'The OA' Is Canceled and We Still Have So, So Many Questions

Remember the skin salesman? What?
August 6, 2019, 5:09pm
The OA
Image va IMDb

In retrospect, we should have seen this coming. The OA was too good to last. We live in a sad, flawed world full of reboots, remakes, and terrible Men in Black spinoffs, and it's almost impossible for something actually new and different to survive if it isn't part of the Mattel Cinematic Universe or whatever. Netflix's The OA was so strange, baffling, and wholly unique that it's a tiny miracle that it even survived two seasons before the streamer unceremoniously canned it this week. Netflix announced the cancelation Monday, Variety reports, with original content head Cindy Holland thanking show creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij for "their audacious vision," which apparently was a little too audacious to warrant a third season.

The show may have seemed, at times, like a series of increasingly more esoteric plot threads that couldn't possibly fit together, but Marling and Batmanglij always swore that they had five seasons'-worth of OA planned out and that it would all, somehow, resolve itself in the end. "From the very beginning when we were on our own daydreaming a story, we definitely thought how can we construct something that, many seasons out, has a satisfying end? So there is an end and there is an answer to every riddle and nothing is done to just be sound and fury going nowhere," Marling promised in an old interview with Hollywood Reporter. Unfortunately, we'll never get there.

"Zal and I are deeply sad not to finish this story," Marling wrote on Instagram Monday. "The first time I heard the news I had a good cry. So did one of our executives at Netflix who has been with us since the early days when we were sketching out Hap’s basement on the floor of our production office in Queens. It’s been an intense journey for everyone who’s worked on and cared about this story."

So in loving memory of The OA and Marling and Batmanglij's fantastic, frustrating journey, we here at VICE have put together a list of the many, many, many lingering questions left now that The OA won't get a third season—let alone all five.

Is The OA Canceled in the New Dimension from the End of Last Season, Too?

In season two's (and, now, the show's) finale, Karim makes it up to the house's fancy window and is able to see into multiple dimensions at once. He looks down into a new dimension—one where OA is named "Brit" and is acting on the set of a TV show that looks suspiciously like The OA itself. It's also likely the dimension that Scott saw during his NDE.

It seems as though this is our dimension, the dimension where Brit Marling is Brit Marling and The OA is a Netflix show, but it's not an exact copy. In this world, Marling is married to Jason Isaacs, the actor who plays Hap on the show. So if this isn't exactly our dimension, but one close to it, maybe it's also a dimension where The OA is renewed for a third season—a dimension where we get answers to questions like...

Who Was Khatun?

Remember the weird, witch-y woman who took OA's sight during her childhood near-death experience and then fed her a bird that taught her a movement? What's her deal? And was she born with that Braille on her face reading "angel" and "shepherd," or is that some kind of mystical form of cosmetic bod-mod in her dimension?

Where Did that French Woman Come From?

Are there more people randomly jumping around dimensions, just like that French lady with the dancing robots? And why didn't Netflix release a line of dancing robot toys that we could buy, A24 style?

How Much Does FBI Agent Elias Rahim Actually Know?

Riz Ahmed's character was a seemingly normal, though kind of suspicious, FBI psychologist at the start of the series. But when he popped up in episode five of season two, it turned out that the guy knew way more than he was ever letting on. He knows about the different dimensions? Someone sent him to "help" OA, because "she's going to need it"? What? Does that mean that the guy not only understands that OA is legit and is some kind of guardian for her, he can also see into the future?

What Was Up with the Skin Trader?

In season two, there was an unsettling, stand-alone sequence where an alternate-reality Homer gave a bundle of sticks to a woman who sold people's skin or something. The woman was played by the same actress who played the sheriff's wife in season one for some reason. Homer eventually licked someone's back skin. It was, uh, very weird.

If Joe Biden Is President in 2016 in that Second Dimension, Does Obama Still Get His Netflix Deal?


Why Is an All-Seeing, All-Knowing Psychic Octopus Spending His Time Doing Sets at a Club?

Who is Old Night, and is he getting an appearance fee and a cut of the bar, or what?

Speaking of Old Night, How About All the Airplane Stuff?

Karim's alternate-reality game mentioned a certain flight from Belgium: BA411. And then Old Night sent OA to an airplane when he killed her for 37 seconds on stage. Is this the same flight? Was OA going to jump into the LOST dimension in season four or something? What does it all mean?

Wait, and What Were Those Brain Seeds? And How About that Talking Tree? And...

OK, there are way too many plot threads that still need explaining. There's no way we can actually catalogue them all.

How Incredible Would Season Five Have Been?

Season one was... a lot. Season two took it to a whole new level. If Marling and Batmanglij kept things moving in that same direction, by the fifth and final season, things would be absolutely unhinged. We'll never see it now, though. Maybe there's better and more just dimension out there, somewhere off in the multiverse, where Netflix let Marling and Batmanglij get as weird as they wanted, but it's not this one. Start practicing the movements now—or just sign this petition to get it uncanceled.