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Sense8: If All the World's a Stage, Identity Is Nothing But a Costume

“Just drive the bus.”

[Note: Sense8 will get a two-hour finale to wrap up the story. I talk a little bit about it here.]

How badly do you ship Kala and Wolfgang? I’m not much of a shipper of any fictional couple, but I ship them a lot. There was something instantly magical when they sang “What’s Up” to one another, and my desire to see them together has grown bigger ever since.

Which is why I loved that they finally decided to leave everything behind and meet. Not in Berlin, not in Mumbai, but in Paris, a new place for a new chapter. Hallelujah.

As happens a lot in this series, Kala and Wolfgang’s conversation was beautifully directed and shot. Seriously, just pay attention to Tina Desai’s soft delivery of “if I were no longer able to feel what I...” as she slowly caresses Wolfgang’s arm and embraces him, it’s enchanting, it’s perfect and perfectly romantic. And the sunset behind them. Jesus. I think that’s why I’m so into Kala and Wolfgang as a couple. When you have scenes like that that convey their mutual craving so well, what other choice do we have than to crave their romance?



As of now, the only thing in their way is Kala’s marriage. Kala cares about her husband. Rajan is not the love of her life, but there is love in her heart for him. And she doesn’t want to hurt him. That’s comprehensible, and I adore that Sense8 is populated by protagonists who are decent, beautiful human beings. But there is no easy exit for Kala here and hurt is going to come. At least, thank the gods, she has decided to move forward and be honest with him.

In spite of my previous complaints of Capheus’ arc, the rally was an amazing climax to his story. Again, that type of scene is what Sense8 does best. Lana and JMS know how to bring forth one character’s emotion and she knows how to convey that feel onscreen. It’s genuine and it shows why Sense8’s central concept is so special. Not just the concept, but the human way in which the writers approach it. It’s fascinating to watch Capheus’ fellow sensates be part of that moment, his nervousness contrasting with their joy and amazement (Wolfgang even smiled!). They are kind of surrogates to the audience, who is invited to cheer and support Capheus with them.

Outside of his cluster, Capheus has a lot of support too and I am taking this opportunity to say that I love the people he is surrounded with. His new lover Zakia sees the special, rare person he is, Jela is the best best friend someone could ask for and Shiro knows she has a son with a heart of gold. All the words they share with Capheus before his speech are of love and encouragement.

Then there is his speech, which carries the message of Sense8 from the first to the final word. Think about this: how many politicians talk about love in their speeches? Either none or very, very few. This is what makes Capheus’ speech so relevant, it’s one that we need to hear now. It’s about love, togetherness, tolerance, acceptance. It uses Kenya’s social conflicts to deliver a message that is the essence of Sense8: we need to pay attention to the things we have in common, to be together rather than to be apart. We are Kukuyo. We are Luo. We are part of humanity.

Curiously, even though Capheus could define himself as part of something bigger, he had his doubts when it came to his individual identity. That has been this season’s major theme – “who am I?” – and this episode tackled it pretty well, with many visual symbolisms: Lito and Sun were put into costumes, Sun and Will saw one another in the mirror, something similar happened with Capheus and Lito when Capheus was standing in front of a mirror as well.


Capheus and Lito worry that they are stepping into lives that are not true to who they really are. Politics is a territory completely new and unexpected to Capheus, but Lito’s ultimate success is something he ran after for his entire life. So why is he afraid? Lito fears that he is not talented, that he is a “fraud”, which is a common human reaction to potential success. As Hernando says, achieving a dream can be quite frightening, especially if (1) it changes things drastically and (2) exposes you. I think Lito’s insecurity also comes from a feeling of misplacement, and judging from that terrible party he had to attend, I totally understand him. It was so futile, what with walking gay clichés, inappropriate comments of things you do with an Oscar statuette (nobody asked, Wrangler!) and superficiality from entrance to exit door.

