SPOILERS are present in this Sense8 review! You’ve been warned.
Though this episode comes stamped by Netflix as the Finale, die-hard fans are hoping it’s not honestly the end of this mold-breaking series. In true Wachowski form, the latest episode will challenge your expectations, should you have had any. Combining her skills with that of Alexander Hemon and David Mitchell, we get the absolute best we could have been given in the short amount of time granted. Yes, I said short. Despite it’s running time clocking in at 151 minutes, the series is meant to have a full 5 season arc. That makes it feels- as though this movie-length special has had to fit 3 seasons of goodness into a single movie/episode. Suddenly I have Firefly/Serenity flashbacks.
Wrapping all that up in a neat little one episode bow had to have been the challenge of a lifetime. Loving so deeply and dearly for this work of art and the fans who’ve begged for more, Lana Wachowski stood right up to the challenge. It’s right there before the credits roll, FOR THE FANS. Though I know not everyone can get what they want here, we got a lot. The elements in Sense8 which make it the masterpiece that it is are almost too numerable to mention in one recap/review, but I’ll do my best to touch on at least few.
Of all the parts which make a movie or television show great, casting is one which stands out for obvious reasons. Sense8 casting is credited to Carmen Cuba, who’s clearly at the top of her game here. They’ve added Juliette Ménager for the French portion of this particular episode.
We have been given cast members who not only deliver their lines as though THEY ARE the characters, but they happen to be amazing humans off-screen as well. To those who have had the pleasure of meeting anyone apart of Sense8, you know what I mean. From the main eight to their best friends and lovers to the delightful brownie faeries (Virgo Paraiso and Tino Rodriguez) making Pride and the wedding so much EXTRA. Though they may not yet have Oscars, this cast is top notch to the core.
Tom Kwyler & Johhny Klimek, you’ve outdone yourselves. They already won a Prime Time Emmy for the title track. Which is one of the few opening songs I don’t “Skip Intro” for. All I could ask for at this point is for WaterTower Music to release a soundtrack to us. In this episode, we get anything from new music to an epic remix of The Magnetic Fields, “Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing.”
My absolute favorite scene in this episode is the Depeche Mode montage. It. Is. Everything. Everything I tell you. Coming from a person who has never listened to that particular band on purpose, I feel it says a lot. It’s a taste of sapiens and sensorium co-mingling through the power of music. When Riley (Tuppence Middleton) hands Dani (Eréndira Ibarra) those headphones, it’s like you can feel a small moment of magic is about to happen. I realize this scene required more than a music director to reach these heights of awesome, but I tell you it is one which will go down in history. It’s not just the song, it’s every aspect of the scene which accompanied it.
For these reasons I say “I Feel You” is as iconic a song for Sense8 as “What’s Up” has been. While I list this in a music subheading; it’s a combination of the planning, execution, and post-production which made this scene something for the Sense8 record books.
Please excuse my layman’s perspective here, as I cannot tell you exactly which position/person executes the thing I’m about to mention. Did you happen to notice the seamless fades that occur when Sensie’s visit others in a different location? No clue how long or how arduous this task is to perform, but it’s done so smoothly that one may hardly notice it’s an editing trick at all. One second we’re in Paris, and in the next back to Scotland and Mr. Hoy. I don’t know how you do it, but it makes “visiting” feel utterly real.
The Matrix nod at the fight scene before the wedding? I must admit that I did not see it at first myself. Lucky, another fan who attended Chicago was kind enough to point out to me that there were a few different shots which mimicked those from The Matrix. Did you find them
The Rainbow Dildo – I recall this object from episode one so distinctly. It shocked me in the most hilarious way. Like, really? Rainbow? Alright ladies, whatever makes you happy! When it showed back up in in the last episode, I laughed my heart out!
The Brownie Fairies. While you may have remembered them from episode one, you may not have known that they are both artists as well. If you can believe it, they did their own makeup for the show! Zoom in, it’s fabulous. In fact, some of Tino’s work is displayed on the walls of Lito’s loft as well.
Sense8 – An empathy revolution
The thing about Sense8 is that it transcends the boundaries of how one might define a television show. Many would argue, myself included, that it’s not just a show. It’s a masterful merge of various mediums of art. They’ve come together to create the work of art known, for lack of a more succinct definition, as a television show.
It shows how love, in all its forms, is a thing to be celebrated. Love is happiness, in whatever form it presents itself. Sense8 has this knack for showing the audience how it COULD be, if perhaps we all cared a little more about how our actions affect others. There will always be the Whispers of this world. As long as there are Sensorium like folks around as well, there will also be the chance to RPG the Chairman’s and Leila’s out of the sky.
Sun & Mun – This couples TV romance is only compounded by the recent knowledge of their IRL relationship. The arrival of Mun (Sukku Son) on screen may be one of my favorite surprises this episode. We knew he’d come back, we just didn’t consider that he could do it with such unassuming style. Sun/Mun shippers – Doona Bae and Sukku Son are everything we could have hoped for from this ship.
