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SENSE8’s Relationships Deserve a Proper Ending

SENSE8’s Relationships Deserve a Proper Ending

Sense8 is hard to describe in a nutshell. It’s a science-fiction series; it’s an ensemble drama; it’s cultural commentary on the world we live in. It’s thrilling; it’s heartbreaking; it’s beautiful–it’s all of the above. But maybe that’s the point. Like the eight strangers who eventually come together to make up a unique family of “sensates” (individuals who are mentally and emotionally linked across the world), it’s all the different facets of the show that unite to form one incredibly moving piece of television. That’s why it was discouraging, to say the least, when Netflix announced on Thursday that they would be canceling Sense8. After two seasons featuring a deep dive into the intrinsics of the sensate bond and their growing reliance on one another, news of the show’s cancellation felt akin to ripping the rug out from beneath the audience’s feet without any warning, leaving many fans wondering if there would be any possibility to tie up loose ends.

The strongest part of Sense8, without question, was the relationship between the core cast of characters: the eight sensates, as well as several of their friends, lovers, and allies. As Capheus, Sun, Nomi, Kala, Riley, Wolfgang, Lito, and Will navigated the intricacies of their unexpected connection, it also provided viewers the opportunity to get to know them in a unique way. The sensate bond, for better or for worse, is overwhelmingly intimate; when they experience someone else’s emotional turmoil, physical pain or rapturous pleasure, it’s instantaneous. The audience, in turn, adopts the role of a ninth sensate, with the show providing a window through which to let us witness everything. The sensates can’t hide anything from each other, and nothing is hidden for all of us following the journey. It’s why fans of the show are more than mere fans; they may as well be family.

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Admittedly, there were lesser aspects to the series–a powerful sensate with evil tendencies dubbed “Whispers,” as well as the BPO, a shadow organization determined to wipe out our main characters entirely–that paled, narratively and otherwise, in comparison to the beating heart of Sense8. Beyond serving as the strong emotional core that had fans clamoring to get to the next episode, the relationships between the sensates and their loved ones made up the most relatable and moving storylines over the course of the show’s 23 episodes.

Within the sensate group itself, romantic pair-offs were probably somewhat inevitable; Will and Riley’s relationship grew into a deeper symbiosis when the two finally connected in person, while Kala and Wolfgang often wrestled with whether or not to act on their interest in one another. Outside of the bond, Lito was publicly outed, but in spite of facing homophobic backlash and irreparable damage to his acting career, declared his love for his boyfriend Hernando at a Pride parade in Sau Paulo. In the midst of the second season’s unanswered questions, Nomi and her girlfriend Amanita also found time to propose marriage to one another. Regardless of the series’ attempts to create an engaging arc involving a government conspiracy, there was never any question that what resonated most was its message about love.

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So in the wake of Sense8‘s cancellation, what happens next? There may not be a way for Netflix to resurrect the series for another full season, but maybe the answer is as simple as revisiting what’s been done before. The show released a Christmas special in December 2016 to tide fans over in the wait time between the first and second season, and considering that season two ended on something of a cliffhanger for our sensates this may be the way to go as a means of officially wrapping things up.

As we know, our core cast of characters are now converging on one physical location to try and deal with the threat of the BPO directly; what better way to close the book on their story than bringing them together for Nomi and Amanita’s wedding, for example? Most of the time a happy ending for all can often feel forced or unrealistic, but a majority of the storylines this season were about putting these characters through the ringer. If they weren’t being hunted down, they were living in hiding or even incarcerated. A Christmas Special could conclude the series on a message of unity for the sensates after a long period of separation and persecution. We might not get some of the answers to the Sense8‘s most complex questions, but since this show has always been better when it focuses on this unconventional family it’s not really that important for everything to wrap up neatly.

What Sense8 managed to accomplish for the science fiction genre within its 23-episode span can’t be understated. It offered intricate and engaging commentary on issues of sexuality, gender, politics, religion and race; it spanned eight cities and seven countries; it portrayed the beauty of human connection, tolerance and understanding; and it reminded us that as big the world can be, our stories are more universal than we realize.

Images: Netflix

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