Death Doesn’t Let You Say Goodbye
Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by The Wachowskis
Somewhere near Reykjavik:
Riley (Tuppence Middleton) is walking along the shore towards a cave, and we see flashbacks of her as a little girl walking along the same shore towards the same cave. It was here she heard singing, where she was told if she stayed in Iceland bad things would happen to those around her. And this time she hears singing again and finds someone, the same person who sang to her as a child. But they’re not one of the Hidden People—nope. It’s someone a lot like Riley—
Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) is in a bar trying to get shitfaced, talking strange philosophical-sounding crap so that he doesn’t have to come out and and say “I lost my boyfriend.” The bartender is listening, not saying much, and keeping the tequila coming. But guess what? The bartender is gay as well, and it doesn’t take long before he comes on to Lito and promises “beautiful and terrible things”. Lito loses his shit and reminds the bartender as he finishes his drink and before he storms off that he’s not a faggot.
RT: Poor Lito. I really felt for him at this point. You can see he is trying so hard to travel the path his head is telling him to travel but the universe just keeps dumping him onto the path his soul needs to travel.
CF: A huge part of this episode was the sensates coming to terms with various things in their lives, and Lito was probably walking the hardest path throughout the episode. Miguel Ángel Silvestre just made your heart break whenever you saw him, because he knew to have one life he’d have to give up the other, and he didn’t know which way to turn. It was devastating to watch him suffer.
Somewhere near Reykjavik:
Riley’s new “friend” tells her about BPO and what they do, which fund studies of human DNA so they can track down sensates. This new woman, Yrsa, doesn’t say if she worked for BPO, but she does say she knew Riley was a sensate when she was brought in for gene testing to make sure she didn’t have the same disease that was killing her mother. Riley isn’t happy that she was told she was hexed and that she caused her mother’s death, and that “what happened in the mountains” was her fault—and we get a quick flashback of a woman who looks like Riley lying down on a snowy, rocky plain holding something and crying.
RT: I really loved this whole new world of sensates opening up with the introduction of this new older sensate. It was something I hadn’t really thought about much, the fact there is others out there outside of this particular cluster. And, now that I have watched Orphan Black, it kind of has that feel to it now.
CF: I have a feeling Season 2 will bring in other clusters from around the world. I can imagine we’ll start seeing just how many of these people are actually out there, and what they can do as well.
RT: I really can’t wait to see this 😀
CF: Christmas, baby! I can’t wait, either.
Will (Brian J. Smith) is having another Whispers dream, and this time he pulls back the sheet on Angelica, who had her brain removed, and sees his young self there. He’s almost caught by Whispers in the dream and wakes up on the sofa the way most people do in movie dreams. He gets up, grabs and beer, and—oh, hey, Jonas (Naveen Andrews): how you doing?
Somewhere near Reykjavik:
Riley is asking why Yrsa didn’t help her since she knew what was happening, and she says that she felt everything and called the rescue authorities—which we see in another flashback coming to Riley’s aid in a helicopter—and reminds the girl that she’d be dead without her intervention. Except… that’s what Riley wanted. Yrsa knows about this: she felt the pain that came from the death of one of her cluster.
Jonas is visiting Will, who wants to know where Jonas is. He’s not sure, but it’s not a nice place:
—Where Will is telling Jonas about what he knows of BPO. Will says he’ll find him: Jonas says there are more important things to worry about, like that girl from Iceland who is standing behind Will. Riley wants to know who Will is speaking with, and he tells her. Jonas wants to know if Riley is with someone, and Yrsa gets introduced. Jonas can tell Will likes Riley; Yrsa feels it, too. Jonas loves this feeling of being in love with another member of the cluster: Yrsa not so much. But Jonas feels that sensates experience love in the purest form, and seems to approve. Yrsa wants Riley to ask Will when he was born, and he answers:
Personal note: in the last recap I indicated that Nomi’s BOLO might have had a huge goof. I’d already seen this current episode when I was recapping Episode 8, so I was aware all members of the cluster were born on 8 Aug. However, that’s not what the FBI had on the BOLO: the date there was different. However, I don’t believe it’s a goof: I believe that at some point in the past Nomi altered her birth records to show she was born on a different day. And why do I think this? Because of the date Nomi chose:8/26/1983. And what does two plus six equal? Eight. Nomi was using a variation of her real birth date for her fake one. The real question is now: are the members of the cluster about to turn thirty-two?
RT: To me, they, mostly, seem younger than 32. I think maybe the whole date is a fake, including the year. If you add 1+9+8+3, you get 21. Which added together is 3. My guess is that the year will be numbers that add up to eight again.
CF: It has been confirmed that they are all born on 8 August, but the year is anyone’s guess. Oh, and Sun’s prison number, 773? 7 + 7 = 14 + 3 = 17. And 1 + 7 = 8. Also, in one scene you can see an infinity symbol tattooed on the back of Riley’s neck, but it goes up and down so it now looks like an 8. Boo! 🙂
Somewhere near Reykjavik:
Now that Yrsa knows that Will is speaking with Jonas, she warns Riley: Jonas and Angelica used to work for BPO. Angelica would help “birth” clusters, and them they’d help BPO track those people down. Don’t trust him! You’re on your own.
Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) is watching a Conan movie with a comatose Felix when the Uncle comes into the room. He says he’s there because both of them are like his own boys. He’s talking a lot of shit about his brother, Wolfgang’s father, and he still wants to kill the person who killed his brother. He also wants Wolfgang to know that this thing with the diamonds is over, and while he loves the boy, he doesn’t want to have to choose between him and his own son. Rock and a shitty hard place, Wolfie, eh?
The cops are questioning Kala (Tina Desai) about the attack on Rajan’s father. The cops suspect that people connected to the temple, and the more they ask, the more Rajan gets pissed. He finally orders the police away. He tells Kala not to worry, that his father really had no business being there anyway due to all the death threats he got from trying to shut down certain Hindu religious practices. Mexico, DF:
Lito is sitting before a mural at the Diego — Museum, and he’s thinking about the first time he was here on his first date with Hernando (Alfonso Herrera). Hernando talks about art, about love, about how they work together, as a quiet piano version of Mad Love plays in the background.
Nomi (Jamie Clayton) is alone in her old apartment scraping up a bowl of cereal. She hears the music and see Lito sitting on her sofa. She joins him—
On the bench in the museum.
Sun (Doona Bae) is told she has a visitor: it’s her father. He’s looking nervous and upset, and after a few moments it becomes obvious that he’s a wreck. He tells Sun that he’s not a good person, and that the best part of him went away when her mother died. He feels that what happened to her is a mistake and he’s going to right it: he’s going to tell the authorities what really happened.
RT: Can’t run your business with your shitty son, can you?
CF: Dad probably caught Junior running off with a few hookers after Sun went into the joint. And how could you trust that little douchebag? Dad should have let the son take the fall.Mexico, DF:
Lito tells Nomi of his first date with Hernando, and for the first time in the episode his face lights up and you can see the love in Lito’s eyes and voice. Hernando made him feel complete because the man could speak about anything, and Lito loved the passion he possessed, and Hernando loved this particular place because you could feel the wild and reckless heart of a Mexican artist— He points out that their first kiss was in the bathroom over there and for Lito it was a religious experience, and when he went to his knees to pleasure Hernando, it was, for him, like taking communion. Nomi knows these moments for her first meeting with Amanita was in a bathroom, and she tells Lito those kinds of kisses change you. Yeah but, he told Hernando, I can’t be out, I’ll lose everything if I do. Nomi knows that feeling as well, but she also knows there’s a huge difference between what they work for and what they live for. Lito gets that, but he can’t get the parts he wants as a gay actor in Mexico.
Nomi says something very simple: “I love dolls.” From there she goes on to the tale of how he father hated her for that, and how he made her join a swim club so she could learn the same lessons on how to be a man that he learned. She hated the locker room, and she hated taking a shower with the other boys, which she used to take in her swim suit and tee shirt. She was stripped by the boys and scalded with water that left second degree burns on her, and she still has the scars on her stomach as a reminder.Lito can feel this and cries out to stop, calling the kids fucking monsters as she cries. She quit the club after that, saying the experience helped make her the woman she is today. She stopped being the person they wanted her to be and went on to make a new life. She says she can forgive those boys their violence, because the real violence is what we do to ourselves—
RT: I just can’t love Nomi and Lito in this scene enough. It’s. Just. There are no words.
CF: You know my feelings on it. When Lito cried out for the kids to stop, my heart was breaking.
Sven brings Riley to a church, but it’s not the church that Riley wants to see, it’s the graveyard along side. She walks to a particular grave and speaks to it. She sorry she’s been away so long, because she was afraid she would come here and want to die—or perhaps not want, which would be worse. She sits before the grave to continue the conversation—
Nomi is cleaning up around the old place when she hears something at the door. She grabs a knife, gets ready to attack, and—it’s Amanita! She’s back! Nomi just knew she’d find her.
Capheus (Aml Ameen) arrives at the Van Damn and he’s not in a good mood. He also realizes he has a passenger already— He asks Riley how Iceland is, but she shows she’d rather be here on the bus with him. But they don’t stay there for long—
And Capheus is with her graveside.
The girls are resting in bed eating butter cookies. Amanita wonders why Nomi came back to their apartment, and she tells her that she used Will’s badge number to put on the BOLO that she went to Australia. Amanita says they can stay with other people, and Nomi says she doesn’t want to bring her troubles down on anyone else. Amanita corrects her: our problems. They kiss and settle back.
