In the words of the immortal John “Hannibal” Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together.” After spending some time establishing characters and defining, sometimes more successfully than others, the rules of their universe, the Wachowskis and Staczynski kick the plot into high gear, delivering another exhilarating action sequence that showcases the action pedigree of the creators, but also the potential of Sense8 to deliver engaging scenes that work because of the show’s premise, instead of in spite of it.
Nomi’s escape, though not without the requisite menstruation gag, is easily the most kinetic and exciting scene since the Van Damne bus confrontation. Again, active Nomi is much better than expository Nomi, but the real reason the scene works is that the group finally puts together its skills and shows the possibilities of experiencing the life of another past those of sex and meet cutes. Extra points are awarded for getting Capheus in on the action to drive; too often he has felt separated from the larger group and in the story only to offer another setting and marvel about the amazingness of every place in the world but Africa. Seeing him offer his talent to the group validates his place in the group, and is simply a lot less uncomfortable than having him practically doing backflips to experience sitting in coach on an airplane or having a cup of tea. The only drawback is that Nomi and Amanita are now separated. Hopefully this is not the last we have seen of Freema Agyeman, who has brought so much to her role.
The other, more expected, action sequence in this episode involves Sun breaking eight to ten convicts in the prison yard. While this confrontation was inevitable, it did not seem rote. Doona Bae, in the role of Sun, performs amazingly well in the physically demanding fight scenes and brings an understated charm to her dialogue. This might be particularly apparent since she is not paired up with Lito this episode, but Sun course corrects here after a shaky couple of episodes. Lito also benefits from the uncoupling, as he is liberated from the elements of farce and given some dramatic beats to play. It is still unclear as to what role, if any, that Lito will play in the larger story, but this change of pace was needed to make his character more than just the comic relief.
The Wolfgang and Kala story line also gained some depth in this episode, as his vigil at Felix’s beside leads to a Conan-heavy flashback that establishes the roots of their partnership. Wolfgang and Kala have remained for the most part on the outside of the main plot, but these scenes allow them to establish a connection based on something other than physical attraction and perhaps point to their expanded involvement as the season comes to a close. At this point it’s unclear whether all the characters will converge during this season, or if this is part of a longer story that needs to unspool. Given the complexity of the narrative and the amount of episodes remaining, it will be a feat to weave all these threads together.
The single problem remaining is Riley. Each member of the crew seems to bring a skill to the table, or at least in Kala’s case a moral quandary that is fleshed out by her connection to the other characters. Riley’s story could be developing more slowly than the others, as there have been hints dropped here and there about her mother, but at this late point it seems that she is being set up simply as a love interest for Officer Will (who should get a lock for his door- seriously). Now that the other characters all seem to have some part to play in the proceedings, hopefully she will be brought into the larger narrative in something less than an ornamental sense. This is a minor quibble in an otherwise strong installment; this episode is an indication that, even if everything doesn’t exactly gel at the end, Sense8 is at least heading in the right direction.