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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 13, 2020


‘SENSE8’ is from the Wachowski Brothers, Larry and Andy, who did the hit “Matrix” series. They have since come out as transwomen and are now known as Lana and Lilly Wachowski.

“Sense8” stands for sensates, persons who are strangely linked to each other mentally and emotionally.

The show has an ambitious concept about 8 different people living in 8 different cities (Chicago, London, Mexico, Nairobi, San Francisco, Seoul, Mumbai, and Berlin) who have psychic or telepathic connections with each other.

As such, a sensate in Chicago can suddenly appear to a sensate in another city and help bail him or her out when facing danger.

The show starts with a woman, Angelica Turing (Daryl Hannah), lying in the ruins of a big church and writhing like she’s giving birth with the help of Jonas Maliki (Naveen Andrews), another sensate who’s not really there but talks to her only psychically.

This process of birthing gives a sensate rebirth to 8 persons who all had their genetic births on August 8, that’s why they’re called the August cluster of sensates.

Sun (the superb Korean actress Doona Bae) is a top executive in Seoul who’s taken for granted by her tycoon dad who sides with her corrupt brother who puts her in jail. She’s the one who’s given the most action scenes as she’s a martial arts expert.

In Chicago, we meet Will Gorsky (Brian J. Smith, who looks like our own Richard Gutierrez), a straight cop who has differences with his dad (Joe Pantoliano) who’s also a cop.

In Mumbai, there’s Kala (Tina Desai), a chemist who’s engaged to be married to the son of a very rich man. Everyone says he’s a good catch, but the problem is she doesn’t really love him. They even have a fantastic Bollywood song and dance production number.

In London, we have Riley (Tuppence Middleton), a DJ who left her native Iceland as she feels she’s a jinx to her relatives there. She now gets into conflict with some nefarious characters involved in drugs.

In San Francisco, we meet Nomi (Jamie Clayton), a trans woman formerly known as Michael who is a blogger and expert hacker. Her very controlling mother cannot accept the new her and wants her to be lobotomized.

In Nairobi, Kenya, there’s Capheus (Aml Ameen), a minibus driver whose favorite is Jean Claude Van Damme. He is working to get medicines for his mom who is sick with AIDS and gets into conflict with a gang of some vicious thugs and a kingpin who gets him as a driver for his sick daughter.

In Berlin, we meet Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), a Berlin thief who has serious daddy issues and steals precious diamonds kept inside a safe that is said to be impossible to crack.

Last is Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Angel Silvestre, who looks like Gerald Anderson), a famous action star in Mexico who actually lives in the closet with his boyfriend, an art expert.

The series is obviously big-budgeted as it required them to film on actual location of various cities with different cultures. Many scenes are repeated with some characters popping in and out of different sets but with the same outfits they’re wearing.

You sometimes get to feel that the narrative will be messy with the show following the storylines of so many diverse characters, but the way their lives are made to intersect with each other makes the show a very compelling watch.

The show offers a lot of sexy scenes, both hetero and LGBT love scenes, complete with female and also male frontal nudity.

Some can be shocking for the uninitiated, like Nomi’s first scene where she is shown being humped by her black lesbian girlfriend named Amanita (Freema Agyeman), who had a strap-on dildo that she later on discards. You’d also wonder why Nomi, a former man, is now in love with a lesbian but, hell, to each his own gender fluidity.

Among the eight characters, the one we can easily empathize with is Sun as she’s oppressed by her own father and brother and yet she always fight back, even helping the other sensates when they face grave danger.

The interracial romance between some characters and the presence of gay characters help in fostering more tolerance among viewers, specially Lito who’s so afraid as to how his mom would react when she learns he’s gay but who turns out to be very supportive.

In the first season, the 8 lead characters are just seen living their ordinary lives then discovering that they have sensate power and how they can connect with the other sensates. The villain in the show is Whispers (Terrence Mann), also a sensate but now works for an organization called BPO (Biologic Preservation Organizarion) whose goal is to neutralize other sensates.

He is called Whispers as he is like a voice in the head of other sensates that can persuade them to do things against their will, like committing suicide.

“Sense8” is truly a very original kind of programming and it will demand your full concentration as you try to make mental notes about the traits and experiences of each of the 8 sensates who all have their riveting individual back stories so you get emotionally invested with all of them.

They maybe thousands of miles apart physically but all interconnected psychically.

Songs are important in the show as they often demonstrate the bond they share, like in the song “What’s Going On” and in the Christmas eve where they sing “Auld Lang Syne”, which is a very touching moment in the show.

All in all it’s a show that qualifies for binge watching and we’re now about to watch the second season.