The OA for Lent — Episode 6: Forking Paths
“Here’s the terrible, beautiful truth. No one cares. There is no line between good and evil. There is only what a man can stand…my advice uncover what you can, destroy the evidence, and turn a profit...” — Leon
This is the shortest episode of the series lasting just 31 minutes. Yet, after the incredible resurrection of Scott in episode 5, we might wonder if time is really measured in minutes anyway.
The five in captivity and the five misfits are emboldened to find out what’s next, in the movements, in The OA’s story, and in their lives.
The episode begins with an image of an empowered Buck doing movements in front of a mirror with music in the background. We learn that Hap is trying to learn movements too.
And we learn Hap has a mentor, Leon. The two physicians are on a quest to measure life after death. The irony of healers meeting in the part of a hospital that is not a place of healing — the morgue, a place of death — is heightened by a dark conversation about values and life. Leon puts an exclamation point on his nihilism by confronting Hap with a gun. Leon wants access to five captors and their power of healing.
Hap kills Leon.
When he returns to the mine The OA perceives that something happened to Hap. Her suspicions are piqued when Hap invites The OA to go on the road, heal people, and make money so the two of them will have the capital to uncover more about the destination of NDE’s.
The OA reminds Hap that they aren’t partners. Hap plays a recording of the sound of the geographic location of an NDE — The Rings of Saturn.
Matthew 5 One of my favorite pieces of scripture is Matthew 5. The Beatitudes are beautiful, they’re also subversive. They turn expectations of who’s in and who’s out on of blessing on their head. Moreover Jesus’ sermon doesn’t end with salt and light. It begins with blessing as a place to teach about our relationships with one another.
I went to a workshop with Walter Wink when I was in college. Wink had everyone remove their shoes. College students in blue jeans, administrators in ties, professors in khaki’s all stood in their socks. Wink said being barefoot was a great social equalizer. He used the exercise to introduce us to what he said was the most politically subversive statements of Jesus; as well a series of gestures that he says are as spiritual as they are physical.
Though turning the other cheek, giving your cloak, and going the second mile, are often heard as moral aphorisms Wink says these are better understood as non-violent social protests. They are physical movements of Christian faith.
- After reading about turning the other cheek, and perhaps acting out the gesture as Wink understands it; describe how the movement could bring healing. Can the movements transport people to different dimensions?
- How might you understand the counter culture view of the beatitudes — blessing the poor, the meek, the hungry — against Leon’s advice to “Uncover what you can. Destroy the evidence, and turn a profit.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 Nobel Prize winner for Literature wrote in his account of a Russian prison, The Gulag Archipelago, about an experience of standing in line of prisoners under the watchful eye of a guard. As bombs began to fall around them the guard threw her arms around a prisoner. When the bombing stopped she withdrew her arms ordering the prisoner to move along. Solzhenitsyn observed 1) that there is no merit in becoming a human being in the moment of death. 2) that inflicters of torture are not a special bread of evil people. There is every reason so believe that we would act the same way if in their shoes. “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
- What do you think? Do the lines of good and evil depend on circumstance? Was Homer evil for helping to imprison Renata? Was Hap good for telling the hospital staff where to find Leon’s body? Or as Leon says, is there no such thing as good. No such thing as evil?
- Could the forking paths be moral dimensions or are they physical places? Can you think of a time where the result of a moral decision brought you to a different physical location.
- Rings of Saturn. Hap plays for The OA a recording that he think she heard during an NDE. The noise is, The Rings of Saturn. Close your eyes. Listen to the official NASA recording. What images come to mind? Open your eyes and listen to the recording. Are the images you imagine different with your eyes open?
2. All Your Yeahs. The Episode begins with Buck doing movements in front of the mirror the Beach House’s All Your Yeah’s. Click the link and play the song in front of a mirror doing one of the movements. Do the movement without the music. Was there a difference? How does music affect our emotions? How does music affect our actions?
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