“Who am I?” is the question on everybody’s lips in the newest trailer for the second season of Sense8. The popular Netflix original series, produced by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), has created a sci-fi world with heart-pounding storylines and an otherworldly celebration of culture, individuality, and humanity.
Sense8 revolves around eight strangers from around the globe who are suddenly connected telepathically. As the octet explores their newfound hive-mind, they realize they’re being hunted by an organization called BPO and are collectively shoved into a world of secrets and chaos.
The collision of these eight global identities transcends the boundaries of geographic location, language, culture, and even sexuality. Their hive-mind allows the sensates to draw on perspectives wildly different from their own. Imagine a German ex-mafia boss and a transgender hacker in San Francisco being able to tap into each other’s consciousness. What could the two learn from each other’s experiences, suffering, joy? Each person’s identity is so foreign to the next, but embracing each other’s differences is the only way the group will survive.
When Capheus in Nairobi, Kenya is ambushed by a street gang, Sun in Seoul, South Korea “shares” her kickboxing skills and they effectively kick some ass together. Capheus returns the favor later by helping Sun drive a bus, which is admittedly not as cool as kickboxing, but just as necessary to saving Sun’s life. In a particularly breathtaking scene in Season 2, Wolfgang, the criminally-involved-yet-lovable black sheep of the group, acknowledges just how much stronger the octet is when they work together. Normally reluctant to ask for help, Wolfgang assembles the sensates to help him out of a sticky situation, and without spoiling too much, uses every member’s knowledge and skills to expertly escape. The ability to lean on and trust each other rescues our heroes time and time again.
As the sensates explore the scope of their powers, they also use each other’s perspectives to learn more about themselves. Lito, the closeted telenovela actor, goes out for the role of a lifetime and taps into Sun’s feelings of loneliness and isolation to nail the audition. Through the connection, Lito realizes how he's isolated himself from the world by hiding who he really is. Sharing their experiences with each other intrinsically helps the sensates better understand who they are as individuals.
These kinds of relationships are groundbreaking. There is no other show where you can watch a transgender hacker, German crime boss, Chicago cop, gay telenovela actor, Icelandic DJ, Indian doctor, Kenyan bus driver, and Korean business executive/underground kickboxer take down a global terrorist organization while shaking up the definition of what it means to be human.
“Who am I?” the sensates wonder. Who are we?
In a frustratingly divided world, rife with discrimination and wars and incompetent leaders, learning from each other seems to be the way to finally see everyone as simply human beings. The vulnerability and openness the sensates share is what we all need to be more understanding of those who are unlike us, as well as ourselves. How wonderful would it be to have a worldwide hive-mind, where everyone’s differences and individuality would not only be accepted, but celebrated?
All episodes of Sense8 now streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.