Sense8 Season 1, Episode 1
Posted by Shannon Leigh
Hi friends! Welcome to your friendly neighborhood recaps of the Netflix series Sense8!
I’ll be honest, I have seen the whole season…twice. BUT I will be recapping as if I have NOT (to the best of my ability), which is to say there will be no spoilers for upcoming episodes, and if anyone actually comments on these, I ask that they refrain from spoilers as well.
Finally, THANK YOU to Kim and Sage for giving me an outlet while I wait for everyone else to finish watching it, because I literally spent two hours talking about it to someone who had never even heard of it the other day.
Here we go with episode one! It’s dense, especially at the beginning, so try to stay with me and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle.
We open in an abandoned, ruined church. It was probably beautiful once but now it’s home to a lot of trash, and also a gross mattress with Daryl Hannah lying on it. She…has looked better, which is not a comment on her age, but on the fact that she seems to be in agony as she wakes up. She has a gun nearby and a tin that looks like it used to be full of drugs, but is now just empty silver wrappers. I’m not exactly up on what the kids are taking these days though.
Suddenly someone appears to take her hand, and it’s Sayid! From LOST, in case you were Amish or something back in the ‘00s. Daryl Hannah calls him Jonas but lbr I’m gonna call him Sayid. She says it hurts and he knows, and also tellingly calls her “my love.” In alternating camera shots, Sayid is both visible and not, in order to establish that only Daryl can see him.
Sayid says it’s time for something, even though Daryl protests that she’s not strong enough and that she doesn’t want anyone else to die because of her. Whatever it’s time for though, it’s happening, because Daryl writhes in agony and then suddenly sits up to breathe “I see them.” And now it’s time to meet your eight new children!
A handsome Latino man draws a gun in a beautiful chapel, dripping blood. On a rooftop in London, a young woman with bleached and dyed hair lights a cigarette. In Seoul, a Korean woman does what looks like tai chi? But what do I know. In a nightclub in Berlin, a sweaty shirtless man seems to spot something through the crowd of writhing bodies. Yum.
A car that reads CHICAGO POLICE stops before Daryl, who is sitting in the middle of the road. But! In Mumbai, a beautiful Indian woman walking down the steps of an office building sees Daryl there, too! Daryl is also in Nairobi, where she’s spotted on the side of the road by a man driving a van. The Latino man in the chapel sees Daryl at the altar, and then she’s seen in the mirror by a woman injecting herself with a syringe in her bathroom, where Martha Jones is dozing off in the bathtub.
Basically everyone we’ve just seen spots Daryl Hannah right in front of them and seems to realize there’s something odd about her sudden appearance. A cop emerges from the car in Chicago and approaches her, which is when we all return to the chapel where she really is.
Sayid is all proud of Daryl, who tells him to “protect them.” There’s a sinister “they’re here” moment from Sayid, which is immediately topped when Daryl whispers “so is he” and Terrence Mann just pops out from behind her like a creepy creeper who creeps. She can’t fight him now that she’s out of the drugs she was using to hide from him. Daryl can apparently see both Mann and Sayid but they can’t see each other, though Mann wants Daryl to pass on the message that he’s looking forward to meeting Sayid.
There are declarations of love and Sayid gives Daryl a name: Angelica. He disappears at her request, though, at which point she produces the gun we saw earlier. Even though Mann tells her she won’t do it, she’s “one of us” and there’s work to be done, just as he actually physically walks into the church with a team of muscle (as opposed to appearing behind her), she puts the gun in her mouth and pulls the trigger. Dark!
Two minute credits! The music is good and appropriately tense, and the visuals do a nice job of establishing a global setting, but come on, Netflix. You know most of us are gonna watch this all in a day, maybe two. Ease up a little.
A ghostly little girl begs for help from a boy named Will, who is chasing her through the woods to a creepy looking building, which looks like every abandoned and haunted mental hospital from every horror movie or television show. As he moves through the hallways at her direction, the little boy becomes the cop we saw before, and he approaches Angelica on the filthy mattress where she died. As she shoots herself in the mouth again, the cop wakes up in his apartment in Chicago with a start, and grabs his gun off the bedside table to aim it at nothing.
This is Will Gorski, and let me tell you, I had a serious problem with this because I am from Chicago where people named Gorski are thick on the ground, and Bill Gorski was the name of my least favorite high school teacher. I will try to work past it for the sake of Officer Will Gorski, precious ray of sunshine. Also, he’s shirtless, which is good.
Will shirtlessly touches his head like it’s aching terribly, and I’m sure the way the position shows off his biceps is totally coincidental. Club music starts up as he shirtlessly splashes water on his face, and he goes to the apartment next door (sadly, putting on a shirt) to ask them to turn it down. When no one answers, even after he calls out that it’s the police, Will forces open the door to find it vacant and silent. Nice apartment, though. Hardwood floors. Exposed brick.
That music is actually playing at a nightclub in London, where our woman with bleached and dyed hair is DJing on a stage. This is Riley Blue (Blue seems to be the name she uses in England, possibly her DJ name, rather than her given last name, FYI), and lights swirl around her lovingly as she does her work. Up on a balcony, a man remarks to another that she can spin “for a girl” and receives the reply that she can spin period, and I like him for like a minute.
Of course, then we immediately discover that he’s a drug dealer called Nyx as if that’s a name, and the guy who put gender-based qualifications on Riley’s skills is her boyfriend Jacks, and it’s pretty clear that Riley is surrounded by people who are not quite up to snuff. I’d have a migraine around them, too. Jacks and his hanger-on want to get fucked up on Nyx’s supply, but Nyx is more interested in hearing about this vision Riley had of Angelica. She chalks it up to too many drugs, but she’s clearly still thinking about it.
DRAMATIC music plays as we revisit the Latino man in the chapel. He washes blood off his hands (pretty ineffectually) and approaches the altar again in slooooow motion with his gun. There’s a nun who throws herself at him (like, sexually) but he shoves her off before coming up behind a priest in prayer. “Have you come to confess your sins, my son?”
“No, Padre. I’ve come to blow your fucking brains out.”
This, apparently, was the wrong thing to say, because a cut is called. We’re actually on a film set in Mexico City and this is Lito Rodriguez, an actor who’s having some trouble remembering his lines after having visions of “suicidal angels” yesterday. Lito’s not feeling himself but they’ll go again because show business waits for no man.
There’s also some other kind of business that waits for no man in Seoul, and it’s not clear exactly what it is but it’s obviously a BFD. Sun Bak, the Korean woman we saw earlier, is meeting with some bigwig because her brother is running late, and even though she’s the VP and CFO of her company, the dude just manages to insult the hell out of her for being a woman before her brother cruises in like an asshole, just in time to stop Sun from throwing the fist she was starting to make. She also sees herself in the church where Angelica died, watching her rise up from the mattress before her brother grossly demands that she go get them some coffees.
In London, they’re still talking about Riley’s vision and Jacks’ friend is telling a story about how his nieces apparently psychically knew when their mother was in medical trouble miles away, and Nyx the drug dealer gets to deliver the episode title: “Limbic resonance.” Basically it’s a telepathic connection that — surprise! — has a connection to the drugs he just so HAPPENS to sell.