Sense8: A Christmas Special Recap: The Cluster Celebrates Together in Their Own Special Way

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We start off this return with the cluster in the water, together in spirit, communing (not quite sexually) and enjoying each others’ presence. There’s an awesome version of Feeling Good playing that I need to find immediately. Everything is momentarily perfect, if you don’t look too closely.

 

If you do look closely, you might notice that Riley is preparing a dose of heroin for Will, who doesn’t look so great. Wolfgang is drinking alone, without Felix by his side. Sun is also alone, in an isolation cell in prison. The ghost of Angelica haunts the group, even during good times. Life is still complicated within the cluster, but they still offer each other safety and comfort within the midst of it all.

The show teases us with a coy reveal of the new Capheus, now played by Toby Onwumere, who is replacing Aml Ameen. They kept him backlit while talking about how much everything has changed and how different he looks for a few minutes before the reveal. Toby is cute but HUGE compared to Aml. Capheus must have had the Captain America supersoldier serum over the hiatus since he’s grown about a foot taller and in shoulder width. But, are they trying to hide his height? He walks hunched, with his knees bent, like he’s pretending to be the height of the original actor. Just own the change! He’s Van Damme! He can do anything!

Silas gives Capheus a new bus after the old Van Damme bus explodes and burns up, in true Van Damme style. We all think Silas has an ulterior motive, but he insists he’s a changed man. We’ll see. Passengers on the new Van Damme think if they stay on it long enough some of the Capheus/Van Damme magic will rub off on them. Well, it can’t help but be good for business, right?

Capheus and Kala both decide to come clean to their significant others about the sense8s. Capheus’ partner Jela just accepts it. Kala’s husband Rajan has no clue what she’s talking about, and they don’t go any further with the subject.

Kala and Wolfgang are still pining for each other, but Wolfgang is shutting her out. Kala hasn’t had sex with Rajan yet, and he embarrassed her by talking to her mom about it. They eventually do, after a particularly painful false start and a near divorce. She and Wolfgang still end up in each other’s heads during sex though.

The issue of Kala still being a virgin at all is interesting to contemplate, given the inner cluster-wide orgies she’s been participating in for months, and how many times she’s psychically walked in on Wolfgang. She’s experienced and aware, only a virgin in the most technical sense, not the blushing bride her husband might think she is. Her problem seems to be as much that her husband isn’t Wolfgang as it is performing the final physical act itself.

Riley and Will are in hiding in a cabin in a dense northern forest. Angelica is haunting Will, trying to convince him to kill himself. What’s with the older generation seeing that as the only solution? Why didn’t anyone ever turn the gun around on Whispers?

Will has indeed turned to heroin to blunt the sense8 impressions and keep Whispers out of his head. He also avoids “visiting” the others to keep Whispers away from them. Whispers is pursuing will relentlessly. Will and his dad have been out of contact for months, and neither is taking it well. Will’s dad is drinking again. Whispers takes advantage of this, and visits Dad in person on Christmas Eve. It’s Terrence Mann at his creepy, malevolent best. You’re sure he’s going to off Will’s dad at any moment, while Whispers keeps pouring him another round of the demon alcohol that’s slowly killing him anyway. Whispers fills his head with twisted versions of the truth about Will at the same time, and makes sure Will can hear it. We begin to understand how he was able to bring down all of the other clusters. He’s a master of psychological torture and manipulation. We also see why he’s willing to do this. He’s a sadist.

We don’t find out much about Riley, other than that she’s working hard wrangling Will and it’s kind of a thankless job. They’re in love, but he’s stoned out of his head most of the time, and tortured when he isn’t. She’s in charge of the logistics of being on the run from a man who can see inside their heads, and Will isn’t shy about criticizing her. Riley has endless patience with him.  She buys Narcan along with their heroin, which is used to block an opioid overdose. It’s a relief to see that, because with the way she was jamming the needle into Will as fast as possible every time he saw Whispers, I was really worried about overdoses. But it shows that Riley and Will are both struggling under impossible burdens right now, and it’s hard to imagine them keeping it up very long.

Jonas is still being held prisoner, but he and Will briefly touch base when Whispers’ mind is temporarily open to them both. It turns out that Whispers takes some sort of blockers that keep other sense8s out of his head. Our side needs to get their hands on a supply of those. Will doesn’t mention the blockers to anyone during these 2 episodes, but it’s got to come up again. Kala’s a pharmacist, Wolfgang’s a thief, and they’ve shown us how well those two work together in a crisis. Add in Nomi and her team’s hacking skills. They just need to get a sample pill or the formula and someone who knows what to do with it.

