(Spoilers ahead for all eight episodes of The OA.) If you're one of the many people who marathoned the Netflix series The OA over the weekend, then you probably have a lot of questions right now. Like, was Prairie just making the whole thing up? Did the Five Movements really stop the school shooter and open a portal? What happened to Homer? …And what the heck will Season 2 even be about? Like other recent shows — from HBO's Westworld to Netflix's own Stranger Things — Season 1 of this series is a puzzle box just waiting to be unpacked, full of hints and clues about The OA Season 2 that every eagle-eyed viewer will be competing to find first.
Before we start sleuthing, it should be pointed out that a second season of isn't even a sure thing yet. It's rare (and by rare, I mean as-yet unheard of) for Netflix to cancel an original series after only one season, so it's likely up to creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij to choose whether or not they want to continue the story of Prairie Johnson. While there is plenty of room for interpretation left in The OA's plot, the conclusion was actually fairly satisfying on its own, and could operate as an ambiguous open ending if Marling and Batmanglij decide their story has run its course.
Thankfully, it seems like there's at least a good chance The OA will return for Season 2. When Marling and Batmanglij were asked by Variety whether they had plans for a second season, the co-creators responded enthusiastically. "I would like to see this story continue," Batmanglij said. "Brit and I figured out the whole thing. The whole thing's a riddle. There are a lot of clues. Very few people have really picked up on all the clues."
While we wait for official news from Netflix, let's list some of those intriguing clues Batmanglij mentioned about where the show might be headed when (if?) it gets renewed.
1. Her Name
Could there be a hint hidden in Prairie's new chosen name? We learn in the latter half of the season that "OA" stands for "Original Angel," but does that refer to a specific angel from Biblical lore? The first angel mentioned in the Bible is the one that guards the Garden of Eden with a fiery sword. Could Prairie's ultimate mission be to protect something holy? Or does "Original Angel" refer to the first fallen angel, Lucifer? Could Prairie's powers be hiding something more sinister?
Also, if you say the full title of the show out loud, with its "The," it sounds suspiciously close to "D.O.A." — which can mean either "Dead On Arrival" or "Dead Or Alive." Coincidence?
2. The Mirror
The presence of that box of books under Prairie's bed isn't so much a clue as it is a giant flashing neon sign that calls her entire story into question. But what's more intriguing is what happens immediately after French discovers this suspicious trove: He looks in Prairie's bathroom mirror, and Homer's reflection stares back at him. Is this an indication that Prairie was telling the truth, and Homer is trapped in another dimension? Or is French simply realizing that Prairie modeled Hap's five prisoners after the her five new recruits — the jock (Homer/French), the singer (Rachel/Buck), the stoner (Scott/Jesse), the older woman (Renata/Betty), and the original (Prairie and her first recruit, Steve).
Riz Ahmed continued his banner year (following The Night Of and Rogue One) with his supporting role in The OA as Prairie's kindly FBI counselor, Elias. But what if he's not so kindly? What exactly was he doing in her house the night that French discovered the books? Could he have planted them there to make people disbelieve her incredible story? After all, a number of scenes of Prairie and her recruits approaching the house were shot as though someone was spying on them. Could Elias actually have been watching them this whole time, eavesdropping on Prairie's story so he would know exactly how to discredit her? Could he be another Angel Hunter like Hap?
In the kind of little detail that may go unnoticed by many, the face of the woman Prairie encounters during her Near Death Experiences isn't covered in some sort of meaningless decorative markings — it's covered in braille. While internet sleuths are still hard at work trying to decipher the writing, one of the phrases that has already been translated is "as der engel," which is German for "as the angel." (Shout-out to Reddit user AlBorland for the translation.) What else does Khatun's face say? Stay tuned for more developments on that mystery.
Khatun's face isn't the only time we see braille, either. It's also on Prairie's father's face when she sees him in the afterlife… and weirdest of all, on the wall of the FBI office where Prairie has her sessions with Elias. According to Reddit user NullAndNil, this phrase translates to "Rachel," the name of one of Hap's prisoners — and importantly, the only one of the five to never receive a "movement." Does this coded message imply that Rachel was an FBI plant, someone sent to investigate Hap and his discoveries about the afterlife, only to wind up one of his victims instead? If so, is that why she never received a movement? Because she never actually experienced an NDE at all?
While the kids are trying to find any information they can on Prairie and Hap, Steve's random Google searching comes across an interesting result. Although some of the words are blurred and out of focus, what we can see of his computer screen reads "Airplane Amnesia" and something about "a plane crew caught in the Bermuda Triangle with no memory of how they got there." Earlier, Prairie had mentioned that one of the side effects of traveling to a different dimension would be amnesia. Is that what happened to the plane crew? If so, will that be a storyline picked up in Season 2?
7. The Selfie
During the incredibly awkward scene in which Prairie goes out to eat with Nancy and Abel (which is also significant for being the first time she tells her parents what "OA" means), a stranger comes up to take a selfie with Prairie and gushes about how strong she is for surviving her abduction and rape. This is strange since, according to Prairie's story, she ran away from home and (as far as we know) was never raped. Is the girl just making assumptions about what happened to Prairie? Or is this another hint that Prairie's entire story is fabricated, and the girl's statement is our first clue about what really happened to her? Did Prairie concoct the whole story as her way of coping with the fact that she was kidnapped and sexually abused for years?
8. Elizabeth Smart
The show's co-creators themselves seem to have given a clue that might corroborate that theory about the girl in the restaurant. In their interview with Variety, Batmanglij said that, "I believe the trauma in [Prairie's] story is true. Maybe she couldn’t tell her story as it actually happened, but she experienced something." And Marling also brought up a real-life kidnapping case in reference to her own show: "When you read about these horrific experiences that people like Elizabeth Smart experienced and the bravery that she had is just remarkable. When you see her interviewed or you read things that she’s written, you can tell that she has been somewhere and come back, and she can’t fully tell you where she’s been because you’re not ready for it, but you feel it."
We've already seen how some doctors believed that Prairie suffered from mental illness since she was a little girl. Maybe the story about Hap and the basement and the movements was just the way her troubled mind processed the traumatic situation of a more "traditional" kidnapping.
9. The Sound
Finally, Batmanglij told Variety that, "Our sound engineer picked up on a major [clue] that kind of blew my mind. I was like, 'That is designed for only the closest, creepiest viewer to find.'" What was the clue?? He doesn't say, but I bet you the most determined fans of the show are already rewatching it with the volume turned up to the max to see if they can catch it.
I'm sure there are even more hints and clues hiding within the complex fabric of The OA, which makes the show perfect for multiple viewings. Hopefully we get a Season 2 so we can get answers to these lingering mysteries and learn the truth about what really happened to Prairie Johnson.
Images: JoJo Whilden (9), Myles Aronowitz/Netflix