So this is quite a bummer of an episode.
Let’s bitch it out…
Seriously – this is one depressing episode. There isn’t much happiness going around this episode and just about everyone had some deep stuff happening. I think Sun (Doona Bae) is pretty much the only character that has a little bright spot. Her father, Kang-Dae (Kyong Young Lee) shows up at the prison, and it appears that he’s finally realized what a kick-ass daughter he has. He’s spent his life focusing on his son, and he’s only now realized that Sun is so much like the wife that he’s been mourning for years. “I thought that part of me had died with her, but it didn’t; it’s right here.” This is a bit of a tear-jerker. Kang-Dae says that he’s going to tell the truth, which would presumably exonerate Sun , but it hasn’t happened yet, so who knows what could go wrong.
Meanwhile Kala (Tina Desai) is dealing with the aftermath of her future father-in-law, Manendra’s (Darshan Jariwala) stabbing. She’s being interrogated pretty hard, but luckily the fiancé that she doesn’t love is there to stick up for her. Rajan (Purab Kohli) has done nothing but be extremely kind and considerate to Kala, and it still bothers me that the writers haven’t really explained why she doesn’t love him. I mean, obviously she must have dated the guy long enough for it them to get serious and for him to pop the question. I understand that just being nice to someone doesn’t mean they’re going to fall in love with you. While this episode even dives into the complexity of love, in other scenes, I just feel like the whole Kala-Rajan storyline is empty, as though big chunks of it are missing from the picture. At this point it doesn’t look like we’re ever going to learn more about Kala’s apprehension – we’re just supposed to take it on faith that Kala doesn’t love Rajan and that’s it. From a real life perspective, that’s fine: no one is forced to love another person, and no one should be begrudged for not loving someone. From a fictional narrative perspective, however, I can’t form an emotional attachment to this character without something there for me to empathize with. As we head into the final episodes of the season, this remains the one storyline that is shoddily written. Anyway, Menendra got stabbed a bunch of times, but apparently he’s still clinging to life. That’s about all we learn.
Speaking of love, Will (Brian J. Smith) and Riley (Tuppence Middleton) continue their across-the-world flirtation. They seem to be really into one another, and Jonas (Naveen Andrews) appears to be all for it, exclaiming that sensates experience the purest form of love with one another. This idea is contrasted by Ysra (Lilja Thorisdottir), the woman that sent Riley away from Iceland, scaring her from coming back after her mother’s death. Ysra is also a sensate and she claims that love within a cluster is a very bad idea. She suggests that Jonas might not be the helpful figure that he’s made himself out to be, hinting that Jonas and Angellica (Daryl Hannah) were helping BPO to hunt down sensates. Riley’s conversation with Ysra offers a little more insight into the evils of BPO, and reveals that the company has a big operation in Iceland. For the most part, however, we’re left with more questions than we started the episode with. Yet another LOST-like quality about the show.
The real emotional core of the episode centres around Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), who is still reeling after being dumped by Hernando (Alfonso Herrera). Despite all of the clunky Kala scenes, Sense8 is a pleasure to watch when it nails its scenes – as is the case with the Lito-Hernando-Nomi (Jamie Clayton) mash-up in Diego Rivera Museum. I really enjoyed the way the scene is shot, with Hernando sitting to Lito’s right, explaining the art to him, in flashbacks with Lito sitting in the same position, explaining the art and his relationship with Hernando to Nomi. The cuts are smooth and work really well, and the scene builds up a lot of emotion because we understand what Lito is going through. Plus Nomi is the perfect pairing here because she has gone through similar difficulties in her life. Admittedly it gets a little over-the-top by the end, when Nomi recalls her locker room shower scalding – I would have preferred it if she had just told the story, rather than watching it actually play out. Sense8 has a pretty capable stable of actors, and with well-written dialogue, the acting abilities of our primary sensates can sell these nuances much better than a flashback. Quibbles aside, this interaction is my favourite part of this episode.
Lito recalls how Hernando explained love to him, claiming that love is like art; it has no rules, no expectations, and it must always be free. It’s not always something that we can understand or define, it just is, and we know it when we see/feel it. Lito’s separate worlds have collided, and now he’s faced with the biggest choice of his life. Nomi insists that there’s a huge difference between what a person works for, and what a person lives for. Who cares if Lito has a great acting career and lots of money if he can’t spend his life being happy? He needs to come to grips with who wants to be, and make a decision. I’m fully expecting Lito to take steps to correct what he’s screwed up, saving Daniela and trying to fix things with Hernando. Will it be too late, though? Hernando isn’t taking his calls (maybe he has already moved on – though I doubt it). This show is all about positivity towards sexual choices/orientations so I’d be shocked if things didn’t work out. But I like Lito and Hernando, and I’m invested in seeing it play out. That’s something.
The final stop on the depression train for the episode is Riley’s late visit with Capheus (Aml Ameen), when they share some sob stories. Apparently Riley was married (and had a child, if I read that gravestone right) and apparently lost both…on top of losing her mother. Seems like the girl’s had a rough go of it, making it all the crazier that Yrsa’s idea of ‘protecting’ her is to make her feel like she’s cursed and blame her for everyone’s deaths. Nice. Capheus counters with his own tale of woe: he had a little sister once, but his mother couldn’t feed her so they had to give her to an orphanage. Leave it to Capheus, though, to put a positive spin on things, claiming that life and death are just a big mixed up jumble, and that beginnings can be endings, and endings can be beginnings. Or something like that.
‘Death Doesn’t Let You Say Goodbye’ is a bit slower than the last episode, really diving into a lot of backstories and trying to develop the emotional ground that each of these characters stands on. Despite the lack of forward plot momentum, I thought this episode worked well. With only three episodes remaining, we’re going to need to dive into the main conspiracy, though, and fast. We still don’t really have a clear picture of how everything ties together, so I’m really looking forward to watching how Sense8 develops.
- Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) had a quick scene in the hospital, watching more Conan with Felix). It looks like he’s at odds with his uncle, aka the father of the man who shot Felix. This is another plot that lost its momentum after being exciting early on (the diamond heist was a great scene). I blame the Kala-Wolfgang pairing, as we didn’t get to see as much of Wolfgang’s world while he was constantly spending time flirting with Kala instead.
- Lito goes a little crazy at the end there. I mean, if the guy really wanted to kill himself, it wouldn’t be that hard given his incredibly unsafe rooftop railing. Is that up to Mexican building code? One little hop and he’s over the side. I hope things work out for him, though. I love watching the scenes where he’s playing his action hero roles.
- Either I haven’t been paying as much attention to this show as I thought, or the writers didn’t do a great job of explaining stuff, because I was kind of lost early in this episode with Riley and Yrsa. Once again I had to look up her name for this review, and I had no idea what was going on at first.
- At least we’re getting more definitions of the sensate rules, as Will and Jonas discuss the difference between sharing and visiting again.
Your turn: was this the most depressing episode of Sense8 so far? Did you enjoy Lito and Nomi’s discussion? Were you have preferred to simply hear about Nomi’s childhood trauma? Is Riley the saddest character on the series? Was Yrsa’s introduction muddled? Sound off below, but please refrain from commenting on future episodes.
Sense8 is available in its entirety on Netflix. Check back Tuesday as we review episode 10.