Sense8: What Is Human?
June 27, 2015 11:16 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Lito's ready to be a big damn hero. Wolfgang takes on some mobsters. Will watches some fireworks, to Sun and Capheus's delight. Riley watches her father perform at the symphony, and the other sensates join her for a trip down to where memory lane starts: their births.
posted by yasaman (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wolfgang and Kala's plotlines are my least favorite in the show. Kala is just stuck in nowheresville, but Wolfgang lives in some particularly uninspired heisty-crime thing.

The scene in the hospital with the bald mobster chewing into Wolfgang I found particularly annoying to watch. Seeing that guy monologue while Wolfgang says one or two words wasn't compelling for me. But the payoff with the rocket launcher was literally jaw-dropping.
posted by tjgrathwell at 1:18 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm really enjoying the Wachowskis' ability to transform standard or even tired tropes by changing and recombining elements - Van Damme as a young man in Nairobi who doesn't know how to fight, Conan as a safecracking German criminal, the hacker on the run from the law as an awesome trans lesbian, the closeted actor whose life now parallels the roles he loves, the Asian woman constrained by familial obligations who finds escape in prison. I'm still interested to see what happens with the Bollywood wedding arc, I'd really like more development on Kala. The other two - the cop with the hunch that he can't let go of and the woman returning home to find out if the curse she fears is real - are so far the least transformed and least interesting to me, but I'm up for seeing where they go.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:02 PM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

Riley's dad creeps me the fuck out.
posted by nom de poop at 11:08 PM on June 27, 2015

Riley's dad creeps me out too! I'm just waiting to find out he's a Mr. Whispers zombie.
posted by heatherann at 8:23 AM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Apparently the guy who plays Riley's dad is a somewhat famous musician in Iceland, not an actor, which explains some of his weird creepiness, maybe? I don't find him too creepy, just very obviously not an actor.

So when the flashbacks to their births sequence started, I was all, "this is excessive, Sense8, I'm not sure about--" but as it kept going, I couldn't stop smiling and tearing up. It was just such a joyful celebration of life and humanity. Birth in all its gross and amazing and surprising and awe-inspiring glory, which is something you generally just don't see on TV, short of maybe on Call the Midwife. And I don't know, something about the characters' reactions was really moving to me.

Also, question: it looked like for a bunch of them, their births were sudden/unexpectedly fast. Was that perhaps because Nomi's mom was having a planned C-section, thus sort of "forcing" the others to be born as well? I guess that's a chicken and egg sort of question, like are all of these sensates in a cluster specifically because they took their first breaths at the same moment, or did they all take their first breaths at the same moment because they're sensates in the same cluster?
posted by yasaman at 11:12 AM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

Riley's dad is like the Icelandic Matt Frewer.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:52 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]

I really enjoyed Lito and Wolfgang helping each other out and Daniela's rescue. And Will, Sun, and Capheus watching the fireworks. And Kala and Capheus watching Jean-Claude.


Other than the whole "being chased by bad guys" thing, being a sensate/sense8 looks really kewl to me, actually. Phone a secret friend! Make out across continents! Know that your friends with martial arts/driving/lying/beating up skills will always be there to help you out!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:28 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Make out across continents!

And literally always have someone walk in on you in the middle of it, so it looks like you're getting sexy with thin air! (It's cliche but I love it.)

Speaking of which, do Chicago-cop-guy (...Will? why do I keep forgetting his name?) and his work-partner live together? They seem to always be in the same place.
posted by psoas at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2015

I like the idea that it is humanity's future for individuals to have more empathy for each other, and that the sensates experience it in a particularly strong way. I also like how that ties in to some of them being victims of certain prejudices or just vulnerable in general. But it also seems that they lucked out as a cluster to have 2 or 3 legitimate badass fighters who come to the aid of some of the others. I guess it wouldn't be as enjoyable a story if it were otherwise. (But it was pretty awesome to watch Lito's acting save Wolfgang, too.)

Also I was wondering what was so special about August 8th as a birthday until I realized it was 8/8. Maybe they were born in 1988?
posted by A dead Quaker at 12:37 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Lito's ready to be a big damn hero.

I love that they had Lito start his heroic redemption with the flirty bartender. A minor character in such a big canvas, but so wonderful that he doesn't get left with just the memory of having the f-word thrown at him, instead getting one of the most romantic and sexy 'no thank you's ever.

