OH OH: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE OA
THE VOID – The OA began okay, but towards the end oy-vey!
Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s Netflix original series The OA debuted in December as a stranger than Stranger Things mystery series. The first episode was a corker. Twists and turns galore and a playful approach to the form itself, taking full advantage of the freedom of a streaming service rather than the regular program of normal TV. The narrative as well had plenty of potential, even though mystery series always suffer from the law of diminishing returns. The initial mystery is always going to be far more interesting than any eventual explanation, or conclusion. Think Lost! Actually. Don’t.
The acting was great and the technical values were high. The double strands of narrative also gave the show scope, moving from the angels and Hap to the modern school setting. The actual sense of place was a big advantage as well. So what went wrong? Did something go wrong? I’m not even sure it’s that simple.
Oh, shit, I should’ve said SPOILERS earlier. Anyway, SPOILERS.
So first of all the five movements. They looked an awful like a mix of Zumba and expressing yourself through dance, but the kind of interpretive dance that an improv comedy troupe might do on Whose Line Is it Anyway?
Secondly, the woman they kidnapped from Cuba and who got no more lines! What the fuck?
Thirdly, the school shooting subplot was both tasteless and nonsensical. The only foreshadowing that occurred unless I’m mistaken (comment box below) was the sense that the show was running out of steam and then the OA shouting ‘I had a dream.’ This ending reminded me of the school stories I’d write which ended with the line ‘And it had all been a dream.’
Fourthly. That everything was just a story made up by the OA. Okay, I know that there is a fairly credible idea about what has happened here. It wasn’t a story but Hap has gone to a different dimension with the other angels and now in this reality Homer et al are just stories. But still, someone finding a box under a bed is an old Joe Eszteras trick from Jagged Edge days.
Fifthly. How much of the story depended on people just not talking to other people became ludicrous. I get that there was something to say about alienation, but generally it just felt that the narrative needed ignorance just as it sometimes needed unlikely alliances. Very little came from character and motivation. Almost everything came from effect and serving the need to move the story forward. Or at least in a spiral.
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