The OA: Season 1, Episode 7 “Empire of Light” (B-)
It seems to me a strange decision not to feature any flashbacks at all in the penultimate episode of this show’s first (and possibly only) season. That’s mainly because everything we’ve experienced back in Hap’s basement has been far more engaging than Prairie’s adventures in the present, and it feels like the show is trying to change course when it’s just about at the end. The most worthwhile development of the hour, which was Prairie getting recognized and photographed without her consent at a restaurant, provided evidence that Prairie hasn’t shared her narrative with her parents because they also haven’t been a part of hers or of the show. Alice Krige and Scott Wilson are both talented and haven’t been put to much use on this show, with Nancy’s outburst the first real instance of her getting some serious material. Prairie answering that she was one of the first angels was hardly helpful, and I suspect she won’t soon be reunited with her parents after that. It’s still better than Steve’s situation, where, upon learning of his violent throat punch, he promptly got signed off to be abducted by a reform school. Betty earns some points for following him to the gas station and paying $50,000 to get him released, but her character is still weird and doesn’t quite fit in with everyone else. Prairie is finally about to complete her story – let’s hope it was all worth it and this all leads somewhere resounding and satisfying, or to somewhere new for a second season to explore.