Well I’m back, because as of 3:01 AM, here on the East Coast, the newest episode aired. And who was up at that strange hour this morning to watch this episode? Me, that’s who! Because not only did I have to see the continuing saga of our sensates, but I wanted to be able to write this tonight and get it out of the reasonable hour.
Let’s get started, then, because Christmas has come early.
A Christmas Special
Written by Lana Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski
A woman is swimming. For a moment she is alone, then she is joined by others, and then she is alone once more. We moved closer and closer to her as the song Feeling Good plays in the background. Up close we finally see it is Kala (Tina Desai) and it appears she swimming in the ocean. As we grow even closer we see a hand reached for her; from a distance we find Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) underwater, waiting for her touch.
The other sensates drop into the water as they swim in the ocean with Kala—We see a montage of them going through their normal lives:
Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita (Freema Agyeman) washing clothes.
Capheus (Toby Onwumere) carrying water though the streets of Nairobi.
Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) hanging out in a hot tub and getting selfies.
Sun (Doona Bae) pacing inside her cell in solitary confinement.
Riley (Tuppence Middleton) and Will (Brian J. Smith) hiding in a crash pad while they cook heroin.
And while Wolfgang swims with Kala, he sits at a bar in Berlin getting drunk.
Kala is finally alone. She goes to the surface and climbs up on a ladder and the first thing we see is that huge fucking wedding ring on her left hand. She’s on a speedboat in the ocean and Rajan (Purab Kohli) is at the controls.
We fade out with Riley shooting up Will, keeping him nice and high so that he isn’t discovered by Whispers (Terrence Mann).
Amanita is working the counter at a bookstore when Agent Smith–oh, I’m sorry: Agent Bendix (Anthony Cistaro) walks in looking for info on Nomi.Note: I make the Agent Smith remark sort of in jest, because when Agent Bendix walks on screen he is not only wearing glasses similar to the former Agent Smith, but his tone and speech patterns are nearly identical to those used by Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith. He even sort of removes his glasses in a similar fashion as Hugo—in particular, the interrogation sequence with Neo. Given Lana Wachowski’s involvement in the Matrix Trilogy, this part was likely done as a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.
It becomes evident that he’s monitoring Amanita’s text messages because he’s aware she’s in contact with a wanted fugitive, any leans on her, threatening her with imprisonment if she doesn’t help. We soon learned that Nomi is in a safe place watching this conversation happen on her laptop. Still the master hacker, that girl.Seoul:
Sun is in solitary confinement dealing with the day-to-day stress of not going crazy.
Wolfgang is at Felix’s (Max Mauf) bedside feeling down and telling him how he feels he’s probably fucked everything up—including the one thing he’s only ever cared about. As he says that he sees Kala, who is out shopping on her honeymoon. She sees him and as he turns and walks away she does the same, looking sad.
Capheus and Jela (Paul Ogola) are doing a patch job on the Van Damm, trying to get it running again. Even if they manage to patch all the bullet holes, it’s going to need a hell of a paint job and Jela is trying to come up with several options. But both are convinced that first they need to get the bus running again—
Note: At the end of this scene Jela makes a comment about Capheus looking different. This is a direct reference to Aml Ameen being replaced by Toby Onwumere.
Hernando (Alfonso Herrera) is giving a lecture on art in an auditorium, likely at a college. The pinging of several phones can be heard partway through the lecture and one student manages to hack Hernando slideshow and posts on the video screens what others are already seeing: the pictures of Lito and Hernando making love. Hernando see this and launches into an passionate speech about how one sees beauty when they are filled with beauty and one sees all that is bad when they are filled with darkness, and manages to end the lecture without melting down. As soon as the hall is clear Lito comes down and gives Hernando the news: Joaquin kept his promise and released the blackmail photos he had. They both know what’s coming next.
[Image via Netflix]
Somewhere in the World:
Riley and Will are sleeping, but Will’s sleep is disturbed by a dream. He starts out in a forest, but soon sees Angelica (Daryl Hannah) and they are instantly transported to the location in Chicago where she killed herself.She tells Will that she used to be an ecologist and it was easy to see so much beauty in the world, but now all she can see is him. But she’s found a way to get rid of him and she hands Will the gun she used to kill herself. She once more shoots herself, followed moments later by Will doing the same.
