TL;DR – The Series Finale brings closure in a way only Sense8 could by focusing on family and the power of love. If you have liked the show up until this point you will want to see how it ends, if you haven’t I don’t think this will change your mind.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Endings, no one wants their favourite show to end, lest of all when it is not ending on their own terms. The television landscape is filled with shows that I have deeply loved and we will never know how they ended, and while every now and again we get a Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Farscape many more shows have left the world on a cliffhanger never to be seen again. For a long time, it looked like Sense8 was going to join the long list of shows that never got to say goodbye properly, which was a real shame. While it didn’t always work, the show was always fascinating and it had a level of detail you don’t normally see as the show gallivanted across the globe. However a show like this was expensive, and while I was disappointed I understood when it was announced that it would not be picked up for a third season. However, if it is one thing you should never underestimate that is the power of fans, and in this case, that power has used for good, and today we get to see the outcome of that with a special final episode Amor Vincit Omnia or Love Conquers All.
So to set the scene, at the end of Season Two the world of the Sense8 had been rocked to its core. For the majority of the season, the group had been working on how to solve Will’s (Brian J. Smith) problem, for in the world of Sense8 once you have seen another outside your cluster they can connect with you at any time which can put the whole group in jeopardy. The problem is that Will connected with the one person on Earth he shouldn’t have, Whispers (Terrence Mann) the man that is helping the organisation BPO hunt down Sensates for nefarious reasons. So they had a plan to deal with this only for them to be betrayed by someone they trusted and Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) was captured and tortured by the BPO. Well for the first time everyone came together and Sun (Doona Bae), Nomi (Jamie Clayton), Kala (Tina Desai), Riley (Tuppence Middleton), Capheus (Toby Onwumere), Will, and Leto (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) along with allies Amanita (Freema Agyeman), Bug (Michael Sommers), Hernando (Alfonso Herrera), and Daniela (Eréndira Ibarra) captured Whispers and a former ally/enemy/don’t know what he is Jonas (Naveen Andrews). However, as the season drew to a close, Wolfgang was still captured, tied to a bed, as who knows what is pumped into his veins and if it had not been for the fans this is where it would have ended. In today’s finale, we jump right in where we left off with them setting up a trade, Wolfgang for Whispers, but this is a perilous game as there are more and more factions emerging, and one wrong move will collapse everything. Now as we jump on from here we will be talking about the finale as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] for those who have not watched it yet.
What does a final episode of TV have to do? Well, a good finale will sum up everything that has come before, tie up all (or at least most) of the loose ends, and find a way to give closure. For me, some of the stand out series finales are Deep Space Nine and The West Wing, because they both do just that. With Sense8 it had the unenviable task of truncating a season’s story arc into a two-hour finale, and for the most part, it works. There are of course some trade-offs, instead of gallivanting across the globe we stay in West Europe, and it does feel at times like the truncated final season of Fringe that we were rushing through things that you can feel was meant to be a whole episode on its own. So while it has been pushed into a smaller time frame, it does not mean that anything was lost, indeed they fit so much into the finale. Over the two hours we get three strong sections, the first act is breaking Wolfgang out, the second in the confrontation with Lila (Valeria Bilello), and the final act is the goodbye. Each part is about bringing all the stories from the last two seasons to a close, the war between the Sensates and the BPO, the attacks on the cluster, and a lot of the relational threads from across the seasons.
Just about every character from the past gets a little moment to come back, from the delightful Old Man of Hoy (Sylvester McCoy) to Felix (Max Mauff) to Detective Mun (Sukku Son) to just about everyone from the past. As well as this, they also have time to introduce new characters and a whole new level to the Sensate world with The Mother (Ursula Jones). I think this really plays into one of the core themes of the episode and the series as a whole and that is the notion of family. So for the members of the Cluster, they are a family whether they liked it or not, the bonds draw them all together. However, family is not just our relations but those who we chose to spend our lives with, our partners, friends, and I don’t think it was a happenstance that as the episode progressed that the gang kept growing until the end. The show is also being clear about the themes it is examining throughout the show, as one character states ‘neutrality in the face of evil is complicity’.
