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Sense8 – S1E10 – What Is Human

Previously on Sense8, ‘Death Doesn’t Let You Say Goodbye’

In one of my favorite scenes from the Wachowskis’ The Matrix, Agent Smith (an artificial intelligence) tells Neo what he thinks of humanity:

“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”

It was fun to see the Wachowskis recycle this idea in this episode of Sense8 during a particularly interesting scene between Jonas and Will where Jonas explains the nature of the Sensates when he tells him that they were here from the beginning; a precursor to modern day humans. He theorizes that it was just one small mutation that separated human beings from Sensates, and for whatever reason the Sensate lineage began to dwindle down into almost nothing, leaving the incomplete, flawed humans to take over.

Why are human beings so bad at living in equilibrium with their environment? It is a good question, and one probably best left answered by philosophers. Nevertheless, Jonas does float an answer, and it’s something I touched upon a previous recap: empathy. That is, whatever genetic mutation separated humans from Sensates left us with none. We can see it in others, like a flock of birds, and we like to think we’re able to sympathize and understand one another, but it is only a fraction of whatever form of true empathy still exists within the Sensates.

In Jonas words from this episode: “One small mutation severed them from their connection to nature, and to each other. That isolation has allowed them to focus on the one thing they do better than any species—killing.”

I guess Agent Smith was on to something… to the Wachowskis, there is something “wrong” with humanity that needs to be fixed. In The Matrix, Agent Smith saw himself as the cure. In Sense8, I don’t know that we’ve really seen the fix yet. Maybe there won’t be one. Maybe the story is just going to be about the Sensates struggle to survive among a culture that hates and fears them (like the X-Men). I suppose with a second season officially confirmed, we’ll be able to find out.

I liked this episode a lot and not just for the scenes between Jonas and Will. Lito and Wolfgang carried the story forward this time, in ways that might seem cheesy to a casual observer (the slow flick of the cigarette, the bazooka), but somehow worked in context. That’s just how this show works… in context.

Speaking of which, here is what happened.

Courageous Capheus Meets Kareful Kala

Kala’s father helps her have a realization about what happened to Papa-Ji: maybe she should tell Rajan how she really feels because it might have been his last wish. By not telling Rajan, her father says, she’d be building whatever happiness she might find upon a foundation of lies. She knows this is true, and knows what she must do.

Capheus and Kala Watch TV

Kala and Capheus visit each other for the first time, and they sit together watching Jean-Claude’s Lionheart. Kala admires Capheus’ TV, and wonders aloud why houses in the slums have such big TVs but terrible bedrooms. Capheus suggests that small beds keep you in the slums but a large TV can take you out.

When she asks why Capheus likes Jean-Claude so much, he tells her that he watches Lionheart whenever he needs some courage. Kala says she could use some, too, and, like the movie, realizes how violent life can be.

The Rising Sun

What was hinted at in the previous episode comes to fruition this time as Sun meets with a lawyer in prison. Her father has indeed agreed to come clean. If his hearing goes well, the lawyer can have Sun out in less than a week. After a moment of pause in which she considers what might happen to her brother (“they’ll make an example out of him,” her lawyer says) she decides to sign the papers.

Wolf Meets Gang

Wolfgang’s cousin appears at the hospital and not so vaguely threatens Felix’s life. Wolfgang agrees to give him the diamonds so they can all live happily ever after, and when he gets home begins melting the ice cubes in which they are hidden.

Cousin Pointy Fingers

When he shows up at the exchange point, he gets patted down as his cousin demands to know how he cracked the safe. Wolfgang tells him he cracked it, which the cousin refuses to believe. With a gun to his head, Wolfgang has run out of things to say, but just then Lito appears to him and asks why he doesn’t just tell a little lie in order to buy time. Wolfie says that he can’t do it because it reminds him too much of his father.

Lito Breaks Bad

So Lito asks, “May I?” and takes his place. Telling the cousin a story about how Felix got the combination from the safe’s owner through sexual favors, the cousin throws his head back and laughs. He has bought the lie—which buys the time Wolfgang needed to roll over and grab a gun from under his car. A shootout ensues, and with most of the cousin’s gang dead he decides to run away.

But Wolfgang has something else up his sleeve—a frickin’ rocket propelled grenade. So as the cousin peels away, Wolfgang very dramatically fires the RPG and blows up the getaway car. It’s like something out of a movie, which is appropriate given Lito’s presence. I’m just left to wonder what happened to the diamonds.

RPG Wolfie

Lito in Love

The rush of what happened with Wolfgang gives Lito the inspiration to fix things between himself and Hernando and Daniela. But he first goes to the bar where he insulted the bartender in the last episode so that he can apologize and kiss the bartender (and out himself to the by-standing public) for the sole purpose of delivering what is probably the most corniest yet cathartic line of the episode: “this is a stolen kiss, because these lips belong to another. I have already met the love of his life, and his name is Hernando.”

Lito walks away (without paying for the TEN shots of tequila he ordered) and drives to Joaquin’s house where Daniela is visibly beaten up. As Lito gets out of the car, things once again start to feel like a bad action movie when everything turns to slow-mo and Lito flicks a cigarette like a badass.

Lito Flicks

He announces that he is there to rescue Daniela, and no longer cares about the pictures. A fight ensues, and after some struggling, Wolfgang visits and gives Lito the ability to fight. After a vicious uppercut, Jaoquin is knocked out and Daniela runs up to him, practically swooning, “my hero!”

Lito then drives to Hernando’s place. Given the condition of Lito’s face, Hernando is worried about him not being able to shoot tomorrow, which makes Lito smile because it means he still loves him. Lito gives a short speech about how he realized what he needed to do to fix everything, and then Daniela appears and the two embrace.

Lito says that while his career may be important, it will never be as important as Hernando. Hernando kisses him, and Daniella takes another picture, now free from the worry of blackmail.

He Said He Doesn't Care

Fireworks and Independent Births

As Will meets his father for a Fourth of July celebration on the lake, Riley is by his side. Will and his dad share a tender moment, and as the fireworks begin, Sun and Capheus share in the celebration overhead.

In Iceland, Riley settles into a theater to watch her father’s concert. As he plays the piano, she recalls the song being the same one he played for her mother when she was delivering Riley. Soon all of the Sensates are there recalling their own births (which presumably all happened at the same time).

This scene, in case you didn’t know, actually featured real births. Will’s happened in the back of a police car. Kala’s happened in front of a state of Ganesha; Lito’s in front of the TV. Sun’s mother was visiting a grave when she goes into labor; Nomi’s mom had a C-section. Wolfgang’s was a water birth, and after Capheus sees his mother delivering him Riley begins to remember the moment she delivered her own child. It happened in the cold, in an overturned car… but that’s all we get to see, because blood begins to pour out of Riley’s nose at the concert, and she faints.

Riley is Covered in Blood Again

About Adam Czarnecki (32 Articles)
Adam Czarnecki is as a technical communicator who lives in lower Michigan with his wife, son, and a few random animals. His first foray into fandom came during the early days of AOL when he began posting stories that featured his own adventures in the Star Trek universe. A recovering author of fan fiction, in the days of MySpace he wrote blogs about LOST that became quite popular despite the fact that none of his theories about the island were ultimately proven true. Since then, he has earned a Master’s degree in 2015 thanks in part to his interest in comic books, which served as the inspiration for his final project. Satisfied with this bio, he ends it here.

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