Lito is stuck in the middle of Chocolate Ice Cream Depression Mode(tm), eating right out of the tub while making endless calls to Hernando’s voice mail as he also cries and drinks like a son of a bitch. After a long time of this he decides to kill himself by blowing his brains out—but the pistol Lito has is nothing but a lighter. It’s a fake. Lito’s whole life is fake, and he’s nothing but a fucking liar…
Personal note: This is so far the darkest story of the season, and it deals with so much loss that at times it’s almost unbearable. It was great to see Riley and Capheus bond over their losses—she a husband and daughter, he a father and sister—and in a way we see Capheus almost becoming something of a moral anchor for Riley, for even through his sadness he can still see life as something for which one should reach, one should continue living. It’s almost too easy to dismiss Capheus as simple, but he’s not, and we’re finally seeing him as a rather complex character.
But the scene that hit me the most was the meeting between Nomi and Lito. He is suffering the loss of his love while immersed in the lies that are his life, and she brings to the table one of the most defining moments of her life, the one that, in a way, changed her completely.
It was difficult to sit through her tale of what happened in the shower, for I had my own bad locker room stories. I was never set upon in the shower as was she, but then I never allowed it: I was always so mortified to be in a room with dudes in various stages of undress—also, like her, ashamed of my body—that after the first few times trying to shower with the other boys I gave up. I would come in after high school gym class, wipe myself down with my gym shirt, and dress as quickly as possible without showering. I was still yelled at, still made fun of, but I didn’t care: there was no way in hell I was going into the shower. It meant that I’d go though the rest of the day smelling, but I didn’t care, for that shame was far less than being in the locker room.
But there was that one line, one goddamn line, said by Nomi that pushed me over the line when I heard it spoken. And that’s:Even now, writing about this and putting up the image in the post, I’m fighting to keep it together. I started sobbing quietly the first time I watched this episode, and the other day when I was getting screen recaps I was doing my best Nomi imitation— I walked around my apartment for close to fifteen minutes trying to stop the panic attack that had hit and to calm the tears. Because I know she’s right: the worst violence we perpetrate is against ourselves. And since I went through close to forty-five years of not being myself, her words hit me to the quick.
Lito’s situation also hit me as well. He’s living a lie just as I did, and he can’t be with the person he loves because of what it will do to his career. I could have transitioned in the mid-nineties, after I was divorced and living alone. I could have moved away from Indiana and started a new life and, just like Nomi, become who I was supposed to be. But like Lito I was scared, and I just kept lying to myself.
I’ve been through depression: I’ve been through suicidal moments. I’ve spent part of the last year regretting becoming attached to a woman who I thought was interested in me, and when that went straight to hell the depression was so great I thought on several occasions that my life was just about to come to an end. It obviously hasn’t, but it took me the better part of six months to climb out of the hole I created with that ill-advised infatuation.
But Nomi’s words have also given me courage. She became the woman she wanted to be and so did I. Right now she’s going through hell, far more than I’ve gone through or likely will—I mean, it’s not as if someone wants to cut out my brain, right?—and yet she’s able to get the message though to Lito: be yourself. It’s the only way you can live.
Nomi gives me courage, and while her shower recollection is painful to watch it also proves her point: we are who we are today due to the past, and I know that without the pain I suffered for decades I wouldn’t enjoy the woman I am today. It’s because this is who I was meant to be, and it’s a life that isn’t a lie.
And if I ever meet Jamie Clayton I’m going to tell her, “You are an inspiration. You have helped this woman learn to understand the past, but to keep looking to the future. And you have helped me greatly.”
Because even in through our sadness of what we were, we see there is a future of who we are going to become.
RT: *hugs* You know, to be honest, I forget that you have gone through all this awful shit. To me you have just been Cassidy, always have been, always will be. It breaks my heart when I am reminded that you lived a whole life of hell before now. I am so sorry that happened to you. High school is the worst at the best of times. I cannot even begin to imagine the suffering you had to go through.
CF: I didn’t have it so bad that I was being harassed–I kept everything pretty well suppressed–but I felt a lot of fear and there was a lot of hurt and depression, and I was bullied now and then for other reasons. Though I was 19 when I tried to kill myself the first time, so it wasn’t as if things were a hell of a lot better…
Everything that happened to me was through my own actions, but in reality you could’t come out as a trans kid in 1972 to 1975, which were my high school years; it never could have happened. Even in Nomi’s time frame her shower incident was around 1990, and as a kid you still had a hell of a time coming out around then. Plus I’m guessing Nomi’s parents were a nightmare as mine would have been if I’d said, “Hey, I’m really a girl.” I got enough shit from them as it was.
There are times when I have to be reminded that everyone I’ve met in the last three years or so only know Cassidy: they’ve never seen “the other guy” as Dr. Banner would say. And while pictures do exist, I almost never look at them. I do that to help solidify who I am.
Three episodes to go, and it looks as if things are going to get a little harder for the sensates. But that’s life, right? As always, tell us what you think in the comments below.
Tuppence Middleton — Riley Blue (née Gunnarsdóttir), Reykjavik
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
Alfonso Herrera — Hernando
Naveen Andrews — Jonas Maliki
Lilja Thorisdottir — Yrsa