Warning: We're going deep inside The OA in this article, so if you haven't finished Season 1 yet you might want to exit this page and return to it ASAP.
After very little warning, Netflix's new series The OA was quietly released last Friday, and immediately overtook my weekend TV plans. By Sunday the eight episodes were watched and this strange but gripping series had won me over, notching up another success in 2016 for the sci-fi genre along with Arrival, Westworld and fellow Netflix series Stranger Things
The OA tells the story of Prairie Johnson, an blind girl who went missing only to reappear seven years later with her sight restored and unable to tell anyone where she has been. Until of course, she does reveal where she's been and then the mad journey begins. But if you're reading this article, you already know the OA's story, and instead you just want some answers about that crazy ending. Don't worry, you're not alone! And hopefully below you can reach some sort of understand about what exactly happened during Episode 8.
The fifth movement and how to use it
During Episode 8, The OA finishes her story about her time spent in Hap's basement, and reveals that it was Evelyn who gave her and Homer the fifth movement after the pair cured her of her ALS. Evelyn told the pair that a little girl had once told her: "One day you will help two captive angels. It will be very hard. It will be very painful." And she also revealed that she had swallowed a white moth (the fifth movement), which she has waited to give to The OA and Homer for a long time. When asked how they should use the fifth movement to escape, Evelyn crucially revealed "It's a matter of will. It's always a matter of will."
Following the reveal of the fifth movement, Hap shot Evelyn as she hugged her husband, Stan for the final time and then he took the OA and dumped her in the wilderness. But as the OA told her group the story, their parents arrive and the group is split.
TL;DR: you can have the fifth movement but need the will to be able to properly use it.
Was the OA telling the truth?
After the group is split and Abel and Nancy take the OA away from the town, French goes looking for anything in the Johnson family home to help the group research her story. However, instead he comes across four books which seem to prove the OA's story as nothing but a tall tale.
This is where things get really interesting for the series, because we also know that while French is at the Johnson house, he also comes across the FBI agent Elias Rahim who seems to ask him many questions about why he's in the house, but offers no explanation as to why he's there. So basically this leaves us with two possibilities: firstly that the OA ordered the books herself, or secondly that Rahim planted the books to discredit the OA's story and keep the idea of another dimension a secret.
Obviously there's pros and cons to both theory, though to me if seems likely that Rahim planted the books in order to prevent the others thinking that the OA might be telling the truth. This is especially supported by the video of Homer talking about his NDE that we saw the OA watching at the start of the series, proving that he is a real person. Not to mention the fact that none of the books look like they have been read, and that Redditor lighhht pointed out the OA might not even be able to read very well, considering that she still uses a computer with the narrator on and only regained her sight while imprisoned with no books. And while yes it's possible that her story might be false and that she could have learned to read in her lost seven years, in that case why would she have waited to order the books until she returned home?
TL;DR: While we can't be 100% sure that the OA didn't make the story up, but it seems more likely that the books were planted by the FBI agent, especially as we see an actual video of Homer earlier in series.
Did the movements work or was it simply distracting to the shooter?
So just when we thought the OA's story was a load of lies, we skip slightly ahead in time and see her awaken from a dream with complete understanding of why she needed to teach the boys and BBA the movements. As she rushes down the street, the boys and BBA are at school when it's suddenly under threat from a shooter. Realizing this is what the OA had been teaching them the movements for, the five begin to perform the movements as the shooter stands before them in the cafeteria. By the time the OA arrives and also begins the movements, one of the cafeteria workers is able to tackle the shooter who lets off a volley of shots. As the fifth moment is completed the camera zooms out on the OA, who was shot exactly where the movements ended - much like Evelyn was.
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As she's wheeled into the ambulance, the OA tells the boys that the movements worked because she had "the will," confirming that thanks to their performance they changed the destiny so that the OA was killed instead of countless school kids. The OA had the will to be killed because she wanted to find Homer and the others — the only reason she had been teaching the group the movements in the first place — so was willing to accept her fate. And as the vehicle rolls down the street Steve says "it's happening," understanding that the OA is about to reach another dimension.
TL;DR: The boys and BBA changed destiny so instead of the shooter killing kids, he shot the OA. However this was only possible because the OA had the will to take the place of the children, due to her desire to be reunited with Homer.
Season 1 of The OA is available to stream on Netflix now.