Earlier this week, Netflix announced its mysterious new thriller series, The OA, would arrive on Friday, Dec. 16 — only days after the streaming giant surprise-released its trailer. News of the project first leaked in 2015, but details were kept intentionally murky, and its promo revealed little more. The series unfolds in a similar way, slowly detangling the cryptic arrival of Prairie Johnson, a once-blind 20-something who reappears — sight intact — seven years after going missing. Such an enigmatic storyline inevitably broaches a myriad of questions, and one of the very first to arise is who is Homer in the The OA? Spoilers for all eight episodes of The OA ahead.
It's a complicated answer. At his simplest, Homer is a former college football star who miraculously survived a near-fatal experience. An on-field accident during a championship game left him paralyzed and locked in a coma, but against all odds, he woke up and regained full motor ability.
Prairie meets Homer while being held captive in an underground hideout designed by Dr. Hap, who's obsessed with abducting and studying survivors of near death experiences. Homer is portrayed as a kind, caring man and devoted father. He got a girl pregnant before being kidnapped, but never had a chance to meet his son. In effort to prove he could support his child, Homer agreed to participate in Hap's experiment in exchange for $500, but quickly realized he'd been lured to the doctor's secluded getaway under false pretenses. As the years of imprisonment wore on, he and Prairie eventually fell in love. At least, that's the story Prairie tells her five companions: Steve, Jesse, French, Betty, and Buck.
Throughout the course of the series, she recounts how she came to be where she is, from her childhood in Russia to her return to her adoptive family in Michigan. She tells her comrades that she's the "original angel," and that she and other NDE survivors have the ability to travel to different dimensions. Others write her off as mentally disturbed, but Steve, Jesse, French, Betty, and Buck genuinely believe her.
However, French eventually finds a box of books under Prairie's bed that seem to indicate she fabricated the entire tale. Later, she helps save her onetime friends from a lethal situation based on the premonitions she told them about, which hints that their may be truth to her story. The finale is left open-ended, which means Homer could be either a bona fide angel, a real person whose story she elaborated, or simply a figment of Prairie's imagination. We'll have to wait and see if The OA gets a second season to figure out which is the case, and if he's real, whether they'll ever be reunited.
Image: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix