I Am Also a We
Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by The Wachowskis
Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita (Freema Agyeman) walk down an alleyway as Nomi talks about her “dream”. We learn for the first time that she was a “hacktavist” and did a little time for her actions, and now likely acts as a computer security consultant. Neets says Nomi should write about it, and reminds her girlfriend that she always gets a little nutty around Pride because, more than likely, she has dickheads for parents. Oh, we have no idea—
Will (Brian J. Smith) sits by the bedside of Deshawn, the boy he rescued. They both mention that it’s not helping their reps by hanging out together, and that leads them to a short talk about their fathers. Deshawn wants to know about Will’s “gangster days,” and we get a flashback of when Will was caught shoplifting and his pissed off cop dad came and cuffed him to the door in the back of the squad. Will knew how to pick cuffs though, and runs off with his pissed off dad watching. As Will leaves Deshawn tells him that while he doesn’t owe him, he won’t forget it, and that’s good enough for Will. Man, it’s like Foreshadowing 101 in this scene, isn’t it?
RT: It’s good to see that no matter how good or bad a show is, the foreshadowing is always textbook 😉
CF: It may not be, but it could be. But not knowing anything of the show, it feels like Will’s gonna have a problem with this kid at some point.
Nomi is vlogging, speaking of the regrets in her life, most of them caused by fear. As she speaks we see views of some others:
Kala (Tina Desai) thinking about her wedding.
Sun (Doona Bae) siting with her pink folder.
Nomi says that for the longest time she hid who she was because she was taught by her parents that there was something wrong with her, and that she would always be an outcast—
While Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) sits before many mirrors at his makeup table.
That she could never be loved.
A bloody Riley (Tuppence Middleton) walks down the streets of London, singing softly.
Her mother was a fan of St. Thomas Aquinas, and felt pride was the worst sin—
As Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) and Fritz get shitfaced celebrating their score.
But neither hate or shame were sins to her mother—
Will walks into a bar and finds his father passed out in a bar, pantsless, and removes his ankle piece.
Nomi has never been part of a Pride parade because of fear—
Capheus (Aml Ameen) sits up from atop the “Van Damn” at night and finds himself looking out over the Pride park where Nomi and Neets spent so much time.
Today, though, Nomi is marching for the part of her that was afraid, for those who are still too afraid to march. She is marching because she is not just a me, she is also a we (the title statement), and she marches with pride. So go fuck yourself Aquinas: we’re marching—
Though riding is more like it as Nomi is on the back of Amanita’s big motorcycle, and she’s snapping pictures as they ride along. That’s when she sees him: Jonas. The guy from the “dream”. Nomi goes blank and faints, falling off the bike and into the street. (Note: I’ll have a few comments on this scene and the one to follow later.)
RT: Even though I found it hard to connect with the disjointed storylines in the first three episodes (and I knew this going in, so I was prepared to persevere, the awesome characters helped too), it was this scene alone of Nomi vlogging that sucker punched me and pulled me into the universe. I just love how the the Wachowskis and Straczynski play out these scenes of all the sensates together yet so far apart.
CF: I had the same feeling. Of course, Nomi’s vlogging got to me hard, but I loved the interaction of all the other sensates during this time, seeing them act and in some cases react to their world, and maybe someone else’s world.
Riley continues walking down the street, singing, with Nomi in a hospital gown walking along side—
—and she wakes up in bed in a hospital. Her sister Teagan is there, as is her mother, who right off the bad starts dead naming Nomi and misgendering her with a lot of “he” bullshit. Nomi wants to know where Amanita is, and it’s revealed that as she’s not family, she can’t come into critical care. But dear old Mama says that Nomi has to hear what this doctor is going to tell her, and if she wants her to leave after that, she will. Sure, bitch.
Will is still going on about what happened at the abandoned building with Diego, but Will has something now: CTV from outside the building. He’s gonna see who pulled a body outta—the fuck? Two hours of the tape is missing, and even Diego has to admit that’s spooky. But they do see a guy . . .
This Dr. Metzger shows up and start showing MRIs of a healthy brain compared to Nomi’s brain, and lets her know that he’s about to rename her Abby, as her brain isn’t normal: it’s fusing together so that there won’t be two separate hemispheres. And if she doesn’t get surgery on her brain like right fucking now, or she’s gonna die. Mom keeps telling her that she’ll—oh, I’m sorry, “he’ll” need her and she’ll take care of him, and as a tearful Nomi is telling everyone to go, I want to reach through the screen and start punching mom until she gurgles slowly.
RT: I am right there with you Cassidy. As if the news your brain is not “normal”, isn’t enough, Mommie Dearest has to up a level in the mega-bitch department.
