I hope when I decide to break my good buddy out of the hospital, the only guard will be sound asleep at the exact moment that I sneak in!
Let’s bitch it out…
So I guess I should just resign myself to the fact that this show is playing the long game, and that there’s not going to be any sort of satisfying resolution to the overall conspiracy storyline. Aside from the few bread crumbs laid by people like Jonas (Naveen Andrews) and Yrsa (Lilja Þórisdóttir), and the little info that Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Will’s (Brian J. Smith) digging unearthed about BPO, we still have no real idea what’s going on at all. I get that the audience is supposed to be viewing the story from the perspective of the eight sensates, and that’s fine. I guess I was just expecting a bit more of a build-up to Whispers (Terrence Mann) and whatever organization he’s involved with. But I am a fan of long-term serialized stories, so it’s not the end of the world if I have to wait until next year to get a better idea of what’s going on.
Last episode we had a couple of big dust-ups involving Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) and Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) that were highly satisfying. This episode the shows tries to raise that bar even further with Capheus (Aml Ameen) and Sun (Doona Bae). We didn’t see much of either character last episode, but they really take centre stage this time around.
Last we saw of Sun, her father had come to his senses and was going to come clean about what had happened, presumably leading to Sun’s release from prison. Cue Sun’s little brother Joong-ki (Ki-Chan Lee), the one who started the whole mess – apparently he decided he’d rather off the old man, and pass it off as a suicide, than actually face up to what he did. Which means Sun will likely be stuck in prison a while longer. But, man was it exciting to watch her turn the tables on her lying brother, seeing right through his bullshit and accusing him of their father’s murder – and then proceeding to beat the snot out of him. Those guards were a little slow in reacting, as she got at least a half dozen good punches in, after having leapt onto the table and jumped on him first. But I’m not complaining.
Of course, that only got Sun’s blood boiling. She needed a better release, and Capheus is glad to oblige her. Having refused to turn Kabaka’s (Peter King Nzioki) daughter over to the gang of thugs, Capehus drives the Van Damn to the thug hideout to try and settle things once and for all. He’s accepted that he might (probably will) die, but that’s a better fate than turning an innocent girl over to die and having to live with that. To Capheus’ surprise, the Super Power gang, led by Githu (Lwanda Jawar) have already captured Kabaka, and they want Capheus to kill him. This leads to the best action sequence of this show to date, as Sun takes over and slaughters the entire lot of them. It’s a very well-shot and well-choreographed scene (I’d expect no less with the spirit of Van Damme involved). At times this show is like watching an action movie, and I’m constantly impressed by the overall production values. I guess Netflix really wants to be a player in the TV market, and they’re not holding anything back.
The chase scene that follows is exciting, too, with Capheus fleeing in the Van Damn, a bleeding Kabaka taking over in the back. Cue Will, who steps in and helps Capheus get away from the ambush, after traffic slows the Van Damn to a stop. This leads to possibly the coolest camera shot of all – as Capheus skids the Van Damn, the back of the bus swinging outward, the terrible painted image of Jean-Claude Van Damme on the side appears to kick the thug leader right off his motorcycle. It’s so corny, and yet so amusing and satisfying all at once. I still find Capheus to be the most charismatic/likeable character of the eight, and he’s almost too good morally – he wouldn’t even take Kabaka’s money after saving the guy and his daughter! I hope Capheus is at least going to keep taking the medicine for his mother, even if the source is a shady crime lord.
Meanwhile, Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) is following up on his big power moves from last episode. He needs to ensure Felix’s (Max Mauff) safety, which proves pretty easy thanks to a sleeping guard (I’m not sure what the bigger plot contrivance was – the sleeping guard, or Michael X. Sommers’ Bug randomly showing up with new computer equipment literally thirty seconds after Nomi explains how all of her computer equipment was confiscated). There was some sappy crap that followed between Wolfgang and Kala (Tina Desai). I’m more interested in Wolfgang and Felix’s relationship, but it seems like the Wolfgang + Kala pairing is here to stay. The episode closes with Wolfgang driving up to his uncle Sergey’s estate, whose son Steiner he blew up with a rocket last episode. This confrontation should go over well next time.
While all of this is going on, Riley (Tuppence Middleton) is still unconscious after collapsing at her father’s concert. Quick aside – her father Gunnar (Kristján Kristjánsson) is the most adorable character ever, singing with his little ukelele at her beside, just like at the airport. Will and Nomi are quite concerned, worried that what happened to Nomi will happen to Riley. That concern appears valid, as the doctors look over the brain scans and begin rambling about abnormalities. They call for a neurologist, which can’t be good.
Of course, all of this is moot, since apparently Whispers is already aware of Riley’s condition and location. How is that possible, you ask? I’m not really sure. Jonas says something about how Riley knows Will, and Will knows Jonas, and Jonas knows Whispers, so apparently Whispers knows everything about all of those people? Or something? Like I said last review, I stopped trying to make sense of the pseudo-science and explanations for how all this stuff works. It would have been easier to just say that Whispers had people following Riley in Iceland, since we’ve been beaten over the head for a bunch of episodes now about how dangerous it is for her to be there. Admittedly unless the danger in Iceland is the risk of nose-bleeding fainting spells at concerts, it doesn’t seem like Iceland is very dangerous at all; Whispers only discovers Riley is there because of her connection to Jonas via Will. Or something…
Anyway, despite all of that nausea-inducing explanation of abilities, the show is still entertaining and enjoyable, largely due to the slow build and character work that it did early on. I was worried, in the early episodes, that too much character and no plot might hurt the show, but it seems that wasn’t the case, if my enjoyment is any barometer. I guess the season finale will just involve the other sensates trying to rescue Riley, and we’ll leave the bigger picture stuff to next year (hopefully!).
- So after all her moping around, Kala finally tells Rajan (Purab Kohli) that she doesn’t want to marry him – oh wait, no she doesn’t! She just throws his father under the bus, claiming that it was Manendra who wanted to break the wedding off (no mention that she’s been thinking about it for weeks). And when Rajan asks if she still wants to get married, it just hangs there and we cut away. Nice. I guess Kala’s father’s sound advice to “tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may” fell on deaf ears.
- According to Joong-ki, the police consider Sun’s father’s death a suicide. I don’t know if this is just part of the lie, or sloppy writing, but killing yourself with the old car exhaust through a hose doesn’t really work anymore, unless you own a really old car. New car emission standards have reduced carbon monoxide emissions to almost nothing, and I’m pretty sure that the owner/CEO of a big company wouldn’t be driving some old clunker. The car would run out of gas and shut off before it emitted enough fumes to kill a human. I doubt the police would miss that.
- “Van Damme always comes back.” Yeah he does!
Your turn: what did you think of the Capheus/Sun/Will action sequence? Are you worried for Riley? Do you think Kala wimped out when she should have told Rajan the truth? Is Sun going to end up stuck in prison? And what will happen in the season finale? Sound off below, but please refrain – one final time – on including spoilers.
Sense8 is available in its entirety on Netflix. Check in Tuesday for our review of the season finale.