Sense8 is Back

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.

17 thoughts on “Sense8 is Back

  1. I’m up to the sixth episode, including the holiday special. I flubbed it and hit the wrong button on the Fire TV box, so I either will have to dig out the VI navigation instructions or wait until the roommate gets back to continue.
    This show still catches me up short, as the characters will say something and hit me hard in the heart chakra. I love what a friend of mine said about Lido, Hernando, and daniella — two gay men fell in love with a woman and it made their relationship stronger. There’s also a lot of very subtle stuff going on in the show, typical JMS style stealth continuity, that crops up later and turns throw-away things into huge important things. (He did this with Babylon 5 too) And I’m with you — I love spending time with these folks, experiencing their lives and challenges and joys, and watching as they find their place in a world arrayed against them. And also seeing that the world that opposes them may be out classed by these eight people.
    I’m also starting to see an interesting subtext here too. BPO has money, power, and influence. The cluster has relationships and connection with other people. And the pans on the scale seem to be a lot more balanced than one would think.
    This is the *only* show I follow. I haven’t watched a single broadcast or cable show since Syfy cancelled Stargate Universe back in 2011. I make the effort for this one, and I started because I believed in the folks producing it and the premise of the show. And so far it hasn’t disappointed me one bit.

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  2. Ah, so painful! I don’t have access anymore — I don’t have good enough internet to watch netflix. I’m going to have to find someone who does and camp in their driveway for a few days. But I’m glad it’s good!

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    1. MacDonalds has free wifi. I would suggest you get food and then eat in the car, though. This is not something you want some kid in the next booth watching.

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  3. If I get the grade scores I’m looking for in first semester, I’m giving myself season 1 & 2 as a reward.

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      1. We have Show max and laat I heard, almost Netflix, by amending our region on sign up. But if I get it now, I’ll never study. This is the first time I’m saying it – I want a Cum Laude pass.

        1+

  4. Have not watch this one. Based on your recommendation I will try.
    I just watched the first season on One Mississippi on Amazon. Written by Tig Notaro and Cody Diablo, who won an Oscar for Juno. It’s six half hour episodes. And is billed as a Traumedy. Which is exactly correct. I started watching because I have a brief role in Season two, episode 2 as a member of a book club discussing Jane Eyre. I thought I would watch one episode to get a feel for it, but I fell in love and binged the season. Highly recommend. Brilliant character work.

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    1. I loved it too — and wasn’t sure if there was going to be another season, so thanks for the heads-up. I will pay a bit more attention to the second episode now (smile).

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  5. Oh wait, we do. This is what happens when I decide to avoid tech news because I can’t allow distractions.

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  6. That pleasure you’re having, just watching characters that matter do regular stuff? That is the pleasure we are taking from your rewrites on Nita – we get to watch characters we are growing fond of navigate their territory. Honestly.

    5+

  7. Hijack warning — for Jenny and all of the other yarn freaks like me: a friend of mine at work gave me a tip on yarn (she’s doing a crochet project which is FAB because of the yarn) which is completely new to me and I wanted to share:

    https://traumgarne.eu/de/

    (Site is in German — you can switch to English but it’s inconsistent, but luckily lots of pix.)

    The (super loooooong run) yarn on the home page there is interesting because the yarn is actually four separate (not twisted) strands in different shades which gives your work a totally cool look. When my friend sent me the link she noted “addiction warning!” — and I must say, I am going to have to add to my stash.

    (It’s a small company and quite new – the trademark was just filed in 2015, so I am not certain if they have made it across the pond yet. Here are some photos from them: https://traumgarne.eu/de/content/4-uber-uns )

    Sorry for the hijack, but wanted to pass this on….

    Imma gonna have to find some more hiding places for my stash now!

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  8. Okay, finished the season yesterday morning, and all I’ll say is wow. Now I’m in that state where I want to talk about it to friends who’ve seen it, and also that feeling of desolation as I have to wait for what may be two more years (if the gap between seasons 1 and 2 are any indication) before I get more of these characters and this world.

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  9. I’d never heard of the show until you talked about it here. So I started watching it one night, thinking I’d get through maybe one episode before going to bed… Wound up being unable to look away until about 4am, at which point I finally went to bed–and finished the series binge-watching that weekend.

    Have not started S2 yet, but really looking forward to it. (A friend warned me, don’t start watching it until you’ve got 2-3 days with not much else planned.)

    Anyhow, Jenny wrote: “I mean, Raj is really nice, but come on, Kala, Wolfgang. ”

    This might be an example of why I wasn’t a very good romance writer. I always think, “No, not Wolfgang! Walk away! He’s a trainwreck! Raj is a good choice–stable, sane, coherent, evolved.” I like Wolfgang, and I think he’s a great character. He might be a great fling. But he strikes me as a disastrous reason to throw over a good husband.

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    1. I powered through it in two days. I would have done it in a single day, but my roommate got home and she was going to watch it too, and I was at the point where I had about 44.5 minutes left on episode 9. (Voiceview gives you time remaining feedback when you start or stop, which is useful) I didn’t want to spoil the ending for her, so I decided to do the nice thing and wait for her to go to work the next day before finishing. Probably for the best anyway, as after the season ending I probably wouldn’t have been able to sleep.
      Ranjan is a beautiful example of the Vertical Horizon song, “Everything You Want”. And from where I’m standing, and with my most recent relationship past, having someone who loves you passionately in a way you know is 100% real and honest, and who can’t lie to you, sounds enticing to me.

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  10. A couple of things about the show. First, if you’re curious about the images in the opening credits of the show, turn on the descriptive video for it — the narrator tells you where these places are.
    A realization hit me, and this isn’t a spoiler for the show, it’s a possible spoiler for The Matrix Trilogy and Babylon 5. Looking at the past of these writers, we can come to the conclusion that BPO isn’t the story. It’s one hurdle the cluster has to surmount. Babylon 5 wasn’t about war, either current or ancient, and The Matrix Trilogy wasn’t about Neo finding how to get inside the code. Both were about vast and powerful changes in the characters and their society. This is the kind of science fiction in the mold of Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, E. E. “Doc” Smith, and A. E. Van Vogt — humanity is changing, even though it might not want to, and the characters are both facilitators and catalysts for that change. As Ambassador Delenn said in Babylon 5 when talking about humans, “They are greater than they know.” I love this kind of stuff, as it’s story that inspires me to think about the issues it brings up, and seek out people to talk to about it. I suspect that in the next few weeks I’m going to take a run at the entire series again, because I’m sure I’ve missed some clues and details that I’ll want to remember. And of course, also, because I like these characters so much.

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