them; the only way out is IN. Uh also she tells them all that they’re angels.

In the real world, she has to keep her promise to her parents and go see the FBI psychiatrist. Their first session doesn’t reveal much, except he seems to have a good sense of what she’s afraid of. He figures out she wants to rescue the others, but that she’s afraid of telling the authorities anything because then the kidnapper might kill them. She ends up walking away before the session’s over, and he lets her go.

It’s Riz Ahmed! Yaaaay.

We learn about Jesse: apparently his father left when he was young, and his mother committed suicide. He’s being raised by his older sister, a pot-smoking lesbian.

Betty finally goes to see her brother’s lawyer about settling his estate. Apparently she turned him over to the cops because of something to do with drugs, and he was in a court-mandated rehab facility. She has to go pack his things, so she asks Steve and Jesse to go with her since apparently Steve has a truck.

Steve is being a dick, as per usual, but as they pack up Theo’s room, Betty starts telling Jesse a little about him. They talk and connect a bit and it’s really sweet.

Steve was still being a dick.

Back in the story, the prisoners realize they need to find out what Hap’s doing to them. The problem is he gasses them before taking them away, and they can’t remember anything that happens. They have the idea to suck the gas out of the cell being gassed, and then that person can be awake. Prairie volunteers, but Scott refuses to suck gas. So instead Rachel and Prairie do it for Homer.

The discover that the gas isn’t just knock-out gas; it makes you obedient after you wake up. Also it takes them several years to work out a good system, and Homer never gets to the full experiment because it involves being drowned and dying and he freaks out and gets gassed a second time.

She says it takes them 3 years to finally get it right. How does Hap not get suspicious when he has to gas Homer a second time every single go for 3 years?? Sigh. Whatever.

Homer manages to listen to some of Hap’s recordings, and one is of him. He’s being chased and yells something about being Homer. The men chasing him say he’s not Homer, and he needs to calm down. In his actual after-death vision, that we see later, he’s in something that looks like a mental hospital. He’s trying to escape, and men are chasing him. He gets into a common room that has a fish tank built in the same configuration as their cells back in Hap’s basement, and he eats a fish.

Why?? Well, Prairie told him if he found something alive, to eat it. Like her bird. Only it doesn’t turn into light; he literally has to choke down a fish.

It wasn’t like this at all.

The episode ends with Prairie and Homer talking about the experience. He tells her he doesn’t feel different, and she tries to explain what she learned by eating the bird. He falls asleep and his hands do this twitchy thing that’s similar to how she was moving after the bird snack. It makes her smile, so yay?


I mentioned last week that episode 3 had one of the show’s biggest plot holes thus far. Did you spot it?


Okay, so this dude is so allergic to tomatoes that he keeps not 1 but 2 epi pens close at hand JUST IN CASE, but when he orders the veggie broth he doesn’t check the ingredient list? He doesn’t ask her what goes in borscht? Never mind that tomato allergies are really only triggered by fresh, not canned, tomatoes…there’s also the fact that he casually touched ketchup in episode 2…which can literally kill someone with a tomato allergy.

I’m still annoyed by it, in case you can’t tell. The man orders 100% of his food from the internet, and he knows he has a killer allergy. Wouldn’t he be more careful?

Also, when he was on the floor choking he reminded her if he died, the others downstairs would starve since she didn’t know the key code to the door. Was she hoping her dose of sleeping pills would just knock him out for a while and not kill him? It was an entire Altoids box of ground up pills! The entire plan was shoddy from the get-go, and as one of the kids mentioned later, wouldn’t Hap have noticed Homer’s heavy-ass ring in the envelope ANYway?

Moving on…

Homer’s after-death vision raises a lot of questions. Why isn’t he in some comforting space like where Prairie goes? Why is it horrifying? Is Homer somehow in Hell’s waiting room? Or, of course, the more logical conclusion is that Homer is hallucinating everything, and when he “dies” it’s him returning to the real world and trying to escape the hospital. Like that one Buffy episode. It’s even more telling that the men on the recording tell him he’s “not Homer,” and the fish tank in the common room just happens to be built exactly like Hap’s cells.

Of course, then you gotta wonder…is Homer hallucinating OA telling the story about Homer hallucinating? Or is it like a mass delusion? Or is it all true, and Homer just has a really weird afterlife green room?

I’m halfway through the series and I have so many questions!!

Images courtesy of Netflix

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