These are my thoughts on the show Sense8 as a whole, while I won’t get into plot specifics, there will be spoilers so you have been warned. For my thoughts on the individual episodes see my previous reviews here. Sense8 is a good show, verging on something special at times, but like many big budget works, it falls victim to cliché. While the characters themselves are anything but stereotypical, that doesn’t mean that the situations they find themselves aren’t.
For example, in Capheus’ story he is robbed at gunpoint by some thugs. Being literally caught with his pants down, he chases after them, he risks his life to get back the medicine for his mother. When he finds them he is beaten to an inch of his life; thinking he’s going to die, he channels another sensate’s (Sun’s) fighting ability and beats them with ease. In this scene we see a basic story in miniature: there’s the disturbance to the status quo (the beginning), the chase and first failure to heighten drama (the middle), and then the hero’s victory and restoration of status quo (the ending).
The “guy gets beaten up only to come back stronger” trope is used all the time in action movies. It can be argued that in having Capheus’ hero being Jean-Claude Van Damme that his story is an homage to his films; that he is Jean-Claude in reality. Homage however is not an excuse for reproduction, nor an excuse for (at times) cartoonishly evil antagonists.
I might sound like I’m overly critical of a show that features fantastical things such as people with psychic powers and seemingly faster than light communication (though the lag would only be a fraction of a second) but it’s only because I adore the show and its characters. It’s got the potential of being even better than this, so I hope in the next season, if there is one, that it can cast off the chains of cliché. Sense8 is now available on Netflix.