by Lauren McCarthyMarch 22, 2019 3:00
Your eyes were not deceiving you. Early on Friday morning, Netflix finally dropped season 2 of The OA, a full two years after the first season original aired in December 2016, and those who waited it out were met with a surprising guest star in the very first episode: a dreadlocked, grunged out, yet still unmissable Zendaya.
Despite season 1 ending on a cliffhanger, the second season opens on a new story completely (or, at least, it seems that way at first). A worried grandmother seeks out a San Francisco detective named Karim (played by Kingsley Ben-Adir) to find her lost granddaughter. In his quest, Karim discovers that the missing girl has been wrapped up in an addictive online game, which leads him to a sort of halfway house for others addicted to the game. It’s there that we come across Zendaya. Dressed in baggy flannel and donning a pair of glasses, she plays a wise, advanced gamer (her name, according to closed captions, is Fola, though her name is never actually said) with wisdom to impart on the detective. “It’s not a game. It’s a puzzle,” she says. “A puzzle is one side against another. There’s a winner and a loser. Puzzles don’t have losers.”
Zendaya as Fola then leads Karim to the puzzles next level, a level she herself can’t solve. It’s there that we leave her, now pivoting back to where we last saw Brit Marling at the end of season 1—at least for this episode. To find out if she has anymore wisdom to share, we’ll just have to keep bingeing.
Zendaya is not the only surprising casting on the show, however—singer Sharon Van Etten appears in seasons one and two, as the mysterious captive Rachel. It’s also not Zendaya’s first foray into TV; she got her start on the Disney Channel on Shake It Up, alongside Bella Thorne, and will further return later this year on HBO’s Euphoria.