Sense8 is a show on Netflix produced by the Wachowski’s (think The Matrix) and focuses around 8 main characters who are all sensates. Essentially sensates are born in clusters of 8 all around the world and they have an intense connection to one another, so much so that they can access one another with their thoughts and utilize skills of the others. The first few episodes can be very confusing and some things are still not entirely clear even after finishing season 2, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable.
Sun – Korean badass who is exceptionally skilled in martial arts. She gets entangled with her families embezzlement scheme and is stuck choosing between family and self-preservation.
Lito – Mexican actor in the sweetest relationship ever with Hernando (a professor) and (possibly?) Daniela, a ladyfriend of theirs who moves in to escape an abusive relationship.
Nomi – American trans hacktivist on the run from the law in a relationship with Amanita
Will – American cop with a complex father-son dynamic who falls in love with fellow sensate, Riley.
Riley – Icelandic DJ involved in the London drug trade who is afraid to go home due to being told she was cursed as a child
Kala – Indian pharmacist with extensive knowledge of explosives who is about to marry Rajan, a man she doesn’t love
Wolfgang – German-Russian thief who specializes in safe cracking. He is involved with organized crime through his family who control a section of Berlin.
Capheus – Kenyan bus driver who is intensely devoted to his mother and does everything he can to get her the medication she needs, including getting involved in local drug lords.
There are a lot of characters and a lot of storylines that flow and intersect to keep track of, so the above is a sort of cheat sheet for at least the main characters.
First off, the diversity of this cast is pretty spectacular and includes many who don’t have English as a first language. Characters are intelligent, dynamic, resourceful and despite the many differences in them they all flow together so well. Characters who seem to be opposites on the surface, such as Sun (very reserved) and Lito (dramallama extraordinaire) or Wolfgang (criminal) and Will (cop), manage to find connections and forge realistic relationships.
The lore around sensates is very slowly revealed over the course of the series and there is still plenty more to learn. We know that BPO (Biological Preservation Organization) wants to study and recruit sensates. Those who refuse are either lobotomized or executed. BPO, and their representative, Whispers, are the primary antagonistic force of the series, hunting our MC’s and pushing them to the brink. Other obstacles abound, but they serve to teach the sensates about themselves and each other, forcing them into extreme circumstance and think on their feet. The handy part about being a sensate is accessing skills from the others. Don’t know how to drive? Connect to Capheus. Don’t know how to fight? Connect to Wolfgang or Sun. Need to get into secure facilities? Call up Nomi and she’ll bust through cyberspace to get you what you need. It’s truly fascinating to watch their teamwork develop.
One hilarious part of the sensate connection is that when they visit one another in their heads, they can physically experience the others, but no one else can see them. This results in some awkward open mouth air kissing, rolling around in snow piles and some vigorous conversations that leave bystanders incredibly confused.
The antagonist characters and secondary protagonists are just as vibrant and amazing as the main characters. A cast this large is always going to be a challenge, but once you sort of get a feel for who everyone is, then it works perfectly. Even though we only get individual characters in snippets, you don’t really feel shortchanged on their development.
All in all, I love this show. It is DEFINITELY NSFW, so be aware of that. There is a lot of nakedness and violence, but if you’re cool with that, I 100% recommend it. Push through the first few episodes until it starts to make sense, it’s worth it.
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