The OA: New Colossus – Backstory (Review)

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The second episode of The OA episode “The New Colossus” goes deeper into the backstory of Nina/Prairie. The previous episode told how Nina survived the deadly bus attack and it also explained how she lost her sight. (It was taken by a supernatural deity.)

Now Prairie tells the assembled quintet about how she came to be adopted by Abel and Nancy. Her father sends her to America to a boarding school for the blind. There she plays the violin, learns to read and is told by her remaining parent to stop speaking Russian in class the “Voi” find her.

One day she is told by her aunt and the school’s headmaster that her father has been killed. Nina does not believe it and long after she is adopted by the Johnson’s has visions that indicate her father is alive.

Before becoming Prairie Johnson, the orphaned child is taken to live with her aunt who runs a baby brokering business. Nancy and Abel have come to buy a baby boy when Nina is discovered by Nancy. The Johnson’s decide to take the small child rather than the baby.

We learn how Nina, now Prairie, met Hap and came to be with him for so long. She also relates to her  believers about running away from home after years of being forced to take medication to “calm her down.”

Prairie told her parents of her dreams, where she believed her father to be alive and it was through this medium that he spoke to her.  Nancy and Abel tape the child’s nocturnal activities and take the footage and Prairie to see a doctor.

The medical man declares that the young girl is delusional and it is he who recommends dosing Prairie up.  On her 21st birthday she goes to the Statue of Liberty in New York to meet with her father. A dream she has earlier leads her to believe he will be there.

Her father does not appear and she stays in the subway station playing her violin. Her plan is that this “beautiful net” she has cast will catch her father. Instead, Hap is drawn to the beautiful younger woman and he buys her lunch.

Hap tells Prairie that he studies NRE (Near Death Experiences) and as the girl had one in Russia, he asks her to join him at the lab. She says yes and learns, once they arrive, that Hap has tricked her and Prairie  is now a prisoner. Trapped behind a glass cage.

It is here that she learns of Homer for the first time.

This episode moved much faster than the previous one. We learn a bit more about French as well as what transpired with Prairie before she vanished and returned with her sight restored.

Hap is introduced to the audience as as usual Jason Isaacs is able to infuse a myriad of levels to his character. Zoey Todorovsky is spot on as the younger Prairie, i.e. Nina Azarova and her depiction of the transitional Prairie is brilliant.

“New Colossus” leaves the gratuitous sex scenes out although they could well return in the next episode. Steve is, despite being rescued by Prairie, a chap whose name should really be “Richard.”

Presumably, since Prairie’s nighttime ramblings have been regulated to one hour at night, the remainder of the series will deliver her backstory via piecemeal. (A bit at a time.)

While Brit Marling has been interesting thus far as Prairie Johnson, the introduction of Isaacs will definitely prove to be a game changer.

The OA is available to stream or to download on Netflix in its entirety. Head on over and check it out. Despite its almost snail-like pace and a few unsympathetic characters, it is interesting.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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