Netflix's new sci-fi thriller, The OA, is as enigmatic as they come. The trailer arrived earlier this week with hardly a whisper, and the series debuted only days later on Dec. 16. Like any good mystery, the episodes raise an array of brain-twisting questions, and many answers are left hanging by the time the finale wraps. One of the biggest lingering secrets revolves around the project's villain, a fanatic doctor who crosses big lines for the sake of his work. So who is Hap in The OA? Spoilers for all eight episodes of The OA ahead.
There's a lot of backstory yet to come for The OA's nefarious doctor, but what's known is that he's a scientist obsessed with the nature of near-death experiences. His fascination drives him to physically abduct those that have survived such encounters and imprison them in an elaborate, underground lair. Prairie, The OA's then-blind protagonist, meets him in a subway station. He tells her that he's an anesthesiologist, but that he's conducting a study of people like her. Under the assumption that he's well-intentioned, she agrees to travel back to his laboratory with him, but he ends up locking her in the cages where he keeps the rest of his subjects.
As the series presses on, he grows more and more consumed with the juncture between life and death. He kills Prairie and her fellow prisoners over and over, pouring over the data he compiles as he watches them continuously return from death. Later, he confides in a colleague doing similar work that he feels guilty, so he does have at least some semblance of a conscience. But the two eventually end up in a struggle, and Hap kills him. He also needlessly shoots a police officer and his wife after he gets the last piece of information he believes he needs to complete his demented project.
However, why Hap is so desperate to understand the after-life isn't ever revealed. My best guess is that he lost a loved one, and is recklessly trying to organize a reunion, or at the very least find out where that person went and what it means to die. If The OA gets a second season, perhaps more of his story will come to light.