In their first season, Sense8 showrunners Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski did a good job balancing all eight main characters of the 2015 Netflix series.
The interest was in seeing these characters, who woke up one day linked to each other’s minds, open themselves up and grow strong together. They each had their problems that all felt important and suspenseful, with copious intertwining (of the plot variety).
But there’s a very real imbalance of problems facing the members of the sensate in the two-hour holiday special “Happy F*cking New Year,” released Dec. 23, 2016.
Kala, excellently played by Tina Desai, married a man she may not actually love. On the other side of the world, Will, played by Brian J. Smith, is hiding in hovels and shooting heroin to block the show’s villain from reading his mind and finding identities of the other sensates, while in turn trying to invade that villain’s mind and figure out his plans. One of these problems is not like the other.
The structure is fairly choppy, but that’s hard to avoid when cramming eight main characters and four holidays into two hours. Overall, it’s more of a filler episode to catch people up on where characters were at end of the season back in 2015, sets everyone up for next season, which starts on May 5.
There was, however, some genuinely touching and growing moments, particularly for Sun Bak, played by Doona Bae, and Lito, played by Miguel Ángel Silvestre.
Not much attention is given to Capheus, now played by Toby Onwumere, or Riley, played by Tuppence Middleton. Capheus’s actor from the first season, Aml Ameen, is replaced by Onwumere from the special onward, but he did not have enough screen time for me decide if I liked the new actor.
Of course, it was also fun to watch the sensates celebrating their mental connections during their holidays.
Between hedonistic birthday orgies and New Year’s fireworks across the world, we see pleasures of not only the connection between eight strangers from across the world, but of all humankind.
That said, this special will tide Sense8 fans over until season two starts, and is necessary viewing ahead of the May premiere.
While I had gripes with the imbalance of the characters’ problems, overall “Happy F*cking New Year” was a worthwhile watch.