Thursday, January 05, 2017

Sense8 - A Christmas Special

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Wolfgang: "Happy fucking New Year!"

It's been well over a year and a half since NetFlix's most bizarre (you think Stranger Things is weird, then you've never seen this series) show debuted with it's impressive first season and with a few more months to go for Season 2, we have this delightful two hour 'prelude' to somewhat tide us over before then.

I'll admit that I haven't watched Sense8 since catching it's finale back in June 2015, so it took me a little bit to familiarise myself with the characters again and it seems that while not a huge amount has changed, other than Will needing to be blindfolded and drugged a bit to keep Whispers from finding him and Riley (notice how massively their roles have reversed here), although by the end of this one, it seems that the slippery guy had the advantage once again.

Of course while Will and Riley were playing at hiding away (as were Nomi and Amanita), I did like that the episode deepened their connection all the more but of course we saw a lot of connections in this one. Anyone who loved the orgy scene from Demons got a sequel that involved all of the clusters this time around for good measure. Rarely do scenes like that work a second time but here it certainly did along with the madcap antics of the eight clusters banding together to celebrate their birthday in one of the most glorious scenes ever.

While this episode didn't do much to advance the ongoing threat, it achieved so much more on a personal level with each of the clusters. Seeing Lito and Hernando as a united front when their relationship became public knowledge really got to me and I loved the presence of Lito's mother and Daniella's disgust at her friends being vilified by the media while at the same time doing her best to support them.

As well as Lito coming out of hiding, Nomi and Amanita also did the same upon visiting the former's friend and then spending Christmas dinner with Bug and Amanita's mother and four fathers. Along with Lito/Hernando, this show continues to show what a loving couple Nomi/Amanita are in the face of some big odds here.

Meanwhile, both Kala and Wolfgang seem to be growing closer but aren't quite there with each other. Kala clearly wants to be with Wolfgang but is also determined to make her marriage to Rajan work (who thankfully is a sympathetic character) while Wolfgang had some joy with Felix waking from his coma but the gang related stuff he gets involved with came to a messy head during New Year's Eve. On the plus, it did lead to a brilliant parting line for this episode.

As for Sun, she's still stuck in prison but at least she's got people supporting her. The women in the prison keeping her morale up and the gang trying to get her freedom back and saving her from nearly being killed as well. There's also a beautiful moment she shared with Kala talking about her first time and it's a scene I found as powerful as the sexual freedom speech given earlier by Kala and Lito in the episode. Saying that, Season 2 really does need to get Sun out of prison as early as possible.

As for Capheus, well he's regenerated (Toby Onwumere replacing Aml Ameen) and to be honest, aside from the nice little knowing nods to the new casting, he's still the lovable, optimistic guy from before. I loved his interactions with Sun and his reactions to getting a new bus along with his scenes with his mother. Not only that but this episode gave us some great stuff for smaller characters like Bug, Felix and Daniella to boot as well as more on both Amanita and Hernando.

- We briefly saw both Jonas and Angelica again in this episode. I'm hoping we see a little more of both in Season 2.
- Standout music: Obvious uses of Hallelujah and Auld Lang Syne to one side, the use of Jetta's I'd Love To Change The World during the orgy scene worked beautifully.
- Chronology: The episode took in August up to and including Christmas and New Year's Eve pretty well.
- Season 2 will be released on Netflix from May 5th. It'll be 10 episodes this time.

That was amazing. Arguably I do think this could've been 90 minutes and still had the desired effect it set out to have but A Christmas Special was easily one of the best things to be released over the Christmas period and served as a nice reminder how off the wall and brilliant this series truly is. Watch this episode and then watch it again. And so on.

Rating: 10 out of 10

No comments: