Sense8’s two-and-a-half-hour conclusion represents the absolute best of the show: a dazzling display of personality, adventure, culture, and colour.
After being cancelled two seasons in, Netflix’s uniquely diverse sci-fi was given closure after protests from dedicated fans, and while the show’s nuances and stylings may not be for everyone, it should be clear why this particular series rouses such passion in people.
Immersing the viewer in the lives of eight mentally interconnected people – each with their own stances, talents, problems, and backgrounds – Sense8 was a daring attempt to show the power of love and empathy in a real world setting, using the sci-fi as a means to produce an awe-inspiring window into cultures hundreds of miles from home.
Directed by co-creator Lana Wachowski, the finale sees the group rally together – physically and mentally – to organise a hostage exchange with faceless Pharma-giant BPO. Learning more about Whispers’ work as they go, de-facto leader Will (an unwavering Brian J Smith) balances the need for justice with Jonas’ mysterious warnings about taking on Whispers.
The still relatively unknown cast continue to allow their passion for the script to show on-screen; the balanced array of misfits are brought to life with integral performances from Doona Bae, Tina Desai, and Jamie Clayton among others, as well as Freema Agyeman and Terrence Mann – whose mastery of Whispers’ calmly driven insanity ensures the villain is just as big and bad as needed.
The episode produces an array of attention-seizing escapades, placing personal comedy moments next to tense shootouts and following them with murmured threats and then inflamed embraces and messages of acceptance. It’s decisively stylistic, and while it could seem imbalanced, it often plays out more like a patchwork quilt – with each moment having its own private resonance before the next takes over.
Having started only two seasons ago at the beginning of the journey, it’s striking to see how far the Sensates have come, how many questions they’ve answered, and how seeing them all truly stood in a room together has a powerful sentimental impact – this feeling remains throughout, even while new revelations are made, that we’ve been taken on this supernatural, connection-driven journey too.
The real loss in Sense8’s untimely conclusion is more than losing an excellent show full of stunning views and truly brilliant work from some of the greatest minds in science-fiction: it’s the larger loss of a show that so clearly needed to have been made. Diverse by nature, and able to faultlessly portray the difficulties and differences between multiple cultures and personalities, Sense8 is exactly the show audiences complain others are not. J Michael Straczynski and The Wachowski’s have managed to create an exciting, witty series in which the driving force is empathy that was simply ahead of its time. Sense8 was a moral, intelligent and exciting concept, well executed, and should’ve been welcomed time and again rather than cancelled. Love, frankly, should have conquered all, but the overarching sensation as the credits roll is not sadness that Sense8 is finished, but appreciation that it existed in the first place – a lesson romantically learned from the show itself.
Sense8 is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.99 monthly subscription.