Sense8: Isolated Above, Connected Below

“Pretending isn’t a life.”

This was a big episode for romance and mythology.

Kala and Wolfgang went all the way! Oh, wow, I did not see that coming. I thought the show would drag out the romantic tension for a little longer, but no. What an intense sensate sex encounter they had. I was so happy they finally surrendered to one another. Then again, cheating is never a nice thing to do and, as expected, Kala felt guilty afterwards. But, damn it, Kala, the right decision is not to repress your love for Wolfgang, it is to leave Rajan! Do it, woman.

Capheus and Zakia went all the way too! Zakia is the best. She doesn’t play by conventions and she sees people for what they truly are. She has been a terrific addition to Capheus’ story this season and I want to see more of her. I liked that she confronted Capheus about dismissing the politicians who saw him as a leader. A sensate would make a great leader, having access to different knowledge, languages, skills, points of view. It is a trend worldwide to elect an outsider – although not always for the best – so Capheus has a shot.

Because this was such a romantic episode it also revealed that Capheus’ mom is dating Capheus’ former boss, Silas Kabaka. She is so different, by the way, looking healthy and strong, that I thought for a moment it was a new actress. Shiro’s new relationship shows Capheus that there is more to people than what meets the eye – Silas is HIV positive too – and that people from different worlds can be together. Heck, Sense8 is all about showing what brings people closer, the likenesses that rise above the differences. Capheus’ cluster should be evidence enough that people from different worlds can build a new one if that’s what it takes to be together.

I'm randomly placing this gorgeous shot of this
beautiful place in the middle of the review.
The established couples also had some good moments. Nomi got to thank Amanita for the amazing girlfriend she is, Riley and Will professed their love for one another. But the biggest moment arrived when Lito finally came out and professed his love for Hernando in front of the huge crowd of São Paulo’s LGBT Pride Parade. I’ll be honest that most of the times I don’t connect with Lito and his story, and allow me to nitpick, the Pride promoters would never ask for someone that hadn’t officially come out yet to marshal the event. Never. It’s not earned, you know? Most LGBT people don’t get a crowd to applaud them when they come out, and when that happens, it’s not at a Pride Parade, which usually celebrates public figures that have already done some activism. That’s not Lito’s case.

I did like the honesty of Lito’s speech, though, and it was nice to see him break free and shout “I’m a gay man”. That’s a powerful statement and it’s hard to get it out the first time. The scene was well executed and I can’t deny that I loved seeing the entire cluster there supporting Lito and partying with him afterwards, amongst all the beautiful and vibrant colors of the Parade. Just a few episodes ago I was asking Lito to stand up for the LGBT community and he just did that, so yay. I also liked that the scene didn’t go on and on forever, creating a nice transition from the more romantic first half of the episode to the mythology heavy second half.

I loved Daniela's makeup. Hernando's beard was everything too.
Which brings us to Riley and her lovely meetings with the Old Man of Hoy. What a delightful little character, I just wanted to put him in my pocket and take care of him. While season one delivered a lot of great one-on-one moments between the main sensates, season two has widened its net to deliver interactions beyond the main cluster. So we had Will and Whispers, Lito and Raoul’s father, and now Riley and Hoy. I have to commend the writers again for dumping a lot of information through engaging dialogue and character beats. I felt like a whole new world was opening before my eyes while Hoy told his tale, just like it happened last episode during Lito’s meeting with Raoul’s father. I really appreciate the backstory details, like Hoy living with the widow of his sensate brother. It instantly enriches a character that could’ve been a mere information conduit.

When it comes to storytelling, how you deliver a story is as important as the story itself, and if done right it can elevate the tale. Season two has presented us the tragic story of Angelica’s cluster (which I mistakenly referred to before as a cluster Angelica gave birth to), and it has done so in such a way that it made me care for the people involved, especially Raoul. The last few episodes have dropped pieces of what happened and it all came together beautifully, as Nomi and Amanita visited Angelica’s blown up house, which Raoul exploded, killing himself in the process. What is it about Whispers’ project that Raoul and Angelica were so determined to destroy? Angelica also killed herself later, and the fact that right before doing it she gave birth to our main cluster makes me wonder if that cluster was some kind of last resort weapon against Whispers. Maybe that’s why Whispers has a special interest in it; from what Hoy said, not every cluster gets to be hunted by the Cannibal himself. The plot thickens and it looks like we are headed back to Chicago to learn more about Angelica’s final days and Whispers’ bigger plan.

Some Pride Parade Scoop

Netflix has been attending São Paulo’s Pride for a while now. There is always someone from the cast of Orange is the New Black and, in 2015, Miguel Ángel Silvestre and Naveen Andrew came, too. So I guess that’s how the writers heard about the Parade and decided to incorporate it into season two? Either that or Netflix just wanted to throw a bone to the Brazilian audience, Sense8’s second biggest.


