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Sense8 – S1E4 – What’s Going On?

Previously on Sense8, ‘Smart Money is on the Skinny Bitch’

In 1993, the band 4 Non Blondes released their single “What’s Up?”, a song that is featured prominently in the fourth episode of Sense8.

The lead singer of 4 Non Blondes was Linda Perry. Linda Perry once dated the daughter of actress Cybill Shepherd. Cybill Shepherd shares her first name (by pronunciation, if not spelling) with Sybil Dorsett, a famous psychiatric patient who suffered from dissociative identity disorder. Sybil had something like 16 unique personalities who gradually became aware of one another and developed the ability to communicate and share responsibilities with each other.

By the end, Sybil’s personalities merged into one singular “self” named only… The Blonde—as in, 4 Non. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Multiple personalities. Sharing abilities. A single self. And…

Oh boy.. if you take each number from the year in which the hit single was released, and add them together, you get 1 + 9 + 9 + 3 = 22, which is the number of years between the release of the song and this episode!! Ahh!!!

What IS going on?!

When it comes to this show, it’s a good question. I can only tell you what I know. And here is what I know was going on in chapter four:

Wolfgang

Wolfgang and his co-conspirator friend Felix are reveling in the score from their recent heist as they wait to meet a potential buyer. An old balding man wearing glasses shows up, and they go to an old library so that he can take a better look at the gems.

Looking at Gems

When he does, he tells Wolfgang that he knows who will come looking for the gems—somebody from Mumbai. So the buyer won’t be able to move the rocks without re-cutting them, this destroying a fraction of their worth. So he agrees to buy half and will see what he can do with them.

Wolfgang and Felix walk away satisfied, and Felix wants to go celebrate. The first stop is the shoe store… Felix says that the first time he got a new pair of shoes, he felt like a man, so he wants to do that again. But when Wolfgang goes to try on a new pair, he pulls his foot out instantly. It’s covered in dirt.

Capheus

The dirt is actually on Capheus’ shoes.

When we first catch up with Capheus, he’s with his mom as he gets ready to go to work for the day. She tells him that he’d be better off without her, since he’d be able to spend money on things other than medicine for her. But Capheus says he needs her because otherwise he’d go into the world naked.

She smiles, and before he leaves to go to his bus, he turns and says “I’ve got a feeling today is going to be a really good day.”

And it is! When Capheus arrives at the bus, he sees Jela (his business partner) managing a throng of people. The bus is crowded… because, after the events of the last episode, it is now known as the safest bus in “Nai-robbery.” The woman in the back even got her ring back.

Nai-robbery Ring

As they drive off, Jela has no room on the bus so happily hangs off the side. But as they approach a check-point, their optimism begins to wane. The police say they want to talk to Van Damme, and escort Capheus out into the woods.

Walking through the muddy forest, Capheus’ shoes are caked with dirt. Eventually he is led to a black SUV, inside of which is a menacing man named Silas Kibata. Silas’ gang—the guys Capheus/Sun beat up in the previous episode—was about to mutiny against Silas, but Capheus destroyed their reputation, so Silas wants Capheus to be in his service.

Capheus refuses, but Silas has a briefcase full of legitimate drugs he’ll give him if he protects a mysterious bag and delivers it to an address by midnight tonight. Reluctantly, Capheus takes the bag.

Kala

In India, Kala and her husband-to-be are talking to wedding planners with their respective families. With everything they want—including an exchange of rings, which isn’t usually a part of Hindu ceremonies—the entire thing will be over six hours. The planners say they can pay the priest more to shorten it.

Sun

Sun is bruised up from her underground fight in the last episode, but seems to have a knack with makeup and covers it up. As she’s doing this, she flashes back to her childhood to a moment when she is speaking with her mother, who is in a wheelchair hooked up to an IV. Sun and her mother seem close—way closer than Sun and her father—and it’s obvious she is dying. Her mother asks Sun not to blame her father for being closer to her brother, Joong-Ki. He just wants him to take over the company someday. Even so, her mother must have had her own concerns, because she tells Sun to watch over her brother after she is gone.

In the present day, Sun goes to visit her father at his office. She confronts him about money that was being moved between accounts as a result of someone in the company deliberately devaluing their pharmaceuticals. Sun calls it out as embezzlement, and takes off to go find her brother in order to bring him in on the conversation.

