So who’s up for a mid-season orgy?!
Let’s bitch it out…
I’d feel remiss if I didn’t touch on the aforementioned orgy scene first. Sense8 has been using musical montages to mix in all of the characters lately, and that’s how this scene starts out. Will (Brian J. Smith) is working out with his cop partner. Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) is working out with his partner, Hernando (Alfonso Herrera). Nomi (Jamie Clayton) is getting it on with her lover. Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) is kicking back in some sort of co-ed bathhouse (is that actually a thing?). The next thing we know, they’re all mix and matching, different people kissing, naked bodies everywhere. I have nothing against orgies or naked bodies, in general, but this felt really gratuitous. As a big fan of Game of Thrones, I always find it a little awkward when some nudity-laden scene pops up (usually in Littlefinger’s brothel) while characters lay out exposition. I don’t peruse many of the TV review sites, so I’m not sure how the internet regarded Sense8’s orgy scene, but it seemed even more gratuitous than Game of Thrones stuff. Is it more acceptable to have gratuitous nudity/sex scenes when they’re promoting polyamorous relationships? I get that this is a topic near and dear to the Wachowskis’ hearts, I just wish that scenes like this could be woven into the plot better, and not just dumped in the middle of an episode. I did love that it appeared as though Wolfgang slept through the whole thing, though.
Most of all, I’m still trying to figure out how the mechanics of this world work. Were these people all aware that they were swapping partners, or riding up on complete strangers? Unless I’m forgetting a scene, I don’t think Lito and Wolfgang have met, but that didn’t stop Lito from riding right up onto naked Wolfgang. Most of these characters get kind of jumpy when they end up in one another’s worlds, but none of them even batted an eye when the person they were kissing two seconds ago is now someone else. It just seems so incongruent and out of character and thrown in as social commentary. And the whole ‘sharing’ vs. ‘visiting’ thing needs to be better explained at some point. I love fantasy and sic-fi, but the world needs some consistent rules. Any good fantasy novel has a set of rules for its system of magic – the sensates’ mind powers should work the same way.
‘Demons’ as a whole is a little slow. There’s more table-setting, and a bit of character development, but not a whole lot happens plot-wise. The biggest take away I have is the theme of awareness – the growing awareness that these people seem to have about what’s happening to them. And, more than that, the idea of whether or not they’re actually going crazy. Will and Riley (Tuppence Middleton) have a little phone experiment early on, but it doesn’t really prove anything. If either of them was hallucinating the other, they could easily hallucinate the phone trick. But it’s interesting to see that they’re asking these questions, even as they’re openly interacting with one another.
Riley probably had the biggest episode, as she has a heart-to-heart with both Will and Sun (Doona Bae), and also had a rather traumatic encounter with Nyx, that creepy drug dealer dude from the premiere. He found her somehow, and he wants his money and drugs back (I wonder what the blind piano player did with all that money? Or maybe someone stole it from him, since he didn’t even know it was there!). It leads to creepy guy suffocating Riley with a plastic bag, and Will feels it (or, to be consistent, ‘shares’ it), even though he’s in the middle of a bar in Chicago. Just as he did with Nomi, Will gets Riley out of trouble. But, in the process, he knocks out a bunch of people in the bar who were trying to help him because they thought he was choking. Leading us back to the ‘is this guy crazy?’ question. It’s certainly interesting to explore how other people would perceive such an event.
Capheus’ (Aml Ameen) plot also chugs along a little, but there isn’t much to it. Kabaka (Peter King Nzioki), the crime lord he helped, wants Capheus to escort his daughter somewhere. “No one would think to look for her in that piece of shit you call a bus,” he says. Capheus is getting in deeper and deeper, and I’m sure things are going to go sideways for him sooner or later, but for now it’s a fun storyline and he’s helping his mom. He has good chemistry with the young girl he’s escorting around (although, frankly, I think Capheus has good chemistry with anyone), and we get to see some clips of the real Van Damme in action! (I’m pretty sure that was the terrible movie he did with Dennis Rodman).
Sun, meanwhile, has her first appearance in court, and is tossed into jail without bail. It makes for a better story to have her take the fall for her father and brother, but it’s really annoying seeing them standing there. I don’t think I’d have that much character. I’d rather let them rot for their own mistakes. Sun admits to Riley that she thinks she’s made a big mistake, and I’m curious to see if she can combine her powers with someone else to break her out of jail. That would make for a good episode; jailbreaks are always fun.
Finally, Nomi and Amanita (Freema Agyeman) are on the run. This storyline has potential, but it’s moving slowly. So far Nomi is the only character who has actually encountered the bad guys (at least, I’m presuming Adam Shapiro’s Dr. Metzer, the doctor who wants to cut up her brain, is one of the bad guys). Out of all of them, this is the storyline that we’re most likely going to learn more about the overall plot/mystery/conspiracy. So far, they’re just crashing with Amanita’s mom, who seems way cooler about things than Nomi’s mom. She’s also, apparently, some sort of professor, and has a few tidbits about what might be happening to Nomi – how her brain is evolving through contact with a diversity of other minds. Interesting, but is it relevant?
I’ll admit that I was hoping for a bit more of a climax, given the slow pace of the episode, but there wasn’t much there. We see Daryl Hannah again, who whispers something about ‘the future’, but we’re really just piling on the evolution theme.
- I forgot to mention that Kala (Tina Desai) and Rajan (Purab Kohli) have dinner after she fainted at their wedding last episode. This storyline is so boring. I think Kala is just praying that he’s going to dump her (he doesn’t for some reason). And she still doesn’t love him (for some reason). Who knows? This whole storyline is so poorly written. It’s like My Big Fat Indian Wedding or something.
- I’m also annoyed that Wolfgang, who seemed like a cool character in his first few appearances, is getting dragged into Kala’s orbit, as her fated lover or something. I don’t know how he went from intense safe-cracking scenes to now just popping up naked to make Kala uncomfortable-but-kind-of-turned-on.
- No Jonas (Naveen Andrews) again! I’m disappointed.
Your turn: did you find the orgy sequence awkwardly inserted? Is Kala’s storyline the worst? Are you hoping that Sun uses their abilities to escape prison? Can Capheus’ storyline end any other way but badly? Will Nomi get to the heart of the mystery? Sound off below, but please refrain from posting spoilers from future episodes.
Sense8 is available in its entirety on Netflix. Check back Thursday for our review of episode 7.