If It Ends Here, The OA Sends a Seriously Terrible Message

After finishing the first season of The OA (once I was done wringing my hands and screaming “WTF did I just watch??”), I initially thought there shouldn’t be a second season. Flawed as the ending was (and oh, was it flawed), it was emotionally cathartic, and seemed to tie up all of the loose ends that the creators intended to tie up. I might be skeptical of the effectiveness of the finale’s ambiguity (more on that later), but it was clearly intended to be ambiguous.

Upon further reflection, I realized that it not only should have a second season, but that it needs one. The OA started off as a compelling, if slightly frustrating, show with an enormous amount of potential, which was then squandered with an ending that was at best incredibly messy and at worst embarrassingly silly. Given another installment, The OA could have a similar arc to The Leftovers, which had a frustratingly cryptic and misery-soaked first season, only to justify everything that came before in its transcendent second season. But with only one season, The OA will be remembered more like Lost, a show notable for its fascinating mode of storytelling that was ruined by terrible follow-through on its mythology. And worst of all, as it is, we’re left with an ending that–according to one interpretation–condones brainwashing and glorifies a cultish, groupthink mentality.