1. The parent-teacher conference.
At this point in the show, we’re still unsure about everything. We don’t know the stories behind the characters, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. But here in this scene between OA and BBA, we see a glimpse of the knowledge that all the characters are so desperately searching for:
“This dimension is crumbling to violence and pettiness and greed, and Steve is sensitive enough to feel it and he’s angry. He’s angry and he’s lost. And in order to find him you’d have to teach yourself again, and you decided somewhere along the way that you were done learning. It’s too painful to stay open.”
“Well I think we all face the same hopelessness… it’s what we decide to do with it.”
“You’re right. So what are you gonna do? If you want to do your job: expel the bully, focus on the kid who sings like an angel even though he doesn’t need you. If you want to be a teacher, teach Steve. He’s the boy you can help become a man. He’s the one you lost. He’s your first reason.”
2. Watching Steve’s development of his invisible self.
You want to root for Steve, you really do. But then he goes and does stuff like punch a kid in the throat for (seemingly) no reason, and it makes it really hard. One of the reasons that Steve and OA’s friendship is so meaningful is that she’s able to see past all of that – when the school couldn’t, when his friends couldn’t, even when his own parents couldn’t – she was able to see that he was hurting, and that his invisible self wasn’t the one calling the shots yet. As you sit there and watch him develop, you realize that by the time he’s ready to take responsibility for his actions (that scene in the shower where he talks himself through the impending chat with his dad was powerful), it’s like looking at a completely new person.
3. Buck’s sacrifice for French.
Alright, so this was a short moment in the grand scheme of all that happened this season, but it was so powerful. Buck is brave for many, many reasons, but when we saw this it just blew me away. Not only did he go out of his way to find French and make sure that he came back to the house that night, but he takes it upon himself to tell Steve he can’t deal drugs there anymore. It wasn’t Buck’s responsibility to protect French from that character clause in his scholarship, but he did it anyway. And to watch Buck hear Steve say no more testosterone supply (which was, we’re assuming, literally his lifeline while his family still called him by his birth name), and he still just sits down to listen to OA. Buck is the best.
4. French’s relationship with his family.
We catch glimpses into all the character’s lives, sometimes just enough to understand what’s going on. But with French we get a powerful picture of what’s going on behind the scenes. The writers (which include Brit Marling, who plays OA) did an incredible job with the characterization of a high schooler struggling to maintain his image, while his family life is wearing on him. And it’s not like they tried to make him perfect, either, which I also appreciate. French has his issues, but the dedication he shows to his siblings and especially to his mom (no matter what she does), is powerful.
5. Rachel singing.
There’s all at once too much and nothing at all you can say about this haunting scene, but listening to Rachel sing for her fellow prisoners was emotional to say the least. I went back and watched it again after I finished the season, because it’s just that good.
6. The “future is dark” conversation.
“The future’s dark. Not dark, like bad, just dark – you can’t see it. And maybe living is just bringing light to what you need in a day. Just seeing the day.”
Sometimes the feelings that are brought up while watching The OA are complicated, but this scene between OA and BBA stood out among others. For a show that leaves mostly questions in its wake, this was a refreshing conversation with a somewhat straightforward answer. OA was right, we can’t see the future, but maybe that’s okay. It was a good reminder to live in the moment.
7. BBA giving up her $50,000 for Steve.
The development of the relationships in this show really get to me. Especially the relationship between Steve and BBA. She went from wanting nothing to do with him, wanting him expelled, to literally giving up the only thing she had left of her brother in order to save him. OA was foreshadowing when she told BBA during the parent-teacher conference that Steve could become the one she ‘lost’. BBA couldn’t save her brother, but because of her brother she could save Steve (cue waterworks).
8. “My boys.”
This. This screenshot here – this is the only thing I want to talk about from now on. I want nothing to do with anything that isn’t a conversation about the love that BBA had for those boys. Her boys. It just makes me want to cry and hug her (as she hugs her boys, of course) simultaneously. BBA was such a powerful character in the show anyway, always steady in her commitment to OA and the boys, but this just takes the cake. Everyone around her is in danger, she herself is in danger, but her first and only thought is getting to her boys to protect them. It gives me chills just thinking about it.
9. The cafeteria scene.
It didn’t matter what happened after French found those books, it didn’t matter what they all thought about OA or what she told them, it didn’t matter that they all went back to sitting separately in the cafeteria – all it took was a few looks at each other from underneath the tables, a couple of agreeing nods, and all five of them (BBA not pictured, but you better believe she was there) rushed into the midst of danger to do something. They risked themselves to help others, which is what OA had told them the whole time – if what they were doing worked, they would be saving people. And they did.
10. THAT LAST SCENE
Apparently, there’s some disagreement about whether this last scene was up to par based on the rest of the season. I am firmly in the camp that while it left me wanting more, it was not at all disappointing. Do I have questions? Yes. Am I on the edge of my seat waiting for another season to come? Absolutely. But come on, people – that’s what this show has been all about. It’s the mystery, the not knowing, that makes it so great. And this last scene was exactly that.
PLEASE GIVE US A SECOND SEASON.
Sincerely, everyone who loved this masterpiece of a show.
What moments would have chosen from season 1?