Review: The OA Season 1 Episode 2 “New Colossus”

The final sequence of this episode is incredibly effective. The claustrophobic cinematography makes the viewer feel trapped, representing the isolated experience of Prairie, while also doubling down on the emotional trauma through a pounding score. Technically, this episode soars, but unfortunately, this excellent scene is proceeded by slow, unnecessary developments. “New Colossus” takes on a fractured structure as it attempts to present Prairie’s story, superbly developing the character and crafting a bond between her and the audience, before quickly diverting its focus to the supporting cast. I appreciate the attempt to give some significance to their struggles and how their inclusion in Prairie’s ‘group’ may make them feel special and important, but it lacks the urgency of Prairie’s story, and therefore feels oddly placed, slowing the episode down. Prairie’s retelling also becomes difficult to believe in as a number of contrived situations are used to force the plot forward. I question whether she’s an unreliable narrator, and these forced developments are meant to reflect that, but her determination and seriousness suggests otherwise. Its possible the show is trying to make a larger point about mental illness, but so far none of that has particularly resonated. 7.4/10