Sense8 - The finale: Amor Vincit Omnia
I love Sense8. Ever since I watched the first episode, I knew it was something that was made for me, and not just the female me, the queer me, or the British me, but all of me. It is a show that has so much scope and inclusivity that it can be for so many different aspects of so many different people around the world in a way that the majority of other shows don't manage. That's why I love it, and will continue to love it now that it is over.
This finale is over two and a half hours in length, so it feels like less of an episode and more of an extravaganza. Which is fitting, considering the shear breadth of genres and content that Sense8 contains. Its sci-fi, its romance, its action, and so many other styles, all of which are contained in this mighty send off.
When I heard that this special would be finishing off a story that was originally meant to span up to three seasons, I was skeptical as to how well it would be managed. But managed it was.
The special starts just after where season two left off; the cluster has Whispers and has organised to exchange him for Wolfgang's freedom from BPO. It was amazing to see The Cluster interact with each other in person for the first time, each trying to keep up with the lives that they have put on pause in order to save Wolfgang. Lito is running around being a drama queen as he prepares for the movie role of his life. While Nomi is doing her thing on the computers and Kala is just trying to contact Wolfgang as much as possible to keep him sane. It shows how all of these characters who, despite the vast personality differences between them, have come to love and accept each other.
These scenes are different from before, where each of the sensates would visit each other on occasion and help out when needed, because all of them, and their accompanying lovers/family, can't get away from each other. For the first time they are living like a traditional family would, and whilst there is some obvious confusion and frustration at each others antics, every interaction they have is fond.
One downfall of the sheer amount of main cast members is that some of them fall a little to the way side. There are definitely certain members of The Cluster whose stories are put closer to the forefront in this episode, but may have been because there were only so many story lines that could be resolved in two and a half hours.
The shortened finales means the show has ended without concluding how Lito's first job in Hollywood went, or whether or not Capheus managed to win his election in Nairobi. It made me sad to see this as it would have been nice to see Capheus have a definitive ending to his story. Lito has been a huge part of the show, at least for me. Seeing him go from being so firmly in the closet to accepting Dani into his and Hernando's lives to coming out a landing a role in Hollywood was amazing for me as a queer viewer.
Whilst his absence from filming his new movie is acknowledged, it is never revealed if he is kept on the film or how filming goes. It is one of the parts of the finale that makes it obvious that this wasn't the originally intended ending. There are so many more avenues to explore, as each of the sensates goes on with their lives.
The main story line that was concluded was The Cluster's fight against BPO. It was great to see this incorporate more than just the, now captured, bogeyman that is Whispers, but also the higher-ups in the BPO hierarchy. In some ways this had to happen - this was the ending Sense8 was always building to - and it meant that we weren't left with a cliff hanger as to whether or not The Cluster was still being hunted.
Another aspect of the narrative that made me smile in both happiness and amusement, was the confirmation of more of The Cluster as non-heterosexuals. As the episode plays out it is confirmed that Riley has had an relationship with a woman before and that Wolfgang is open to being with men. I especially liked that, where most mainstream media would have charaterised Rajan as the jealous husband, Sense8 completely avoided that in favour of something that is still very rarely represented in television, polyamory.
Though it isn't full explored, Wolfgang, Kala and Rajan are shown going to bed together at the end of the episode, with Wolfgang and Rajan also sharing a kiss. Though we will never get to see the continuation of this relationship, just as Lito, Hernando and Dani's relationship will now never be defined, because of the cancellation, it was uplifting to see something other than heart ache and pain for a group of three people, some of whom are already in love, and some of whom seem to be starting to get there.
However, even with the chases, the excellent cinematography and the a well timed use of a rocket launcher, the most stunning gem in the crown of this finale was the wedding 'epilogue' that made up most of the last half hour of the episode. After seeing characters that I have come to love go through pain and fire for each other, it was incredibly heartwarming to see them come together not out of a need to protect, but simply to share and take part in a ceremony full of love. Because, when you boil it down to its core, stripping away the complex web of interwoven stories, that is what Sense8 is about. Love. Love that sees diversity and sees it not as a threat, or an obstacle, but as something to be celebrated and nurtured. Love that sees peoples different talents as a way the get past any and all situations.
This message is exemplified in the wedding scene, as not only The Cluster, but also all of their families and friends gather in the Eiffel Tower to see the union of an openly trans woman and her bi-racial girlfriend. With none of them batting an eye-lid, no matter what part of the world they come from, or whether or not they had actually met the happy couple before the ceremony. It was this love and acceptance of the beautiful differences that exist in humanity that first drew me to the show, and it is what made me leave this spectacular finale full to the brim with joy and with a grin spread across my face.