I'd totally forgotten that there was going to be graphic childbirth until that head poked out. It's a testament to how unique this series is (or how far into the binge I was), that my reaction was more "Oh, ok, we're doing that now?" than a "the goggles, they do nothing!" flail.

Two to go!
posted by oh yeah! at 7:12 AM on July 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

Aw, I don't get all the Riley's-dad-hate. I don't think he's creepy D:
posted by Quilford at 5:24 AM on July 7, 2015

I started re-watching the show this weekend. It seems so straightforward now that I know where it's going. Anyway, now I love the flirty bartender scene even more, because I'd forgotten that Lito used the "My heart belongs to another" line when turning down the nun-actress in his trailer, and when trying to turn down Dani when she showed up at the apartment. But both of those times, it was just delivered like a bad line. Only with the bartender did he say it like he meant it.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:01 PM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

They actually filmed live births for this episode. Netflix is amazing.
posted by crossoverman at 4:59 AM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's fun watching all the location shoots and thinking "I've been there!". The Reykjavik concert hall, all the San Francisco locations, ... But then there's the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Which is a phenomenal piece of architecture / sculpture and wonderful and totally worth experiencing. But seeing it repurposed as a funhouse of mirrors for the first scene felt a bit appropriative. Maybe there's some weird connection back to the Holocaust with the genetic experiment story line? Maybe? But that memorial is a graveyard to 6 million murdered Jews, and it seemed disrespectful to turn it into a funky location shoot to clumsily illustrate the way the Sense8 8 are connected.

Location complaint aside I'm still liking this show a lot, the risks they are taking. I think the payoff on the Mexican Closet Case story was pretty good here. I appreciate that they wrote in a bit of farce, it reminds me stylistically of the Cavendish storyline in Cloud Atlas. Silly and overdone and a bit painful to watch, but done that way deliberately, bathos to highlight the pathos of the more serious stories.
posted by Nelson at 10:33 PM on July 28, 2015

As a woman who has had an emergency c-section it made me really sad to see that the only c-section baby was from the evil mom. Good moms have natural births, amirite? why did there even have to be a c-section? They could have had all vaginal births. I felt the c-section was just to give more evidence of how awful Nomi's mom is, and that's a message I've gotten about myself enough.

Too bad, because i was really impressed with the concept of the birth stories.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:07 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

That came out a little stronger than I intended. I am just having all the feels right now.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:20 PM on August 5, 2015

No, arcticwoman, I think that was a perfectly valid criticism. (I kinda skipped past the birth scenes on my rewatch of this episode, once was enough for me)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:30 AM on August 6, 2015

Happy birthday to all the sensates!
posted by mountmccabe at 9:21 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

The other two - the cop with the hunch that he can't let go of and the woman returning home to find out if the curse she fears is real -

I used to hate them too, but I'm actually loving their romance - the close ups on the gentleness of the kisses, especially how Hero Cop is actually hesitant here, like the macho is a work suit he puts on - they are rapidly becoming two of my favorites. Though that may be because I keep worrying about other character's choices - like they'll do The Wrong Thing and it will be hard to love them.(please don't let adorable little Wonder Woman have even the tiniest sad please)
posted by corb at 12:54 PM on October 20, 2016

Ok, so I'm two years late to be posting my own comment but have been binging this all weekend. That birth montage was incredible and moving and the fact that they filmed live births instead of just a bunch of grunting and magically a 3-month old appears with a bit of gunk applied - just incredible. So nice to see something so real. I was also moved by Nomi's mixed emotions at seeing her own birth, particularly that her mom says, "my son" when she's being handed baby Nomi. That's a gut punch there.
posted by acidnova at 5:06 PM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, using the Holocaust Memorial as a prop bothered me, too. Also, does no one else seem bothered that Wolfgang is a total psychopath? I mean I know stylized violence comes with the Wachowski brand, but 7 sympathetic people being tied into a cold-blooded murder machine? How is that going to work?
posted by rikschell at 7:59 AM on September 20, 2019

First watch for me, too. The use of ecstasy surprised me. I was expecting the episode to end with the father having some sort of freak out - but I don't know what it actually does.
posted by rebent at 7:23 PM on November 5, 2019

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