What a difference an episode makes.
I wasn’t too fond of The OA‘s pilot episode. But this? This was just fantastic.
The most impressive accomplishment here is the fact that Brit Marling completely turned the tables on me. In the season premiere, I found the actress to be somewhat dull and uninteresting, but New Colossus allowed the actress to showcase some absolutely incredible range. I was genuinely heartbroken for Prairie/Olivia as she recounted the story of endless hours waiting for her father to return (not to mention the bombshell that she had willingly left her home). Of course this culminated in the arrival of the show’s secret weapon: the phenomenal Jason Isaacs (who was downright splendid in the underrated Awake a few years back).
The entire time Isaacs was on screen, I wondered if the show was positioning Dr. Hunter as a villain ; thankfully, the show seems intent on maintaining a somewhat grey area, as he genuinely understands Prairie more than anyone. Of course his psychotic tendencies are ultimately revealed as he traps our heroine in his underground lab in what is probably one of the most horrifying sequences I’ve seen in a long, long time. Everything about this scene is harrowing and unsettling, particularly the slow burn as Prairie slowly starts to notice unusual things like the stream and the smell of rocks. What makes this entire scene even more effective is the fact that it is preceded by two unforgettable moments: Prairie unlocking the beauty of Hunter’s heartbeat machine, and the gorgeous scene with her on the plane ironically basking in her newfound freedom. Ouch.
Bits From The Blind
– I still adore Prairie’s parents. I especially loved how they saved her from her maternal aunt’s whorehouse.
– French’s story is pretty heartbreaking isn’t it? His mom is a lazy mess, and he’s raising his little brothers while juggling a drug addiction (and an impending scholarship) all on his own.
– Steve is not growing on me, especially the way he punished Michelle (since she’s been obtaining testosterone from him).
– The actress who plays little Prairie, Elle Campagna, is uber talented and immensely stunning. More of her please!
– It looks like we’re finally meeting the infamous “Homer”, who we discover is a fellow captive in Dr. Hunter’s terrifying lab. Things are finally coming together!
A haunting and powerful second hour that singlehandedly managed to make me invested in the show’s narrative. Wow!