Her brother frequents a sex club, so that is where she goes to find him. She takes down the bouncer to get in, and pulls Joong-Ki back to the meeting with their father.

Sun Flashback

Their father is furious and accuses Joong-Ki of stealing from him and his clients. As he is threatened with the prospect of going to jail, Joong-Ki starts to cry, but his father tells them that they still have hope—Sun, who was raised by their mother as the one child capable of seeing a way out of the disaster. Sun says that if she confesses to the crime, the company might be able to survive the scandal because no one really knows who she is anyway. Joong-Ki jumps right on this plan, and begs his sister to do it.

Nomi

Dr. Metzger is showing Nomi how the condition in her brain is only getting worse. Ignoring Nomi’s distress, he accuses her of knowing who started the fire last time they attempted to operate. He tells her that whoever they are, no matter what you may think, they are not helping you.

As Nomi struggles to break free, Dr. Metzger tells an aide that he was going to wait until morning to re-start the surgery, but has decided to do it immediately instead. Pleading for help, she begins to connect with…

Will

Will is trying to talk to Jonas at the station, but keeps being turned away. Just as he’s about to give up, Jonas appears to Will, who reaches out to touch him. Feeling his hand, he says “you’re here, but you’re not.” Jonas then explains—finally—a little more about how this stuff works.

Jonas says that Angelica called it “visiting” when one person appears physically present with another. Members within a “cluster” can visit each other instinctively, but sensates outside of a cluster can only do it with members of another cluster if they’ve made eye contact before. Will then appears in Jonas’ solitary cell, and points out that he can physically feel the cold wall, but it’s only because Jonas can feel it for him.

Will leaves and gets into his car with Jonas’ apparition in tow. He elaborates that visiting is different than “sharing,” that is, accessing each others knowledge and skills, which is something you can only do with other members inside your own cluster.

Jonas visiting Will

“You are no longer just you,” Jonas explains. Will has seven other selves now… but unless he hurries to save Nomi, he will only have six. Therefore, he has to save her since in so doing so he will also save himself.

Back in the cell, people in heavy duty hazmat suits come in to get Jonas.

“What’s Going ON?”

As Will contemplates what it means to “save” Nomi, we see her in the hospital being sedated and wheeled into the operating room. She’s begging them not to do it as best as she can, and Will hears her. He asks who she is, and the two visit each other—Will appearing next to her bed; Nomi appearing in Will’s car.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang and Felix are still celebrating and have moved on to a dance club. People are pressuring Wolfgang into singing karaoke. As he takes the stage, he has a flashback to his father laughing at him for forgetting the words to a song. He starts screaming “fuck you!” to the karaoke crowd, which only riles them up.

Sense8 - S1E4 - Wolfgang

In London, Riley is overlooking the town from a rooftop. She has her headphones on, and selects 4 Non Blonde’s “What’s Up?” Just then, the song begins playing in the karaoke bar. Wolfgang recognizes it and begins singing along, and we quickly visit each of the characters in their own respective locations also singing along. (Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head, seemingly out of nowhere? Maybe that’s why.)

Kala appears to Wolfgang, and he to her, and they start singing together. They appear to be really feeling each other, even looking like they’re about to kiss. But Kala’s sister interrupts her and snaps her back to reality. Kala plays it off like she was daydreaming, but her sister has never seen her smile like that before and awkwardly asks if she was thinking about Rajan, her husband-to-be.

Will's IV

Back in Chicago, Will has decided to rest on the couch in his office, but wakes up to find an IV in his arm. As he pulls it out with his teeth, he has taken Nomi’s place in the hospital. Singing softly, he uses the IV needle to pick both locks that chain her to the bed and then stumbles out into the hallway.

Will wakes up back in his office and laughs, wondering what just happened. Nomi is now fully Nomi again, and sneaks out of a locked alarm door. Soon, a receptionist notices her and calls for security, but Neetz is there (have I mentioned how much I love Neetz?) pretending to be a nurse with a wheelchair. Nomi sits down and tries to hide her relief as Neetz gently tells her “I gotcha. I gotcha.” They make it out of the hospital and into a cab just as the security guards catch up to them. Pulling away, Nomi admits she has a song stuck in her head and begins singing it. Neetz recognizes it and calls it the perfect song for a lobotomy.

Nomi visits Riley on the rooftop in London, and the two share smiles as they sing with each other. In the cab, a sedated Nomi continues to wonder, “what’s going on? Hey, hey, hey, what’s going on?”

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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