The OA for Lent—Episode 5: Paradise
“I feel like where my movement ends your movement begins. Maybe they’re connected, like the pieces of a puzzle.” — The OA
At the outset of Episode 5, we find The OA and fellow prisoners in the mine working out “the movements.” Thus far, they only have two. The OA says “it game us strength and unity,” and she believed they open a “portal” or “celestial door.”
Meanwhile, Hap identifies a fifth subject for his research, Renata, an NDE survivor, who drowned three years prior and now plays inspired guitar. He enlists Homer to lure her to the hotel. Hap breaks the emerging rebellion and the trust between Homer and The OA. She says, “He made us feel we couldn’t possibly be angels. We were too human.” Both they and we question if that is so.
Imprisonment and Freedom
The OA says, “Its hard to understand how confusing freedom is when you’ve been a prisoner for so long. How hard it is to grasp that you have choice, that you can act. How unimaginable the sun is if you’ve been living underground for years.” “Try to imagine what its like to be a prisoner for all those years. You’re not free just because you can see the ocean. Captivitiy is a mentality, something you carry with you.” We see this theme throughout the series of people that are seemingly free but truly imprisoned, and people who are imprisoned and yet who are free. Some of the dramatic examples in the series are yet to be revealed in future episodes.
Forgiveness and Empathy
There is also an important moment of forgiveness in this episode when The OA forgives Homer for his betrayal, which is deeply painful. Later, we can hear, as she relates the story to the five misfits in the abandoned house, how she had forgiven him and the empathy she had for Homer. Before The OA even relates the story, she prefaces it by saying it would be hard to hear. Even when Alfonso objects saying he would never do that, The OA defends Homer. It is a picture of forgiveness as its happening (painful) in the mine and some time later (peace).
Death and Resurrection
The final 12 minutes of the episode are simply amazing. Scott is dying and bleeding out in his cell. His body falls into a classic Jesus crucifixion pose. His dreadlocks looks like a crown of thorns, a sheet is draped over his groin, his legs are bent and his arms are extended like traditional iconography of Jesus on the cross. Using the first two movements The OA and Homer heal Scott, as we see the blood flow back into his body.
Resurrected and returned from his NDE Scott reveals the truth about the movements. He says, “You were right. There are movements. Five of them. And you need five people, at least. The movements, they do things we cannot imagine. Give movements open up a tunnel to another dimension of freedom. And I have the third movement.”
Now we also come to know the reason The OA has recruited Steve, Alfonso, Buck, Jesse, and BBA (five people, remember, that are strong, flexible and brave). The OA says, “Do you see now how we’re going to save them? I’m going to teach you the movements, all five of them. We are going to open a tunnel to another dimension. I will travel there and rescue them.” The scene is set for the final two episodes.
- “The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’….” (Acts 17:24–28). God gave us life, bodies, and breath. It is in God that we live and move and have all of our being. Our lives are wrapped in the life and love of God.
- “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27) “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul likens the community of Jesus, the church, to a body, which is comprised of many unique parts that serve the overall health and wellness of the body, the community. The OA, Homer, Rachel, Scott, and Renata discover this deep connection in the movements. Each is given a single movement, but together they do something amazing.
The OA says that the movements gave the group strength and unity. Have you ever practiced a form of movement like yoga, tai chi, exercise groups? What is the feeling like to be part of a group engaged in a series of poses together? Can you relate to what The OA and Homer experienced? Have you encounterd the healing effect of movement? Would you describe it as a spiritual experience?
Body and Spirit
In Western religious traditions we often don’t pay much attention to the body. And yet, our bodies are integral to our spiritual lives—like a runner feeling refreshed and back in rhythm after a run, or someone feeling closer to God during a hike in nature, or walking along the beach and listening to the waves roll in. What physical activites help you to connect with your true self, feel grounded, and closer to God? Why?
Music plays a prominent role in this episode, as it does throughout the series, particularly Renata’s songs, which seem to cast a spell on her listeners, including Hap and Homer. Listen deeply to Renata’s music below and feel deeply the chords that are struck. Treat it like a 2 minute 42 second prayer.
Homer had not touched another human being in years, and his body and mind were simply uncontainable when he met Renata. Of all our senses, we probably take touch the most granted for granted. Yet studies show that when babies are deprived of touch, they don’t fully develop and thrive. Can the same be said for us adults? Pay closer attention to touch this week: to textures and temperatures, to the touch of a hug, a handshake, or the touch of a lover. What do you notice as you pay closer attention?
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