What Are "Bad Miracles"? OJ's Nope Speech Explained

WARNING! This post contains SPOILERS for Nope.

At an early point in Jordan Peele's Nope, OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) asks his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) if there's such a thing as a "bad miracle," a concept that the movie explores on an extraterrestrial level. The question comes after the gruesome and mysterious death of their father, Otis Sr. (Keith David), along with the strange behavior and disappearance of some horses from the Hollywood ranch. OJ can sense that something unbelievable is occurring, but that whatever is happening may not be a good thing.

Miracles are often spoken of in the context of religion, and Peele introduces Nope with a Bible verse that connects his story to biblical ideas of astonishing occurrences. The Bible contains many stories of feats or miracles performed by God to bring good to those who follow him. And while the idea of a miracle has a largely positive connotation, Nope instead submits the idea that an amazing thing might not have a good outcome for people - and could even be a horrifying occurrence.


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Most of the events depicted in Nope are rather bleak, with no blessings for those who happen to be nearby. The film opens with a scene involving a strange incident in which a shoe stands up on its heel in Nope, but this “miracle” occurs amid a brutal attack by a chimp. Likewise, the Haywood's father dies by a highly improbable means after a coin falls from the sky seemingly from nowhere, killing the Haywood patriarch. The UFO is another link in Nope’s chain of amazing spectacles that brings horror instead of good through its impossibility - meaning OJ's definition of a "bad miracle" seems to be an almost inexplicable, force-majuere-style event that harms and destroys in almost complete subversion to biblical miracles.

Why The UFO In Nope Is A "Bad Miracle”

Nope why the alien changes at the end

The UFO in Nope is a sight to behold, but it doesn’t seek the good of those who live beneath it. The UFO itself is a huge being that has claimed the Aqua Dulce desert in Nope where the story takes place. The owner of the latter location, Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun), soon learns that the alien cannot be manipulated, leading to many deaths, including those of himself and his family. Given little explanation by Peele even as Nope reaches it's conclusion, the UFO and the events it causes certainly fit OJ's definition of a "bad miracle".

It could be argued that the UFO doesn’t mean harm to anyone; it is just a predator seeking to fill its hungry stomach. OJ even takes to treating the UFO like an oversized animal, learning its habits and trying to respect it in ways he can. But the UFO does hurt people, accidentally causing the death of Otis Sr at the beginning of Nope as well as those it purposefully consumes. Nope's UFO is an amazing force beyond the characters' comprehension, but (whether intentionally or not) is harmful to people, making it a “bad miracle.”