Here at 25YLSite, we handle a lot of heavy lifting. Analysis, interpretation, deep discussion, introspective interviews…you name it, we’ve got it. “Favorites” takes a lighter approach to the material we normally cover. Each week, we will take you through a list of favorites—whether its moments, scenes, episodes, characters, lines of dialogue, whatever!—in bite-sized articles perfect for your lunch break, a dull commute, or anywhere you need to take a Moment of Zen. So, sit back and enjoy this week’s offering: Martin Hearn’s Favorite emotional moments in Season 1 of The OA.
As we await the arrival of Season 2of The OA on March 22nd I decided to revisit Season 1 to refresh my memory of the show’s mysteries so I could be prepared to re-enter that world. I was reminded just how emotional the story, characters, and subject matter of the show are and was prompted to list the moments that perhaps affected me the most here in no particular order. This was a hard one to put together as there are just so many, and to be totally honest I could have written an entire list of favorite BBA moments, but I thought I’d throw some others in there too.
This scene is definitely a tough watch and the young actors, especially Zoey Todorovsky playing the young Nina/Prairie, give exceptional performances. The crash in itself is hard viewing, mainly because there are children involved, but it’s when we learn through the narration that they have all died that the emotional punch really hits home. It’s this scene that results in us getting our first look at the mystical Khatun (Hiam Abbass) who occupies the space between life and death. She wants Nina to stay there with her but she refuses and wants to return to life with her Papa (Nikolai Nikolaeff). After she returns she says “Papa. I can’t see” and we learn that the cost of being given another life is her eyesight. At this point, I was glad the episode ended as I was an emotional wreck.
BBA Saves Steve
Betty Broderick-Allen (Phyllis Smith) is by far my favorite character of the show and I just loved witnessing the journey she took. She’s lost her way in life after the death of her twin brother and is looking for a purpose again which brings her into The OA’s (Brit Marling) group of disciples. She sees the good in everyone, especially troubled student and fellow OA disciple Steve (Patrick Gibson), regardless of what this trust and belief might cost her in the long run. Steve’s parents have lost faith in him and instead of helping him they decide the best course of action is to have him sent to a reforming Military School, but BBA hasn’t lost faith in him. She knows he has good in him. After being handcuffed and driven away to the Military School BBA gives chase eventually handing over the cheque for fifty thousand dollars that she inherited from her brother’s will just to rescue him. Phyllis Smith gives an incredibly moving performance in the entire season and a lot of the time she doesn’t even have to say anything as her face tells a story all of its own. Then when she does speak her tone is naturally heartbreaking, she’s such a powerful actress without even knowing it.
A show’s soundtrack is always something I think about and explore further down the line after watching a show but with The OA I was drawn to the music almost instantly. It’s so perfectly composed that I get a lump in my throat just from listening to it, which is something I’ve only really experienced with Twin Peaks: The Return and the movie The Hours. When watching episode 1I just assumed it was a show without any sort of opening credits or theme song, so I was shocked when they started playing over 57 minutes into the episode. I was genuinely in tears when this happened as I think I realized that the real story of the show was only just beginning. I think it’s a brave thing to do in a show and coupled with the perfect music it works beautifully. I know this piece of music is used at other moments in the season but it’s always this that I think of when listening to it, still with a tear rolling down my cheek.
Prairie and Homer Cure Evelyn
Stan the Sheriff’s wife, Evelyn, is suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and is now nothing more than a mind trapped in the shell of a body that no longer works. Using this as a bargaining chip for his freedom Hap (Jason Isaacs) tells the Sheriff that she can be cured and brings in Prairie and Homer (Emory Cohen) to perform the healing moves. As the music intensifies the lights flicker, signaling that it’s working, which makes them more determined. They’re successful and as she’s cured she gives them the final move that they’ve desperately searched for. Stan properly reuniting with his wife for the first time in years only for them to be both shot, the music that gets intenser and intenser with every second, and Prairie & Homer finally touching each other after years of being in love all create this really powerful scene that seems to all happen so quickly that it leaves you with feeling angry, happy, sad, and emotionally drained all at the same time. It’s intense and brilliantly written and performed.
BBA Says “My Boys”
I don’t need to say too much about this one as I’ve already stated earlier how much I love BBA and the incredible portrayal of her that Phyllis Smith gives us, but the moment BBA whispers “My boys” reduces me to a blubbering mess every single time I watch it. As the shooter opens fire on the school the Principle is quick to tell BBA to leave and we slowly see the realization of what’s going on appear on her face. Dropping her box of belongings, she turns and runs back into the school to help the people she cares about the most. She knows that that’s where she has to be and this is the moment that the whole of The OA‘s story has been leading to.
The Group Performs The Five Movements
I know there was a lot of people left feeling angry at the Season 1 finale but for me, it was one of the most powerful finales ever created and I can’t wait to see how they top it at the end of Season 2. I was already an emotional mess at this point thanks to BBA’s “My Boys” line, but it was the moment the gang all make eye contact during the school shooting that really hit me. You see it dawn on them that this is the moment they’ve been preparing for, this is what Prairie taught them the moves for, and as they slowly nod at each other the hauntingly beautiful music begins once more. They perform the five movements which results in the shooter being stopped, but not before he shoots Prairie. The entire thing is so beautifully done and I never tire of watching it. The moves themselves have even become a symbol of hope for people in real life with a flash mob even performing them in front of Trump Tower in NYC with the real associate choreographer from the show, Wes Veldink, helping them perfect the moves. There’s something hypnotizing about the whole thing and I can definitely see why they mean so much to people, as they now mean so much to me too.
I know there a lot more emotional moments in the show (I even cried at the trailer for Season 2) so feel free to let us know your favorites in the comments.