Why will you keep watching?
The OA's plotting is occasionally overcooked and ill-served by Batmanglij and Marling's formal ambitions. Episodes drag, characters disappear, and clunky exposition abounds. At times it can feel like a term paper written by two honor students trying to cram in all of their esoteric research -- Flatliners-like near-death-experiences, Russian political history, the dangers of medication, and the effects of the housing crisis on upper-middle-class communities all get skimmed over -- but the sense of possibility and ambition is infectious. This is a show that fearlessly (and sometimes foolishly) dives into the unknown.
That sense of abandon is reflected in Marling's performance, which will keep you watching even when the show dips into mystical mumbo-jumbo. With her expressive blue eyes and slightly removed demeanor, she projects vulnerability and intelligence in equal measure. Sometimes she's a scared child, pulling a blanket over her head to shut out the world. Sometimes she's a wise guru. ("You sound like one of the poetry kids," Steve tells her at one point. "You know, the ones who wrote poems about cutting themselves and shit.")