#Blueski – It’s business as usual with our original cluster couple. I don’t think anyone was surprised to see these two Sensates are still rock solid and kicking butt together. We even get to meet one of Riley’s previous lovers, where it’s casually revealed that Riley is not as far to one end of the Kinsey scale as some viewers may have assumed. To boot, her previous lover becomes entirely accepting of her current love when she sees that he’s more than just a pretty face. Perfection I tell you, just perfection.
#Herlitoni? – We knew Hernando and Lito and Dani were a trio, but don’t think we knew if the deal was sealed on their romantic entanglement until the final moments of this episode. Meaning, we were alluded to the fact but hadn’t physically seen it on camera yet. It felt like a natural progression of the relationship as a trio, and I’m all for it.
#Zapheus – While we don’t get quite as much of Zakia (Mumbia Maina) as I personally may have hoped for, but at least these two do reconnect in Paris. Their lovemaking scene, in the end, is so pure and beautiful, I’m left with the distinct feeling that they go on to make significant positive changes in Nairobi together.
#Kajagang – Yeah, you read that correctly. I’d like give credit to @Sense8ing for the thruple hashtag we never knew we needed. Even Purab gave her a thumbs up for this in Chicago! Love it or hate it, this threesome broke boundaries and surprised us all. Lana mentioned at the Premier that she wanted to do something unexpected. She did just that, giving Kala an option she never knew she had. Like Bug tells her at one point, “there are no rules.”
What could our world be like if there really were no rules to love. Love who and how many people your heart has room for, or not if that be your choice. We have had the opportunity to see love in as many forms as one show could offer, and that’s a gift which shouldn’t be taken lightly. If there’s one thing our world currently needs, it’s more love.
Of course, this trio took a bit of time to get to the point it’s currently. I imagine it may have taken even longer if we had been granted a full 3rd season. I don’t know if I can emphasize the importance/impact of Rajan’s character development enough. After learning his company was selling dangerous drugs, AND HE KNEW ABOUT IT, I thought I was done with his character. Shortly after, we learn that he has taken Kala’s disgust for the act so much to heart that he makes moves to amend his entire company’s way of doing business. This will surely come at a substantial financial loss, but he sees now how absolutely worth it is to do so. He then saves Wolfgang’s life without even thinking twice. It takes a particular kind of human to see that they have done wrong, and take steps to grow and evolve into something better. That. Speaks. Volumes.
#Nomanita: What can I even say? The couple that hasn’t wavered for even a moment. These two indeed are just a kiss away from reality. Their journey had only one ending, and that ending was Paris all along.
As far as season finales go, this one topped the charts. Perhaps it’s because Paris itself is hard to beat. Maybe it’s that we were gifted with many of our favorite side characters or the grand fireworks display which was NOT computer generated. Dare I say it, perhaps it’s because it may end up being the series finale when it’s all said and done. Whatever reason hits home to each person, one thing is for sure – LOVE. ALWAYS. WINS.
If even Janet can come around, I have faith that more sapiens will as well.
Things we didn’t get to see:
Did Capheus (Toby Onwumere) win for goodness sake?!?!
Iberian Dreams – Has Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) broken through to the US market and become the star we know he is?!
Joong-Ki (Ki-Chan Lee) – did he get what was coming to him?
Do Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita (Freema Agyeman) really move to/stay in Paris?
Does Will (Brian J. Smith) get let back into the Police force?
While didn’t get the answers to ALL our questions, knowing the above list is not exhaustive, let’s be fair in that there was only so much time to do so, and do it well. What we did get, was concentrated awesome. In the literal definition as I am full of awe over “Amor Vincit Omnia.”
Where Does Sense8 Go From Here?
Is this truly the end of Sense8? At the screening in Chicago, Lana did not answer that question directly. I wonder, could she have even if she wanted to? She did answer with, “I’ll never give up on love.” Simple, direct, and right to the point. That being said, I think the real answer to this question depends on who you ask. Netflix adamantly calls this the finale, and they own the rights, so it’s hard to argue with them. However, they once said this about the special which came after Season 1 was canceled. The Wachowski sisters and Michael J. Straczynski are a mighty triplet of creators, their work on Sense8 is no exception. The Sense8 fandom knows this and won’t stop working. We did it before, we can do it again.
I believe Sense8 IS love. Love is unstoppable. Like the title of this episode, love always wins. Even if this 10/10 show doesn’t come back as a 3rd season in the form we currently know it, I think there’s a lot of room for future growth. Sense8 is a movement, a way of life, and it’s growing. Brian mentioned at the Chicago premiere that he’d love to see it continue in book form or some other media. I shouted out to the crowd, “Yes please!” Though I doubt he or anyone else heard me, I hope someone out there feels the sentiment one day. If we don’t get the 3rd season, I hope we may one day get more in some form or another. An evolution of Sense8 could show up in a spin-off with a different cluster, or a book, or a comic even. If you’re anything like me, you’ll eat it up regardless.
To all those involved in Sense8, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being apart of what I consider the best thing ever to hit television. You’ve helped spread a bit more love, and a bit more understanding to our world. Writers, directors, cast, and crew of Sense8 – THANK YOU.