Sense8 Season 2 Review: Blissful Meanderings

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Sense8‘s singular best quality is that it really wants you to feel good. Season two isn’t as fresh as season one, getting too bogged down by mythology that is decidedly elaborate, but its heart is still very much intact. That was perhaps most true of the Christmas special that kicked off the season back in December, as the episodes that follow aren’t quite as warm and fuzzy.

With eight different main character spread across the globe, there’s consistently an overwhelming amount of material the show has to cover. Naturally, some of those plot threads are more interesting than others. But what the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski have accomplished through interweaving them remains genius. Late in season two, we see Lito’s lighter Hollywood breakout storyline cross with Sun’s tense revenge tale in a goofy moment that serves both storylines and their vastly different tones equally. For moments like these, Sense8 remains a must-watch.

Season two’s “main” storyline puts Will and Riley at the center as they investigate the very existence of sensates and how previous clusters dealt with their issues. This batch of episodes greatly expands the sensate population, luckily just through various clusters that bump into the core eight, rather than additional main characters to keep track of. There’s even a great action sequence where Wolfgang leads his cluster against another in a dynamic restaurant shoot out and hand-to-hand fight. But as a whole, the show’s expanding mythology isn’t its greatest asset, serving more as a vehicle for the show to keep going.

The interpersonal drama of the main cast, however, is still what stands out. At its core, Sense8 is about people from all walks of life finding beauty in the lives of others, and offering help in times of need. It’s always thrilling to see Lito talk them out of a situation, or have Sun come in for a few quick jabs. But even better is how these people celebrate with each other. Beyond the Christmas special’s spectacular sequel orgy to season one’s, there are beautiful moments of dancing and love sprinkled throughout these people’s lives, where a defining moment for one is backed by seven others offering support. Lito gives a beautiful speech at Mexico City’s pride parade that brings everyone together for a moment of pure, blissful celebration. When a nervous Van Damme, who gets roped into running for office in season two, first steps up to address a crowd, it’s the sensates behind him that only he can see there to give him courage.

Sense8‘s mystery might not be as captivating as it once was, but its ability to display profound human connections across the globe is unmatched. No show this ambitious is going to succeed with flying colors, but no series has ever put forward the beauties of life as uncomplicated and joyously as this one. For that, Sense8 gets a bit of a free pass, as even in our difficult and challenging current climate, love deserves to win every time. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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