For those who watched and loved NBC’s Heroes, which ended in 2010 (I’m gonna pretend Heroes Reborn doesn’t exist), Netflix’s Sense8 can be viewed as its spiritual successor. Heroes used abilities as a metaphor for that which is unique within each and every one of us; Sense8 takes that further, showing us that what makes us all the same is the fact that we are all unique. Both see this through by painting a picture of utopian human connection.
The ensemble casts of both shows depict an ideal form of human connection that we are urged to strive for
Both Heroes and Sense8 begin with a mixed bag of individuals dispersed throughout the globe stumbling upon their abilities. In Heroes, those abilities ranged from biological abnormalities like “rapid cellular regeneration” to sci-fi favorite “space-time manipulation”, and in Sense8, an ability to feel the emotions and access the skills and knowledge of those on the same wavelength, or “cluster”, a so-called “limbic resonance.”
The group of strangers we follow immediately find connections between them and then face the forces that exist to divide them. Together they are a force to be reckoned with: biologically connected like siblings, emotionally connected like lovers, and powered endlessly by empathy. Those are the invisible threads that connect Claire, Peter, Nathan, Hiro, and Matt in Heroes and Riley, Will, Wolfgang, Kala, Sun, Lito, Nomi, and Capheus in Sense8.
It’s that invisible, yet omnipresent and omnipotent connection that Sense8 dreams we can all share, because Sense8, like the movie Capheus watches with his mother every Christmas, believe in people. It’s a connection that’s not hard to find, so long as you keep your mind and heart open, like each member of the cluster does, as any one of them could have rejected it, but none did, because why would you reject such a true and transcendent connection?
What is human? An ability to reason, to imagine, to love, or grieve? If so, what separates us from each other? At one point or another, we all find ourselves lost and asking “what’s going on?” We all feel fear, rage, desire, and love, because that’s what life is, and to stop feeling them would be to feel death, something we also all have in common. And the moment you become a part of that transcendent connection is the moment you realize you are not just you, because you are also a we.
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What did you think about the Christmas special? Any surprises? Favorite moments? Shoutout to the fourth-wall allusion to Capheus being re-cast.