Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The OA, Season One, Episode Four: Away

Image result for the oa

Away marks the halfway point of this freshman series and I still cannot say for certain that I understand what the point of it all is. We still don't know what the hell OA stands for but at least we know that Prairie believes that she and all of the other captives are angels. Judging from the fact that Khatun had wings, she's also an angel as well though we have no idea what her motives are for guiding Prairie. 

When we last saw Prairie, she was hit from behind to thwart an escape attempt. Hap's assault marks the second time that Prairie has died. Prairie knows that she died because she feels the loss of the others.  Prairie's death also leads to another visit with Khatun, and a horrible choice. Prairie once again makes the choice to come back. We learn that in order to come back, Prairie had to give up the possibility of spending eternity with her beloved father. She did this because of a feeling of kinship with her fellow captives. Because of Prairie's sacrifice, Khatun offers her a bird to eat which will allow her and the other captives to travel in a way that humans don't know about. Khatun also lets slip that there will be five captives and so we know that Hap is going to add one more person to his collection of NDE (near death experience) survivors.

Prairie is the first of Hap's subjects to have an NED with no medical information and so he is determined to record her experiences.  When Prairie isn't immediately forthcoming, Hap warns that he will be forced to do things to get the information that he wants. Prairie says that it's too much and she doesn't know where to start and then cleverly suggest that Hap ask what he wants to know and she'll answer. This stops Prairie from volunteering any information which would encourage Hap in his activities and keep the fact that her sight has returned secret. Prairie regaining her sight should be a big advantage for her in terms of escaping Hap, but it never really goes anywhere. 

Prairie has an epiphany and suggests that what they need to do is realise the power they actually have.  To that end, the first order of business is to find a way to stay awake during one of Hap's experiments and this means that while the gas is being sent into one chamber, the others need to suck it into their lungs to allow the person being targeted to stay awake.  Scott is against the plan from the get go. Unlike the others, when Scott was taken hostage, he wasn't healthy and the weight of his mortality weighs heavily upon him. Their first attempt to subvert Hap fails but they learn that the drug does not make them unconscious but makes them pliable. When Homer is taken away, we learn that Hap is drowning his subjects in order to record their NDEs.  In case we didn't already know, it's official, Hap is a sick individual.

It takes years for Homer to be able to control his body enough for Hap to believe that the devil's breathe that he is using on his subjects is working, thus allowing Homer to die while conscious.  During his NDE, Homer swallows a fish on the advice of Prairie.  When Homer returns to his cell, he reports that he did as Prairie instructed and swallowed the animal that she told him but he doesn't feel any differently. Prairie is confused by this. It's not until Homer falls asleep and his body starts to move that Prairie realises that their plan worked after all.

Prairie's crew continues to listen avidly to her story and it's clear that they are deeply affected by what they are hearing. It's beginning to change how they deal with their own issues.  After a long delay, Betty finally contacts the lawyer about her deceased brother's estate and makes plans to wrap things up. This is when we learn that Betty's brother died after she called the police on him because of his addiction and he was placed in a rehab center.  We also learn that Betty didn't go to the funeral, even though at one point they had a close bond because they were twins. This however didn't stop Betty's brother from leaving her everything.  It's Steve and Jesse who help Betty pack up her brother's things.  Betty and Jesse end up bonding about the fact of them that both of them had family members who simply didn't know how to function in a family. 

As for Prairie's family, Nancy is spending time reading Patricia's book and it's clear that despite Prairie's feelings on the issue, Nancy is going to push forward. At least for now she's considering going back to work herself because they don't have any money saved and Prairie might want to go to school.  The difference between Nancy's relationship with Prairie and Abel's relationship with Prairie is telling.   When Abel drives Prairie to meet with the FBI psychologist, she puts her head on his shoulder and this is a huge deal considering Prairie's discomfort with touch. We have seen no such intimacy between Nancy and Prairie.

We don't know what OA stands and we still don't know why Prairie is telling this story to a group of strangers. What do the jerking movements both Homer and Prairie made after consuming the animals presented to them in the other realm mean? We still don't know a lot about the other realm, or what Khatun's purpose is. Just because she has white wings doesn't mean that whatever her agenda is isn't nefarious.  I further find it interesting that during Homer's NDE, he seemed to go someplace completely different than Prairie. We still don't know how consuming these spectral creatures is going to free them.

We know at this point that Hap has kept them captive for years. Am I the only one wondering how it is that their clothing has held up so well given that this is all they have to wear? Who is cutting their hair given that they've not been given any tools for that as far as I can tell and if they did it themselves, it certainly wouldn't look so groomed. At this point, there are many questions that need answers.