Sense8. Brainchild of Babylon 5’s Michael J. Straczynski and The Matrix’s Wachawskis, it is the tale of eight individuals from around the world linked by a psychic connection, who can possess each other’s bodies and who are hunted by a shadowy government organization out to capture and control them.

Here, a transcript of a conversation between Geek Speak’s B. C. Roberts and Rachel Hyland about the ten episodes of Season 2, released on May 5, 2017, along with the Christmas episode that launched on December 23, 2016.

— SPOILERS FOR ALL EPISODES OF SENSE8

B. C. ROBERTS:

The Christmas episode was weak, though everything with Kala (Tina Desai) in it is wonderful. And the orgy was a bit much. But the season gets better from there. And at least Will (Brian J. Smith) wasn’t a smack head for the entire season, which I was worried about.

RACHEL HYLAND:

The Christmas episode was indeed lackluster, so much so that I can barely remember it. But yes, Kala is excellent; Kala and Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) are my favorite relationship, for sure.

Will is… problematic. His whole story arc, alongside Riley (Tuppence Middleton), gets pretty tangled.

BCR:

Riley is so bland. I don’t even entirely understand what they are going for with her character. She’s a super-chill DJ who fights really hard to help Will, but can’t really muster up enough enthusiasm to look like she actually cares?

She mostly (so far at least) is intent on risking everything to have romantic sexy times.

Which I generally support, but does seem kind of reckless.

RH:

But stuff with Riley does improve, don’t you think? Especially after she goes to Chicago. But she really doesn’t bring much to the cluster, does she? Like, Nomi (Jamie Clayton) is a crazy good hacker, Sun (Doona Bae) and Wolfgang have the combat covered, Will’s the lead investigator, Kala is the medic, Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) emotes and persuades, Capheus (Toby Onwumere) can drive a bus. But Riley’s just… from Iceland.

(Not that I would add much to a cluster either. At least Riley offers underworld drug contacts.)

BCR:

I wonder when they were designing the eight of them if they thought hard about the mix of skills you might want in a cluster. A cop, a hacker and a fighter are essential. I guess a driver is handy and Wolfgang is a general hard ass. I even quite like having Lito as the actor. I’m surprised they didn’t go for a doctor, it seems like Kala is an unusually skilled lab scientist.

But then, what else would you have but a DJ to get the party started? How could they shoot all those ecstatic parties/orgies without someone controlling the tunes?

RH:

Those Wachowskis do love a rave scene.

I suppose if a cluster birth is supposed connect eight people with complementary temperaments and skills in order to create a sum bigger than their parts (and who all happen to be born on the same day), then a DJ/helpmeet is a useful inclusion.

The other interesting thing is how they all have deep-seated issues brought about by at least one parent — even Kala, who is the only one with a good relationship with both, undergoes an arranged marriage because of them.

BCR:

True. Do you think that’s deliberate or just lazy? Like they accidentally created parent issues with each of the characters so they’d be suitably tortured?

RH:

Parental issues are kind of a go-to, aren’t they? But there’s a reason very few superheroes, for example, come from a happy home life rejoicing in a complete set of parents. It’s the conflict that fuels the story.

Sun’s brother killing their dad last season kicked off her whole arc, really. And second only to Kala/Wolfgang for me in this show is all things Sun.

BCR:

Sun really is wonderful. I love how they turned the prison thing around to it being really supportive of her. And the way she was quite hopeful despite being imprisoned.

But I also really like Nomi and Martha [Amanita, played by Freema Agyeman – Ed.] Who knew the Wachowskis were the answer to the question: “How do I see a Doctor’s companion naked?”? Apart from the character being great, it’s genuinely remarkable they’ve chosen a trans actor to play a trans character and given her a proper role that manages to be open about her gender without wallowing in it voyeuristically. If that makes any sense at all?

RH:

Yes, and how good is Freema Agyeman’s American accent? Nothing like that stentorian, Dave-Chapelle-White-Guy-Voice you often hear from English actors, cf. Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange.

Jamie Clayton is terrific—not always the greatest actress but is always solid on the trans material, which must have been pretty important to Lana and Lilly.

Where do you stand on new Capheus?

BCR:

He’s too pretty. He’s also too fit and looks generally too competent.

RH:

I miss Capheus v.1’s exuberance. But new Capheus comes into his own.

BCR:

I do think the two actors are different enough to find it quite jarring. I wonder what Aml Ameen said to Lana to get kicked out like that?

RH:

Is that what happened? Wow.

BCR:

That’s the rumor that everybody repeatedly says they won’t comment on.

RH:

Yeah, just checked. “Creative differences.” Huh.

Maybe it turned out he prefers Steven Seagal.

BCR:

Hahahahahaha.

What did you think of the ‘faces change’ conversation between Capheus and his friend? Seemed weirdly meta.

