In the twelfth and final episode of the first season of Sense8, the sensates assemble to help Riley. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Sense8.
Trigger Warning: For consent and child abuse.
Well, holy shit. I didn’t expect such an open-ended resolution, and I certainly have a lot of questions still left to be answered, but I enjoyed that. Let’s discuss!
Wolfgang / Kala
Well. Shit. Shit. I think it was bold of the show to portray Wolfgang’s story as they did because as rewarding as it might be for someone like me, it’s still relentlessly disturbing. I understand his detachment and I understand the need for revenge. Look, as someone who has been abused multiple times by various people, I’m always going to be drawn towards this specific fantasy, especially since I never once got to get closure on the abuse I went through. So for me, Wolfgang’s story is something I loved, but I get why this could unsettle others. I mean, Wolfgang shows all of this to Kala – including the flashback that reveals that he strangled his abusive father, too – specifically as a way to portray himself as unlovable. Which is HEARTBREAKING. He views himself so negatively that he is certain that Kala deserves someone else.
Unfortunately, Kala’s personal story is the only one here left completely unresolved. After witnessing Wolfgang’s rampage, she’s clearly disturbed, but we don’t find out if she’ll continue with the wedding or if she’ll pursue something with Wolfgang.
Either way, EVERYTHING HURTS.
So, now we have absolute confirmation that Will had sensate powers as a child and that Sara was one, too. He tried to save her, but failed to do so before Whispers claimed her. It’s important to the story as a whole, too, because there’s a quiet parallel between both Will and Riley. They each are defined by trauma in their past. In Will’s case, being unable to save Sara turned him into the kind of person who wants to save others. (That certainly puts the opening of this season into a different context, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still not a fan of white savior narratives.) You can see this behavior in the resolution of “I Can’t Leave Her” as well. Hell, like many of these characters, Will excels at selflessness.
But the bulk of this episode centers around Riley and the efforts to break her out of the BPO center in Iceland. I think that it’s very strange that literally every character except Will is pushed into the background of this episode. (Well, there’s a decent amount of Nomi and Amanita, so that’s great!) I love the ensemble nature of Sense8, so “I Can’t Leave Her” ended up feeling like the Riley/Will show. It’s a good story, though! I’m not criticizing the writing itself, just squinting very hard at the choice of focus. What happens to Sun? Is she just stuck in prison? Did Lito come out or was he outed? I highly doubt that Joaquin would back down and not release those photos. What was Silas’s reaction to Capheus’s actions?
Regardless, I can’t change any of this, so let’s talk about what I did love about this. I think this season promised an incredible climax to Riley’s story because we’d seen over the course of Sense8 how the sensates could utilize one another to survive. And y’all, I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. Nomi (with Amanita’s assistance) provides Will with the means to break into the facility by walking in the front door. Lito appears to help Will hit on the doctor attending Riley, and IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. And then Sun – I CAN’T DEAL WITH HER – offers up her skills so that Will can take out all four guards blocking entrance to Riley’s room.
Each of them matter. Kala provides the drug combination to wake Riley up, and Capheus helps Will start the ambulance without keys. What does Wolfgang provide? MURDEROUS DETACHMENT. (HELP ME, IT’S TOO MUCH.) It’s an amazing spectacle to watch, y’all, and it made me want a million more scenes with this kind of teamwork.
But I think the show wanted to turn our minds to the more emotional side of this journey. We’ve been seeing glimpses of Riley’s accident, but we learn the horrible details in this episode, which culminates in an escape that brings Riley to the exact spot where she should have died with her daughter. Riley’s trauma defines her, but only to a point. What makes this a hopeful story is the fact that, through Will, she’s able to move on, both literally and figuratively. It would have been easier for the two of them to do as Jonas suggested, to kill themselves to save the cluster, but both of them chose the more difficult route. Why?
Because it was worth it.
The end of this season leaves things wide-open. Drugging Will into unconsciousness is not sustainable at all, but the sensates have also never been closer. We don’t know where Sven is taking Will and Riley, but inevitably, Whispers will find them. He’s now locked eyes with Will, so what escape can Will find? I have no idea, but I am very invested in this show and its characters. I don’t want to wait for another season because I REALLY ENJOYED IT. I think it’s certainly flawed, but I totally get why practically everyone this summer told me to watch it. And I’m so thrilled I got to do it for Mark Watches!!!
We start Agent Carter on Monday now that Sense8 is done. After that, I’ll be watching The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. I hope you’ll join me!
The video for “I Can’t Leave Her” 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!