How Did Sense8 End?

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Love conquers all.

Netflix gave Sense8 a feature-length series finale after cancelling the Wachowski-created series following Season 2. Here’s our spoiler-filled review of how it ended.

“Pain binds us together better than anything else,” Jonas tells Will early in Sense8’s two and a half hour finale. While true in some regard, it feels like one of the last remaining figures from a failed sensate cluster only makes it halfway to the full truth Sense8 is pushing. As secrets unfold in the finale, we learn the deeper reasons of various betrayals within Jonas’ cluster, which just further illustrates the difference between them and Will’s group of telepathically connected individuals.

Their eight-way relationship has been built on empathy and love since the start, and thus those ideals became the prerogative the show has always put forward. Whether it be Nomi struggling for her family’s acceptance, Kala struggling with the expectations of her culture, or any of the other individual sensates’ woes, their shared pain has always led them to a wider, more encompassing acceptance of each others’ love. One of the many truisms of this show is that it’s love that makes pain worth enduring. After all, it was love from this show’s fans that resurrected Sense8 from the dead so it could conclude.

And conclude it certainly does. Appropriately titled “Amor Vincit Omnia” (“Love Conquers All” in Italian), the Lana Wachowski-directed finale film is a warm goodbye to the fans that crams everything great about Sense8 — action, sci-fi, humor, sentimentality, and oh yes, an orgy — into just barely enough time to satisfy.

The first hour is largely devoted to resolving the chief cliffhanger left from Season 2, Wolfgang’s capture. Here, “Amor Vincit Omnia” takes a page out of Return of the Jedi (or The Matrix Revolutions, if you want to keep it in the Wachowskis’ canon) by devoting its entire first act to an elaborate plan the rest of the heroes concoct to rescue their one missing link, as well as all the many ways that plan goes wrong. They’re lucky, however, to have one huge bargaining chip: Whispers. With their main enemy captured, the sensates, most of whom are now physically together in Paris, are able to set up a prisoner exchange between themselves and Lila, who we now know is governed by the mysterious masked chairman who runs this whole evil organization.

For that to work, Wolfgang has to want to be saved. A number of the main eight have character arcs throughout the finale, but this initial one for the German assassin is both the most necessary and, thankfully, given the most time. The finale’s opening scene show us flashbacks to his childhood, where the shadow of an abusive father looms large. When Wolfgang telepathically tells Kala that he’s not worth being saved, he mirrors the words his mother said to him at a dire moment.Despite his violent occupation, he’s been trying to save people all his life, starting with his mother, a rescue that ended very violently, with his father engulfed in flames.

It takes Kala, after a couple attempts, to get Wolfgang to find the fight in himself again, continuing the first battle in a long time that isn’t just for himself, but for the family given to him via these gifts. Lana Wachowski shoots the mix of gunplay and hand-to-hand combat of his escape attempt with an unrestrained vigor, making for one of the better action scenes of the finale movie. But he still ends up in Lila’s clutches for the prisoner exchange to come.

Naturally though, with 90 minutes to go, the prisoner exchange, set in a nightclub for the “cool factor” more than any logical story reason, goes madly awry. Wolfgang reunites with his cluster, but Lila makes it off with Whispers before they can recapture him.

Exit Theatre Mode

The aftermath is where “Amor Vincit Omnia” really starts to feel like a finale. With Sun’s legal and family troubles finally resolved, she’s ready to resume her romance with Suuku. Meanwhile, Kala now has to come to some sort of decision about the two men she loves (the answer: sci-fi polyamory!).

While it’s undoubtedly fun to have so many of the series’ supporting characters come together from across the globe, however conveniently the script allows them, it’s a bit frustrating that so much time in the final episode is spent with Sukku and Rajan, for instance, at the expense of major players like Lito and Riley. The former’s truncated role is especially disappointing, as he’s consistently been a highlight throughout the series and one of the loudest and proudest characters exhibiting the show’s themes of acceptance and equality.

After checking in with several characters’ individual dilemmas, the finale gets back to the plot as the show seems to suddenly realize it has to wrap things up. A vague and somewhat confusing appearance by an oracle-like figure who claims to be a mother to all sensates, but especially Whispers, as she’s one of the last of his cluster, is able to give our ensemble his location for a final showdown. The plan involves a goofy (though endearing) bit where the cluster and their friends and family all pretend to be tourists on a bus tour to break into the facility where Lila is holding Whispers. But the climax that follows is something of a let-down. First, Lila shoots Kala, appearing to kill her before she’s saved by Wolfgang and Rajan and the raid can continue. Then, the villains all come together for a moment before Jonas unceremoniously kills the just-revealed Chairman (who Angelica nearly blew to high heavens before her death), leaving Lila to try and escape with Whispers in a helicopter. The resolution, infuriatingly, is to have Wolfgang pull a rocket launcher out of trunk and blow the helicopter up. It’s clear the writers truly had no idea what to do with this scene, as the cluster sort of just looks at each other like “I guess that’s it, then.”

But the Sense8 writers’ greatest strength has never really been the sci-fi plotting, but the small and large interactions between the cluster. And so, the last 30 minutes of the series still manage to be a success. The final collection of scenes starts with Nomi and Neets’ wedding within the Eiffel Tower. It had to. With all the love the show has put forward from the start, and with the Wachowskis both coming out as trans over the years, making the series arguably their most personal work to date, Sense8 had to end with an unapologetic celebration of love that serves as a reminder of all the ground this series broke.

There are lovely touches throughout the reception, from Nomi’s mother finally finding love for her daughter, via some potent pot brownies, to Angelica’s brief eye contact with Will, calling back to how the series started. But on Sense8, the celebration of love has to end up in the bedroom. And so the series ends with one last classic orgy scene, albeit one far more emotional than the previous two.

This show is responsible for some of the golden age of TV’s most beautiful sex scenes, but there’s poetry to this last one—a gentleness that communicates love and passion, ending with a sea of bodies of all colors and creeds where you can’t really tell who’s who. With a final shot that lands on and then fades out from a rainbow strap-on, serving as a giggle-inducing reminder of the power of love, Sense8 gets to finish its run, maybe not exactly how it planned, but without losing an ounce of itself. What a gift that is to the fans who saw themselves, maybe even for the first time, in these characters. For that, Sense8 has earned a long and loving legacy that will hopefully continue to show underrepresented audiences that there are stories for them.

The Verdict

If Sense8 has to conclude too soon, there likely isn’t a better ending than what we got with “Amor Vincit Omnia.” Though the plot is a bit rushed and sidelines a few of the show’s best characters, the overwhelming message of love should leave fans on a warm and fuzzy note, while also reminding them how groundbreaking and important the series was from the start.

SOURCE: IGN.com

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