After disappearing seven years ago, a now 28 year old Prairie Johnson returns to her parents, Nancy and Abel. Prairie disappeared blind, but now she can see, and insists that her name is "The OA". She does not reveal how she regained her eyesight, nor where she has been for the past seven years, although she makes vague allusions to being held hostage with others. OA tells Steve, a neighborhood bully, that she will save him from being sent to boot camp in Asheville, if he presents her with four other strong people. That night, OA meets Steve in an abandoned house with three other boys from his school, "French", Buck, and Jesse, along with their teacher, Betty Broderick-Allen ("BBA"). She tells them that she was born in Russia as Nina Azarov, the daughter of a powerful oligarch. One day, following a premonition she had, the mafia knocked the bus of the oligarch's children into a river. Nina died and had an NDE where a woman named Khatun gave her the choice of returning to life. Nina came back blind after Khatun told her she would take her sight to protect her from the horrible things lying ahead.