Netflix’s original series The OA is back for its second season, sure to leave viewers with plenty of questions along the way. It has been a while since Season 1 (Netflix released the series on December 16, 2016), but lead actress Brit Marling, who also serves as the show’s creator, writer, and executive producer, takes the process very seriously and wanted to be sure that everything was fleshed out to her liking.
“I would never want to deprive anyone of their interpretation of the ending. The thing I will say is this: if we should be so lucky to have a season two, there are answers to all of the questions. That’s the delicious thing about the gap between seasons. People watch and take it in, revel in the mystery, argue about it online. And then, if they should be so lucky, the storytellers get to meet the audience when the story continues,” Marling told Marie Claire in 2016.
Whether you’ve seen Season 1 of The OA or you’re a newcomer to the series, you might be wondering what exactly the name of the show means. The simple answer is that “OA” stands for “Original Angel.” It’s the name that Marling’s character Prairie Johnson calls herself. However, with most things OA-related, there’s much more to it than just that.
Here’s what you need to know:
Prairie Johnson was born Nina Azarova in Moscow, Russia. Her mother died in childbirth and she’s raised by her father, Roman Azarov.
From a very young age, Nina had very intense dreams and started having NDEs (near death experiences). Her very first was when she was on a bus on the way to school. An accident caused by interference from The Voi sent the bus into the water under a bridge, drowning everyone on board. Nina was able to get out of the bus through a window but wasn’t able to get to the water’s surface.
Although she didn’t die, the near-death experience sent her to another dimension. While there, she made a deal of sorts with Khatun. In order to return to “earth” and to her father, Nina had to give up her eyesight. She agreed.
Upon “waking up,” Nina’s dad decides to send her to America to attend a boarding school for the blind.
While at boarding school, Nina learns that her dad died in an accident and she was forced to go live with her aunt Zoya, who ran an orphanage. One day, a couple by the name of Nancy and Abel Johnson visited the orphanage in hopes of adopting a little boy. Instead, they meet Nina and make a deal with Zoya to take her home.
The Johnsons rename their daughter, choosing to call her Prairie. When she moves to the States, Prairie started sleepwalking and having premonitions. The Johnsons do their best to help Prairie, taking her to see a doctor and getting her on medication.
When she gets a little older, Prairie ends up running away, meeting Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy, known as HAP, an NDE obsessed scientist, and her life changes yet again. She ends up in some sort of human experiment in Hap’s basement with a few others who eventually become her friends.
It’s in Hap’s basement, during an experiment, that Prairie has her second NDE. When she meets Khatun this time, she asks for her eyesight back. It’s Khatun that first calls Prairie the “original.” Prairie’s wish is granted and she returns to consciousness, able to see.
She tells the other captives that she has her eyesight back and calls them “angels,” thus making her the “original angel.”