2016’s Parade was on a Sunday, as usual, but most of the episode’s scenes were shot on the day before. Donna Bae was wearing regular clothes – a very nice outfit, wasn’t it? –, so that was a spoiler of Sun leaving jail. The cast had a lot of fun as Lana Wachowski kept the party going. She would reposition the actors to create different pairings or groups of dancers and kissers. The cast attended the real Parade, which I thought was pretty cool. At one point, off camera, don’t know in which day, the fans asked Brian J. Smith and Max Riemelt to kiss and they did. Obviously the crowd went wild.

I live sixty miles away from São Paulo. So it’s a given that I would embrace my biggest chance to see the entire main cast together, right? But I didn’t. I had to be somewhere else that weekend, because that’s how life works, and had to settle for watching on the internet all the fun I described above.

Bits and Pieces

- Sun left her teacher’s house and her dog with him again.

- Ruth El-Saadawi, who was a doctor, began advocating for sensates’ rights after her twin sister, a sensate, was sentenced to death for witchcraft. There is an actual Egyptian doctor and women’s rights activist called Nawal El Saadawi. That has to be deliberate.

- In the flashback, Dr. Metzger indicated that Whispers and Angelica’s project had something to do with “neurografting”. I’ve researched it and it seems to refer to different things in science and fiction, so I’ll wait for Sense8’s definition of it.

- The sensates have a big network that connects all the clusters called Archipelago. They play Telephone over there.

Guys, Sia is a sensate.
- The name of the episode referred to the Archipelago and to Lito at the Parade.

- While I’m loving the sensate world expansion, I miss the one on one conversations between the main sensates. We had a little one of those with Sun and Riley, and they referenced a conversation they had before, which I don’t remember (I really need to rewatch season one), when they were in reversed situations.

- Puck, the dealer from last episode, is a sensate too and he is obnoxious, although the show approached it in a comedic way. I feel bad for the women who are part of his cluster.

- Teagan, Nomi’s sister, is getting married and Nomi is her bridesmaid. Nomi has a lot of courage facing her mother again after all that happened last season.

- Lila killed that crime lord from the first episode of the season. I have no idea what are the stakes of this story, to be honest.

- One bit from the previous episode I forgot to mention: when Will mentioned Sarah Patrell, Whispers didn’t seem to remember her. Either he has killed way too many people to remember the name of all his victims or he is not the one who killed her.

- Capheus’ reaction to all the rich things was adorable. By the way, Zakia’s apartment is lovely.

- The sex scenes were artful and beautiful as usual, but they went on for too long to the point of becoming a little boring towards the end.

- I know I’m a horrible person for loving this, but I did. I mean, how can you not love Wolfgang’s childish smile and Kala’s confused look?


- Daryl Hannah is strikingly beautiful.

- How come Amanita was at the Parade? Is she so connected to what Nomi tells her that she is starting to feel it too? Actually, forget that question. It must have been an artistic choice to have her at the Parade and that’s all.

- During the Parade (at Sunday, I guess), there is a poster saying (in Portuguese) “coup never more”. This is related to former president Dilma Roussef’s impeachment, seen by many people, myself included, as a coup. It also had the logo of Globo, Brazilian’s biggest network, that played a massive role against Dilma’s stay. I can’t believe that poster made it to the final cut, I laughed out loud when I saw it. :)

Quotes

Zakia: “I fall in love with the person, not their genitals.”

Capheus: “We do live in different worlds.”
Zakia: “Not tonight, we don’t.”

Riley: “I think I just picked up the equivalent of a sensate STD.”

Hoy: “I'm not about to be out-trusted by a DJ from Iceland with hair the color of a Smurf.”

Best episode of the season so far. Four out of four telephones,
--
Lamounier

9 comments:

Billie Doux said...

What a terrific review, Lamounier, and I really enjoyed your notes about the Pride. :)

I'm not sure I'm completely following the BPO plot, but I loved Lito's speech at the Pride parade and Riley's visit to Scotland. And even though they finally did it, I'm getting impatient for Kala and Wolfgang to meet in person. It's never going to happen, is it?

Juan Alberto Roche Rodríguez said...

Great review Lamounier as always!
I never comment but I read all the reviews in this site. And Sense8 has became one of my favourite series. So thanks for reviewing it.

I can't wait for the rest of the season, which in my humble opinion, is even better than the first. I love how all the August8 have adapted so well to be in and out of each others heads and how they are working together and celebrating even. They have became thrully a family. And it happened so naturally, its awesome. Kudos to de the writers and the Wachowskis sisters for that. (Anyone know is Michael Straczynskiis still part of the production? nobody seems to talk about him anymore :( )

I can't believe you were so close and couldn't go, what a pity! I'm from Argentina and I would have killed for been there. Al least we had Miguel Ángel Silvestre who visited Buenos Aires a couple of months ago. He speak a perfect spanish by the way, I wish he would talk in it more often on the show.

