What Does 'The OA' Stand For? Prairie’s New Name Has A Significant Meaning

Netflix's new series, which dropped on Friday, is is dipped and covered in several layers of mystery. If you want to know anything about the characters or the plot of The OA, you're going to have to watch to find out. We don't even know what The OA stands for, though clues are revealed throughout the season. There are major spoilers ahead for the entire season, or at least up to Episode 7. The series unveils itself at a very deliberate pace, so do not read ahead if you don't want to know.

The show's protagonist Prairie Johnson, who was given the name Nina by her Russian birth parents, calls herself The OA when she returns to her adopted home. She insists that Prairie is not her real name, and introduces herself as The OA to the members of her ultimate "task force" in the abandoned house. It seems to represent whatever state of enlightenment she has found while away from her new family.

Episode 4 explains the name's origin a little further, when Prairie is talking to Homer in a flashback. The lady present in Prairie's dreams — the one who took her eyes away and lives in a sparkly version of the Upside Down, called her "OA," or maybe "Away." She's not entirely sure, but that is where the nickname or title comes from at first. In another dream/trip, Prairie is told that she's "the original," another piece of the puzzle.

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Then, in Episode 7, Prairie refers to herself as "the Original Angel." Is that it? Is this what it stands for? To borrow from Back To The Future, that's heavy. With that revelation, the show took a turn away from feeling like Stranger Things, and is now much more comparable to The Leftovers. This show is exploring Near Death Experiences, and Death itself, in a religious and/or mythological way that I definitely did not anticipate at the start of the series.

Image: Myles Aronowitz/LUSH Photography