Sense8 Review by John Keegan

Sense8 1.02: I am Also a We

Sense8 1.02: I am Also a We

Written By:
The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed By:
The Wachowskis


While I praised the diversity treatment in the first episode, I might have done better to wait until I saw this episode to make that statement.  I think the point is even more salient by the end of this hour, because the vast majority of what took place was focused on non-heteronormative relationships and the struggles that they can endure.  And some of that material was just plain terrifying.

 



 


The more light-hearted approach is taken with Lito, who turns out (to the expectation of many) to be gay, but hiding it from his co-stars and everyone one because of the potential career-ending consequences in his culture.  There’s a lot to unpack in this subplot, when one takes a step back to consider all the nuances that play into his fears.  It’s such a potent combination that I think I was as shocked and confused as Lito when Daniela seems to think it’s the best discovery ever.  Forgive my paranoia, but I have concerns that Daniela is treating it like such a fun little plot twist that she doesn’t give a damn about what Lito might want in terms of managing his own identity.

 


The only reason that Lito’s situation is remotely “light-hearted” is how it plays out relative to Nomi’s nightmare.  I thought it was bad enough when she was describing the life she used to live as Michael, and the ultra-conservative family dynamic that she escaped.  And then this supposed brain abnormality came into the picture, and I found myself more and more horrified as the worst-case scenario played out.




 


I have no doubt that there is some kind of abnormality that being a “sensate” will present in medical testing.  However, I have serious doubts that it is the true goal of Nomi’s mother and that doctor.  Everything screams some kind of high-intensity conversion therapy, or alternatively, a way to all but institutionalize Nomi for the rest of her life.  I want nothing more than for Amanita to rescue Nomi so she can live the life she chooses, and it damn well reminds me that this is not a situation that a heterosexual like myself would ever need to worry about.  It also reminds me that an all-too-significant percentage of the population would think Nomi’s mother was doing the right thing.

 


That’s the kind of material that Sense8 is bringing to the table that I appreciate.  I was less involved in Will’s story, even though it served to drive the plot forward a bit in terms of the odd role that Jonas plays in the lives of the Sensates.  Why did Angelica’s death connect these eight specific individuals, and how does this relate to this unusual set of powers that are being unveiled?  And without a doubt, Jonas gives off some seriously questionable vibes.




 


There is also a fairly substantial amount of time spent with Kala (who got very little time in the first episode), and while it is mostly to introduce the idea of an attraction between two Sensates, given how she and Wolfgang are connecting, the real fun was that song/dance sequence.   I have absolutely no idea if it is normal for Indian men and women to break into amazing coordinated dance routines, but it was amazing and sexy and something that I hope exists so I can randomly run into it one day!

 


While I can definitely agree that some of the characters just aren’t that involving yet, especially when their stories center on plot devices like “daddy issues”, but I can’t imagine anyone watching Nomi’s plight and feeling like they couldn’t find a reason to care.  Admittedly, I tend to get caught up in character stories, and J. Michael Straczynski tends to generate character stories in a way that strikes a chord.  I come back to my theory from my review for the first episode: this is a show about empathy, and on a meta-level, the response could be making a statement about societal empathy, or the lack thereof, as a whole.


Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • Nomi’s ordeal is some of the most involving character drama I’ve seen in a long time
  • That dance sequence was a thing of beauty
The Bad:
  • Will’s daddy issues were not nearly as interesting as the other plot threads

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Sense8 by - 6/15/2015 5:24 PM287 views

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