Sense8 Series Finale Review
What’s one word that one can use to describe the feature film-length series finale that was Sense8’s final episode? There are a myriad of options, but I think the one I’ll choose to land on with this review is “necessary”. Before I go on, I’d like to point out that there will be spoilers in this review so I hope you’ve had a chance to watch the finale (which dropped on Netflix on June 8th, 2018) before reading.
For a quick recap: Sense8 is the story of eight individuals, separated by race, religion, language and nation, who are inexorably linked by a shared consciousness. Through this bond (a result of them being the next step in human evolution — Homo sensorium), the eight main characters develop lasting friendships (and in at least one case, romances). To break it down even further, they have evolved in such a way that they have essentially become each other.
From its initial premiere, it was obvious that Sense8 would never have worked anywhere but Netflix, which is why it was a huge shock that the show was cancelled well before its five season planned arc. The Season 2 finale was a huge cliffhanger and fans (both new and old) were left frustrated by the knowledge that the show would never answer so many of our most pressing questions. Luckily, we live in an age where fans can be heard and listened to by their various networks, and after a massive fandom outcry, Netflix capitulated and gave Sense8 a final hurrah. Although fans were relieved, a lot of us were left wondering if it was possible to wrap up such a dynamic show in one episode.
The answer is, apparently, yes. The finale jumps right back into where we left off, digging hard into Wolfgang’s (Max Riemelt) kidnapping at the hands of BPO for experimentation and the rest of the group’s desperate bid to save him. There’s no shortage of twists and turns as the core group — played by Toby Onwumere, Tina Desai, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Jamie Clayton, Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, Brian J. Smith and Riemelt — work together to rescue Wolfgang with the help of their family and friends.
That’s not to say the finale isn’t without issues. There are some moments that absolutely could have been shortened. But the action scenes are just as jampacked and fun to watch as they always have been.
Sense8 is a show that, because of its very premise, can get away with jumping from character to character with little to no explanation, and this function is at its best form when they are filming fighting or action scenes. Why does it matter if I’m looking at Will kicking BPO ass, when two seconds ago Nomi was in his place? It doesn’t, because that’s what the show is all about: they are each other. When I am looking at Nomi, I’m also watching Will, Riley and so on and so forth.
There’s no other show that could have pulled this off, and it’s one of the reasons I will sorely miss it. It only helps that the cast have always had amazing chemistry (even with Toby Onwumere coming in as a second season Capheus for Aml Ameen) and even when newcomers (Like Doctor Who alum — he’s the seventh! — Sylvester McCoy) make appearances, their addition only enhances the unique dynamic already presented by the core members of the cluster.
The focus of this finale, something that we all need to embrace, is highlighted over and over this episode, and indeed throughout the series as well. It seems the Wachowskis’ main goal was always to impress upon us that, no matter your race, religion, language, sexuality, gender, we should all by more united by our similarities than we are by our differences.
In a show that focuses on a group of eight sharing a conscious connection, it would almost make sense for them to slowly pull away from others outside of their cluster. But the message that Sense8 has so consistently delivered is that we are stronger (and indeed happier) when we work, live and play together.
In fact, his separateness is Whisper’s very downfall. It is because he has so alienated himself from all others that, in his most dire of straits, there are no friends to help him, only those who would continue to use him. Our senseates even apply their unity to those they love (outside of the cluster), connecting with friends, family and loved ones as easily as they connect with each other.
I’ve heard lots of complaints that the finale was too “fan-servicey”, perhaps because everyone got a happy ending, fulfilling all audience needs, but can there really be such a thing as fan service when one considers the only reason this last two and a half hour special was created because of the fans? The Sense8 series finale was cathartic and timely, delivering a message more necessary now than ever: Our difference should not divide us but unite us, as we all bring something to the table.
A “where are they now?” for those who are wondering:
Nomi: Married to Amanita and hoping to move to Paris while Amanita writes a novel
Kala: Healed and ready for both of her love interests.
Wolfgang: In love with Kala (and apparently Rajan as well?)
Capheus: Dating Zakia and running for office.
Sun: Has introduced her dog to Detective Mun, which means they’re definitely serious.
Lito: No idea where his acting career is, but he’s happy and in love.
Riley: Finally introduced Will to the parent.
Will: The day he met Riley? The best day of his life — it’s the day he met all the other sensates.
Thanks for the ride, Sense8. I’m glad we got one more episode to help us figure out “What’s Going On?”.