Mark Watches ‘Sense8’- S01E05 – Art Is Like Religion

In the fifth episode of the first season of Sense8, the sensates’ connections begin to manifest in more invasive ways. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Sense8.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of transphobia/transmisogyny,

AHHH THIS IS GETTING SO EXCITING. I love that the bulk of this episode covers the experience rather than a mythology: How do each of these people react to their burgeoning powers? It’s fascinating to interpret said reactions through their personalities, especially since some of them are far more willing to open themselves to the experience than others. Will, Capheus, Riley, and Sun are leagues ahead of pretty much everyone, though I suspect that Nomi will quickly join them. Why is that? Are they more open to the possibilities? Is Will so willing to go with this because of Jonas’s guidance? When will Lito, Kala, and Wolfgang accept that they’re not dreaming or hallucinating what they’re seeing?

I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT. But let’s discuss “Art Is Like Religion,” as there’s a lot to get through.

Lito

I really do appreciate that there is a humorous element to Sense8, as it helps to break up the sometimes grim and bleak stories here. At the same time, I want Lito’s life to be taken seriously, and this episode slips into a really weird tone for him. Part of it comes from simply not understanding his and Hernando’s relationship with Daniela. Is Hernando bi or pan? Are they just close enough that they’re cool with Daniela sleeping in the same bed as them? None of these realities are a problem in the least, but there’s no definition at all. So Daniela feels like joke instead of a character, and Lito and Daniela start creeping towards that as well.

The same goes for his scenes on set. I get that he’s experiencing manifestations of the other sensates, from Sun’s emotional sensitivity to Will’s skills as a cop. And I can’t deny that his outbreak in his car is just a beautiful work of art and the whole sequence belongs in a museum, I SWEAR. So I don’t want his parts to necessarily be less funny because the actor who plays Lito is a brilliant comic actor. But is Lito the joke or his situation? I’m not entirely sure most of the time.

Nomi

Y’all, MULTIPLE QUEER CHARACTERS OF COLOR ALL ON SCREEN AT THE SAME TIME AND SPEAKING AND SHOWING EACH OTHER LOVE AND SUPPORT AND DO YOU REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS. That one brief scene filled me with life, especially since THAT IS GENUINELY WHAT ALL MY QUEER FRIENDS LOOKED LIKE IN OAKLAND.

Anyway, I am now convinced more than ever that Dr. Metzger works for whatever horrid organization killed Sara and tried to kill Angelica. I understand why Nomi is having so much trouble with her sensate powers, though. It’s challenging for her to navigate her own fears about her body after that experience, and she’s filled with doubt about her own mind. I love it, then, that Amanita dedicates herself to support Nomi here, to do what she can to figure out what the hell is going on. I love it because she does the exact opposite as Nomi’s transphobic mother and all those doctors and nurses: she inherently believes what Nomi tells her.

Capheus

Well, I was tricked by Silas’s little mission for Capheus. I was also surprised that when Capheus needed Sun’s skills, he wasn’t able to access them. But I think that scene was an important demonstration of the complexities of the sensates’ power. They’ve previously manifested as each person needed someone else, and those moments were more involuntary than anything else. I imagine that as the cluster grows stronger, they’ll be able to access each other because they’ll become less like eight separate people.

So what does this mean for Capheus and the decision he’s just made? He’s clearly a tenacious ray of sunshine, and I worry about the ramifications of him working for Silas. (It’s really distracting to type that because I’ve just come off writing about Kings, so I keep wanting to write, “King Silas.”) There’s an obvious benefit for him, since he’s able to get authentic HIV medication for his mother. (Which reminded me that Kala once sat in a meeting about counterfeit drugs, did she not?) Like Sun, he wants the promise he made to mean something, you know? And now I can’t stop thinking about how Capheus is a perfect Hufflepuff and I need to move on.

Sun

Well, sort of. In the middle of “Art Is Like Religion,” we are treated to perhaps the longest interaction between two sensates, and it is FUCKING MAGNIFICENT. It’s also important that when Sun needs guidance, Capheus, the perfect sensate for her, visits her in Seoul. He has the most relevant personal experience to offer her when it comes to family and loyalty. Is that how the sensates operate? Do they sense the desires and needs of each other? Do they anticipate them?

I’m fascinated by this. I’m also devastated because SHE’S MADE UP HER MIND. That has to be why she gave her teacher her dog. NO. NOOO.

Will

Y’all, this show had a subplot where Will called Nomi’s mother, Nomi’s mother was portrayed entirely negatively, and WILL CORRECTED HER ABOUT NOMI’S NAME AND IT WAS SO LOVELY.

Wolfgang / Kala

During the first episode, I was fairly certain that each sensate was attached to only one person. Now that I know they’re a cluster, it’s clear that’s not how this works. Yet it’s also undeniable that these people developed connections between certain people first. In the case of Wolfgang and Kala, they’ve repeatedly appeared to each other. If my theory about the sensates being able to anticipate needs is correct, then I wonder what these two people might need from one another.

There’s a hint of that at the conclusion of the episode, when Wolfgang appears buck naked to Kala right before the conclusion of her wedding. Kala has been struggling with the intense fear that she’s about to become part of a mistake. While she makes quiet and subtle attempts to reach out to those around her, she never gets the courage to ever be fully honest with anyone about how she feels towards Rajan. Yet Wolfgang knows exactly how she feels and he knows that she’s lying to herself. Is he the one who will guide her through this experience?

The video for “Art Is Like Religion” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at Borderlands Books, Book Riot Live, and Windycon this fall! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Kings, season 1 of Sense8, season 1 of Agent Carter, seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Sense8 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.