He wakes up in a panic and Riley is there. He tells her most of what happened and she takes him back to sleep.Seoul:
Sun is brought from her cell to meet with her lawyer. It is not the same one she had for her last conversation: this is a new guy. When she asks what happened with the other lawyer, she is informed that he decided to retire from law. When she asked if her lawyer was intimidated, her new lawyer gives the faintest of nods. The new lawyer tells her that it won’t be possible to get a new trial because with her father dead there is no one to corroborate his statements. When her brother is mentioned she tells the lawyer to leave him alone—because when she gets out of prison she wants to know exactly where he is.
Amanita comes home and discovers that the place where they’re hiding, a woman’s shelter, was visited by Agent Bendix. Nomi is listening in on a wireless earpiece and hears the whole conversation. She jokes to Amanita that she should leave the earpiece on all the time so she gets an idea of what she goes through with all the voices in her head. She makes comment about Lito being a bit of a drama queen—and guess who was sitting on the bed as Nomi enters the room?
He knows it comes to her every time he feels scared, and Nomi doesn’t understand that because she considers herself nowhere near as brave as some of the others. She hoped that what she said to Lito at the museum didn’t make him do something he would regret, but he tells her that what he did was necessary and that he had to do it. What he really wants to know, however, is if when she came out, she had to deal with this—
Lito pulls up to his condo and finds the word “Faggot” scrolled near the entrance. Nomi sees this as does Kala—
She is disturbed by what is happening to Lito and tries to explain to Rajan what is happening to her, what she sometimes feels and sees—
All of the sensates are in Lito’s car and they all see a derogatory term that has been used towards them at least once in their life, leaving them all unsettled and disturbed.
Rajan thinks he knows what is bothering Kala: he took the liberty of calling her mother to explain how they had yet to consummate their marriage. As you can imagine, Kala goes about losing her shit when she discovers that her husband is telling her family his wife is still a virgin, and Lito is right there to help her lose it. She finally tells her husband in about as polite a manner as she can that when she is ready to be fucked, she’ll let him fuck her, and not a moment before.
Capheus and Jela are working hard to get the van running again and Jela expresses confusion about some things that have happened to Capheus in the last few weeks. Specifically he wants to know how his friend learned martial arts, and Capheus decides to come clean: he has someone who helps him, a spirit. At that moment Sun shows up and asks her clustermate if he thinks it’s wise to disclose their connection. He does and begins to tell all he knows about Sun: about how she is in Korea and she’s in prison and though he doesn’t know how they are connected, he is so glad they are. As is she.San Francisco:
Nomi and Amanita are giving each other pedicures and talking about Lito’s pictures, which they saw on the Internet, and which they both thought were hot as fuck. Amanita can’t understand why people don’t see what they see. Nomi checks on her friend and finds Lito with Hernando and Daniela (Eréndira Ibarra). They are now staying at her place to escape the press and are having some fun, drinking margaritas and giving themselves pedicures while they watch Legally Blonde. Nomi is glad to see that they are in a safe place.Somewhere in the World:
Will stands by a stretch of water, possibly in England near Cambridge. Whispers is standing on a bridge with a girl that Will somehow knows is his daughter. Jonas (Naveen Andrews) appears and tells Will that in all likelihood Whispers wants them to see this scene. Jonas notes that whispers is increasing the amount of drugs he’s taking so that he is cut off from other clusters, so he appears human to them.
Will tells Jonas that he met Angelica in a dream, that he saw her in the forest near a cabin. Jonas remembers this cabin well, for he considers that his first home. Will wants to know how it is possible he’s seeing her even though she is dead and Jonas explains that since she was the mother of their cluster—she activated them—her genetic memories were passed to them all. Jonas also tells Will that he’s being taken to another BPO black site. Jonas is drugged when his handlers realize he’s visiting Will, but before he vanishes Will wants to know what happened to Whispers’ cluster. Jonas only knows what Angelica told him: that Whispers’ cluster is dead, but he still talks to them in his sleep…
Nomi and Amanita are reading up on psychic phenomena and the more they read the more they are convinced that other humans knew something of clusters.
Capheus and Jela nearly have the Van Damm ready to go. Capheus turns the key and the engine starts. And begins to smoke a little. And begins to burn. And before you know it the bus explodes and is engulfed in flame. Van Damm is no more.Seoul:
Sun is allowed a visitor: Soo-jin. She brings a present—why? Because it’s her birthday.
