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Sense8 Finale and Series Retrospective - Roundtable Review: "The Perfect Finale"

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Hello and welcome to the Roundtable Review and Retrospective of the Sense8 series finale! I (MJ), will be hosting this review as well as providing some answers to the questions myself, and I'll be joined by my fellow awesome co-reviewers, Jamie Coudeville (JC) and Prpleight (JH). As always, if you want to answer the questions yourselves in the comments below, feel free to do so. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the finale!

Series Finale Review:

1. What did you think of the finale?

MJ: First off, the Series finale as a whole was excellent. It's one of my favourite series - Netflix's best original show in my perspective. The whole drama panned out really well, giving each character some awesome moments of screentime that really paid off. Sometimes one-off conclusions can be rather underwhelming or not satisfactory enough, but that wasn't the case with Sense8, which wrapped up everything with a nice bow. Yes, it may have been a bit rushed, but given the amount of story that they had to left to tell, it's good to see them finally reach an end. For my money, it's up there with likes of Fire Walk With Me and Serenity as the best TV wrap-ups ever.

JC: I absolutely loved it from start to finish. There had been so much hype for this finale and I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations but I was very happy to be wrong.

2. What was your favourite moment from the finale?

MJ: There were so many awesome moments in this finale it's almost impossible to pick just one moment. Wolfgang's Chekhov's Gun of his Rocket Launcher only being used later to blow up the Helicopter, the final wedding between Nomi and Amanita in Paris, everybody meeting each other for the first time who hadn't seen each other before and Jonas' death, but the standout moment for me and the one that I keep returning to even after the series has ended is the sing-along to Depeche Mode's I Feel You that included pretty much the entire main group of characters. It was an awesome, inclusive moment that called back to the use of 4 Non Blonde's What's Up? in a way that really worked. It helps that the song choice was fittingly appropriate too.

JC: There are so many great moments to choose from. I really loved the wedding, shot on top of the Eiffel tower. The moment on the tour bus was also hilarious.

JH: Rajan’s arrival. I was giddy. It was the last thing I expected. I think we missed out on a great story with regard to Rajan’s legal issues so I was expecting him be written out of the finale. But when he appeared a bazillion questions flooded my mind. There was just so much to look forward to; How would Rajan handle the truth? How was Kala going to handle Wolfgang and Rajan being in the same place? What would she choose? It was the one moment that raised my anticipation for the rest of the episode.

3. Was there anything that you disliked about the finale?

MJ: If anything it was a bit too rushed. But given what the show had to do, I felt it handled everything really well. It's pretty much a perfect definition of how to end the series.

JC: The only thing I could think of was that I would’ve liked a bit more Lito. He’s just so hilarious.

JH: Literally there was only one scene that I had an issue with. Bodhi following Will and Riley after they met with the club owner. Why did she fight and run from Will rather than talk to them? That scene didn’t feel organic to the story. It felt like something the writers came up with to keep the rest of the cluster from getting in touch with Riley and Will so there would be a reason for Amanita and Dani to inject Whispers. What was her reasoning within the story?

4. Are you satisfied with the ending for the series or not?

MJ: Definitely. 100%. It hurts that there won't be any more episodes of this show, but if it is the end, then it's the best ending we could have got given the cancellation. I still haven't forgiven Netflix for cancelling this and keeping shows like Iron Fist running.

JC: Yes, I am satisfied with the ending. I understand that the writers had to rush a few things that they probably would’ve taken their time with if there had been a third season. But overall I found it a very satisfying ending. But if they want to make another one of just everyone goofing around and being happy I would not say no.

JH: I am extremely satisfied with the ending for the series. However, if the Wachowskis want to put out a series of novels that continue the stories in the universe (even if they feature other clusters) I will NOT be unhappy.

5. Who delivered your favourite performance in the finale?

MJ: It's hard to pick a specific standout performance, pretty much everyone played their part really well. One of the benefits of this ensemble being so good is that everyone can perform when needed, and I really liked that everyone knocked it out of the park where it mattered.

JC: I’m not sure I can name just one performance, the entire cast was just so incredible. They all did a fantastic job.

JH: That’s an impossible question for me to answer. The scenes between Brian J. Smith and Terrence Mann were fabulous. Purab Kohli’s comedic turn when he arrived at his apartment in Paris was a pleasant surprise. But for overall performance I just can’t single anyone out. This felt like a real ensemble.

6. So many characters finally met for the first time in the finale. Whose first meeting were you happy about the most?

MJ: Rajan's reactions to finding out the truth about Kala was an excellent moment that really worked. They handled everyone finding out and meeting each other who hadn't so well.