Felix is still in a coma and Wolfgang is being followed. It turns out it’s his aunt and her henchman, who want him to fill in the power vacuum that’s been left in the city’s power structure by him taking out his uncle and cousin. The rest of the city’s crime factions are ready to go to war over the open territory. Wolfgang isn’t interested in becoming the godfather. Felix wakes up and they go home. Wolfgang begins to consider his aunt’s offer after all and attends a New Year’s Eve party at a powerful crime lord’s house. It turns out to be a trap. Felix and Wolfgang are unarmed and make a run for it. Eventually they are cornered and make a stand with improvised weapons and the help of the cluster. Only Wolfgang is left standing at the end. Felix’s condition is unclear, but it can’t be good, since he just got out of the hospital for serious injuries. The cluster came to help Wolfgang as soon as they sensed he was in trouble, but they all looked seriously pissed that this keeps happening. He’s going to have to either go into hiding or accept that he’s the leader now. Leaving would plunge Berlin into a street war, so I’m guessing he’ll stay, but the cluster won’t be happy with him for that. Wolfgang has been stuck in difficult positions since before we met him, and his attempts to free himself keep getting him further entangled instead.

Sun is in isolation in prison and keeping herself there. Her brother threatened her lawyer off her case, but a new lawyer took the case. She wants the lawyer to stay away from her brother so she can eventually get her revenge herself. Her brother gets to the new lawyer and scares him off too, then sends three men to the prison to kill her. Sun and the cluster fight them off. Sun’s cellmates visit her and have positive messages for her. She’s eventually returned to her cell, and her cellmates welcome her home. We also learn that the cluster is working on an escape plan for her and helping her keep track of her brother’s activities. Sun tells Kala that she became an underground fighter because her father forbade her from public fighting after she beat a boy in an important match. She had sex for the first time with that boy afterwards in the locker room. She was in control. Sun gives Kala down to earth, wise advice about sex that gives Kala the push she needs to have sex with her husband. Sun is such a beautiful human. I was really glad to see her owning her sexuality and making such a positive speech about love.

Lito and Hernando’s sex pictures are published. Hernando’s students question him about them, and he gives a beautiful explanation about love and art. The students shut up, but later Lito and Hernando’s house is swarmed with paparazzi and rude graffiti. Dani takes them back to her house instead, where they have a slumber party. Lito is worried about how his mother will react to the photos and finding out he is gay, but she loves him and is on his side. She is accepting of Hernando and Dani as well. Lito’s career is in jeopardy, though, as expected. Here we go. I knew Lito would have an amazing mom who worshipped him. He has too much heart to have had anything but a fierce mama bear protecting him while his tender soul was growing up. He needs her or someone just like her for his manager and publicist. Dani has suffered so much abuse in her life. I need her new family to help her break out of that cycle.

Amanita is my queen and I want the earrings she’s wearing in her first scene. It looked like Agent Bendix’s eyes glowed for a second when he threatened her. Is everyone from BPO this creepy? Amanita and Nomi are studying up on psychic experiences, trying to find enough believable evidence to take it public. Amanita is reading a book called Remote Viewers:The Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies, which is a real book.

Nomi is hiding in plain sight in San Francisco while bouncing her phone signals through Australia. The BPO agents are watching and harassing Amanita and everyone else they can find that knows the two. I was surprised at how much they showed Nomi wandering around outside without even wearing a hat or sunglasses, never mind changing her hair, or making any attempt to disguise herself, when the agents had recently searched the very places she was hiding. Wouldn’t they be watching? I’m going to put that down to tv logic for now. They eventually end up staying with Bug, Nomi’s old hacker friend, on a houseboat. He’s a hoot, as always, and thrilled to have company for the holidays. Amanita dresses up as the cutest elf ever and they make the Christmas rounds, spreading cheer to friends, family, and the less fortunate with Bug in tow. It’s hard to believe things will stay bad for long with Freema Agyeman around, no matter who she’s playing. (See what I did there? 😏)

This show is always such a global visual feast. This time, the soundtrack was equally effective, especially with the montages at times the cluster is feeling united, like their birthday celebrations, Christmas, and the opening water scene. This may have only been a movie (or, in reality, two back-to-back episodes), but it was effective in pulling us back into the world of the Sense8s because the Wachowskis’ storytelling is so rich and lush in this series. The sights and sounds become characters themselves, and the main characters’ relationships are developed far beyond the verbal level. All of that serves to immediately ground us back in the Sense8 universe, as we happily get reacquainted with the plots and characters in preparation for the season 2 episodes that will be released May 5, 2017 on Netflix.

 

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