All around the world the 8 August Cluster is celebrating the day of their birth. Kala is getting a beachfront dinner. Hernando and Lito are spending a quiet moment together. Capheus and Jela return to find a huge number of people throwing a birthday party. Riley takes Will blindfolded to another apartment where she’s going to give him a wonderful bath. Amanita takes Nomi someplace special. Sun is given a drawing of her and her dog. And Capheus receives two presents: a new jacket coat and a new bus, the Van Damm II, both supplied by Silas (Peter King Nzioki) as thanks for saving his life and the life of his daughter.
All around the world the sensates are enjoying themselves. Lito is having a birthday party and all of this clustermates are there, as they are with Nomi and Amanita on a hill somewhere in San Francisco, as they are dancing with Caiaphas, and dancing with Kala, as they are dancing with Sun, as they are dancing with Wolfgang. Riley is helping Kala DJ and dancing is breaking out all over the world no matter where the cluster is located.
Kala and Sun finally end up together alone and talk about sex. She’s finally decided to consummate her marriage, but speaking of sex is difficult. Sun tells a story of a fight she had at a tournament. She fought a boy and though she nearly lost, in the end she defeated him. She thought this would impress her father enough to allow her to compete further, but he forbid it and she was heartbroken. While crying in the locker room the boy she fought came to her and said she was the best opponent he ever met in the ring.
And just like that they were together and Sun lost her virginity. She said she learned more about that boy during that moment of sex than she would have known had she fought him a thousand times. As she tells Kala, sex is something they, as people, live to enjoy.
Kala is not the only one preparing for sex. Nomi and Amanita are having sex on the hill; Riley and Will are having sex in their getaway apartment; Lito and Hernando are having sex in the bathroom at the club. And Wolfgang has met a girl…
With all of these individual moments coming together at once, the scene is set for the most intense Cluster Fuck yet.Note: In the episode Demons we saw what happens when the members of the cluster merge together and engage in sexual activity within their minds. Then I named it the Cluster Fuck, but it’s really far more personal and sensual than that. The filming of these individual scenes was fantastic and shows the extraordinary amount of sensitivity and sensuality the cluster allows themselves to experience through the multiple sensations created by each other. Man on woman, man on man, woman on woman, and never a concern about ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity: it’s a moment that becomes as pansexual as possible, and one that is felt around the world. This was so incredibly, fucking, hot, and I had to sort of let this scene play through in the background right now least I get lost in it. Again.
Kala is preparing for bed and she’s wearing some sexy lingerie and high heels. She goes into the bedroom but before she can get there she encounters Wolfgang fucking the shit out of the girl he picked up. You know how I said the Cluster Fuck was sensual? Yeah, this is just straight of fucking. And Kala is outraged! She can’t believe Wolfgang is doing this in front of her. He, of course, finds the moment hilarious and pretty much tells her to get the fuck out if she doesn’t like watching.
So she goes to Rajan, who is waiting in bed playing a videogame on his phone. She tells him to make love to her and hops on top of him, not even bothering to remove her high heels, which can always be something of a disaster. And just as she starting to get into things—it’s Wolfgang! First she’s on top of him, then he’s next to her saying that he is really what she wants and it’s because of her that he’s there. So she starts having a conversation with him saying that’s not true, which is freaking the shit right out of Rajan because they are the only two in the bedroom. But Kala cannot enjoy her time with her husband because she keeps popping in on Wolfgang ramming his dick into some strange girl’s pussy and it’s far to hard to handle. She decides she’s had enough and gets up to leave and Rajan tries to stop her with the worst possible outcome occurring: he falls to the floor with a loud snap and begin screaming in pain as he and Kala realized he has damaged his penis.
Or, should I say: Dude, you done BROKE YOUR DICK!Mexico, CF:
Lito meets with his people. They’re going on about how they will sue over these images that were released, how they invaded his privacy and are obviously fake. Lito says don’t bother: they are real and I’m not hiding any more. His people tell him that there will be consequences. Lito is like, fuck consequences.
At the hospital Rajan and Kala discover that he didn’t break his penis, he just got a bad sprain. So after some rest he should be good as new and they can resume their honeymoon. Which doesn’t exactly make Kala look all that happy.