JC: Rajan meeting everyone was hilarious, especially after they explained everything. Daniele fit in perfectly with the group, never doubted that for a moment.

JH: Rajan and Woflgang. It was a meeting I didn’t expect to see and it went in a direction I didn’t expect and it was just fun.

7. Out of the Sense8s, was there anyone who deserved more screentime in the finale? Or did the writers find a way to balance everything and everyone in the time that they had available?

MJ: I felt that given the time that they had available, everyone had their fair share of screentime, be it Kala, Wolfgang, Will, Nomi, Sun, Riley, Lito & Capheus. If out of anyone - Capheus should have had more screentime, but given that the show had a lot to balance, it's understandable that not quite everyone got the screentime that they needed. But given the large cast, the show still managed to do an impressive job.

JC: Like I said, I would’ve like a bit more Lito screentime but other than that things were fine. Honestly, I could’ve watched 20 minutes of Lito and those baguettes.

JH: Capheus felt a bit underused in the finale. There were moments where I thought he skated dangerously close to buffoon. But as I think about it, I don’t think he was more or less used than Lito. I started to add Sun to this list but she had her romance subplot. Lito and Capheus didn’t have their own subplots in the finale but Lito is such an over the top character that I was always aware of his presence. Capheus is such a quiet character and he was in such a good place coming into the finale that I felt like he got lost.

8. Amor Vincit Omnia had plenty of awesome action sequences. Was there any that stood out for you here?

MJ: I mentioned the awesome rocket-launcher set-piece earlier, but another standout for me was the Trojan Horse sequence where the Sense8s pretended to be ignorant tourists to infiltrate a highly guarded villa. It was a great scene that got the most out of all the cast, and it almost had an Ocean's 11 feel to it in a way that really worked.

JC: The action scene that stood out the most for me was Wolfgang shooting the rocket launcher, he really loves that thing. I also enjoy seeing Kala shoot a gun, because it seems so unlike her. Loved Rajan’s reaction to that.

JH: How can I not pick the assault on the Italian villa where Whispers is being held? Hands down one of the best twists on the ‘crying over my loved on’ scene. “Is anyone going to actually do anything or are you just going to let me die in your arms?”

Series Retrospective Review:

9. Do you have a favourite character in the show? Whose development impressed you the most?

MJ: For me, it's hard to pick a favourite. Kala, Lito, Sun, Nomi, Will, Riley, Capheus, they were all awesome. Again, it's an example of a *good* ensemble when you're struggling to pick a favourite character when all of them - including the supporting cast, stand out.

JC: I guess I do have a few favourites: Kala, Lito, Sun, Nomi. I really loved the character development for all of them. These characters progressed so much (as every other character on the show). Kudos to the writers for giving us such amazing characters.

JH: I think Lito quickly became a favourite for me. He’s just such an over the top guy. His reactions were never at the middle of the spectrum. Consequently I laughed a lot. He’s also the character that made the greatest impression on me in terms of growth and development throughout the series. Lito experienced a true black moment. When he was first faced with the choice of fighting for his family and the career he’d dreamed about he chose his career. When he chose his family, he lost everything, but that family. Watching his character travel along that path was the standout character story for me.

10. What was your favourite moment in the entire series?

MJ: I love the use of 4 Non Blonde's What's Up for me. I'm a sucker for well executed music scenes and this was a notable standout. But there were so many standout sequences it's hard to pick just one. I kind of regret limiting myself to just one with the question.

JC: This is a very mean question. The moment where they all sing the same song in the first season is probably my favourite, if I had to pick one. But really, so many fantastic moments.

JH: Another difficult question…As I ponder this question my impressions are clouded by the moment Rajan walks into his Paris apartment.
Runners up?
1. The first Sense8 sex scene was a standout. {I was freaking out because Will was in an occupied gym when he got caught up in it. I kept worrying about potential witnesses. LOL.}
2. Capheus and the spirit of Van Damme {The clips of Sun stepping in to fight of Capheus are what got me to watch the show. That full scene was awesome.}
3. The death of Will’s father {Quite simply this just broke my heart. I wanted to know…did he really realize his son was by his side. He never knew that the gov’t was lying to him about his son.}
4. Escapes (Nomi’s from Amanita’s childhood home and Sun’s escape from prison) {Nomi’s rescue was the first time we saw the cluster work together. Sun’s escape from prison was, despite the danger, pretty funny. Lito stepping in to get her past the security gate, Will and Wolfgang discussing their next move, and Sun’s fellow escapee’s reaction to Sun talking to herself combined to make this a standout sequence for me.}
5. Lito helping Sun to grieve all she’s lost.