RH:

Oh, the “faces change” made me smile. It was almost Supernatural in its fourth wall, if not breaking, certainly leaning against.

BCR:

I have to say, though, I’m very disappointed in the finale. They did a True Blood. Nothing happens for the whole season and then the only time anything of importance actually happens is in the last ten minutes of the season and now I desperately want to watch the next season even though I know nothing of importance will actually happen in that season for almost all of it until, again, the last ten minutes. Ugh.

RH:

It does seem to be the new normal, narrative-wise. The Walking Dead does it too. Also Game of Thrones, really.

We are definitely looking at this from different perspectives, however, since I am probably more invested in the relationships than the plot and so feel like much of importance actually has happened.

BCR:

Sure. Kala and Wolfgang’s relationship has moved forward. But otherwise? Nomi and Martha are getting married (but who cares?), Lito is in Hollywood now but is basically the same, Sun failed to kill her brother, Will and Riley are both crap. And Capheus is a popular hero.

There were some ridiculously cool scenes towards the end though. The restaurant shoot-out was spectacular.

RH:

Agreed. Wolfgang is a badass anyway, but having everyone – even Kala – involved there made it so much cooler. Their cluster versus demon lady Lila’s cluster was so well-shot.

But let’s not forget Sun and the detective (Sukku Son). LOVED that!

BCR:

Yeah, the detective was great. Their whole dynamic was cool.

RH:

And the end has us with all our sensates in the same place, with the bad guy. And he is a pretty good bad guy, that Whispers (Terrence Mann), super-creepy. It’s just a shame they had to demystify that whole organization with the backroom corporate politics stuff. Here we thought he was the head honcho of… is it the BPO? That’s right, the Biological Protection Organization. Because that’s not a sinister-sounding name or anything.

BCR:

Yeah. And they drive around with it just emblazoned on their vans, no worries, nothing to see.

RH:

They’re not that great at covert, it is true. And then Jonas (Naveen Andrews). What the hell was all that with Jonas?

BCR:

Yeah, I don’t know. Is he a double agent, now? A triple agent?

RH:

The weirdest thing about the whole show, I think, is how it swings back and forth between kind of petty concerns – Lito’s acting career, Nomi’s bridesmaid’s dress, Kala’s marriage, etc. – and then there’s all this the big world-shaking stuff threatening the cluster at the same time.

BCR:

Yeah, crazy how long it took someone to suggest to Lito he just leave Mexico and make a film in Hollywood. I thought he was going to make the connection when he saw his films had a cult following in the US, and when Bug (Michael X. Sommers) was mouthing along with his dialogue. Why did it take him so long?

RH: 

Oh. Reasons.

And you know what, I think calling Will and Riley “crap” is a bit harsh. For one thing, it’s interesting, the way that their love story changes once they take the blockers, so they can’t hear each other’s thoughts – it’s like they’re in a long-distance relationship but are in the same room.

Aside from that, sure, they are pretty tiresome, but most of that is because they’re forced to deal with the whole BPO situation while everyone else is out and about living their lives. Getting help from the cluster just to get acting jobs and beat up anyone attacking them. (And they all get attacked a lot.)

BCR:

Yeah, true. Will has to take heroin to hide from Whispers and keep the cluster safe, and then we cut to Capheus just driving his bus around and dating that beautiful journalist.

RH:

Yeah, and now Capheus is in politics, while Will, Nomi and Sun are infamous criminals. Everyone’s getting really important.

BCR:

Don’t forget Wolfgang, poised to take over the Berlin criminal underworld. And Kala, finding out that her rich husband’s pharmaceutical company is selling expired AIDS drugs. She’s going to blow the whistle on that for sure.

RH:

Especially because they’re probably selling the drugs to Capheus’s mother! Also, Lito was already famous, and Riley was apparently so well-loved as a DJ that she can get away with spinning one track at a club and still have people crazy about her. The Australian guy from Speed Racer dyeing his hair to be like her, even.

BCR:

Yeah, I didn’t really understand what that was all about. Good seeing other sensates out there, though. It was like in Matrix Reloaded, when we meet the other humans who are fighting against the machines.

Interesting to see where they go with it all. So, who’s your favorite character?

RH:

Sun. You?

BCR:

Kala.

RH:

Least favorite?

BCR:

Riley. You?

RH:

Same.

You going to watch Season 3?

BCR:

Absolutely. You are, of course.

RH:

Of course! If only to find out if Bug ever gets to meet Lito. He’ll faint.

 

Sense8 is available on Netflix.

About the author

RACHEL HYLAND

Rachel Hyland is Editor-in-Chief of Geek Speak Magazine and, she is pretty sure, the one true queen of Fantastica, raised in obscurity to protect her from the dark lord Sinisterium. If you see her magic sword, get in touch via twitter: @rachyland or Instagram: @rachelseesdeadpeople. The fate of the many worlds may just depend upon it.