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S01.E06: Garden of Forking Paths


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...and we are officially off the rails. There's suddenly another mad scientist? And he's suddenly dead? How did Prairie know about this guy? Did Hap tell her about him and I missed it while nodding off (aka traveling to Saturn)? The present-day story about the misfit kids is moving at a glacial pace.

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It's not the first time we've seen outside the narrative frame of Prairie's recounting of her abduction, her retelling things she couldn't possibly have known.  The writers forgetting they're telling a story within a story, I guess.  What I want to know is, with Hap and his friend Leon, how exactly will they present their findings for peer review?  Nevermind if they can even come up with physical evidence (what exactly? audio recordings of "whooshes"? what other equipment do they have for recording evidence of the other dimension(s) their subjects are traveling to?), how will they say they recorded it?  How will they tell other scientists to replicate it?  "Oh, just find some people who have nearly died before and drown them over and over."  I guess Leon's flow chart is as follows: 1. Kill people. 2. Revive them. 3. ????? 4. Profit!

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Oh, they're completely batshit insane.  But that's kind of what I like: they are like the Leonard Lake and Charles Ng of Unit 731, two monsters who somehow found each other.  God, this show is so creepy; the way those two so nonchalantly talk about their research, ugh... and yet a teeny tiny part of me can't help but admit that in the show's universe (or multiverse), the research Hap is doing could literally be called the most important in the history of human kind.  So twisted...

I'm not prepared (yet) to condemn the narrative elements Prairie in theory couldn't know, or the slowness of the attic troupe, at least until I see how it wraps up.  It could- and likely will, I'm guessing- be a trainwreck of an unsatisfying finish.  But I also think I'm keying on a meta/theosophical vibe about this show I really enjoy, that's working for me on a level I can't articulate yet.  As bizarre as it's becoming in that mine, if they really were experiencing the things they were, I'd probably stick to the dance routines as well: escape from Hap is nice, but 

The last scene of this episode, where Buck's dad shuts the door and the (oddly short) episode ends with the two blue lines instead of blue circle (because he's broken the circle of whatever ritual is going on), totally added a few dashes of "John from Cincinnati" into the show for me.  John was all about 01, and here the OA = away = O / \ seems cut from the same cloth.  If the show is serving as a metaphor/morality tale about our relationship with culture and media, and our inability to see different ways of living (or to seek escapism in movies, tv shows, and video games), it could still work.  We will see!

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