Synopsis of 2×01: The journey continues as these eight singular hearts and minds weave in and out of each other’s lives finding deeper connections, learning darker, more desperate secrets about one another and struggling to identify with more than just oneself.
Did 2016 suck? Yeah, it really did. But you know it’s a good Christmas when we get more Sense8.
Kicking off their new second season with a two-hour Christmas special, we revisit our favorite sensate cluster after the events of season one. After over a year since releasing season one, it sure is a treat to jump back into the world. Full of back and forth conversation between characters oceans apart, elaborate fight sequences, and yes, the obligatory orgy, season two is already looking to be another leap in quality for the show.
Say what you want about the overarching science fiction plot of the show, this episode was superb. What faults season one might have had were hardly visible. Instead, the episode focused on the personal conflict of each of the sensates. Their own personal storylines, though separate, are interlinked by their connection.
And that’s kind of what’s so great about Sense8. This impossible concept of eight people being connected emotionally and mentally, and visualizing this in a medium. It’s difficult not to enjoy scenes of the eight of them partying, dancing, celebrating, and all just engaging in one huge orgy. While it may be a little heavy handed the way the cluster always seems to show up — especially Will, who is supposed to be in hiding from the cluster after his run in with Whispers — it emphasizes just how connected they are to each other especially when one of them is in danger.
The episode has some great shots that set the scene of being a sensate perfectly. The opening shot of the eight of them swimming alongside Kala as she is enjoying her honeymoon in Positano after getting married to Rajan is mesmerizingly set to “Feeling Good”. The Christmas shot is also beautifully set to “Hallelujah”, and shows the cluster together after suffering through many trials and tribulations. As if I needed more reasons to love this show. Is it predictable? Yeah, it is. Do I care? NOPE.
Similarly, Lito arriving back to his apartment and seeing the paparazzi and vandalism on the wall parallels with Kala facing Rajan after he struggles with the fact that the two of them haven’t had sex yet. The jumping shots of each of the sensates seeing what they fear and hate the most reflected back to them in the vandalism is a clever way of delving into the complexity of the character. Kala sees the word “virgin” because it reflects her argument with Rajan, her fear of being just an object, something to be bought and sold and the only thing prized being her virginity. Will sees “pig”, Nomi sees “freak”, Capheus sees “n*gger”, Sun sees “bitch”, Riley sees “slut”, and Wolfgang sees “nazi”. In a single shot, they’re able to get right to the heart of what all of them hate the most using the anger and frustration that Lito feels.
Sense8 had the ability to put what feels like a season’s worth of development into a two-hour episode. It definitely helps that we had the first season for the cluster to figure out their connection first. With the semantics out of the way, the group flows very naturally. Some of the best scenes lying with Lito and Kala’s character development. There’s wonderful scenes between sensates one-on-one, as they advise each other and visit one another. As well as further development of characters like Amanita, Hernando, and Daniela.
While we’re at it, can we talk about those three non-cluster characters and how great they are? Despite the crap that the characters have to go through, they are as much a part of the group as the main eight are. Amanita, the only one to know of the cluster within the group of side characters, is all too eager to help Nomi and her cluster out. She and Nomi both seem to be doing research on the cluster as Nomi remains in hiding. Hernando and Daniela stand by Lito after Joaquin released the photos of Lito and Hernando to the world. After housing Daniela, she repays the favor and lets Lito and Hernando stay with her to evade the cameras and tabloids.
The episode chronicles through their birthday on August 8, to Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and finally ends on New Years. Kala has her honeymoon with Rajan, one that doesn’t really go as planned as she is still in love with Wolfgang. Nomi is in hiding with Amanita while trying to figure out a way to help both Will and Sun. Capheus, now played by Toby Onwumere, gets a new van from Mr. Kabaka — it makes his friend Jela adorably happy, like preciously happy — who seems to have a good relationship with Capheus and his mother, for now. Lito is suffering through the aftermath of Joaquin’s actions, having to face his mom after the scandal and the change in his career. Sun is in solitary after beating up her brother, and pretty much kicking everyone’s ass at all times, and still the same stubborn woman we remember. Wolfgang must deal with the fallout of killing his uncle and facing the criminal empires that are edging in on the power vacuum. Will and Riley are hiding out together in Iceland, with Riley obtaining heroin for Will to block out Whispers, and Will facing off directly against Whispers.
The episode doesn’t dive too deep into BPO or Whispers, but we do get a few things from Will’s encounters with him, along with his meetings with Angelica and with Jonas. We find out that theirs is not the first cluster that Angelica has “given birth to”, and that the previous ones have all been handled by BPO and Whispers. We also discover that Whispers has his own family, and watch him manipulate Will using his father. It seems kind of a shame that Will and Riley were separated from the cluster for most of the episode, since it definitely left a bit of a fracture. Will, the relative “straight” man of the group, has always kind of been a source of comic relief when juxtaposed with characters like Lito or Wolfgang.
And of course, I have to mention how great this episode was for a shipper. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved the episode for all manner of reasons. But I’m also here for Kala and Wolfgang, and Lito and Hernando, Riley and Will, and Nomi and Amanita. While Nomi and Amanita have never been more in love, we get a taste of some real angst with Kala and Wolfgang, especially since the closest Kala gets to sleeping with her husband turns out to be the same moment Wolfgang is hooking up with some random from Tinder. She subsequently fractures Rajan’s dick. Oh, Sense8. I can always count on you.
May 5 can’t come fast enough for me. If the christmas episode was a sampling of what is in store for the second season, sign me up. More orgies, more parties, more ranting, more sensates.
For now, I guess, happy fucking new year.