After spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about the finale of The OA which you can read about here, I spent an inordinate amount of time hunting down clues, theories, Easter eggs, etc. which I have compiled for you below. I’m not making any judgments on what they mean beyond what I provide. Use it to enhance your understanding of The OA!
MANY SPOILERS LIE BEYOND THIS POINT - CAVEAT CLICKER
Foreshadows from Michigan world to embedded narrative
As many people have pointed out, there seems to be something fishy about the wound on French’s forehead and the one Homer receives in the Cuban shower. Was Homer’s wound real? Or did The OA just feel a moment of inspiration to include that tidbit after she just saw French’s wounded forehead in the preceding scene?
Well this is not the only occurrence of seemingly too-close-for-comfort similarities between story lines, in fact in the third episode “Champion” there are two clear overlaps.
1. The first are pizza slices to sandwiches made:
At the dinner with the author Pam Knowler, we see a very brief shot of how the remaining slices of pizza are rearranged. They’re squares, and they’re separated four to one. We immediately have a conversation regarding how food can be used as a way to regain control, specifically Pam says she became vegan to control the food she puts in her body.
Immediately after this we have that iconic scene with The OA choosing not to kill Hap and instead make him, her, and the other sandwiches. Again they’re squares and they’re separated four to one.
2. Next we have a scene in which The OA and Steve are discussing family issues while sitting in an abandoned bathtub picking up pieces of tile.
This is immediately followed by the scene in which The OA finds the dead body of August in Hap’s bathtub. And if you’re being even more daring you could compare the tiles The OA is rearranging either to Homer’s ring she must excavate from the embalming fluids or the epipen which Hap is requiring her to find.
The first words to The OA’s embedded narrative in episode one “Homecoming” could eerily describe Hap’s bunker in addition to her birth.
3. Moving on from individual overlaps, here’s a clue that I think shows her narrative is a clear parallel to her real life.
Here are the opening lines to her narrative in full (when the opening credits begin to play):
My father was a very wealthy man. He ran a mining company. He took precious metals out of the ground. We were always being watched, because he’d made so much money so quickly. And at that time, if you had that kind of money, you paid some of it to the Voi. We lived in a secret enclave just outside Moscow with many of the other recent rich. And the snow was seven feet high, but you could still make out many big houses behind big gates lost in the white.
Now, I’m not going to piece every sentence to Hap, but there are some clear things that stand out. Hap is notably wealthy, both in money and in the people he has imprisoned. He lives next to an abandoned mine. The prisoners are always being watched. Voi itself may be a play on voir, French for “to see” or even void in reference to the after life. The bunker is obviously secret, and it has very high walls. Seeing beyond the gates seems like a clear analogy to seeing beyond the planes of reality that the prisoners achieve through their NDEs.
One other point: there are no fewer than seven “Moscow”s located in the United States and Canada, so it is feasible Hap might be located next to one of them.
Hap’s first name is Hunter.
4. This is more just a reminder but very quickly Hap gives us his full name:
Later on, The OA will rename him Angel Hunter, and although that does seem like something that she really could have done inspired by his name it could also be that he renamed him here to fit in with her image of him as an evil person.
5. Also, Hap is one of three characters (at least) that has nicknamed themselves with an acronym containing the letter “A.” The OA and BBA (Better Broaderick-Allen) being the other two. I’ll just set that here without any real commentary.
This seems more of cinematic storytelling than hidden messages, but similar to Breaking Bad, Bri Marling and Zal Batmanglij have included many scenes which tell us facts by color.
6. The most prominent color used in the show is purple. This is the color of Homer’s clothes (from his alma mater Pershing College), the color of the Lincoln High School Eagles, the color of the OA’s attire in the bunker, the color the bunker’s lighting itself takes at certain points (retrieving Homer’s ring and inhaling the Devil’s Breath), BBA’s attire on more than one occasion, the color of BBA’s brother’s ski suit, and many other examples.
And if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad you’ll remember that purple was the color of Marie, Hank’s wife, which she wore in every single one of her episodes except one: when she wore yellow on the day Hank pieced together Walter’s true nature.
7. Here we have an eerily similar parallel:
At the moment Hap comes into The OA’s life, we immediately see our biggest instance of yellow in the entire season. His yellow bag. The yellow lights of the restaurant. The yellow caution strip. The french fries. The yellow lemon he offers her on her oysters. And even the yellow tint of his wine.
Out of all the Easter eggs I found, I think the color coding is the most obvious. And it then provides context with many other events in the story.
Abel Johnson’s odd behaviors
There’s definitely something going on with The OA’s adopted dad (apart from having the name Abel Johnson) though we aren’t given enough to tell just what it is.
8. What’s the deal with the container of knives The OA finds in her old bedroom?
9. The same knives that were there when she was a child and when he had been filming her FOR TWO WEEKS:
10. Why is he always the one not wearing purple (and often associated with yellow) when The OA and his wife are wearing purple?
11. When they adopt Nina from the orphanage he’s wearing a sweater that says Sedona, Arizona (a very yellow place). He gets Nina to scream “No!” at him three times. And there’s a clear contrast here as they walk into their house.
12. This seems to be a sign that bad things are to come. Along with the knives, the secret recordings, and his knee jerk reaction to take a gun to her room when she begins screaming, I think maybe she had a traumatic incident between her and her adopted father.
Why is BBA obsessed with containers?
13. Twice she is associated with containers. Once when she draws a cube around her sexualized caricature and the other when she tells Principal Gilchrist that she loves the container store.
The five connections between the prisoners and The OA’s devotees.
There are theories out there that perhaps the five in the bunker are connected with the five in Michigan. Here are the closest ties I can draw:
14. The OA — Steve: Blond hair, both go running after a truck (Hap’s truck/Ambulance), leader of the group.
15. Homer — French: Sports, forehead scar, mirror scene
16. Buck —Rachel: Both are singers, connected to the red backpack
17. BBA—Scott: BBA is a twin of a heroin addict, Scott himself is a drug user
18 Renata—Jesse: Jesse plays the guitar, and in the scene at Theo’s old apartment we see Jesse air-guitar to hard rock.
I’ll be editing as I think of more things, be sure to leave comments below!