I’m not ashamed to admit to my newfound talent of binge-watching that I like to polish quite often. And yes, we’ll call it a talent because we’re still on that streak of positivity … also, fuck with me.
Anyway, I found out about Netflix’s new original series, “Sense8,” through Tumblr, as I so often do about many things nowadays. Of course I was like I NEED to watch this now because why not?! The series was created by the Wachowski Brothers (responsible for the Matrix trilogy, “V for Vendetta,” “Cloud Atlas,” and “Jupiter Ascending”) and J. Michael Straczynski.
The trailer alone sparked a lot of curiosity in me, but I honestly didn’t dig any deeper into the origins of the series. All I really knew was that it involved different parts of the world and some sort of mental link between the characters. Some sci-fi shit, you said? Right on!
The intro felt like it lasted longer than the episode itself but it always got me into this mysterious-superhero mood. And I admit I did watch through the whole thing multiple times trying to spot how many locations I could recognize on it.
Basically, I spent the entirety of the first two episodes confused as fuck. *Insert all the confusion possible* I mean, confusion level = over 9,000.
To break it down a little, there are eight Sensates, living in different parts of the world, and they are connected to each other emotionally and mentally. We have Capheus, a bus driver in Kenya; Riley, a DJ from Iceland living in London; Wolfgang, a jewel thief and safe-cracker in Berlin; Kala, a soon-to-be-unhappily-married Indian pharmacist in Mumbai; Nomi, a transgender “hacktivist” living in San Francisco; Sun an underground-fighting-ring bad ass and businesslady from Seoul; Lito, an actor from Spain living in Mexico City; and Will, a Chicago cop with a heart of gold.
The Sensates are essential in each others’ lives; then shit hits the fan a lot in between and they all have to come together by exploring this connection they share to save the day. It’s very obvious that the creators didn’t shy away from diving into ambitious and somewhat-controversial subjects, as a major theme of the series is character identity (gender/sexual identity).
By the third episode, I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to keep watching. But then an interesting fight scene with Sun and Capheus happened. My money WAS on the skinny bitch.
… And I broke by the end of the fourth episode.
The sequence where they’re all singing “What’s Up?” by the 4 Non Blondes is hands down my favorite. The cutting back and forth between all the different Sensates as they all sang in their respective parts of the world, being so far apart and somehow so close simultaneously, was done brilliantly.
Like in much of the series overall, the photography was totally visually stunning! Not to mention, the song was so ironically fitting. I really did find myself asking, “What IS going on?” many, many times as I watched. And it’s not that the scene even answered any of my questions or that all my doubts had suddenly evaporated. No, I still didn’t know what the fuck was going on.
I won’t let the quite unrealistic scenarios go unmentioned, because really? Come on. But I’ll be kind and let you make your own mind up about that … sort of. However, the visually satisfying qualities of the show really do deserve to be praised and recognized. Also, the whole thing was filmed on location, which I do think is pretty amazing.
Sure, I was perhaps a bit biased as I had already read some of people’s reactions to the first season on Tumblr. Some were obsessed, others completely hated it, and some others were trying to boycott the show entirely because of Lana Wachowski’s racist comments at a speech she made.
(Whether the white, dread-headed transgender woman is actually a racist or not, I’ll leave up to interpretation, but I do think she needs to be held accountable for whatever she said.)
I found myself underwhelmed by the dialogue quite often, but there were some lines in the script that might have actually reached my soul: “The real violence, the violence that I realized was unforgivable, is the violence we do to ourselves when we’re too afraid to be who we really are.”
The show did a great job at showing us how each character is defined by their experiences, gender, sexuality, culture, livelihood and it’s probably one of the only shows I’ve watched where the diversity is so well represented.
If you’re not sure whether I loved or hated the show, that’s okay. I don’t know either. But I will say that you won’t regret giving it a chance in spite of its unrealistic situations, because the characterization and representation of multiple cultures, life experiences and gender/sexual identities IS pretty spot-on.
So, just watch it.
Beware of SPOILERS from this point on.
Here’s some thoughts I had throughout the series (AKA mostly complaints):
- If you’re not planning on ever watching the series, then I recommend that you at least watch the scene with “What’s Up?” by the 4 Non Blondes. I really think that scene alone might’ve made the series. (Included at the end of this post; you’re welcome.)
- I’m no jail expert but I’m pretty sure Korean jail cannot even remotely possibly be like that. What are the odds of getting three really-nice-but-still-murderous cellmates with whom you’re going to have some very nice tea and dinner in your Korean jail cell? #simoooooon
- Lito feeling Sun’s menstrual pains and having a road-rage meltdown is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever watched.
- Whoever picked the song for Riley to be playing at her gig did an A+ job. Or did Dash Berlin pay to be featured … hmm?
- Oh, Capheus, you little angelbabyface, you.
- That fight scene with Joaquin and Lito was fucking hilarious and ridiculous. Lito was going to throw a plant at Joaquin … a plant, really?
- Can we just have a moment of appreciation for Wolfgang’s penis? Just sayin’.
- Also, why is there so many crowning vaginas in the series?! If I have to look at another birthing scene I swear I’m going to lose my shit. And can we talk about how all these women gave birth in completely non-ideal settings and somehow everyone still survived?!
- Wolfgang is definitely a fave and so is Sun.
- Felix gets shot in the stomach with a fucking bazooka-looking thing and he doesn’t die? Is he going to spend the rest of his life being a donut?
- Rajan’s father is stabbed by a bunch of Hindu fanatics a shitload of times and somehow he survives. WHAT EVEN.
- Also, a moment of appreciation for Amanita for being one of the real MVPs of the show.
- Sun’s family was so shit and Hernando is so dreamy.
- Daniela was annoying as fuck; what a completely unnecessary addition to the series.
- Also, exactly where the fuck did Riley live when she was pregnant because that whole giving birth/accident sequence of events is just one big what the fuck. Like you were in the middle of nowhere and somehow you ended up MORE in the middle of nowhere? How’d that newborn baby even survive the night without food, in freezing temperatures, in a flipped-over car in the middle of fucking Iceland. HOW?! Goddamned sci-fi shows.
- Kala is with Capheus complaining about cheesy violence in a Jean-Claude movie right after she witnessed her no-longer-soon-to-be father-in-law get stabbed fuck knows how many times at a Hindu temple.
- What a coincidence, also, that Bug just so happens to show up at Nomi and Amanita’s doorstep at the exact point shit has hit the fan and they realize Nomi can’t do her hacker-badass shit because she doesn’t have equipment.
- And when Kala makes an impromptu Molotov-type bomb, ALL of the ingredients/materials necessary just so happen to be readily available.
- The ending felt so rushed and I felt low-key cheated. It seemed like they tried to cram everything into the last 10 minutes. It just felt like a very safe ending.
- Finally, WILL there be a season 2? I want to know what happens!
THE END. ❤