Sense8 recap: 'Polyphony'
Things aren’t so good in the world of the sensates right now. While they started off the season by triumphantly tracking down Whispers, gaining a bit of freedom and getting that much closer to disrupting BPO’s war on the sensates, everything is starting to go off the rails. The previous episode ended with Croome being stabbed to death while Will looked on helplessly. As the third episode of the season begins, Will and Riley must get out of the museum after Nomi discovers the whole thing was a setup. Someone placed a call to the police before the attack even happened.
Luckily, Lito is there to help. He takes over for Riley and becomes hysterical, acting like a truly unhinged person in order to cause a distraction and let Will slip away unnoticed. Once Riley and Will are out, everyone gathers to discuss what’s next. Wolfgang shows up late but says that he may have met someone who can help them. It’s Lila. You know, the woman who was mentally having sex with him in the previous episode? Yeah, her.
Not everyone is sure about her though. If they’re just learning about Lila, they worry that she’s perhaps working for BPO. Later, as Kala wanders around an art gallery, Wolfgang hits up the club with Felix. The two meet in the bathroom and talk about why they can’t be together, and Lila shows up. She basically confirms that she has a deal with BPO to keep herself safe, but how deep that relationship runs is still a mystery.
The appearance of Lila underscores a reality for this cluster: They have no idea who to trust. For instance, Nomi finally tells Bug the truth about why she’s always talking out loud to herself, and his mind is blown. She and Amanita are sure they can trust Bug because he’s always been loyal, but his wigged-out response is also worrisome. They need all the discretion possible right now, and Bug’s whole demeanor is the opposite of discreet.
While Sun receives advice about not letting her need to get revenge on her brother ruin her “beautiful heart” — it was her brother who hired the guards to kill her — and Amanita barely escapes a run-in with Agent Bendix by fleeing on a motorcycle, Capheus and Kala encounter different sides of humanity. For Capheus, that means getting interviewed on a morning show about his intervention in a protest over access to clean water, in which he chastises the country’s leaders for becoming “politicians.” For Kala, that means reckoning with the fact that her husband is receiving bomb threats because of the religious crackdown by his father. Politics, religion, and clean water are positioned as commodities, as things that are negotiated, bought, and sold.
The cluster is fighting these kinds of small battles at every turn. While they’re all interested in going after BPO and Whispers, they’re also moving on with their own lives, the ones they had before they knew of their powers of connectivity. But the previous versions of their lives aren’t necessarily disconnected from this current version. In fact, an encounter from Lito’s past may be the key to tracking down Whispers once and for all.
In the previous episode, Lito learned from Jonas that a journalist who once interviewed him, Raoul, was also a sensate. This was before Lito understood what clusters were, and before he even began to grapple openly with his sexuality, so the connection, both romantic and spiritual, struck him as odd but not important. Now, looking back, he knows there was something more there.
Lito goes to visit Raoul’s father, as the cluster believes he may have some information on how to find Whispers, or maybe just some dirt on BPO in general. They believe this because Raoul disappeared while he was on assignment in Chicago, and all signs point to him being taken by BPO. Raoul’s father isn’t sure how an actor can help his son, and he doesn’t totally understand the situation, but he’s willing to answer Lito’s questions and give him access to his son’s stuff.
Lito and the other sensates get a look at pictures in Raoul’s room; many are of the cabin some of the sensates called home, and a few contain snaps of Angelica. Then, Raoul’s father hands over a key piece of evidence. Hidden behind a movie poster with Lito’s face on it is a videotape that shows Todd, the sensate Angelica gave birth to who wanted nothing more than to stop being a sensate, being experimented on by Whispers and some professor. Was this Raoul’s fate as well?
It would certainly seem so. When Lito asks Raoul’s father when he last spoke to his son, he recalls a silent phone call he received just before his disappearance. While he heard nothing on the other end but understood it to be his son, we get to see the sad truth. Raoul sits on the other end of the call weeping, a prominent scar across his forehead. That scar is a symbol that comes into play later.
“Polyphony” is a much more muted episode than the two previous ones, as the sensates are caught between needing to stay hidden while also searching for Whispers and any new information on BPO. If Whispers was able to get back into a position of power after Croome locked him away, that means he has friends on the inside. But it also means there is a division within BPO that can be exploited, just as Croome suggested. The sensates may have lost an ally in Croome, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have hope.
All that said, the episode doesn’t end on a hopeful note. Even as Sun escapes the cops and lives to fight another day, things are going wrong for the cluster. A shared vision sees Jonas being wheeled into an operating room. He tells Will and Nomi that while BPO was keeping him alive for a while, it’s clear that they don’t see him as valuable anymore. Instead, he’ll be used as an example.
“They’re using me to send you a message. They want you to watch,” he says before his skull is cut open; it’s the procedure that also took Raoul, and could also represent the fate of our beloved sensates if they don’t find a way to take down BPO.