CF: She is the worst kind of trans-hating person. How could you do that to your kid knowing the harm it will cause? Then again, Mom’s a twat, so it’s easy for her.Mexico, DF:
Lito shows up with actress Daniela Velasquez for his latest premiere. They make a cute couple and it’s easy to see that she’s totally into him.
Kala is attending a party before her wedding, with her and the other girls all dressed up in their lehenga cholis, and her fiancé Rajan is droning on about the first time he saw her, the first time he asked her out, and eventually the first movie they went to see together. And with that he starts singing, and the guys with him get up and start dancing, and before you know it the women are up, and the party turns into a Bollywood musical.
RT: I am pretty sure I was supposed to Indian if this is how shit gets done. I was that child who thought everything could be sorted just by singing about it…
CF: Life is a musical, so you may as well look great dancing and singing, even if you don’t love your husband-to-be.Mexico, DF:
Lito and Daniela are walking at night after the premiere. Daniela is snarking on another actress with fake tits, and she’s amazed at how easy Lito complements the woman. Daniela really wants Lito to come up to her place, but it’s no, no, no, I have an early call. She lets him know that telling her no sort of turns her on; he just smiles and walks on.
Wolfgang is fucking some woman. Okay, then.
Kala is feeling hot, however. Like maybe she feels something? Her girlfriend is really lusting after Rajan and Kala doesn’t seem to give a shit at all. Mostly because she’s hot.
The woman tells Wolfgang that locking her keys in her car was probably the best thing that ever happened to her.
Rajan is telling Kala’s father how good the food is, and you learn right then that Rajan’s father is one of these Indians who doesn’t like Indian food, which pretty much makes him an asshole in my book, because how can you not like Indian food? Rajan want to know if Kala like his song, and she does. Sure she does, because she never makes eye contact when she tells him this.
RT: Seriously? Not like Indian food? There should be a law against those sorts of shenanigans!
CF: I hated the father instantly when he said that. May Kali show up and beat his ass into the next turn of the universe.
Lito finally makes it back to his place and crawls on to the bed, trying to see if the person under the covers waiting for him is asleep. Well, they aren’t for long with you asking all the time, and the covers pull back to reveal Hernando, Lito’s live-in boyfriend. They get to some kissing and playful chatter, and right off the bat I love Hernando because he is the gay friend we all want. They speak a little of Daniela before getting down to some sexy time—
Wolfgang and his hookup are at a sidewalk cafe having a late night snack. She’s trying to figure out what’s happening, and he tells her he doesn’t want a relationship. Of course she wants to know what he is looking for, and that’s when he looks off to his right and sees Kala walking alone and dejected.
She’s standing on a balcony and sees Wolfgang on the terrace below.
The woman wants to know what’s happening to him—perhaps there’s someone else? Finally back in his world, he chuckles at that.
The boys are sleeping when there’s a buzzer. Lito checks the camera phone and . . . it’s Daniela! She couldn’t sleep, and she’s brought a bottle of champagne—and a few paparazzi as well. Hernando’s like, hey, I never say no to bubbly, let her in.
RT: And so begins the most epic group ever! I can’t say often enough how much I love the dynamics of this group 😀
CF: I know. They are all nearly too cool for the room.
Rajan comes to speak with Kala. He feels the separation between them, and he’s a complete idiot if he can’t tell that she’s not into him, because it’s so fucking obvious on the screen. Even the kiss looks painful. And after he leaves she’s totally sad.
Lito runs down to let Daniela, and she is ready for action. Champagne, sexy outfit, and a ready to party through the night attitude. She isn’t gonna take no for an answer. But he needs to talk—something she didn’t come to do. She starts stripping down to her underwear, and then runs up to the bedroom, asking what his problem is—where she finds Hernando, who tells her, well, you don’t have a cock. She pops the bubbly, and while Lito tries to laugh it off, but Hernando can see she knows. Rather than get freaked out, she’s totally digging the scene and quickly figures out what needs to be done. Like first, drink, and then second, let’s talk about how you’re gonna need to look totally hetero, Lito. Hernando figures he may have misjudged Ms. Velasquez.
Riley finally makes it home and starts to clean up. She starts running water in her bathroom as Will shaves back in Chicago. He can hear her water running, and they see the other instead of their own reflections in their respective mirrors. They snap away from that and Riley began cleaning up. San Francisco:
Nomi is out of bed and checking the equipment when the nurse comes in. Nomi wants to know why the door to her room is locked, and she finds out it’s order. She wants to leave and is told she can’t, only Dr. Metzger can release her because Mama Cuntface pretty much had her “son” committed. Yeah, bad feelings all around and the urge to cut a bitch increases.