11. What is your favourite relationship depicted in the show and how well do you feel that the show has depicted these relationships?

MJ: I felt that the show resolved the Kala/Wolfgang/Rajan relationship very well and unexpectedly, subverting the traditional love triangle resolutions that usually end up having the girl pick one of the two characters. It was handled so well and was so fitting for the show that's all about inclusivity. I liked Lito and Hernando's, Will and Riley's, Nomi and Amanita's - the show put care into all of its relationships and really shined as a result.

JC: The show has done an amazing job with all of the relationships, especially the LGBT ones. Really loved how the finale solved the love triangle between Kala, Wolfgang and Rajan.

JH: After an initial rambling response explaining why this question was impossible for me to answer (which I deleted) I realized that my favorite relationship on the show is the cluster’s relationship. These eight people went from not only not knowing each other, but not knowing what was happening to them to protecting and fighting for each other. They helped each other fact difficult moments and decisions to stepping in to get each other out of difficult jams. This led them to, ultimately, choose one of their own (Wolfgang) over their species.

12. What was your favourite episode from the series?

MJ: Episode 2 of Season 1 was a standout for me, as was the finale. The show was so consistent it felt like watching one long movie, and as a result it's hard to pick a clear winner.

JC: The finale, it had everything I love about the show. And yes, that includes the orgy scene, which I would probably dislike on any other show.

JH: Oh geez.

13. How do you feel Netflix handled the cancellation/finale announcement for the series?

MJ: Out of all the shows that Netflix cancelled, this one hurts the most, (Marco Polo is another one that stings), especially during Pride Month given the fact that it is one of the more prominent LGBT shows out there. One of Netflix's biggest problems is that they don't tend to wait as long as they should before cancelling shows, and given how late people come to some series - I came to this show fairly late for example, it might have been a different story had they waited longer. But at least we got the finale - it's better than how some other networks would have handled this show.

JC: Poorly. This show has so many LGBT themes and they decided to cancel in during Pride month?! Also, the second season had barely been out for a month if I remember correctly, so they could’ve at least given people a bit more time to watch it. Not everyone binge watches Netflix, some of us (like me) prefer to take our time.

JH: I don’t think Netlix handled it better or worse than any other network over the years, but the agreement to produce a series finale movie was unique, welcome and appreciated.

14. What has Sense8 as a show meant to you?

MJ: The show handled its characters so well putting them first and foremost above everything else and really shined. As a huge fan of the Wachowski sisters, who are among my favourite directors - I love The Matrix, their most notable work and I even love Jupiter Ascending - their latest film - seeing them transition into television and for it to pay off so well was so rewarding. The fact that this show is so inclusive and proud of it, not resorting to traditional tropes - all the main cast survived - how rare is that in a finale, especially a sci-fi one? - is something to respect and I hope that Netflix makes more shows like Sense8 going forward to fill the void.

JC: Quite a bit. I never thought I’d get so attached to these characters but I did. There were so many important themes. I especially loved seeing a show with multiple LGBT storylines, which most shows seem to be allergic to.

JH: It is one of my top character driven shows of all time. I re-watched both seasons over the last couple of weeks and it moved up on that list.

15. What will you miss about the show the most?

MJ: Easily the characters. The relationships were handled marvellously. But I'll also miss the Wachowskis themselves behind the camera, and hopefully it won't be long before they go for a new project. This show was also one of the best visually stunning series on television too - making use of some great on-location shooting to give it that authentic feel, and I hope this is a policy that more shows adopt as a result.

JC: I’m going to miss the bond between these characters. It’s truly something unique that I’ve never seen on any other show. Also, the way this show was shot is incredible. There’s truly never been a show like this and I doubt we’ll see one like it soon.

JH: Finding out what happens next. The finale tied off loose ends but I still want to find out about Rajan’s legal problems. I want to see Capheus working to be a success in his new position. I want to see Lito discover that his acting talent is stronger than he’s exhibited before. Where does Will go from here? Does he relocate to Europe? Will he continue to be a law enforcement officer? So many story questions and no more time.

16. And finally, is there anything else you’d like to add that you feel I’ve missed out on?

MJ: Sense8 is a wonderful, inclusive and near-perfect show that's one of the best dramas of the decade so far. It's everything Heroes should have been, and so much more than a simple action series. It'll be missed dearly.

JC: To all those considering starting this show, DO IT! It’ll change your life ;)

JH: I’ll just take this moment to release into the universe the hope that Netflix will find enough success in this finale movie that they green light other movies in this universe in the future.

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