Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sense8, Season One, Episode Twelve: I Can't Leave Her

Riley has been captured by BPO and Will is determined that he must save her.  We learn that from childhood, he has felt driven to save people and so the risks he takes for Riley, are an intrinsic part of his person.  With the help of Nomi and Amanita,  Will races towards  BPO  because  not only has Riley been captured, but Whispers has chartered a helicopter and his headed to the facility at the same time. Yrsa appears to Riley and warns her that she has one last chance to save her cell.  We get a flash to Angelica killing herself when discovered by Whipsers because that was the only way to save the other sensates.  Riley manages to grab a gun but the members of her cell shows up and Will manages to talk her into not giving up.

What follows is essentially one big prison break with all of the senseates showing up as their specialties are needed. I loved watching Sun kick ass, Kala awakening Riley, Capheus starting the ambulance and even Lito charming a worker to find out where Riley was being held.  This episode marks the second time Will and Lito have met, the first being in the epic Sense8 orgy scene.  In the moment, Will seemed to have no problem having sex with his cell but it's clear now that he has realised what actually happened, he's not at all cool realising that he had sex Lito.  Considering that the sensates have little control about how and when they are visited Will's astonishment and discomfort raises the issue of consent. This is something that Sense8 needs to delve into in the second season.

Having the senseates work together shows that despite being so far apart, coming from so many different cultures and in some cases not even speaking the same language, they function completely as a team; together they are a force to be reckoned with. Even watching Aminita and Nomi working together was amazing. I love that Sense8 took the time to once again remind us just how much these women mean to each other.

As much as this episode is about breaking Riley out of BPO, it's also about Riley's loss and Riley's fear, along with Wolfie dealing with his family issues. We already knew that Riley's husband and infant child had died but we didn't know how.  Riley continues to relive that faithful night.  Her husband rushes her to the hospital after things didn't work out with the midwife and then ends up getting into an accident and dying. Riley gives birth in the crashed car next to her dead husband and tent walks into the mountains hoping to find help for herself and her infant. When Riley notices that the baby has died, the pain overwhelms her and she lies down on the ground, promising her dead child that she won't leave her.  We know that Riley is only alive because Yrsa sent a helicopter for her.

As for Wolfgang, it's time to face his uncle Sergei and deal with the consequences of killing Steiner. An over confident Wolfie shoots Sergei, only to find thanks to Will that his uncle is wearing a bullet proof vest. Wolfie is forced to flee and if it were not for Kala showing up to pull a Macgyver and making a homemade bomb, Wolfie would have died.  Wolfie finally confronts Sergei and this time he has the upper hand because his uncle's gun is out of bullets and all of his minions are dead. Wolfie explains that as a child, he strangled his father and set his body on fire because he couldn't take the abuse anymore. Wolfie blames Sergei in part because he knew about the abuse did nothing. Wolfie then calls his father a monster, Sergei a monster and then himself a monster, before emptying his gun into his uncle.  Kala sees the whole thing and has tears streaming down her face.  Wolfie explains that this is why Kala needs to marry Rajan. Never has the gulf between these two been wider.  I don't want to see Kala go on a mission to save Wolfie from his demons and I don't want to see her marry Rajan either.  I want Wolfie and Kala together though so I hope that Sense8 can fix this.

From almost the beginning, Jonas is adamant that the sensates avoid looking Whispers in the eye because that is how he tracks people.  In I Can't Leave Her, we learn that Whispers is also a sensate and it seems that he has sold his own people out.  I hope that in the second season we get a little back story about him and his choices because right now, he is simply a mustache twirling villain with little to no characterisation whatsoever.  Will is forced to take drugs to make himself unconscious so that Whisper can no longer track them, leaving Riley to get them to safety.  The problem with this plan however is that Riley is relieving the day when she lost her husband and daughter and is paralyzed with grief.  It's only his admission of love that gets her moving.  When we next see Riley and Will, they are on a boat and are surrounded by the other senseates. When starts to open his eyes again, Riley drugs him.

Sense8 managed to accomplish a lot in this first season and still leave the viewer wanting more.  It has an incredibly large cast and Sense8 took the time to tell the back story of each of the senseates, giving us reason to root for them and their complicated lives.  Sense8 is diverse in terms of race and sexuality but that is not to say that it didn't have its share of problems.  The character of Daniela bothered me from her introduction and her constant fetishization was never really called out. We had the problem of Lito being cast as a career hungry coward without really acknowledging the real damage of the closet or even the fact that because the world is so homophobic coming out opens oneself to violence and hostility.  In terms of race, we had Capheus and his hero worship of Jean Claude Van Damme.  Capheus had an example from his mother of what real world bravery looks like and yet he constantly turned to a White man for inspiration. It makes absolutely no sense and uplifts White masculinity in a way that was not necessary, particularly given that Sense8 has no shortage of White men. It's awesome that Sun's fighting skills have been useful to both Will and Capheus; however, it's worth noting that once again we have an Asian person who is a martial arts expert. Sun's skills are a win in terms of gender but not so much in terms of race.

Sense8 is visually beautiful to watch and the opening montage is absolutely captivating.  I found that I was hooked after the very first episode and now that the season is over, I cannot believe I have to wait until August to find out what is happening.  In the upcoming season, I want to see less of Riley because I find her story line to be boring and a lot more of Lito, Nomi, and Sun in particular. These characters stole every single scene that they were in.  Of the Netflix Originals. Sense8 has easily become my favourite.  It's a show that's absolutely meant for binge watching and feels like a really long movie, rather than a television show split into episodes. I firmly believe that this was intentional on the part of the creators.  Though Sense8 has a large cast of characters, the story never feels crowded (except for Daniela) and overwhelmed.  The more I learned about the sensates, the more I wanted to know and that is the mark of a good show.