RT: Ugh! This woman 😦
CF: I half expect to learn this bitch is controlled by The Shadows. She’s completely fucking evil.
Squad room meeting and a guy from Homeland Security is there to help Will and the others out to catch a bad guy: Jonas Maliki. Someone Will seems to know, but he’s not sure how.
Nomi is looking out the window when there’s a voice behind her. It’s Jonas. He tells her she has to leave; she wants to know how he got in. She wonders if she’s really hallucinating, and Jonas is like fuck that, you know this dude is going to lobotomize you, so you need to split, and she’s heard a little voice telling her that she needs to run. Jonas vanishes as there’s a knocking at the door. She thinks it’s Amanita and wonders if she is hallucinating—
—when really it’s someone knocking on Riley’s door. She’s trying to get her shit together and book as the knocking turns into banging. The bad guy picks the lock as Riley splits out the door from another room with a different bag. She’s on one of the various bridges over the Thames when she finally checks the contents of her bag: it’s full of money and dope taken from Nyx’s place.
Will enters a bar to speak with his dad, played by an uncredited Joe Pantoliano, aka Cypher from The Matrix. Of course some of the cops there drinking with his dad give Will shit because he didn’t let the little gangbanger scumbag dies, and dad goes one better, dropping his colostomy bag on the table in front of Will, showing just how big a douche he can get—but Dad thinks it’s fun, right? Will has something on his mind, something that has to do with a girl named Sara Patrell, who is the girl Will’s keeping a folder on. Dad’s not impressed, thinks the kid is out of his fucking mind. He wants him to shut up about it, ‘cause if he starts talking the shrinks will get to him and he’ll be booted off the force.
The phone rings in Nomi’s room while she’s asleep. It’s Amanita: someone she knows at the hospital is letting her call from the inside. She knows something shady is going on, and she lets Nomi know she’s gonna burn the motherfucker down before anyone touches her brain. Nomi loves her for it, but she worried all these problems might be real ‘cause she say that dude again in her room. Neets ask if it’s a Persian guy, and when Nomi asked if she mentioned this, Neets tells her, no, you took a picture of him at the parade before you fainted. Cameras don’t hallucinate, and the guy is staring right at you.
Will entered an convenience store looking for sleeping tablets. He finds them in the back as well as a magazine on dream interpretations. And who walks in as he’s in the back? Jonas. They speak. He doesn’t have much time, but he knows what’s happening with Will because Angelica told him before she killed herself. He knows about Will’s migraines, and that he’s becoming a sensate. He’s going to feel all sorts of strange things, but this will become normal. Jonas has to leave: he’s going to San Francisco to help Nomi Marks, and Will needs to help her, too. Will wants to arrest him—cop, remember?—but Jonas puts him down and heads out face. Will gets in his car and goes after him.
Personal note here: it should come as no surprise that the character I identify with the most is Nomi. After all, she’s a transwoman lesbian blogger who knows something about computers, and I’m a transwoman lesbian blogger who knows something about computers, so the connection is apparent. Her vlogging post about being afraid of showing who she really was hit me hard, because I waited nearly fifty years before coming out and so much of my life was ruled by fear. It’s not a pleasant way to live, and I wouldn’t wish the feelings I had all those decades upon anyone.
But the scenes with Nomi’s mother were, for me, the worst. The insistent dead naming—calling her by her birth name—and misgendering had me nearly raging. I wasn’t yelling, but I truly did want to grab the mother and shake the shit out of her and yell at her to shut the fuck up. For me, the thing that hurt the most was knowing something like that could have happened to me if I’d come out sooner, and still happens for a lot of transgender people. It hurt me, but it also made me understand that I don’t have it as bad as some people, while at the same time knowing that some Kafkaesque bullshit where you’re treated like a freak could still happen. You could say I was triggered, but in a way that made me understand that these fears really do exist within me. And in knowing your fears, you can work to help remove the fears of others.
That’s Episode 2 of Sense8, and I’ll be back next week with Episodes 3 and 4. As always, tell us what you think in the comments below!
Tuppence Middleton — Riley Blue (née Gunnarsdóttir), London
Brian J. Smith — Will Gorski, Chicago
Doona Bae — Sun Bak, Seoul
Aml Ameen — Capheus, Nairobi
Max Riemelt — Wolfgang Bogdanow, Berlin
Tina Desai — Kala Dandekar, Mumbai
Miguel Ángel Silvestre — Lito Rodriguez, Mexico DF
Jamie Clayton — Nomi Marks, San Francisco
Freema Agyeman — Amanita, Nomi’s girlfriend
Naveen Andrews — Jonas Maliki