On Christmas day Netflix released an extra episode of the original series Sense8, and it was a perfect example of how to span the gap between seasons. It was light on plot, heavy on relationship development, and just enough to tease what’s in store for the upcoming season.
The aptly named “A Christmas Special” is officially the beginning of season 2, though the rest won’t be released until May. The series created by J. Michael Straczynski, Lana Wachowski, and Lilly Wachowski follows 8 strangers from all corners of the globe who discover they are psychically linked and that they’re being hunted for it. Season one deals with the realizations that they’re connected and the learning curve of figuring out how they can interact and help each other.
The Christmas special updated us on what the characters have done since season 1 ended. The villain of the series, Terrence Mann’s Mr. Whispers, made limited appearances and really didn’t directly affect the episode, though we saw how he’s changed one character, Will (Brian J. Smith), since season 1. While the special didn’t add much to the greater plot of the series, it offered a preview of how things will be different in season 2 with just enough fluff for the holiday release. The episode was filled with heartwarming interactions between the connected characters known as “sensates” and showed just how much their mental link has strengthened since the season 1 finale.
The special spans months as the sensates experience their shared birthday on August 8th, as well as Thanksgiving, and Christmas in the two-hour episode. We get glimpses of each of their lives to remind us of where they are and what to expect for the rest of the season. Riley (Tuppence Middleton) and Will are hiding in Iceland, with Will keeping high on heroin to prevent Whispers from accessing his mind. Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) is dealing with the consequences of killing his uncle and the power vacuum it created in organized crime in Berlin. Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and her girlfriend Amanita (Freema Agyeman) are now fugitives, researching the phenomenon of the sensate bond. Sun (Doona Bae) is still in prison in Seoul. Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) has been publicly outed and finds all of Mexico City suddenly very unfriendly. Kala (Tina Desai) is struggling with her recent marriage to Rajan (Purab Kohli) and clearly still has feelings for Wolfgang. Then there’s Capheus. Capheus is where we left him and gets a shiny new bus in this episode, but more importantly, he’s got a new look.
Season 1’s Capheus, Aml Ameen, has been replaced by Toby Onwumere. The character was recast and there has been little said as to why. Luckily, besides a moment at the beginning of the episode referencing it, the change isn’t distracting. Capheus’s friend Jela (Paul Ogola) remarks that Capheus has been looking a little different lately and Capheus rubs his bald head and replies that it must be because he’s changed barbers. The joke was a nice way to address the change and then allow viewers to move on. Which is easy to do when already trying to follow 8 main characters’ separate lives.
Unlike the first season, there are few moments in the special when any of the 8 are alone. Besides the two that are physically in the same place, Will and Riley, it’s explained that since their awakening in season 1, all of them are present in each other’s minds at all times. We mostly see them comforted by the presence of the rest of their “cluster,” but it’s hard to imagine how it wouldn’t drive a person insane having 7 other people’s consciousnesses in your head. Not to mention the fact that they should appear insane to anyone else in the world who sees them interacting with people that aren’t physically there.
Apparently, having a wide range of life skills readily available is more than worth it, as well as the benefit of 8 sex lives. The Christmas special features an orgy between the sensates much like the first season did, and it’s probable this is a trend for the series. On a platform like Netflix that doesn’t have to deal with the limitations of a network, the showrunners are smart to push the boundaries a little.
The Christmas special was a good reminder of what viewers enjoyed from the show and a perfect way to keep us in anticipation of the second season since it will be released almost two full years after the first. Thoughts on the Christmas special? Are you looking forward to season 2? Comment below!
Season 2 of Sense8 will be released on Netflix on May 5, 2017.
Source: Images: EW