Following the abrupt cancellation of Netflix’s Sense8 after the show’s second season, there was no way fans were going to let their cluster go without a fight – and they won. The recent feature-length finale gave fans, the characters and the Wachowskis the closure they all deserved: the Sensates came together once more to tie loose ends, support each other in their mutual quest for peace in diversity and, of course, engage in their telepathic orgies, this time with new guest players blown-away by the mind-expanding experience.
Many fans feared it would prove impossible to wrap up such a dense storyline with so many protagonists in a dignified manner, but although the finale felt rushed in some instances, the mysteries surrounding the homo-sensoriums and those wishing them harm were resolved in a manner that granted us closure, even finding space to develop individual storylines. Moreover, ‘Amor Vincit Omnia’ did exactly what the show has always done best: reinforce the idea that love really does conquer all.
As someone appreciative of, but not usually into action-packed shows in a science-fictional setting, I was initially surprised by Sense8’s ability to draw me into its world and, at times, inconsistencies. Its pilot episode presented me with all the things I liked – diversity, humour, culture and a visual style so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes – and many things I didn’t necessarily dislike but wasn’t entirely interested in either. For one, I anticipated the Heroes problem – a storyline so rich with characters that they eventually lose their essence, causing individual stories, and the general narrative arc, to fall flat.
At times, the overall Sense8 experience could be accused of this issue, but as is true with the show’s other, minor flaws, these things are easily and gratefully overlooked, simply because it is impossible to nit-pick a series that exudes love, positivity and tolerance so powerfully, that this ‘cluster’ feeling becomes almost – if not entirely – tangible. You’ll forgive almost anything when your heart is aglow with such a strong sense of love and unity. Even unnecessary violence.
The John Woo effect is the only other weak spot in Sense8’s finale. With more bullets than their guns can possibly hold and more bodies than excusable for their quest to save Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) and destroy Whispers (Terrence Mann), the Sensates have become cold in their killings. Given their circumstances, however, one can relate to their having gone into survival mode without further consideration as to who might have been staring down the barrel of the gun. After years of having been hunted like rabbits, everyone even remotely linked to Whispers, BPO and their ideologies has become the enemy and, at this stage, even the empathy the show so openly thrives on cannot save those who come into the Sensates’ line of fire.
And this is where it’s important to recognise the metaphor of these bloodbaths – defeating their enemies in this manner is not just an act of survival on their part; more so, it is the killing of the ideologies the organisation represented and, as such, can be construed as an act of kindness for humanity at large. Is it naïve of the Wachowskis to suggest that eliminating one school of thought could result in society embracing diversity through kindness and empathy? Of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a fantasy that keeps many of us going.
Sense8 focused on the LGBT community in a manner that barely another show has done before by digging deep into its characters’ psyches and examining their respective cultures, thus giving viewers a solid understanding of the people and environment that shaped their experiences and (in)ability to stay true to themselves. Next to the show’s overwhelming portrayal of love, this is what saddens me most about Sense8’s cancellation: although the LGBT community doesn’t owe the straight masses any form of education or explanation, the series had the potential to inspire compassion and tolerance from the intolerant through its depiction of cultural perspectives (Lito’s Mexican home-base, for instance) and the intimacy with which the character’s stories were told. And this is the kind of content we desperately need for the TV spectrum to become inclusive and as beautiful as the people so underrepresented by the industry.
As the series drew to a close following Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita’s (Freema Agyeman) spectacular wedding atop the Eiffel Tower and the Sensates and their respective sapiens retreated to their hotel rooms for one last orgasmic meeting of minds and bodies, one character in particular voiced a sentiment that sums up the lesson the Wachowskis have been relaying throughout the entirety of the show.
Sandwiched between his wife Kala (Tina Desai) and her fellow sensate Wolfgang in a glorious display of pure love and sheer eroticism, Rajan (Purab Kohli), a relatively conservative man raised on India’s prevalently homophobic mindset, breathlessly exclaims: “My God. I didn’t think such things were possible.” Oh, but they are. We are all capable of this kind of love for our fellow human beings, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or race, whether on a physical or emotional level – we just need to be open to it, and this openness starts with empathy.
Published 11 Jun 2018
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