It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since the first season of The Wachowski’s sense8 first debuted on Netflix. I took a day just to recover from the amazing finale of its second season which was released last Friday.
sense8 celebrates the weird and wonderful things about us as human beings – even if our main protagonists are (in the show’s mythos) another species. The second season is a vast improvement from the first and expands on the science behind the sensates while retaining their individual storylines at the same time.
Fair warning that this might be quite a long review but I just have so much I want to talk about with this amazing series. So a spoiler alert is obviously required from this point onwards.
Binge-watching the second season starts off with a two-hour episode that bridged the first and second season due to the two year wait for the rest of the new season. Even though it was a great episode on its own, it was a quick rush to establish all the potential storylines for the rest of the season while fast-forwarding through key events such as the sensates’ birthday, Christmas and New Years.
The story revolves around the fight for freedom from the BPO along with their own individual dilemmas in their own countries (which I will get to in a later section). Each episode seems to either emphasise one or the other however, I find the finale is where there is a nice balance between both.
Although in their hunt for answers, the cluster discovers to others sensates like them: from the femme fatale Lila, the eccentric Mr. Hoy and the “equivalent to a sensate STD” Puck. It reinforces the globality of the show and how diverse each cluster could be. Each new addition brings something new to the series and Lila’s fight with Wolfgang was one of the highlights of the entire season – pitting cluster against cluster.
The second season is a lot more stronger than its debut because we’re already introduced to our colourful cast of characters and established the world they inhabit. The first season didn’t have a lot of moments with all the sensates altogether, usually pairing them off or a small group of them in a scene. It makes perfect sense in the beginning but now that time has passed, we get to focus on their interactions as a group and how their dynamic has changed.
Because the show takes place around the world, each sensate has their own little storylines alongside the main narrative. So here’s a brief look at each character and their journey in the season.
- Will: I wondered how his role would be affected after his encounter with Whispers in the first season. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was clever to use that connection to their advantage however, his father’s death was a heartbreaking moment for his arc. Though he realises he still has a family to love and protect, bringing him back from his depression.
- Riley: Intertwined with Will’s story in the beginning, it wasn’t until around halfway in the series that Riley got a chance to stand on her own away from Will. She was able to connect with other sensates and gather vital information about BPO – a vast improvement from her quite passive role in the first season.
- Nomi: Her role seems to have diminished this season as the tech support alongside Bug and Amanita – even if she was learning the science behind their species, homo sensoriums. However, there are some highlights when her father called Nomi his daughter rather than his son, and the engagement between .
- Capheus: I loved how the show tackled the casting change but it could the very reason why Capheus felt more isolated from the group and the main plot. Even though Toby Onwumere doesn’t convey the same innocence of Aml Ameen’s portrayal, he brings something new to the table. I’m interested to see how Capheus’ political career pans out as it could expand his role in the group outside of being just the driver.
- Lito: Always a joy to watch his scenes from the emotional moments to those that bring the laughs – Miguel Ángel Silvestre consistently delivers. Out of all the sensates, Lito’s storyline seems to be the strongest: dramatically and comedically.
- Kala: Like Will and Riley, Kala and Wolfgang seem to have their stories intertwined – although to a lesser extent. She finally admits that her heart belongs to Wolfie rather than Rajan which seems to be her emotional arc this season. However, I would’ve loved to see more of the politics vs. religion debacle from the previous season which only touched on in an episode or two.
- Wolfgang: Oh Wolfie, how you went through so much shit this season. While his storyline had a shaky beginning, it picked up once he met Lila and, as mentioned previously, her fight with Wolfie was one of the greater moments of the season. And just as you think Kala and Wolfgang finally have the happy ending they deserve, Wolfie is captured which brings our protagonists physically together.
- Sun: Favourites for last, Bae Doona is another consistently strong performer and she got many awesome (and some stressful) moments in this season. I loved the dynamic between her and Detective Mun (two sides of the same coin: sun and moon, prisoner and officer) and I hope we get more of them in the next season.
Watching this series is comparable to Orphan Black (another show that I’ve recently binged on but that will get its own review after the final season) as you’re always left wondering: “how the hell did they film all of this?” It’s no wonder that it took two years to film the second season but hopefully the wait for a third is a smaller one. The jumps between worlds and characters is amazing and it’s always great when it’s being used for comedic effect.
Compared to the previous season which had a more ambiguous ending due to uncertain future of the series, it seems like sense8 will be renewed after that cliffhanger of an ending. I am curious to see where the show will go now that the sensates are now physically all together as well as how they will save Wolfie from BPO. There are still so many open-ended possibilities after this season so it’s definitely something to be excited for if a third season is announced.
There’s a lot more that I could write about sense8 however that’s another post for another day. The second season was much better than the first on all accounts and hopefully there will be a third.