“Angel of Death” manages to introduce an entirely new character while maintaining the story in a compelling chapter.
This recap of The OA Season 2 Episode 1, “Angel of Death”, contains spoilers. You can read the recap of the next episode by clicking these words.
“Angel of Death” introduces us to what I presume is a second lead character in the form of Karim Washington (Kingsley Ben-Adir), a cynical, Drake lookalike detective that doesn’t shove his badge in people’s faces. His story starts with an old Vietnamese woman with bad English asking for his services. Her daughter has gone missing, leaving her with a large amount of money.
The OA Season 2, Episode 1 sees Karim enticed by a young boy who knows Michelle and takes him to a broken-down house. At the house, an insane man tries to attack him before throwing himself out of the window. Karim decides to ask a member of an underground club more about a smartphone game that the insane man was obsessed with, which takes him to another dive, with a group of kids (known as the Q-kids) all obsessively playing the game.
We learn that the game is a puzzle with each level providing financial incentives. “Angel of Death” welcomes Karim to a world he is not accustomed to, but he seems determined to find out how the game and the disappearance of Michelle are linked.
Halfway through Episode 1, we finally get introduced to Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), merging with the finale of Season 1. Her alter-self is on a cruise; she’s on the phone in an argument with her husband Pierre Ruskin (Vincent Kartheiser). She has a sudden heart attack, caused by the moment Prairie was shot in the school shooting.
When her alter-self arrives at the hospital and wakes up, she is no longer aware of who she is. Prairie realizes that she has successfully jumped dimensions, and arrived in Nina Azarova’s body (if you remember from Season 1, that’s her birth name). “Angel of Death” sees the hospital understandably believing that Prairie is having a psychotic breakdown. The most compelling moment is when she manages to get on to Skype to her adoptive mother who does not recognize her, and she realizes she picked the boy, not the girl in the orphan.
Karim is still skirting the streets of the gaming underworld, and he gets hold of a name that runs the game; Pierre Ruskin. He decides to infiltrate his offices, and finds hundreds of children all in a room, whispering into what looks like a microphone.
“Angel of Death” ends with Prairie at Treasure Island, a mental facility she has to stay in for 14 days. In a heartbreaking moment, she realizes her doctor is Homer (Emory Cohen), and because it’s his alternative version of himself, he does not recognize her. Her nightmare increases when she meets the head of the department, Dr. Hunter Aloysius ‘Hap’ Percy (Jason Isaacs), the man who kept her and a group of others locked in cages for years. The opening of The OA Season 2 starts as it means to go on, confounding the audience with a well-written storyline, steeped in mystery as Prairie’s universe opens even more.