Wolfgang meets with his aunt and her adviser. She tells Wolfgang that she’s not upset he killed her husband nor will she take revenge; she figures that in time Wolfgang will come to his own bloody end. What she is more concerned with is not only maintaining the peace in Berlin, but possibly expanding their own empire by taking over some the territory controlled by the other three crime lords. She tells Wolfgang that if they were to merge together they could control the city. He’s not interested.
Somewhere in the World:
Whispers comes to Will and starts fucking with him. He says he wants to help; Will doesn’t believe him. He also tells Whispers he doesn’t know where he is at so he can’t find him. Will follows Whispers back to his location, though: it’s a bland interrogation room with no outside view. Will understands that Whispers is just like him: he doesn’t want anyone to know where he’s at so he can’t be traced, for if he can then his family is in danger. Will calls his bluff about his family, says he sees where his wedding band was, and also believes that Whispers was told to take a leave of absence after the Iceland fuck up. Whispers leans on Will, telling him that if he doesn’t give up then eventually everyone he knows is going to be hurt. Riley wakes up and realizes what’s going on and shoots Will up with more heroin.
Kala returns from shopping. Note: Kala does a lot of shopping on her honeymoon. There’s something wrong with Rajan—
Lito arrives his condo and discovers it’s been cleaned out. The tenant owners of the building have kicked them out on to the street because he’s gay.
Rajan realizes that their marriage isn’t working in is passive-aggressively trying to worm his way out of it while making Kala feel like shit—which works as it has always worked in the past. Rajan has kind of realized from the beginning that their marriage isn’t gonna work, but the son of a bitch refuses to do anything about it and leaves all the dirty work to Kala. Just one of the many reasons I hate his ass.
Nomi and Amanita are talking about Nomi’s sister getting married when they hear the secret knock that tells them the bad guys are coming. They hide behind a wall as the FBI come in and tosses the room. The Feds tell the manager of the shelter that if they find out they are harboring a fugitive they will shut the place down.
Felix and Wolfgang returned to the key shop. Felix looks around and begins to think about what happened there, thinks that maybe he should settle down and get a wife, have a quiet life. There’s only one thing: he wants Wolfgang to talk him out of it, so they do so over a lot of booze and women.
Sun is called into interrogation where she meets up with three guys who are obviously asshole mob types. They say her lawyer has retired and they’ve been hired by—well, her brother is now escalated from being an asshole to being a mobbed up asshole. The cluster begins to assemble as she slips off a paperclip from a picture and uses Will’s talent to pick her handcuffs while she uses Lito’s acting skills to stall for time, which she manages to do by offering a huge bribe. Free from the handcuffs she goes into fight mode and, with help from her cluster, beats the three mobsters to a pulp.Transition Moment:
Rajan and Kala look to buy a new house in Mumbai. Nomi and Amanita leave the shelter and take up residency with Bug (Michael Sommers), who welcomes them with open arms. Will hears Riley getting drugs from a friend and tells her that he heard the woman speak, and while he didn’t understand the language that doesn’t mean Whispers wouldn’t. Sun hears of the rumor that she put three men in the hospital and says it’s not a rumor.
Wolfgang returns home and finds mob boss Volker Bohm (Martin Wuttke) waiting for him. Volker wants Wolfgang to come in with him and control Berlin. Wolfgang replies if he wanted to control Berlin it would be his already.
Silas is over to have dinner with Capheus’ family. Silas is going to open a clinic; Capheus wonders if he’s going to use it to smuggle drugs and launder money. Silas says a man can change, so why can’t he?
Lito is reading his Facebook page: you really shouldn’t do that.
Somewhere in the World/Chicago:
Will calls his father (Joe Pantoliano). Dad’s drinking a lot and he’s half in the bag this Thanksgiving. He wants to know where Will is, but there’s no way Will can tell him that. The conversation goes downhill from there and Will hangs up. He shouldn’t have done that, either.
Nomi is speaking with Sun and brings her back to her house to watch something on her laptop. That something happens to be Sun’s brother, who is still a smug asshole. Amanita is worried because the last time this happened Nomi’s laptop was broken in the end. Sun gets pissed, but ends up ramming Nomi’s fist into a box of Chinese food.