Right there with you, guys.
Before that party, though, Lito showed that he is made of deeper stuff. When he had to choose between going through with his audition or helping Sun, he made the right call and helped her. He knew how much it mattered to her, so it mattered to him. It was so lovely that she returned the gesture and read his lines. I said a few reviews ago that a sensate could be a great political leader, and a sensate can also be a great actor. They can be different people, tap into emotions that they are only able to access because of their sensateness. Lito delivers what Wrangler wants because it’s real emotion, Sun’s emotion, that he is conveying. It’s also from being a sensate, from experiencing multiple lives and learning to prioritize what matters, that Lito feels out of place at the party. It suffocates him to the point he needs to go outside and breathe a little. Lito has grown and found a greater self.

This season started with Will broken and shattered, trying to pick himself up to fight against Whispers. We’ve seen him get better, but this is a fight that has consumed him, and the loss of this father shattered him again. I feel for him and I hate Whispers for visiting Will to torture him more. So, even though we have already seen Will shave and get better this season, I was happy to see it happen again. It had weight, as Will and Sun looked at each other and wondered who they had become, wondered what they’d do next. He gets ready just in time for the next move. Whispers might be his most personal foe, but he is not the target now. Sun’s brother is, and the sensates combine their strengths into Sun’s fist to deliver one decisive blow against him.

Bits and Pieces

- Kala and Riley talked about dating a sensate. I loved that Riley knew Kala wanted to ask about the sex but was too shy to ask, so she went ahead and talked about it.

- Why I didn’t like Wrangler, exhibit A: “Don’t poison my script with your fucking literary bullshit.” Dude, really? They are giving insightful comments about your work and that’s the appreciation you show?

- Apparently, Johnny Depp, Lady Gaga and Stephen Spielberg all attended that pool party. They were played by look-alikes. That was the real Marc Jacobs, though. I read that he is a friend of Lana’s.

- I liked the look Jacobs came up with for “Jordi”. I hated the way he did it, though, completely disregarding Lito’s privacy and body control.

- They didn’t test Blake and Lito’s chemistry before casting Lito. That’s odd.

- I loved that Lito and Hernando got a classic Hollywood romantic moment at the beach.

- Another similarity between Lito and Capheus: I hadn’t notice this before, but Lito is also naïve, completely lost in a toxic environment.

- The rally went south when violence erupted and Githu, of all people, was the one who saved Capheus.

- Will, drugged and not so great with the reflexes, tried to help Capheus. That was intense, I liked it. Shortly after, Riley said that that wasn’t good. Why didn’t Sun or Wolfgang help Capheus, then? Did Will accidentally “block” their access?

- You know, since Shiro is dating a crime lord, can’t he get some decent security for Capheus?

- Does anyone know what Capheus and Shiro said to one another in Swahili?

- Chichi Seii, the actress who plays Shiro, is beautiful and she looked stunning this episode.


Kala: “Fixing something does not mean shooting someone with a rocket launcher, to which I’d like to point out that much of your present trouble is a direct result of this kind of violent choice, so the jury is still out to whether that is ever a good solution to anything.”

Hernando: “There is nothing more frightening than having a dream come true.”

Lito: “From queer to eternity.”

Capheus: “These people are here for me?”
Zakia: “Yes, they are.”
Capheus: “But do they know I’m just...”
Zakia: “...like them? They do.”
That’s the point, Capheus. :)

Capheus: “I felt it was time to explain who and what I am. I am Kikuyu. I am Luo.”

Capheus: “Nothing good ever happens when people care more about our differences than the things we share in common. The future I hope for is the same as yours. A future where our children grow up never knowing love as a wall, but only as a bridge.”

Wolfgang: “One way or another, we end it.”

Kala: “We take everything that matters, we push all of it into this and we fight for it.”
Oh, the feels.

Three out of four cocktails.
[Note: I'm so sorry it took me so long to post a new review. I'll be back with the review of the finale this Monday, then an overview of season two. :) ]

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review, Lamounier, and -- Me me me! I ship Kala and Wolfgang, starting from that moment in episode four when they sang to each other, and I'm so glad it's finally happening. It was lovely to see Capheus' big moment, too, and you're right that it's something the Wachowskis do so well.

    I'm so pleased that we're getting an ending!


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