Sunday, May 7, 2017

MTVP Binges Out: “Sense8” Season Two

I know we’ve been doing season one of a lot of shows for this type of post but I couldn’t help but talk about the second season of “Sense8” which dropped on Netflix on May 5th. Yes, I binged all 10 episodes in a single day. I’m good at binging like that. And this season made it so much easier to just keep watching.

There are a lot of things to admire and be impressed by with the show. For one thing, the plot takes place over several continents and countries and they film on location in all of them. That, in and of itself, is pretty rare for a TV show, even one on a streaming service. That is part of why it takes so long in between seasons because of all the travel. The characters are also quite unique and diverse. Not just in race (obviously) but in sexuality and faith as well. It is a beautiful patchwork of people.

The basic premise of the show follows 8 sensates: Kala, Will, Wolfgang, Sun, Riley, Lito, Capheus and Nomi as they discover they share a psychic bond that allows them inhabit each other’s bodies and lend each other their skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe from the people hunting them. In season one we got know these eight people and a bit of their histories and what made them unique. We got see the people in their lives, some of whom were supportive and others who weren’t. It was interesting to see which people they let in on their secret. When we left them at the end of that season, they’d really solidified as a unit and were doing all they could to keep away from Whispers, a sensate like them who was bent on finding and killing them.

Season two picks up with Will (having seen Whispers in the season one finale—which means Whispers can telepathically show up and see what Will sees) has been dosing himself with heroin to keep Whispers at bay but also allowing himself to slip into their enemy’s mind to find out who and where he is. They finally succeed and Will is able to start recovering from the ordeal. One of the interesting things is that except for Will and Riley, none of the rest of the cluster has ever met in person. Will and Riley have only because Riley was kidnapped by Whispers in season one and Will went to rescue her. But it almost doesn’t matter that they’ve never met because they have such a strong connection. Now, they are exploring what it means for them to be sensates and finding others like them. We discover along with our cluster that there are so many more like them in the world, most of them in hiding. But the organization that is hunting them wasn’t always so corrupt. It was founded on principles of keeping people safe because honestly humans fear what they perceive as different and they lash out. Just look at anything happening in our world today to know that’s true. Sometimes when shows try to explain their premise with science mumbo jumbo it doesn’t work out well but I think the show manages to make it plausible that at some point in human evolution, there were people connected by thought and emotion. I also liked that we got some more backstory on the cluster’s “mother” Angelica.

I liked that the cluster was able to work more seamlessly together this season. They’ve gotten to trust one another at this point and share in each other’s lives so that they can really understand one another. I also liked we got to see different pairings of people dealing with problems. One of the best scenes was Lito, having been fired by his agent for coming out as gay, winds up trying to get comfort from Sun, who is not an emotional person. It was pretty great. Some of the more emotional moments that were a bit somber were also beautiful. Like Sun visiting her parents’ graves and the cluster being there for her or Will grieving his father’s death and Capheus being the one to motivate him to use that anger to protect the cluster.

It is hard to pick a favorite episode from this season because they were all so good. I liked episode 6 because that gave us a lot of history about the organization hunting the cluster and how it changed over the years. It gave us insight into why certain characters were working together as well. But I really liked the finale because Wolfgang, one of our strongest assets, got nabbed and the rest of the cluster had to mount a rescue in a way that Whispers wouldn’t see coming. This season we were introduced to blockers—a pill that temporarily shuts off their ability to connect with one another—and they came in really handy. I liked that they were able to infiltrate the organization and rescue Wolfgang by actually being together in person for the first time in more than a year. I have to admit, I love them popping into one another’s lives. It provides a lot of comedy but I was so excited when they all went in person to rescue one of their own. It was similar in a way to the season one ending but different enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. And damn, I just want season 3 (sadly, as of this post no decision has yet been made about a renewal) because it ends on a huge cliffhanger and there is still so much story to tell.

I have really found that streaming services are putting out some really good, interesting content and I’m hopeful that we will continue to see more of it in the future. I am nowhere near ready to give up spending time with these characters. There is a need for shows like this in our world and as long as they are out there, I’m ready and willing to binge out on them!

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