Sense8 Review by John Keegan

Sense8 1.04: What's Going On

Sense8 1.04: What's Going On

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

I have to admit, it’s nice that this episode directly explores and addresses the issues that were raised by the Sensate-aided fighting sequence at the end of the previous installment.  In a number of ways, this episode is built around what it actually means when one Sensate taps into the skills of another.  Whatever confusion was created by the visual representation of it previously, it’s not the one-to-one translation of actions and movements that it seems to be.  Rather, it can be, but more generally, it’s not that restrictive. 

I was ready to groan when the blindingly obvious musical montage started, because reading that title, is there anyone who didn’t know what song would be relevant to the Sensates at this point?  Yet it works, probably because it’s so on the nose and the familiarity of the song means we can see how information is starting to flow freely between the Sensates on a subconscious level.  When one Sensate needs something the others have, the information, skill, and even muscle memory transfers.  And as one might expect, even when it feels “right” because of the nature of the shared consciousness, the characters have enough wherewithal to wonder what the hell is going on and why.

For some, the lack of individual panic over the invasiveness of the situation is a plot hole.  Instead, I see it as a specific plot point.  If this is a commentary on the collective unconscious vs. societal individualism, which it seems to be, then one core idea is that we are more naturally collective than isolated.  The implication is that it’s a process that should feel “right”, until it rises to the point of conscious awareness of how unusual it is.  There will be a resistance, which I expect to see as experiences well outside the norm start to transfer.  The fact that Jonas is running around forcing the Sensates to be aware of the shift and the process details of it should activate that resistance sooner rather than later.  

The musical montage manages to resolve the chaotic and disconnected elements of the previous episode and align them in more interesting ways.  Wolfgang has been so far out of the spotlight that it’s hard to engage with his situation here, but that might be the effect of having a large ensemble cast.  As the connections deepen, the character threads feel less isolated and distinct, which is as it should be.  This is also, in a sense, the end of the introductory phase of the season, so it makes sense that the connections should be more intense and the complications should kick into a higher gear.

Many say that this episode helped them invest in the series, and that reinforces the theory that the critics who only saw through the first three episodes for review purposes were left in an odd and disquieting state.  They didn’t get to see how those flaws in the third installment were largely addressed in this episode.  It’s unfortunate that a corporate miscalculation may have inadvertently generated negative impressions for the population at large.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The nature of the Sensate connection gets a lot more depth in this episode
  • Nomi was rescued, which was predictable but still greatly appreciated!
The Bad:
  • The focus on Wolfgang wasn’t as exciting as other character 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 - 6/25/2015 7:18 AM1233 views

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