When Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij debuted their passion project The OA on Netflix in 2016, critics raved about the dizzying, dazzling, divisive sci-fi series that followed a young blind woman who returned after a mysterious disappearance with her sight restored. New episodes never debuted, leaving only a legacy of controversy and the memory of a weird modern dance scene in its finale. But now the series has returned, and it is as bonkers as ever.
The long-awaited second season of The OA, or as Marling and Batmanglij call it, The OA: Part II, drops on Netflix on March 22, 2019, but critics got an early peek at the series. Read about The OA Part II early buzz below.
Indiewire writes that in its second season, The OA “doubles down in a longer, more pretentious, and less vigorous follow-up season that’s part puzzle box, part romance, and wholly insane.”
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cry from laughing or simply stare blankly at the screen as some of the weirdest shit you’ve ever seen unfolds, and you’re asked to take it all very, very seriously. For better or worse, “The OA” never blinks. Its imagination is its bane and blessing, rendering the show inaccessible to certain audiences while successfully distinguishing the series from any other.
Insider says that while season 2 starts out stronger than the show’s divisive first season, it “takes a turn into mystifying science fiction that is sure to leave people once again debating its brilliance and strangeness.”
The swaths of brilliant writing, gorgeous direction and cinematography, and twisting puzzle-like storytelling of “The OA” remains as compelling as ever. “Part II” kicks off with the best three episodes of the entire series. Though the middle section of the season began to feel more off-the-rails, we are eager to see how the final two episodes shake down.
GQ raves about Part II, saying The OA‘s “second season outdoes the first in every way.”
Not entirely ready to do away with the sins of the past, The OA still has some ways to go in pacing some of its episodes. The horror house installment is immediately followed by a 45-minute road trip undertaken by OA’s previous disciples in universe 1.0 which, despite Phyllis Smith’s charms, doesn’t justify an entire episode. But that’s a small price to pay for what has now revealed itself as one of the most ridiculously fun and earnest shows in recent memory. The OA Part II takes big swings wherever it can, and connects frequently. I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong about a show I’d written off. If Netflix has the sense to let Marling and Batmanglij tell the full story they’ve obviously mapped out for a few more years to come, this could be the beginning of something seriously special.
TV Guide calls Part II “even more challenging, as it asks audiences to acclimate to new and even wilder layers of the show’s puzzle,” but if audiences suspend disbelief, they won’t be disappointed.
Just as viewers of Season 1 had to actively choose to leave their front doors open and let OA’s story wash over them, Part II requires audiences to resist nit-picking and just let The OA happen, experiencing the show for the many oddities it has to offer. This series has never been meant for everyone, but for those who are true believers in the OA, Part II will be a welcome follow-up to the first.
The Playlist agrees that season 2 is “superior” to the first season and “encapsulated the essence of a prestige television of entertainment past.”
“The OA” hasn’t lost any creative steam during the over two-year hiatus between seasons. In ‘Part II,’ the narrative scope is wider, the interwoven scientific undertones more ambitious, the character arcs further traversed for richer development while allowing for new ones, the new San Francisco setting utilized impeccably to maximum effect, and Marling and Batmanglij meticulously tie up virtually every loose end from Season 1, while raising a new set of questions to be pondered.
From the critical reaction to The OA, it sounds like if you were a fan of the first season, you will love the second even more. However, this was a deeply divisive series, and while reviews mostly leaned positive — if slightly confused by the show’s sheer ambition — it seems that if the first season wasn’t appealing, then it’s more of the same for season 2. But still, it’s rare that we get an ambitious, high-concept series like The OA, so credit must be given where it’s due.
The OA: Part II hits Netflix on March 22, 2019.