As this stage of Sense8 draws to a close, we need to appreciate everyone who made this show happen, and how it has left its mark on history.
The finale special is out, and we’re still reeling from how amazing it was. Whether this is truly the end, or we’ll see more of it in the future, these past three years have been an amazing, historic time.
We saw Sense8 emerge as a rather obscure show on Netflix — one that grew a following more through Tumblr gifs and word of mouth than advertisement. And from the very first episode, we were stunned: the stories that were playing out on screen, the people we were getting to know… this had never been attempted on screen before.
It was a perfect combination of science fiction, action, drama and romance. But it was also much more than any of those things. Sense8 went beyond common simplistic approaches to film and instead committed itself to showing everything about the experience of being human — and transcending our humanness to become much more.
Everything meant everything: from sex to menstruation, from family loss to disease. We saw villains of all kinds and heroes of all kinds. But most importantly, we saw the wide diversity of the human experience told with loving eloquence throughout the entire show: Capheus’ story was completely different from Sun’s, Nomi’s experience was completely different from Kala’s… and yet they connected — even more, they understood each other. They loved each other.
And when it came to transcending, becoming a sensate was not reduced to magic or science fiction. Being a sensate, at its core, is only a more concretely framed opportunity to open oneself up to empathy. Being ‘born’ as a sensate represents the process of becoming open-minded… of becoming capable of loving others, even those who are thousands of miles away and with whom we seem to have nothing in common.
It’s rare to see shows or movies — or any kind of media, really — that properly depicts the process of growth humanity is going through in this moment in history. We’re more conscious now than ever before of the prejudice and bias that is corroding our society. And yet — with the growth of the internet, and our knowledge of language and culture expanding — we’ve never had such an open channel to get to know each other; to get to love each other.
Sense8, in its own pensive, joyful, unapologetic way, did something much bigger than can be described with the words “representation” or “diversity” or even “storytelling.” It allowed itself to become something more.
So thank you, Lana and Lilly Wachowski, J. Michael Straczynski, Jamie Clayton, Doona Bae, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman, and everyone in the cast and crew who took part in this amazing show. Thank you for pouring your souls into something the world didn’t even know it needed. Thank you for being the first product of the evolution of on-screen storytelling: the first of what will hopefully be many stories that dare to go beyond. Thank you for showing us that it is possible.
And to the fandom: don’t be afraid. It’s still extremely likely that we’ll see Sense8 come back. And even if it doesn’t — loath as I am to say it — this is just the beginning. This fandom is evidence that there are thousands out there who see themselves reflected in the ideal of a united world, and who are willing to do something about it.
In the finale, Will asked his cluster (and their allies): “Would any of us go back to the world we’re used to?”
For the fandom, the answer is a definite “no.” The whole world might not have been ready for Sense8, but the show is the answer to a question we’re finally daring to ask. It paints a future that is full of hope. And I’m just glad we got to live to see it portrayed so beautifully.
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