Netflix TV binge review: Sense8 (Episodes 7, 8, 9)
Chris Bryant | On 17, Jun 2015
Already seen Episodes 7, 8 and 9? Read on at the bottom for additional, spoiler-filled comments.
The first three episodes of Sense8 introduced the idea. The second three brought the characters to life. Episodes 7 to 9 are designed almost solely to drive the plot.
Tension and mystery at every turn, Episode 9 opens with an unforgiving barrage of exposition, with Riley communicating with a more experienced Sensate, while also communicating with Will, as he communicates with Jonas. Ending with a fear of even speaking Jonas’ name, the scene manages to gain respect for the show’s format – despite losing it for the contrived nature and addition of so much exposition.
Plot and mystery have taken a back seat to love and humanity in the series so far, so these driving episodes certainly lose something compared to the preceding triumvirate. Even the character stories seem a little less colourful compared to the obscure love-ins and personal tragedies that came before. Kala continues her two-minded nature towards marriage, until a somewhat forced turn changes her priorities entirely. This is calmed, but not helped, by Wolfgang, who is struck with his own trauma, after Max is brutally attacked over the stolen diamonds. Though these moments had to happen plot-wise, they still feel somewhat inevitable, after the surprising, humane turns that have come before.
These issues continue somewhat in the other stories. Capheus questions his morals some more, before being thrown into yet another difficult situation involving violence. The characters react well to their situations, their humanity uncompromised, but the writing itself seems to be stretching, making unnecessary leaps. If Sense8 has taught us any lessons, it’s that the interest lies in the people more than their situations.
Some of the more enjoyable moments centre around Sun. Finding her feet – and fists – in prison, she clearly feels more valued and comfortable than ever before. Defending the smaller inmates against bullies, Doona Bae once again shines as the almost wordless businesswoman, always relatable, and always understood, in spite of her quiet nature. Another successful scene involves Will and Riley peacefully surveying one another’s apartments via telepathy. It’s simple, and warming and a very personal use of their great power.
While the exposition and forced tension-amping can be off-putting, very little suggests it isn’t effective. Nomi and Will delve deeper into the people chasing them, identifying Whispers immediately. With a more rigid outline to go with his implied reputation – coupled with Episode 9’s chat about the powers – it’s now clear that Whispers is a force to be reckoned with, and unclear who else can be trusted. The set-up may have faltered somewhat, but there’s still an excellent chance for The Wachowskis and Strazynski to produce a powerful conclusion to their tale of vulnerability, power and love.
All episodes of Sense8 are available to watch on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. For videos introducing each of the main characters, click here.
Additional notes (contains spoilers)
– Kala’s father-in-law is ominously stabbed to death in a flashmob, in one of the more impressive twists of the series. It – very obviously – adds a little tension to her story where her uncertainty fails to drive the plot anymore.
– Wolfgang’s cohort, Max, is shot several times over the diamonds – though more over the disrespect that stealing them without permission shows. It adds a clever layer to his story, another view of his violent culture.
– Riley learns a great deal about her past from Ersa, as Will learns about the future from Jonas. Ersa casts doubt on whether Jonas is a friend or foe.
– Will commits to his new life after being suspended from his job over wilfully abusing his father’s clearance for FBI files. His contact with Jonas and embracing of his new powers places Will as the de-facto leader of the eight – as much as the Wachowski’s may dislike the idea – and also puts him at the top of Whispers’ list.