If you’re anything like me, when you’re on Netflix you don’t always have a clear idea of what you want to watch. It’s either rewatch the same movies, seasons, and episodes you’ve already seen, or take a chance on something new. Last year, I took a chance on a show created by the Wachowksi sisters and J. Michael Straczynski about eight strangers who were connected mentally and emotionally.
Let’s just say that after episode one, I was hooked.
The show’s premise (according to Wikipedia*) is that Sense8 is about eight strangers: Capheus, Sun, Nomi, Kala, Riley, Wolfgang, Lito and Will, each from a different culture and part of the world. They all have a vision of a woman suffering a violent death, and then their connection is unlocked. The rest of the show follows them exploring this connection and dealing with their own personal conflicts in life.
I love this show so much, not just because of the idea of being connected to eight different people and being able to experience life through someone else’s eyes. But because of how beautifully it’s shot and how it deals with several different themes at once. From family, to sexuality, to duty, this show pulls no punches when it decides to take on a conflict and resolve it.
Also there is a very steamy sex scene between the sensates that I won’t spoil. You’ll just have to go ahead and see for yourself. My words could never do it justice.
When the season ended I was chomping at the bit to know that there’d be a season two, it ended on such a cliffhanger I couldn’t live if that was all we got. The Wachowskis made me care about these people so in my mind it was their duty to make sure my little angels were given their fair due. Never before had a show made me love every character at once, but this show managed to do that. Every character is well-rounded and a fully living breathing person, even the women which most shows have a hard time managing.
When it was announced that on December 23, 2016 there’d be a christmas special, I squealed in excitement. I eagerly awaited any and all updates, I stalked the Sense8 Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr accounts. I had to know anything and everything about this christmas special and the confirmed season two. So here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Capheus, original played by Aml Ameen, is now going to be played by Toby Onwumere. I was little disappointed to see Ameen go, Capheus is such an optimistic and light character, I couldn’t see anyone else playing him. But, after watching the special, I can say that Onwumere didn’t change Capheus in the slightest. He was still the loving, optimistic, and caring character he’d been in season one. Just now he had a different face.
I was afraid of how they’d address the actor change: would they acknowledge it or expect us to pretend nothing had changed at all? I was pleasantly surprised by what they actually did and I’d spoil it for you but… You really need to watch this show. If I give everything away at once what incentive will you have to read it?
I’m evil I know. *cue thunder-clap and organ music*
Now, on to the themes I found in the special. The show as a whole deals with questions of identity, right and wrong, religion, family, duty, etc. But the special, in my opinion, really took a couple of those and explored it in-depth.
In season one we meet actor Lito, a closeted gay man who’s in a loving relationship with Hernando. He’s constantly afraid of losing his career because of his sexuality, and resorts to using women to appear heterosexual. Over the course of the show, a man named Joaquin threatened to out him with photographs taken by a friend (Daniela) unless he gave her (Daniela) back to him. Lito was forced to choose between his career and his friend. In the end, he decided to do the right thing.
The special begins with Joaquin leaking the photos as promised and Hernando giving a stunning lecture in his art class. A student tries to ridicule him about the leaked photographs and Hernando puts him in his place and still brings it back to his original lesson plan.
“Look, love is not something we wind up, something we set or control. Love is just like art: a force that comes into our lives without any rules, expectations or limitations. Love like art, must always be free.” —Hernando
This, in turn, leads us to what I like to think is a theme; words hurt. For some reason, people seem to think that Freedom of Speech means freedom to say whatever they want, damn who they hurt and what it does. The problem, of course, is that words have an effect on us. Words hurt us. Whether your intent was to hurt someone or not you do not get to decided how it hurts them.
People are always crowing about censorship and trigger warnings, but do they realize that words have weight? That a word that may mean nothing to you can bring up feelings of worthlessness and fear and hate in another? I feel like Sense8 handled this topic well.
Another theme that comes up a lot is that of family. In season one we learned that Nomi’s mother continues to misgender her, that Sun was the black sheep of her family and constantly fighting for her father’s affection, Capheus only had his mother who was slowly dying from AIDS, Will only had his father, and that Wolfgang came from a family entrenched in organized crime. Their families aren’t perfect, and in some cases, are quite toxic to their well-being. But ever since they learned they were sensates, they’ve learned to rely on one another. They’ve become their own family, helping one another when needed, and providing support.
When dealing with questions of identity, Lito is sent to Nomi. When Kala is nervous about having sex for the first time, she is sent to Sun. They rely on one another’s experiences and skills to help each other. Sun is about to be killed by men her brother sent to “take care of her” the sensates come together to warn her, and then help her take care of the problem. She thanks them, because usually it’s Sun alone fighting her own battles. Riley reminds her that that’s what family is for.
One thing I like about Sense8, aside from the many orgy scenes (heh), is that it really is all about human connection. Through the loving scenes the sensates shared on their birthday, through Riley taking care of Will, through Sun being there for each and every one of them. It all comes back to human connection and being there for one another.
Here are some things I hope season two addresses.
What are they going to do about Whispers?
- He’s in Will’s head. He can use Will to get to the other sensates, which would kill him. He can’t stay drugged forever.
What are they gonna do about Will and Nomi’s fugitive status?
- There’s no way people are going to forget that Will helped Jonas, a wanted fugitive. There’s no way that Nomi and Amanita can go back to the life they once had. What are they gonna do about all of that. BPO isn’t just gonna forget she exists.
How will they get Sun out of jail
- It has become increasingly dangerous for her there. Her brother has gotten rid of her lawyers, and sent men to kill her. She’s constantly being put in solitary confinement (which is inhumane btw). What’s their plan?
What will Wolfgang do about the crime families of Berlin wanting him dead?
- After killing his Uncle and cousin he left a major gap in the Berlin organized crime scene. Will he step up and take over? Will he try to kill them all in some herculean repeat of his confrontation with his uncle?
If any of you have any answers to the questions above, or you’re just interested in discussing this amazing show, let me know in the comments.
None of these photos are my own. All credit goes to their creators.