Previously on Sense8, ‘We Will All be Judged by the Courage of Our Hearts’
Every so often—this far into the series, at least—we’re treated to occasional “info-dump” moments. This particular episode was rife with them, mostly thanks to Riley. The episode opens with her descending into the Icelandic cave from her youth; the same cave in which she claims to have seen “the hidden people” as a child.
Now a little older and wiser, when Riley does meet up with a lady she once thought of as “an elf,” she finds out that that person—Yrsa—is, in fact, a Sensate, just like her, and is visiting Riley from her house in Iceland. It turns out the whole hex thing Riley believed so much was of Yrsa’s doing and that she did it to protect Riley so that she’d get out of Iceland and away from the shadowy BPO organization we learned about in the last episode. Yrsa again tells Riley that she is not safe in Iceland, and should not have come back.
Why? Well, here’s the info-dump from Yrsa:
- The BPO funds projects like a “DNA census” in order to track and hunt down potential Sensates.
- Yrsa says that if you lose a member of your cluster, the pain is overwhelming.
- Psycellium is the “midichlorians” of the Sense8 universe (midichlorians, in case you are not familiar with Star Wars, is the biological mechanism by which people interact with “The Force”).
- Yrsa believes that love inside of a cluster is the worst form of narcissism and is pathological.
- Members of a cluster share the same birthdate.
- She also believes that Jonas and Angelica (whose last name is Turing, which may or may not matter—more on that in a second) worked together with Whispers against her cluster.
In fact, Yrsa believes that last point so much that when she learns Riley has been in contact with Will and, by extension, Jonas, she leaves Riley on her own.
Now, as I see it, there are two things that were revealed in that scene that relate to Angelica: one, being the “York Peppermint Pattie” she bit into in the very first scene of the show which presumably has a lot to do with the psycellium responsible for the Sensates’ abilities; and two, her last name, which is Turing. You see, I’m a firm believer that in shows like this no character is ever named randomly. So I can only assume that her name is some kind of nod to Alan Turing, otherwise known as the father of modern computer science… and artificial intelligence.
Whether or not the name is a hint about the true nature of the Sensates has yet to be seen—at least, by me. (I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been watching these things week-by-week.) It would be pretty cool to realize that the psycellium is actually a form of super-advanced nanobots or something. Regardless, one other interesting fact about Turing is that he was a cryptographer and worked during World War II in a code-breaking station tasked with solving encrypted German transmissions. The name of his section of code-breakers? Hut 8.
I know I have a tendency to find connections where none actually exist, but I wasted a lot of time before I found that little nugget of information and felt the need to share it.
Anyway, the second info-dump of the episode happens when Will is visited by his own Sensate-mentor, Jonas. This all happens when Riley is speaking to Yrsa, and Riley and Will visit each other which adds an even more intense feeling to the whole scene. Everything Jonas says—except for the nature of BPO—pretty much contradicts what Yrsa says, including the bit about love. According to Jonas, Angelica believed that love between Sensates is not pathological, but in fact love in its purest form.
From what I’ve seen, I agree with Jonas and Angelica. I can see where Yrsa is coming from, particularly because a cluster of Sensates has, in past episodes, been described as “eight versions of a single self,” so loving one of the other versions of a self would indeed be a pretty hard case of narcissism. But I think the “single self” thing is metaphorical. We’ve seen these characters on their own (indeed, that is why the first half of the season gets described as a “slow burn” in reviews)… which is to say they are unique and have their own lives. And so I think love between them, like Riley and Will, or Wolfgang and Kala, can be quite real and probably very, very powerful given that their minds are melded together. Almost spiritual. That would seem like love in its purest form.
We see a bit of that mind-melding love between Nomi and Lito, who is sulking over his breakup with Hernando when we catch up with him at the Diego Rivera Museum of Art in Mexico. “Mad World” is playing on a nearby piano, and he recalls how passionately Hernando appreciated art… Hernando likened it to love; “a force that comes into our lives without any rules or expectations.” (By the way, according to a previous episode, “Art is Like Religion.” So if love is like art, and art is like religion, would love be a lot like religion? If love between Sensates is akin to something spiritual, I’d have to say yes… and to hell with Yrsa).
Nomi and Lito share a powerful heart-to-heart conversation in which they talk about how hard it can be to live a double life. Nomi recounts a horrific story from her childhood in which she was held under a burning hot shower by bullies who called her a faggot in the shower. This affects Lito to the point of angry tears, and he actually shouts “STOP IT YOU MONSTERS!” at the bullies from Nomi’s past.
“Went to school and I was very nervous… No one knew me, no one knew me… mad world… maaad wooorld….”
Nomi also gets to revel in a bit of love in this episode, as Amanita decides to check for her at her apartment and the two collapses into each other. When Neets asks Nomi why she thinks hiding in plain sight is a good idea, Nomi reveals that she used Will’s badge number to convince the authorities that she was last seen getting on an airplane to Australia.
We also glimpse the powerful love Wolfgang has for Felix, as he sits watching over him in the hospital. Apparently the gun shot from the previous episode only put him in a coma. As Wolfgang plays Conan for his unconscious friend, his Uncle visits and says that when Wolfgang’s father was killed the only thing motivating him in life was revenge. This is an ominous warning of some kind, and he tells Wolfgang that he made a mistake and can go no further. “Don’t make me choose between you and my own son.”
Meanwhile, Riley is dealing with her own family drama when she asks to go visit the gravesite of her late husband/boyfriend. When she does, she gets a visit from the ever-endearing (and underutilized, I’d say) Capheus, and the two bond over the fact that “death doesn’t let you say goodbye.”
Riley couldn’t bear to say goodbye and missed her own husband’s funeral, whereas Capheus wasn’t able to say goodbye to his baby sister, who he and his mother had to give away so she wouldn’t starve. Capheus says that giving the baby away was a lot like death… but also life, since she did in fact get to keep living. In that sense, he says, some endings are really new beginnings. Placing a pensive hand on Riley’s back, he says that sometimes life and death can get all mixed up.
Back in Mexico City, Lito binge-eats a tub of ice cream and cries over losing both Hernando and Daniela. Their absence in the apartment is palpable, and I couldn’t help but think of Daniela and hope that she is okay. Lito starts calling Hernando and leaving crazy obsessive messages on his voicemail, including one in which he cries over not being able to get the bathtub to work. Finally, he leaves a substantial message wherein he admits to his mistake and knows he let both he and Daniela down. As he tells Hernando that he can’t live without him, Hernando’s mailbox reaches its capacity and Lito gets disconnected.
Picking up a gun and placing the barrel into his mouth, Lito has apparently reached his wits end. (“The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had… maaaad wooorld….”)
However, when he pulls the trigger, the gun is revealed to be a lighter; a prop, a fake… just like his life and his career. All Lito knows how to do is lie. And with that, the episode ends.