Sense8 Review by John Keegan

Sense8 1.05: Art Is Like Religion

Sense8 1.05: Art Is Like Religion

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

Someone put it very well: Sense8 feels like eight art films of varying quality, all intercut together to forge unusual and unexpected connections.  In the early running, at least, the science fiction premise behind the connections is almost irrelevant.  Instead, it’s about the journeys of the characters.  In this case, the introductory aspects of the first four episodes begin to give way to deeper interactions.




The biggest moment, Kala’s wedding, is a great example of how this can fall apart at the seams.  Either that, or how the options available via Netflix and the desire to shock the audience leads to unnecessary choices.  The notion of full frontal male nudity isn’t that big of a deal from my perspective; instead, it just seems both unlikely and unnecessary for the purposes of the story.  Previous episodes laid the foundation for Kala’s fascination for Wolfgang and equivocation about her impending wedding, so wouldn’t it have been just as shocking for her to simply see him?  Having him completely naked seems excessive.


There is also the idea that Lito’s depth of interaction with his fellow Sensates is PMS.  As in, the prominent gay character who is playing an uber-macho heroic character is experiencing PMS.  Naturally, it’s played for laughs, though there is just enough suggestion that Lito’s entire world is threatened to keep it from failing utterly.  And I must admit, the filming of the action sequence was fun, even if the nature of the connection between that and Will’s police activities wasn’t entirely straightforward. 


These problematic examples were more obvious in contrast to the more generous moments: Cepheus and how his interactions with Sun and Riley informed his own decisions and outlook.  Perhaps his ability to interact directly with his fellow Sensates made the less direct examples more dissonant by comparison.  But they were also a great example of how the process itself could be explored without going over the top.  (Though it also highlights that Riley’s role of late has been to serenely smile at other Sensates, which is perfectly fine, considering that she’s gorgeous.)


The purpose of the episode was to advance some of the individual plot threads incrementally, with perhaps the biggest leaps being taken for Sun and Kala.  Both of them face a bit of a crossroads in the next installment.  But that also means that the episode had a lot of challenges to overcome to keep things interesting, and as a result, it ends in a way that gives the impression JMS and his co-creators felt shock tactics were the best way to accomplish this task.  The result is a weaker effort than anticipated.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Cepheus and his interactions with Sun and Riley
  • The Sensate aspect can be treated as a useful narrative tool
The Bad:
  • The Wolfgang/Kala and Lito threads seemed to hinge too much on shock tactics

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 - 7/6/2015 7:29 AM1551 views

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