Remember Sense8, the Netflix show about eight people born on the same day at the same hour who are psychically linked so that share everything including fist fights, sex, and karaoke? I bitched about it because it was such a chaotic mess last year and raved about it because the characterization was so phenomenal, the romances so well crafted, and the emotional payoff so overwhelmingly satisfying. I’ve only watched the first two episodes of season two, and once again it moves like molasses on ice, but I’m in. Which is odd because I’m such a structure wonk. Where are the turning points? Where’s the escalation? Who cares? These characters are back. Turns out character really is everything.
Of courses it’s a huge help that I start this year knowing what’s going on. Last year was basically Act One, drawn out forever, all set-up, and the writers left everything unexplained so my overwhelming response to the first episodes was annoyance and frustration. The only reason I stuck around was that the characters were great. But this year I’m no longer saying, “WTF?” Instead, at the end of Episode 2, understanding everything that was happening, I said, “Fuck, YES.” It’s okay to have mystery in a story, to have unanswered questions, teases, things that will be revealed later. It is not okay to not know what the hell what’s happening or why it’s happening or why I should care. Plot is not everything, but it helps. This year, the set-up is over, the annoying coyness about plot points is gone and we hit the ground running.
And all the people are back, albeit one has a new face. I know these characters, I love these characters, I would watch these people just sit around and have dinner together (and I have). I even love the rat bastard who’s trying to lobotomize them because Terence Stamp is just doing amazing work as the guy I love to hate. They even swapped out of one of my favorite characters and I don’t care because the actor who’s replacing him is doing a great job. My epiphany during the first episode of this season (which is actually the Christmas episode) was that I will give Sense8 a pass on plot if I can be with these characters, watch them come together to celebrate, to fight for each other, and even to make love because the show makes it clear that the orgy scenes aren’t so much orgies as just a lot of people who love each other sharing a really good feeling. Character may not be everything, but it’s about 90% of everything.
Which brings us to the love stories, be still my wonky little romance-writing heart. There are still four members of the team who haven’t found partners: Kala married Raj, clearly a mistake, although that apartment he got for her was almost worth getting married for; Wolfgang is being pressured into becoming a mob boss and in the process is having a lot of sex with women who are not Kala; Capheus just met a really nice journalist; and Sun is still in prison, I have hopes for all of them. I mean, Raj is really nice, but come on, Kala, Wolfgang. Mostly though, I’m finding comfort in the love stories that are already settled. Noni and Amanita are as bonded as ever, and now Riley and Will are committed, too, and the best OT3 ever–Lito-Hernando-Daniela–is even stronger now that they’ve been outed. There is so much pleasure in watching people who love each other just do that daily, no drama or fighting or will-they-or-won’t-they, just people who are with the people they belong with.
And then there’s the team/community aspect that I’m addicted to. It’s not just the eight, it’s all their relationships, the people who love them and support them, walk into danger for them, defy men in black suits and sunglasses for them. It’s Lito’s mother giving a speech about how proud she is of her son, telling him she’s always known he was gay and welcoming Dani and Hernando into the family. It’s the look on the face of Noni’s friend Bug when he realizes they’re inviting him to celebrate Christmas with them. It’s Sun’s cellmates welcoming her back from solitary confinement with smiles and hugs and “Welcome home.” It’s the antidote against the cruel reality of my cruel government and my country in pain, all those people coming together without judging and just loving each other.
So this year, Sense8 is pretty much everything I want on my TV.. Plus they used “Hallelujiah” in the Christmas story, the second most overused song on soundtracks (next to “Hurt”) and it was glorious. Fingers crossed the rest of the season is as good as the beginning.
Yep, I’m in.