Mark Watches ‘Sense8’: S02E06 – Isolated Above, Connected Below

In the sixth episode of the second season of Sense8, more is revealed to the team, and Lito finally celebrates. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Sense8. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of transphobia, homophobia, suicide

AHHH, THIS EPISODE WAS INCREDIBLE!!! I HAVE SO MUCH TO DISCUSS.

The Connection

TWO! TWO NEW SENSATES KNOW! I wish one of them—Puck—wasn’t so gross. But I understand why neither of them trusted Will and Riley at the start. From the outside—especially to sensates that have ostensibly survived years without any real trouble from BPO—Riley’s cluster seems like an obvious plant. Right??? They show up, Riley gives a flashy, public performance, and then basically says it was a cry for help. I’m getting the sense that the many, many sensates that exist in the world have survived by staying ridiculously underground, so why would another group suddenly surface in such a manner unless they were a trap? 

IT’S A TRAP.

Except it’s not.

And it takes one real eccentric man from Scotland for someone to finally realize that. 

Sun

Oh my god, that scene between Sun and Riley? It was truly a cinematic arrow to my heart, and the deliberate parallel (and role reversal) highlighted that while these sensates have undoubtedly helped one another, they are still struggling. Both of them are exhausted by the experience of constantly being on the run. And look, after Mun showed up in the last episode, I knew it was only a matter of time before Sun left her trainer. Mun knew that Sun had been around, so he was probably bound to watch the place. So what’s next, then? Both Sun and Riley are on the run, both are coping with tension related to their families, and both don’t see an end in sight to their problems. Sun’s plan at the moment is an endgame, not something that’s intricately detailed. And Riley… well, I could say the same of her, couldn’t I? The sensates wanted a specific end, and they made a terribly risky move to achieve it. 

Consummation

I think the balance between the main plot and the various subplots of the sensates is much more even in this season, and I’m so pleased to feel that way. There’s just so much room here for these characters to grow, to experience things that aren’t directly tied to the greater story concerning Whispers and BPO. And it’s with that in mind that I consider the dual consummation of love/feelings/attraction between Kala/Wolfgang and Capheus/Zakia. These storylines—especially with Kala and Wolfgang—have been percolating for a while, and I love what this suggests about the lives of both sensates and humans. Despite how vast our experiences are, sometimes, our lives sync up. We experience distinctly similar things, and those things are human in nature. Even if Kala and Wolfgang experience their consummation through a very strange medium, the experience itself still feels recognizable. Sometimes, we are drawn to one another, no matter the distance, no matter the difference in class, no matter the moral complications that may arise from such an act. And I am interested to see if there will be fallout from this regarding Kala, but for now? I enjoyed it for what it was: two separate sets of connections made at the same time. 

Speaking of such: I loved Capheus finding out that not only is his mother dating someone (and apparently happy), but that we got a couple who are both HIV-positive finding love within the other person. 

Return

I’m hoping that the E-Death really does grant Nomi a freedom of sorts because it was so damn satisfying to see her and Amanita return home!!! Look, as someone who currently has tenuous housing that is not my own right now, I have just the tiniest sense of understanding of how this makes a person feel restless and detached. It’s hard to feel rooted anywhere where there is nowhere to root, when you exist at the mercy and gratitude of other people. Because even the nicest, kindest person who gives up part of their space to someone else will most likely start to feel like they want that space back. And so many of us humans develop identities and build comfort around a central home! So, there’s a comfort in getting to see Nomi find that place again, to see her sister welcome her back in spite of their transphobic and cruel parents. Even the tiniest bit of acceptance and normality will help Nomi feel grounded.

Lila

HI, WHAT THE FUCK!!! I didn’t expect her to just straight-up assassinate Bohm!!! I feel like I was tricked into thinking that she was going to ask for a place in his organization, since that’s what she told Wolfgang that she wanted: a future where she came out on top. But now Bohm is dead? AND I WANT TO KNOW SO MUCH MORE ABOUT HER CLUSTER!!! Who was that guy??? Is their cluster complete? How do they get blockers???

Lito

I could say exactly the same for Lito, though what he gets in this episode is anything but tiny. Oh, my heart, y’all. I still remember my first Pride in Long Beach, a year after I was outed. I remember feeling safe enough to be physically affectionate with a man. I remember the joy of being around other people who didn’t have the same life as me, who may have struggled in different ways or not at all, but who had this one thing in common with the others. Lito was not used to this kind of attention, this kind of acceptance, this level of respect. And it made him uncomfortable! It’s not like he arrived at the airport in São Paulo and was perfectly thrilled to see a small crowd of his fans. He’s thankful, for sure, and you can see him warm up to the idea that these people know exactly who he is and still love him.

But as he struggles with whether or not to give a speech as the Grand Marshal, I’m reminded not just of the man at the bar that Lito inspired, but the one he saw the night before. He witnessed a casual act of affection, one that was in public and one where neither party seemed afraid to act it all out in front of others. 

He saw bravery. And so he gave into his own bravery, and he confirmed himself in front of millions of millions of people. And I’m so very proud of him.

Isolated Above, Connected Below

The long finale to this episode connects two events: Nomi and Amanita’s lead on the cabin in visions of Angelica and Riley’s courting of The Old Man of Hoy. Both of them are intricately connected to BPO, but the revelations here… I WAS NOT FUCKING READY. Y’all, Mr. Hoy gets pissed off because Riley OUT-TRUSTED HIM. He is a perfect soul! I love him so much already!!! But before I get to what he says regarding BPO, I want to talk about the cabin. So far, the majority of connections with Angelica have been through Will. Thus, it was shocking to see Nomi have such visceral reactions to the memory that remained behind. I wasn’t expecting that! But I have a theory: I feel like this episode pretty much confirms my theory that Angelica had some other plan in the works. Here, the flashback we saw of Raoul on the phone with his father for the last time is given its full context. Raoul did not commit suicide as Whispers interpreted it; no, Angelica made him to die. We know now that he was highly opposed to whatever experiment was being run on them, so. SO. 

What if Angelica was deliberately setting BPO back? What if she and Raoul destroyed all that work on purpose? The scene seemed to fit that, right? Why else would she be there? If this was all about work on a neural graft, then… she controlled Raoul and destroyed it all, right????

Anyway, THE ARCHIPELAGO. Oh my god, y’all, Mr. Hoy was so damn charming, and I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him. What an incredible resource, too, since Mr. Hoy marks the first sensate who was around long enough to see the start of Ruth Al-Sadaawi’s work. HER SENSATE TWIN WAS MURDERED!!! There were secret accords??? How many sensates met that day? I don’t even know! But I know that BPO violated its own promises after 9/11, and instead of seeing sensates as innately deserving of human rights, it has systematically tormented and murdered them with impunity. 

But they have survived. There’s a network of them called the Archipelago, of which Mr. Hoy is a member, and they have an instant connection with one another, and I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS. Y’all know I love mythologies that rapidly expand like this, so yes! Give me more! What the fuck is in Chicago??? Why is it so important that Riley get there?

The video for “Isolated Above, Connected Below” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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