About this episode, I love that Kala and Wolfgang finaly did it! It was about damn time. I'm just curious. Did she had sex with him in her head while in the pool or she did while she was having sex wiht her husband? I usually don't know how to take those scenes. Are they having sex all together or its just a coincidence? Wherever. I thougth she wasn't having sex with Rajan. If she did, thats even more problematic. Its like a double cheating. Or some kind of three way? No wonder she feel bad about it afterwards. Poor Kala...Its really hard not knowing what to do.

And I love, just love the Archipelago! What a facinating idea. A world wide network of psychics. A google search engine that goes back all the way to the Neolitic. That concept alone deserves its own series or at the very least a book. With such a power how come sensates haven't ruled the world ages ago. Are there more of them now? I have the impresion that it was the other way around, that they were something of the past. And ancient extintc race that interbreed with homo sapiens, similar how the neanderthals did, and that their genes still are with us. That part of the mithology fascinate and at the same time confuse me. Still what a great visual montage they did. That short scene alone took several cities and months to film. And I found all of the sensates intriguin. But most I like the idea, that how so very diferent people for all around the world, from every spectrum of society, with so many diferent ways of seen the world, can work together so seamless. If only it could be that easy in the real world :(. Also aparently so many are aware of BPO, more so than our heros. What with that? Not so secret agency after all aparently. I just want to know more about El-Saadawi now.

On a final note, I too, had the impresion that what the strikingly beautiful Angelica :) was calling her cluster was the one that she give birth to. The one that included Paulo. Not the one she was born into. I think that one included Jonas and some of the people that mourned Jonas's father by his bed. And that they are all dead it seems. I'm confused again O_o

Anyway thanks again for reviewing this series. Keep up the good work. See you!

Lisianpeia said...

Hey! I read a lot of doux reviews, but I rarely comment because I'm lazy. First of all, I'm enjoying your insights to Sense8 a lot, Lamounier! I look dorward to the next reviews and the reviews from season 1.

I just needed to comment this time because I'm also Brazillian (I'm from Rio. Oi! É muito legal ver alguém do Brasil aqui ^^) and I loved the posters in the Parade. I'm with you (and many others) in seeing the "impeachment" as coup (hence the quotation marks). There was also one poster that read "Fora Temer", I don't know if you saw.

Tony Potier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juan Alberto Roche Rodríguez said...

And now they broke it...:(

Lamounier said...

They broke it. :´( First and foremost, I hate to bring the bad news, but Sense8 has been canceled by Netflix. It's not perfect, but it's such a special TV series. I know it's very expensive and maybe season two didn't reach the audience Netflix expected, but I'm surprised. And heartbroken. I haven't watched all of season two yet, but I know the end is not conclusive at all. So, are you kidding me, Netflix? Please, we need at least a movie to wrap things up.

--

Thanks, Billie. I have the impression it will take a while for Wolfgang and Kala to meet in person. You know, if I were a sensate, the first thing I would want to do would be to travel around the world and meet everyone from my cluster in person. Certainly I would have a rich sensate brother or sister like Kala and Lito to help me out with that project. :)

Juan, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. Lilly Wachowski is the one that stepped down from writing and directing the series, she did it to focus on her gender transition. J. Michael Straczynski is still completely involved with Sense8. He is a credited writer for every episode of season two, he has given interviews about it and he is always tweeting about the show. Curiously, he said they had a writing team for season two, but no one else is credited as a writer besides him and Lana.

I'm pretty sure Kala wasn't having sex with Rajan. It was a Kala/Wolfgang only moment.

With such a power how come sensates haven't ruled the world yet?

That's precisely my problem with this world expansion. If there are that many sensates and they have a network of their own, they would be the world's most powerful secret society. Probably a good secret society, truly concerned with social justice and wealth equality.

The Homo sensorium thing doesn't make much sense. Like I said before, biology is not my strong suit, but you can't be one species and have a biological sibling, parent or child that is from another one.

Hi, Lisianpeia. I actually lived in Rio for a couple of years. :) It's very cool to see a fellow Brazilian around here indeed. Doux Reviews is quite the international blog. :) I did not see the "Fora Temer" poster, I might need to rewatch that scene now.

Just so everyone else knows, Temer is the former vice president who took Dilma's place, and "Fora Temer" translates to "get out, Temer" or "Temer, leave" (I first wrote "Trump, leave", ha!). That used to be said only by those who supported Dilma, but it has been said by many more since Temer found himself in the epicenter of the corruption scandals.

Phyllis Strickland said...

Sad to say, it was announced today that Season 2 is the end.

Anonymous said...

I'm so upset this has been cancelled. I love every single character. As the Mom of a son in transition (not sure if that's the correct terminology), this has been an uplifting show to watch. The portrayal of the LOVE that always wins - no matter its forms - has been therapy for me.
Sooze

Lamounier said...

Sooze, it saddens me that it meant so much to you and now it's gone. But I was also very happy to read your comment, your kid is so blessed to have a mom like you. I'm sending you virtual hugs.