Sense8 (S02E01) "Happy F*cking New Year"

Sense8 gave us something to look forward to during the long sabbatical while filming season 2 with a Christmas special, Happy F*cking New Year.  Some time has past since the ending of season 1, with Will on the run and shooting heroin to keep Whispers from being able to track the rest of his cluster through him since he looked into Will’s eyes during Riley’s escape from BPO.
We’re immediately thrown into one of the stylized sequences that Sense8 are known for, a slow motion fantasy sequence that involves the whole cast in intricate camera work, timing, and editing.  This sequence serves to let us know quickly what’s happening with each of the characters with no dialogue, just music and carefully edited shots.

The show’s been criticized in the past for being too stylistic, having too many orgies, pushing the Wachowski’s “queer agenda.”  Let me just say from a personal point, I’m straight, and I was never offended by anything this show has portrayed.  If anything, It opened my eyes to different cultures and what they are going through than otherwise, I’d never know about.

We catch up with Amanita and Nomi, who are on the run from Agent Bendix.  Nomi’s a wanted felon for helping Will break into BPO last season, so Amanita hide’s in plain sight while Nomi watches from their hideout.  Bendix is trying to intimidate Amanita into giving up Nomi, but he has no idea how loyal Neets really is.  She tells him off for reading her texts illegally, and he threatens her with typical government hubris.

We visit with Wolfie and Felix as Felix is still in the coma with Wolfie at his side, confessing that he’s in over his head and really fucked things up this time, referring to him taking out his uncle last season.  He’s been thrust into the middle of a gang war with his uncle’s death and is dealing with the consequences.  Because of the death, Berlin’s been thrust into street warfare, and
Lito and Hernando are outed when pictures of them hit the web during one of Hernando’s lectures, and in typical Nando fashion, instead of being embarrassed or humiliated by it, he turns his students on their asses and makes it a poignant speech about art subject matter in a way only Nando could.

The speech is about breaking boundaries put on love by society, how when people react a certain way they’re revealing more about themselves than about what they’re prejudice against.  After this lecture, Lito comes up and says, “We’ll make it work.”
Lito, who’s dealing with the fact that he’s impacting others with his revelation, reaches out to Nomi.  They always seem to find each other when he’s scared,  It seems that only she seems to know what he’s going through, having gone through something similar herself during her transition.  The cluster always seem to find the one person that’s going through or have gone through what they’re dealing with, which suggests nothing’s ever so bad you can’t get through it.  As depressing as the show can be sometimes, end the end, it’s always about hope.  About finding strength in relationships, being able to trust and love someone who otherwise you’d never know or have met, but is more like you than anyone else in your life.

Things with Kala and Rajan come to a head when she finds out he’s talked to her mother about whether she’s a virgin and was wondering if that’s why Kala’s so reluctant to consummate their relationship.  While feeling simultaneously what Lito’s going through with paparazzi hounding him, she has a breakdown and tells him off in a speech that encompasses everything that the show stands for and sums up what the group is feeling.

Kala and Rajan’s relationship is plagued because of her feelings for Wolfgang, and she is wracked with guilt over her obsession with another man.  She wants to make things work with Rajan, because not only does he seem like the perfect man, she’s terrified of letting down everyone she loves.

As we delve back into the Sense8 world, little by little we learn more about our cluster, even about Whispers as Will is able to see his home life through their connection.  As we follow him through Will’s eyes, we see his family life, that he has a young daughter, and as Jonas puts it, “Fancies himself quite the family man.”  We learn one key thing, that Whispers is able to block other Sense8 from using the connection to find him by taking blockers.  This is a key moment for Will, who’s given hope that he won’t be the death of his cluster after all and has a chance to go back to a somewhat normal life.

We’re introduced to the new Capheus, who’d been replaced by actor Toby Onwumere due to artistic differences between the old actor and Lana Wachowski.  He’s cleaning up his bus, the Van Damme, that’s been left in ruins after the show down between him and the Superpower last season.  Jela, his best friend, jokingly says Capheus is looking different these days, as a nod to the fans, and Capheus jokingly says is because he’s going to a new barbershop.  His life is going great, thanks to his defeating the Superpower and befriending Silas, who seems to be taking a shine to Capheus’ mom.

As the holidays approach, we get a better glimpse into each of the clusters home life.  Lito, having been kicked out of his apartment for coming out, goes with Nando and Daniella to confront his mother, who not only supports him wholeheartedly, but says she always knew this day would come.  Neets and Nomi have to leave the shelter due to pressure from Bendix, and finds refuge with Bug, our favorite hacker.  They spend Christmas with Neets family, since Nomi’s have disowned her since her transition.  Wolfgang is with Felix, who miraculously woke from his coma, and at a fancy party with one of the other Berlin Kings who’s trying to win him over.  Capheus is with his mother, and Sun is still in prison but the girls bribe the guards so they can slip her some candy.

Over all, the special is moving, beautifully shot by John Toll as always, and informative.  We learn more about our cluster’s families and lives, what motivates them, and we learn more about Sense8s.  Its corny in some places, beautiful in most, and moving in all of them.  Let me know what you thought of it in the comments down below and lets discuss.