Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sense8, Season two, Episode Twelve: Amor Vincit Omnia

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Friday morning, Netflix released the series finale of the beloved Sense8 thanks in large part to the fans who petitioned for the story to at least be wrapped up if the streaming giant was intent on cancelling what has become a serious fan favorite. You Want A War, had left us with a huge cliffhanger with our favourite cluster finally managing to kidnap the dreaded Whispers, as well as believed turncoat Jonas Maliki.  It would have been horrible to see Sense8 end in this fashion.  Unfortunately, because the Wachowskis were only given 151 minutes to wrap up this excellent tale, it all felt incredibly rushed. 

We've been used to each sensate getting some screen time to explore their stories and various motivations but there didn't seem to be time to do that in this episode.  Essentially we had the love triangle of Wolfie, Rajan and Kala, as well as Sun getting together with Detective Mun at last and everyone else seemed to be in a holding pattern of sorts. When we last left Capheus for instance, he was running for government but with all of his time in Europe, driving when the sensates needed skill behind the wheel, that story was essentially dropped. I don't even think Capheus had one coherent sentence in the entire finally. Even Lito and Hernando, arguably the most compelling couple outside of Amanita and Nomi didn't really feature much.  Sure, it's always going to be fun to see Lito freak out about carbs in the house and essentially driving his housemates a little nuts with his eccentricities; however, it really felt like the writers just didn't know what to do with him. 

The only sensate to receive any in-depth treatment was Wolfie but even that felt like treading over ground we've already walked.  We knew that Wolfie's childhood was horrific and how could we doubt his hatred for his father after watching him piss on his father's grave in season one? The biggest revelation of Wolfie's past is that a child he loved to sing and that his mother was also his sister. Woflie had to watch time and time again as his mother returned to his abusive father, powerless to make the vicious cycle stop until he took it upon himself to commit patricide. Wolfie quite simply did not feel worthy of love but again, that is something which we pretty much knew before the more graphic account of his childhood. 

Of all the characters featured in this episode, Rajan by far caused the break. Yes, Rajan loves Kala more than anything but are we to believe that he's just going to instantly buy into her identity as a sensate and then willing accept that she's been having an affair of sorts with Wolfie for some time now without even batting an eye?  Every damn time Rajan appeared on screen I just wanted him to go the hell away.  The only benefit to having Rajan in the series finale is that it allowed Sense8 to play with a polyamourous realtionship. Kala didn't have to choose between either of the two men who loved her. Kala could hold Rajan in her arms and then visit with Wolfie to embrace him. The one who understood that the best was surprisingly the comic relief Bug. Everyone else wanted Kala to choose but Bug made a point of asking why she should have to. It's all well and good that Kala didn't choose between her to suitors but it served as a disservice to polyamoury that there wasn't an open discussion about what was going on. These sorts of relationships take a lot of negotiation. Yeah, I know 151 minutes only allows for so much. 

Daniela almost redeemed herself in my eyes. For much of Sense8, Daniela has been a disturbing fetishist. Largely because Lito and Hernando had such small roles, Daniela didn't really have much of a chance to get uber irritating.  Daniela was also given a powerful moment when she was given the opportunity to confront Whispers about what kind of man he is and her lack of fear in his presence having been through so much already.  It was  Daniela who had emerged from a storm different but unbroken and it was easily the most powerful moment a female character had in this season finale. Unfortunately, once things settled down, Daniela was back to her old ways in between Lito and Heranado as they were attempting to kiss. 

So, the entire point of this all was to bring down BPO so that sensates would no longer have to live in fear and it was accomplished magnificently with shooting a helicopter out of the sky.  I get the sense that the entire storyline with the chairman as well as Anjelica's redemption was meant to play out over the course of seasons and that is why it all seemed so incoherent. It's as thought the writers didn't want to give up a single element of the story that they had planned and so they through it in, even though it would be lacking in dramatic tension because it was so new to the audience. There was actually more enjoyment of watching the helicopter explode than the knowledge that the explosion brought the end of the chairman and BPO itself.  That's one thing Sense8 has always been great with - special effects. 

Then we had an epic plot dump when the Sensates were brought in to meet with Whispers mother. It turns out that Whispers killed all of his siblings and because he's a Senseate he experienced the event as both a murderer and a victim. No wonder his mind is so damn messed up.  That being said, his plan to simply live forever didn't really make sense to me and really could have benefited from being fleshed out a lot more - again 151 minutes is the problem. If that were not enough, this all came with the revelation of an isolationist cult which tried to explain the connections.

Some time was thrown at Angelica's redemption.  I must admit to not being invested in that storyline. I do however love Naveen Andrews as Jonas but the cryptic nature of his character was ruined by the quick pacing of the big reveal. I did however find it interesting that Jonas revealed that what brought the senseates together is pain. After some thought it made sense. If someone is feeling pain, if you can feel empathy for them, then you've created a connection - a human connection.  

The big payoff for all of the chaos was of course not Whispers getting his due, or even BPO being destroyed but Amanita and Nomi's wedding. You know you cried, there's not point in denying that. Amanita represented the viewer trying to love and trusting the truth of our feelings no matter how they present themselves. This is I believe the message of Sense8, that to live life fully we have to feel and to truly feel, we have to be connected to each other. It's a truly beautiful message and a lasting gift.  Years from now, the special effects on Sense8 will look dated but the message will always be fresh and pure. Even Nomi's mom got the message thanks to an epic brownie delivered by pot fairies. 

Other than the chain karaoke scenes between the sensates, the most talked about scenes have been the group sex scenes and what would the finale be without all of the sensates stripping naked and getting theirs? Rajan is astounded, exclaiming that he never knew sex could be that good. I think what I like the best is the sensates ability to pull their partners into the action and watching as same sex couples and hetero couples interact sexually without restraint or judgement, only seeking pleasure. And the final F U to haters: the very well used and wet strap on just had me cackling.  Way to go Wachowskis. 

It's easy to poke a lot of holes in this series finale because of the fact that a series this epic couldn't be wrapped satisfactorily in 2+ hours but I do appreciate the effort. I love that Sense8 remained absolutely beautiful until the end with wonderful special effects and beautiful cinematography. This last episode was truly a love letter to fans, even if we did have step over a few pot holes to get the big pay off in the end.