7 Things We Know About The OA Season 2

Netflix
Netflix

It's been two years since Netflix announced that it was renewing Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s controversial show The OA for a second season. At the time, they released a teaser trailer that had glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge and the word survived in Braille. Today, they dropped a trailer for the second season, which will debut March 22. The tagline? "No one survives alone."

It's an appropriately mysterious trailer for a show that left viewers guessing about whether or not the tale Prairie (Marling) told—which included near-death experiences, being held captive against her will, movements that open a door to another dimension, and angels—was even real. Here's what we do know about The OA's second season.

1. The second season is titled The OA: Part II.

In a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Batmanglij explained that The OA’s unusual format—which features episodes of varying lengths—was inspired by novels. “We wanted to take what we love about a novel and the novelistic experience and put it on the long-format series experience—not having all the characters in the first hour, not having all the chapters be the same length,” he said. “Could you imagine if the chapters of a book were all the same length? It would be funny. So we thought to ourselves about those constraints. Also, novels are often about something. They have an intention that the writer is trying to get across, and I think both Brit and I felt that we wanted to do that, too. We wanted to try to say something that we believed in.” He told Esquire that, “I think the novel analogy works really well; it's a novel, but it could easily be a series of novels. And I think it would be best as a series of novels!”

That helped guide the co-creators when they decided what to call the second season. “We always thought of [the parts of the OA] almost like books, and there could be many different volumes,” Marling said in an interview with Vulture when asked about why the new season would be called "Part II."

2. Part of The OA: Part II takes place in a different dimension than the first.

Brit Marling in 'The OA'
Netflix

In the trailer above, Prairie—who claimed she could open another dimension—awakens in the hospital to find herself in a parallel universe. According to Entertainment Weekly, Prairie has "successfully transported her consciousness into an alternate-universe version of herself"—a rich Russian heiress who was never a captive and was never experimented on. (Although, according to the official synopsis, she does "once again [find] herself as Hap’s captive.")

"It was really delicious to dive back into a realm you had been intimate with and land in the body of someone who had not been through all the experiences we watch Prairie go through in Part I,” Marling told Entertainment Weekly. Prairie's friends, meanwhile, are back in the dimension she left behind.

3. The OA: Part II was "carefully planned."

Shortly after the first season of The OA debuted without warning on Netflix, Batmanglij told Esquire that, although he and Marling “wanted [season one] to be its own standalone piece,” they “didn't want to go into it without having the larger picture planned out—I think the audience can always tell that, or feel it.” As he told The Hollywood Reporter, “This is a story that’s carefully planned … When we started, Brit and I spent two or three years conceiving of a whole world before we brought it to anybody, before it ever left our bedrooms.”

Marling assured THR—and fans of the show—that “there is an answer to every riddle and nothing is done to just be sound and fury going nowhere. It all goes somewhere.”

The goal, she explained to Entertainment Weekly in 2017, was to create a show that could stand up to the scrutiny of the internet age. “Now you can stop and start, you can watch it three times, you can screengrab and share it and be on Reddit,” she said. “So you have to have a narrative that’s robust enough to live up to that expectation. So we really tried to think about that and make sure every image and every frame was honest, and if we should get more than one season out, you could go back and watch the first season again and go, 'It was all there.'”

Which, of course, meant they had a clear picture of the second season: “There is a place that season two already begins in our minds and a place in which it ends,” she said. Hopefully this means we won’t have to wait too long for it!

4. The OA: Part II explores the first season's sci-fi roots more deeply.

“The first part is the story of a young woman who is traumatized and tells a group of boys this story and in so doing, allows them to face a moment of their own crisis at the end,” Marling explained to Vulture in 2017. “That is the self-contained story, but the more science fiction metaphysical threads are open-ended, so there can be a part 2 in which we can dive into those spaces.”

5. The OA: Part II involves a missing teenager—and a mysterious house.

Brit Marling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in The OA
Brit Marling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in 'The OA: Part II'
Netflix

The original cast is back, but The OA: Part II also adds Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders, Vera) as private investigator Karim Washington, who is looking for a missing teenager named Michelle Vu who was playing some kind of online game when she vanished. According to the synopsis, "His path crosses with OA, as they try to solve the mystery of Michelle’s whereabouts and a house on Nob Hill connected to the disappearance of several teenagers." In the trailer, the house is described as a place where everyone "either comes up cracked up or doesn't come out at all."

6. The OA: Part II found inspiration in film noir.

As Batmanglij told Entertainment Weekly, “We think of Part II as very much a noir. We wanted to come in through the character of a cynical detective. Films like The Big Sleep didn’t seem antiquated [when they came out]. They were very modern. That’s why we thought, ‘What better place than San Francisco and the tech world to set a noir today?’”

7. There will be answers to some of The OA's most pressing questions.

Marling told Marie Claire in 2016 that “there are answers to all of the questions. That's the delicious thing about the gap between seasons. People watch and take it in, revel in the mystery, argue about it online. And then, if they should be so lucky, the storytellers get to meet the audience when the story continues.”

But neither Marling or Batmanglij gave any hints. In 2016, when asked by Rolling Stone about some of the most discussed questions left lingering from season one, Batmanglij was coy. Kahtun’s realm is “not purgatory—or maybe it is. It's supposed to be something specific … I don't think anyone's picked up on what it is just quite yet.” Was the FBI agent who randomly shows up in the Johnsons' home in the last episode of the first season planting evidence? “I'm just glad people are asking that question. I was hoping they would be, and they are. [But] I can't tell you just yet.” Are the books under Prairie’s bed an indication that she’s lying? “There are two obvious options and unlimited other options why those exist. One is, if you're traumatized by something, you might read up on it. But there's also a more cynical perspective that she was using those books to tell a story.”

Translation: You’re just going to have to tune in to find out. To see what happens, watch The OA: Part II on Netflix on March 22.

A version of this story ran in 2017.

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Surprising Characters on Friends Who Were Originally the Show's Main Couple

Everyone was enthralled by Ross and Rachel's romantic drama—but how would you feel about Monica and Joey's?
Everyone was enthralled by Ross and Rachel's romantic drama—but how would you feel about Monica and Joey's?
Getty Images

When you think of Friends, your mind probably goes to all the hilarious one-liners, such as Joey's "How you doin'?", or all the romantic relationships in the show, most importantly Ross and Rachel's. We watched the pair's love story blossom since their first kiss back in season two, and the couple is widely regarded as one of the best in TV history.

Well, there was another couple planned that didn't make the cut. Just as Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc wanted their characters Phoebe and Joey to get together, showrunners planned for Monica and Joey to be an item. And they weren't just going to be a fling—the two were originally the Ross and Rachel of the show.

Vulture reports that Friends creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman initially had Monica and Joey coupling up, explaining:

"It would’ve unfolded like this: Joey, a 'perpetual horndog,' would’ve eventually been lured and 'tamed' by Monica as he continued to climb up in the world of acting. Crane, however, found himself 'bored' by this version of Joey; he retooled Joey to be a funnier and warmer character within the friend group, and dropped the romance with Monica altogether."

Would've been weird, right? According to Entertainment Weekly, it wasn't just Crane who didn't like the idea. LeBlanc himself, who played Joey, wasn't into his character trying to pursue Monica, not wanting to play someone who was perceived as creepy and hit on everyone.

It seems Joey went through some serious revisions before Friends became what it is today, and it's probably for the best. He doesn't end up married in the end, but at least Monica gets her happily ever after moment with Chandler.

[h/t Vulture]