In the sixth episode of the first season of Sense8, the sensates bond in new ways. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Sense8.
Okay, this is getting really good, and I appreciate that the show is willing to give us an episode that’s so emotional and character-driven as this one. It gives me a reason to care for these characters, AND NOW I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS, AND IT ISN’T OKAY.
Will / Riley
GOD, I LOVE THEIR SCENE AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS EPISODE SO MUCH. There’s a genuine sincerity to the way these sensates interact, and I really adore that they’re trying to figure out what’s happening to them in a way that feels realistic. Certain characters are still resistant to the experience – like Kala and Lito – but for the most part, they’re all accepting that their lives have irrevocably changed. One of the things I loved about Will and Riley’s scene in the bar was that they tested the logistics of their connection in a way that both proved their experience was real and allowed them the means to communicate openly. By using the phones to talk, it was now possible for them to chat without it looking like they were just talking to themselves in public. IT’S BRILLIANT.
At the same time, the show is acknowledging that this connection has a very negative side effect: the sensates cannot necessarily control when they receive someone’s senses. Unfortunately for Will, his connection to Riley is activated just as Nyx is torturing Riley for information on his drugs. It’s a disturbing scene to watch because it asks an uncomfortable question: can one sensate die because of the experiences of another? Would Will have suffocated during that sequence if Riley had died?
That’s a scary thought to have.
Kala / Wolfgang
I think my theory about the direction of their story just got a little bit closer to being true. It seems the show wants Wolfgang to be Kala’s teacher or mentor when it comes to men and sex. Wolfgang teases Kala about the night before, and then he hits on her, and it’s really weird? HE’S A DEMON, I GUESS. I did like that scene between here and Rajan, yet I know that by saying that I am making this even worse. HE’S SO SWEET AND LOVELY, but Kala doesn’t love him! And you can tell that she expected Rajan to reject her for fainting, and she was surprised that he was dedicated to staying with her.
UGH, HOW CAN ONE CHARACTER BE SO FULL OF GOODNESS AND KINDNESS AND BEAUTY? I’m obsessed with Capheus because every time he’s on screen, I just feel so WONDERFUL. He doesn’t seem to have a bitter or angry bone in his body, and I love that we are shown how someone who is nice being courageous and brave at the same time. His scenes with Amondi, as short as they are, are some of my favorite moments in this episode. I’m worried, of course, that Capheus’s risky job is going to get him in trouble again, but I understand why he’s doing it. It’s the chance of a lifetime, and his mother has never been in better health because of it.
BUT I’M SCARED.
Before I address THE THING, I want to talk about how fantastic the scenes between Nomi, Amanita, and Amanita’s mother are. Nomi might not be speaking to other sensates about her experience, but she’s openly sharing them with those she cares about. This is a decidedly realistic approach to this phenomenon because it makes sense that someone would talk their friends and family about this whole thing. What’s neat about Amanita and her mom is that they don’t try to gaslight Nomi or deny what she is experiencing. Do they understand what’s happening to her? No, not at all, but they believe her. They accept that she is going through something they are not, and they offer their support for it. Plus, I loved Amanita’s mother’s take on evolutionary diversity. Given what Sun learns from Angelica at the end of the episode, it’s obvious that the sensates are the future of the human race.
So, on the surface, I love that we got a scene that portrays…well, so many things. Polysexual sex scenes! Sexual fluidity! A SEX SCENE THAT DOESN’T SEEM CONDESCENDING. It’s great, and if this show is trying to say that everyone is pansexual, THE MORE OF IT THE BETTER. Everyone is a pansexual? LET’S DO IT. Okay, that’s probably not what’s happening here, but I’m fascinated by the logistics of the orgy and who wasn’t included in it. I wonder if there wasn’t a coincidence in the fact that Lito and Nomi both initiated sex at the same time with their partners. (And let’s just raise our hands to the sky in praise of the fact that both of the non-straight couples were the ones to lead this orgy. THAT’S SO WONDERFUL.) Were their connections responsible for them? Regardless, the two of them begin to have sex, and their emotions and senses mesh with other sensates. It culminates in a scene where Wolfang, Lito, Will, and Nomi all share Wolfgang’s jacuzzi, and it’s absolutely RIDICULOUS.
I don’t necessarily have concerns about this, but I do want to question a few things. I think that polysexual representation is severely lacking in fiction, so if all the sensates are pansexual or bi, MORE POWER TO THIS SHOW. Why not? Shows usually have all straight casts, so fuck it. Let polysexuals have an entire show about them. But what of identities that aren’t straight but also aren’t polysexual? I feel slightly strange about the implication that gay men or women are now suddenly attracted to the opposite gender. That doesn’t carry the same social weight as Wolfgang or Will learning that they’re not straight, you know?
But I’m probably overthinking that, I admit it. Daniela, however, completely fucking confuses me. If the sensates are pansexual due to them belonging to a cluster, then how the fuck do you explain her? Look, it’s not an impossibility that she exists, but she is here solely as a straight gaze upon a gay relationship. Point blank: I know practically no gay or queer couples who are totally cool having sex while their straight friend watches them. And films them. And then masturbates while it happens. IT’S FUCKING WEIRD, OKAY? What role is she allowed to play in Lito and Hernando’s relationship? Why isn’t this defined? WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
I initially also wondered why Sun, Riley, and Kala weren’t involved in these scenes. (I’ll argue that Capheus was, since he seemed distracted and aroused right after it happened.) I think all three of these characters were emotionally shut down after their own experiences. Kala doesn’t want to think about sex after her experience with Wolfgang, and she probably specifically closed her connection to him, too. I’d also say that due to what Riley and Sun were going through, it makes sense to me that they’d have no interest in the sex at all either.
Sun / Riley
Instead, Sun and Riley share a beautifully supportive scene with each other. I think it’s poetic that this episode opens and closes with Riley talking with one of the sensates because it shows us that these people are learning to comfort one another. But the writers go a step further with these two characters: Riley and Sun are both dealing with a remarkably similar situation. They both have been dealt horrifying hands by people who claimed to care about them. They have to cope with the horrible decisions of other people, you know? Riley’s “friends” got her mixed up with Nyx’s drug trade, and Sun’s brother and father were the ones who pressured her into sacrificing herself.
So what do they do? How do they conquer their fear of the inevitable? I don’t think either of them offer one another a solution because there isn’t one, at least not yet. Instead, both of them point out that there’s a safety in their predicaments. Riley can find safety in Iceland, and Sun is safe from the machinations of her family while she’s away from them. That’s not the most comforting thought in the world, but there’s a subtext to this I adore: both characters are safe because they are sensates.
Y’all, I’M SO INTO THIS SHOW RIGHT NOW.
The video for “Demons” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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