One of the things that is a hallmark of the show is that it can at times swing wildly when it comes to tone, jumping from the serious to silly and then back again and we see it here as well. Now I know that this is something about the show that is a style that is going to either work for you or not, but I like the mix it brings to the show, though the exploding bus was a bit too much. To add to this, I do still like how they represent the different members of the cluster popping into each other’s lives when needed. It takes a lot of skill to get everything to line up as well as it does, and I think there needs to be a lot of love sent the way of the Script Supervisors, and Continuity crew for keeping it all on track. With this jumping, a lot of it happens during the action sequences which the finale has a lot of, including fifteen-minute assault on an Italian villa. As far as the show goes, this might be a higher body count than the rest of the series combined, as a lot of henchmen, and I mean a lot, get wasted in a hail of bullets. While most of this was fine, however there were a couple of times where you could see some of the special effects additions which might have needed a bit more of a clean-up in post-production.
While there is a lot that happens in the episode, all of it is leading to the final act, and just one final [SPOILER] warning before we talk about how the episode ended. I mentioned that one of the key themes to the episode was that of family, well the second comes right from the title of the episode and that is that ‘love conquers all’ and where else can you see that than as everyone, and I mean everyone, comes together to celebrate the wedding of Nomi and Amanita on the top of the Eifel Tower. It is here where you can see the pure joy the actors have filming the show, and I would not be surprised if they left this for the last shooting days. This is a show whereas as an ensemble you are jetting across the world from location to location, often in big group shots and you can see the bond that formed for everyone. So for the story, the actors, and even maybe for the show itself ‘love conquers all’ is its motto and it got us this final episode. Without that love we would not have gotten to see the cluster finish Angelica’s (Daryl Hannah) mission, we would not have seen everyone find closure, and we would not have been able to say goodbye. The show understood this and indeed closes on thanking the fans, which might be a slightly better closing frame than what preceded it. The show also ends on a climax that I think will leave more than a few people blushing.
In the end, do we recommend Amor Vincit Omnia the series finale of Sense8? Yes, we do, well with one small caveat. There is a lot of sex and violence in this episode and if you are someone who does not like either of those things then this might not be the show for you. However, it is a show with a strong message of the power of family, the one you have or the one you chose, or both, and to surround yourself with people that dearly love you and I think in the world that we see out there today, well I think we could use more shows like this.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Sense8
Directed by – Lana Wachowski
Written by – Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell & Aleksandar Hemon
Created by – The Wachowskis & J. Michael Straczynski
Starring – Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Toby Onwumere, Freema Agyeman, Daryl Hannah & Naveen Andrews and Alfonso Herrera, Eréndira Ibarra, Michael Sommers, Sukku Son, Purab Kohli, Valeria Bilello, Max Mauff, Ness Bautista & Mumbi Maina with Sylvester McCoy, Kick Gurry, Sarah Kants, Stephen Boxer, Jason Thorpe, Lilja Þórisdóttir, Amira Ghazalla, Arly Jover, Ursula Jones, Amanda Walker, Clive Wood, Aidan McArdle, Satya Bhabha, Erik Hayser, Soo Joo Park, Marco Cacciola, Chooye Bay, Jane Chirwa, Daniel Michel, Joshua Grothe, Urdur Bergsdottir, Lasse Bergman, Jevgenij Sitochin, Bernhard Schütz, Marina Weis, Kristjan Kristjanson, Maximilienne Ewalt, Sandra Fish, Mark Withers, Annie Munch, Ned Clarke, Paul Ogola, Chichi Seii, Peter King Mwania, Abdul Simba, Nini Wacera, Rhonnie Washington, Michael Willis, L. Trey Wilson, D’lo Srijaerajah, Mahasin Munir, Marga Gomez, Tino Rodriguez, Virgo Paraiso, Eythor Gunnarsson, Katharina Gapski & Antonio Giancarlo Zavatteri