Sense8 recap: 'Obligate Mutualisms'
Coming off of a successful mental heist in the season premiere, in which the sensates were able to track down Whispers and find out that he reports to a man by the name of Croome, who comes into play later, the team of psychically connected globetrotters share a celebratory drink. They’re in a merry mood, as Will once again visits with Whispers to brag about what they pulled off and to execute the next part of the plan. While everyone celebrates the victory and laughs at Whispers’ pathetic attempts at being stern, Will makes his next demand.
He wants to speak with the man Whispers reports to. He knows he’s behind the glass in the interrogation room, so he just needs Whispers to repeat a few things. Nomi does some digging and finds intimate information about Croome, including the fact that he seems to have a mistress. Relaying this information through Whispers brings Croome into the room. He quickly has Whispers drugged and hauled off after Will demands a face-to-face meeting with both him and Jonas.
With that triumphant victory behind them and Whispers officially out of Will’s head, all the sensates take a minute to bask in their freedom. As the hopeful tones of “All My Days” by Alexi Murdoch ring out, the sensates head into the streets of Amsterdam and take in the sunshine. It’s an uplifting, joyous moment that comes after months of being on the run. It’s freedom, and while it’s likely fleeting, it’s enough for now. Even Sun, still locked up in prison, sheds a tear and boasts a smile for the brief reprieve. “Even breathing feels all right,” croons Alexi Murdoch, and that just about captures the feeling for everyone here.
After that moment, the sensates are energized. Lito walks into a meeting with his agents and muses on the beauty of the city before him. His optimism is immediately thwarted, as the studio he’s been working with has invoked a “morals clause” and dropped any future movies with the actor. But all is not lost; the agents pitch this as an opportunity to do something better and more creatively satisfying. They send him home with a pile of scripts in the hopes of finding something new for their recently outed client.
Even Wolfgang, the typically reserved German, is having quite the joyous time. He and Felix are being recruited to run a club as part of an international money-laundering scheme that’s being threatened by the gang war. Part of that recruitment, apparently, is getting sexually involved with the club owner’s “right-hand man,” a woman named Lila — who’s also a sensate, and who can seemingly have sex with Wolfgang without, you now, actually touching him. They’re doing it right at the table during their business meeting, even if it doesn’t look like it. As always, the sensates remain extremely horny.
There’s no time for sexual philandering, though, when Sun is dragged out of her prison cell and into a room where the security cameras have been disabled. Everyone shows up to help her out. Will notices that the guards aren’t from that prison and sends a warning to Sun. Then, Sun fights off the guards while they try to hang her up from the ceiling, and a final guard is killed by another prisoner, an older lady who offers to take the fall for the conflict because she’s old and there’s not much the guards can do to her except extend her sentence.
That’s not good enough for Sun. Instead, as Lito puts it, it’s time to execute “a jailbreak, baby!” Not unlike what they did in Iceland for Riley, the sensates come together to get Sun out of prison, with Lito using his acting skills to get past a gate and an intercom, and Capheus driving the bus that gets Sun to freedom and into the home of a friend of the other prisoner.
The second episode of the season is much more plot driven than the first. Sure, there are those moments of reflection and joy, like Lito, Hernando, and Dani deciding that they have to buy an expensive apartment together because they all fit in the bathtub, but they’re few and far between. Most of this episode is spent learning more about sensates and clusters: how they came to be and what their future may hold.
That starts with Will meeting with Jonas at a train station. To be fair, Jonas is actually restrained and hooked up to all sorts of machines at some BPO facility, but he’s cognizant enough for the moment to meet with Will. Basically, the purpose of their conversation is for Jonas to explain more about sensates and BPO. He tells the story of his father giving birth to a cluster of 80 children, relating how any gender of sensate can give birth, and at any time in their lives.
This is why BPO is so worried about them: population growth. Jonas says that BPO is terrified of the sensates growing, and numbers currently estimate them to be anywhere from the thousands to tens of thousands. That’s so many opportunities for orgies. Well, that’s not what Jonas says, but come on; we all know that the sensates love their orgies.
The sensates are starting to realize just how many of them there are. Not everyone is thrilled to be born into a cluster, as evidenced by a story Jonas tells about Angelica giving birth to a man named Todd who wanted BPO to change him, but there’s still the sense that our favorite sensates aren’t alone in their struggle. Now, they just need some leverage against BPO; they need to find the divisions within the company and figure out how to exploit them.
That line of thinking leads to the episode’s final scene. As is becoming a Sense8 trend, the scene takes place in a museum, in front of a painting. In this case it’s Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, a painting that some suggest explores themes of unity and war. It’s appropriate considering the discussion taking place: As Will confronts Croome, thinking that he has him cornered, he finds an unexpected ally.
You never know when someone is lying in Sense8, but Croome’s statements about wanting to change how sensates are negatively viewed seems honest. He says that, like so many things, the understanding of sensates changed after 9/11. Suddenly fear was on the rise, global spying and anti-terrorism took hold, and the sensates and their clusters were viewed as a threat to secrecy and sovereignty.
Croome says that he wants to change BPO from the inside, and that he has like-minded individuals by his side. It’s no easy task, but he’s looking toward the future, holding on to an idea that the founder of BPO, Ruth Al-Sadaawi, first boasted: that sensorium and sapiens need each other for survival, and that a balance needs to be struck. As he puts it, the sapiens and sensoriums are “obligate mutualisms,” meaning they can’t survive without each other.
Croome barely gets out his mission statement before he’s brutally attacked by a woman in the museum. She’s under Whispers’ control; he somehow escaped whatever hold he was under, and now he’s back to being in control. Will steps back from the scene — Croome dead alongside the woman who killed him, as Whispers forces her to stab herself in the neck after completing her mission — and the episode cuts to black. In the previous episode, Will was sure they were hunting Whispers and had the advantage. Now, they may be back on the run.