Editorials

Sense8 and the virtue of hope

Sense8 is and was a beautiful show because it understood that there something we all so desperately wanted to see on our screens: hope. It was a show that, by design, this critic was always going to gravitate towards as a lover of all things original science fiction (particularly with how much that genre is lacking these days). However, another key component was just how richly and effortlessly diverse the series was, representing characters of different races, sexuality and genders and how it never made a point to signal it out as “the reason” to watch the show, meaning that the show wasn’t just about Nomi looking to to find acceptance in her family for her being transgender, or Lito having to grapple with his sexuality and being in the public eye. While both are parts of their character and their storylines, they’re far from what defines them.

Instead, Nomi is also an genuine “hacktivist” who can keep her and her wonderful girlfriend Amanita off the grid. Lito has a flare for the dramatic both in his career and personal life but he’s also a dedicated partner to Hernando and friend to Daniela. There are sides and nuances to these characters that make them all easy to root for as individuals with their own stories but even easier to root for as a unit, or cluster in the verbiage of Sense8. It’s these nuances that allow for some of the clunkier aspects of the series to take a backseat, such as clumsy dialogue and plot points in season one that didn’t always tend to add up. The characters and the virtue of hope is what allowed fans to power through the messier aspects and get to season two which was more confident, more colorful and more graceful than it’s predecessor.

The Wachowski sisters, for good or bad, have always had an eye for intriguing, cinematic landscapes, making every frame something catching and vibrant. It’s a touch of theatrics that give these already over the top worlds a greater sense of cinema. There’s an “otherness” to their films in terms of themes and visuals that make for such exciting viewings, especially when they’re at their strongest such as Sense8. The visuals in the series are what allow the themes of hope to ring so true. We’re shown, before we meet any of the characters or are introduced to the storyline, a world that is diverse and lively in the opening credits as we travel the globe and see individuals going about their daily lives and experiencing love. It’s a drawn out sequence but one that perfectly sets the stage and the tone for what this series is; it’s about humanity and all the imperfections and detailed beauty that comes along with it, all taking place in a world where organizations exist that would like to squash down that sense of individuality and freedom.

After it was announced that the series would be cancelled by Netflix, there was an audible and enthusiastic push back against this idea because the fans who loved the show loved the show for similar reasons. Not only were we upset because the fate of Wolfgang was up in the air, we were upset because these characters and these themes about unity were no longer going to play across our screens. We wanted to know more about the Whispers, sure, but we were more interested in the characters connecting and the cluster using their set of skills to help out others in peril. We wanted more montages of them experiencing life together in it’s joys and sadness, from orgies that expressed their sexuality and how no member questioned their sexuality following, to the joyous party scenes that showed them light on their feet and in love with their community, to moments of reflection such as when the cluster rally around Sun to help her face her demons and move forward in the most fulfilling direction. It’s such a simple idea that seeing people come together could bring such a sense of relief and yet when Lana Wachowski announced yesterday that the show would be returning for a two hour season finale, that relief was felt and felt deeply.

 

The world really sucks right now and every day it seems as if more mad news is thrown into the heaps of shit that already is laid before us. Hate isn’t winning, but it has a loud and dominant voice in the form of a President who doesn’t heed the needs of minority voices, who actively hates women and would like to dismantle values that would make us a progressive and enlightened nation. Moments of hope are cherished and they’re the life source that helps us (me) get by each day with the knowledge that things probably will get worse before they get better. Be it in an act of kindness we witness, perform or are the recipients to, a song that fills your brain with good vibes and motivation, a picture of a Pride parade that’s decadent and lively, pushing into the corners and alleyways of city streets with no more room to hold them, or hell, a cute animal video that reminds you that there are areas of the world untouched by human cruelty.

I’m not saying that Sense8 could change the world – clearly not enough people were watching for that to be the case – but it changes my mood and it makes me hopeful. And perhaps this occurred for other viewers who took in the show and whose spirited were lifted in watching this group of individuals coming together to take on an insidious evil who were working to repress and pick them apart for having evolved to the point of being so empathetic with others they could share one another’s thoughts and share in their life experiences. It’s a series that is determined in highlighting a future that is as accepting as it is progressive. Through the visuals of the cluster joining together and walking out into the sun after having momentarily escaped their assailants or the deep connections built in quieter moments or moments of peril, the series creates a bond between viewer and character.

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The greatest asset this series has, above all else, is that in it’s escapism it grants us the opportunity to believe that hope might actually persevere.

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