WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of The OA, available now on Netflix.
Shirley Jackson's 1959 horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House, has been one of the most influential ghost stories ever. In 1999, it inspired House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting with Liam Neeson and last year, we got Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. While each tells a different story of specters living in Hill House, one thing stands out: the residence is a hub for supernatural activity and a gateway to another dimension. Well, the second season of Netflix's The OA decides to up the ante on this concept, but in a much more intriguing fashion.
This season's plot hinges on a house the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Early on, it appears to be an abandoned building used by homeless people, especially at-risk kids. However, it turns out that it's part of a bigger journey. In fact, the house isn't condemned; the owners have left it unguarded so that people can unlock a secret doorway: the nexus to the multiverse.
It was created in the early 1900s by an engineer and his wife, whose identities remain a mystery. They discovered that, centuries before, this land contained a spring from which the Ohlone Tribe drew mystical powers, permitting him and his followers to journey to other realities. Initially, the couple wanted to unravel this secret themselves, but instead decided it was best to protect the gateway by constructing a house on it, believing that only individuals of a spiritual mindset were meant to find the doorway. They didn't believe even they were worthy, and so they turned the house into an ever-evolving puzzle for chosen ones to bypass.
The misdirection comes early on through the show's lead detective, Karim (Kingsley Ben-Adi), who thinks the house is haunted as he investigates the disappearance of a young girl, Michelle (Ian Alexander). But upon digging deeper, Karim realizes the house is filled with puzzles that havebeen repurposed by new owners Nina (Brit Marling), who doesn't realize she's the OA (an inter-dimensional traveler) in this dimension, her tech magnate husband Ruskin (Vincent Kartheiser), and Hap (Jason Isaacs), the scientist who feuded with the OA back in their dimension in Season 1. Suspecting its otherworldly powers after their construction workers went mad, this cabal mapped the entire layout and designed an app for these high-I.Q. kids to play, so they could unlock different levels inside the structure.
The "ghosts" are actually ripples from other realities knocking on the barrier, the walls of Nob Hill. But while the structure serves as a window to the multiverse, it also imprints on the kids pieces of what the multiversal map looks like. It's a conduit, extending its reach to the teens to offer up these puzzle pieces, which manifest in their minds as dreams. Hap realizes that, which is why he's been kidnapping the kids and running experiments on them.
Karim eventually outmaneuvers Hap, and deciphers his way to a rose-stained window, which permits him to look out and will himself into the dimension he desires most. As he connects and communicates with the house, it becomes apparent the building always wanted to pass its gift along, but only to genuine souls who came knocking. What makes the Nob Hill arc unique is that it offers a thought-provoking dive into the sci-fi realm, and goes beyond ghosts and jump-scares to encourage viewers to think while providing an unpredictable journey.
Streaming now on Netflix, The OA Season 2 stars Brit Marling, Emory Cohen, Phyllis Smith, Brendan Meyer, Ian Alexander, Jason Isaacs, Will Brill, Sharon Van Etten, Paz Vega, Chloe Levine and Kingsley Ben-Adir.