Wolfgang is drinking by the river when Kala shows up. She’s surprised as hell because she’s never seen snow. Wolfgang tries to piss on her enjoyment and she calls him on his bullshit. She tells them that no matter what he thinks there’s still something good inside him just as she has something dark inside her. They both know what they want but as they kiss Kala decide to have a snowball fight and begin laughing and having fun.Felix shows up with women and the spell is broken.
All around the world the cluster preparing for Christmas. Storefronts are being painted, presents are being wrapped, Riley is taking a blindfolded Will to an unknown location, and Nomi does her best to look like a Snapchat filter:Oh, Amanita and Nomi invite Bug along for their festivities because why not?
Lito and his friends meet his mother, Estella (Dolores Heredia). He expects the worst was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only does his mother still love him, but that she is known he was gay for a long time. How? As she is puts it, “You danced too well for a straight boy.” Yes, stereotypes do exist for a reason.
Capheus and his mother are watching It’s a Wonderful Life and this starts off the Christmas montage with the song Hallelujah playing in the background. Once again we see in the cluster coming together at various locations around the world, enjoying the holiday, enjoying being with each other. Sun eats smuggled candies; Riley and Will ice skate somewhere in The Netherlands. Note: after a bit of investigation I believe the ice skating scene was filmed in Haagse Bos Park in Den Hague. Nomi, Amanita, and the rest of the cluster enjoy the San Francisco choir singing the song we hear on the soundtrack while Angelica stands behind the choir watching all.
And just like that, the mood is spoiled when that worthless cunt Whispers finds Will and Riley.Whispers is not only fucking with Will now, but is with Will’s father and letting Will see what’s happening. Will can’t take it anymore and let’s Riley shoot him up so he can break the connection to Whispers while he wonders if he can continue being on the run.
The families are altogether and making plans for New Year’s. We discover that Hernando’s parents both died on New Year’s Eve, and Daniela is moved to tears because she’s never seen a family with so much love. Lito’s mother tells Daniela she has a home with her, always.
Sun is moved out of solitary confinement and is taken back to her original cell, where she rejoins her cellmates.
Wolfgang and Felix attend a New Year’s Eve party next to the Brandenburg Tor.Note: I believe the above scene was filmed in the Stiftung Brandenburger Tor next to the gate.
There they see an altercation between Volker and Wolfgang’s aunt’s associate. The implication is made clear that Volker will kill the man.
Later Wolfgang and Fritz are walking down the street into what used to be East Berlin where it seems they’ve encountered Lana Wachowski doing a cameo:Note: While I haven’t checked to see if this really is her, I’m almost positive it is.
Wolfgang’s aunt’s associate comes along screaming for help and is murdered moments later by Volker’s men. They chase Wolfgang and Felix inquire them in a parking area, likely intent to kill them as well. Before that happens, Sun appears and uses her skill to help Wolfgang to defeat his opponents.
Even though he’s won this battle he knows there are more to come, and it is with great weariness that he faces the members of his cluster. He knows the prior year was not easy, and the coming one is going to be even harder for them all.
He faces them and wishes all a Happy Fucking New Year.
Personal Note: As of right now I’ve been up just a little over twenty-one hours, because I was up at three in the morning to watch this episode. And, I’ve been recapping this for just over five hours, going back over the episode and gathering screen caps. The end result is nearly 5000 words for a two-hour episode–and it has been worth every minute.
I’ve waited a long time for this episode, and it did not disappoint. It not only picked up and showed the current condition of our sensates, but it moved along their story in an intelligent and believable manner. There were moments of joy and moments of sadness. There were moments of pain and intense moments of laughter–sorry, but when Rajan nearly suffered a broken penis I’m afraid I was laughing out loud the whole time.
Mostly it showed how Season 2 is being set up. There are so many things that could go wrong for a sensates, so many things in the normal world they’ll have to fight while at the same time worrying about the people who want to bring them in and lobotomize them. The next ten episodes are going to show difficult problems and likely more than a few drastic measures. It is definitely not going to be an easy road for characters or viewers, and if Season 2 is anything like Season 1, I know I’m going to be alternating through a wide range of emotions.
So now the holidays are here and once they are over we have four and a half months before we see our sensates again. 5 May, 2017, is the return of the remaining 10 episodes of Season 2, and I assure you I will be here to watch and recap them all. And I hope that you will be here to read and enjoy.
A Happy Fucking New Year to you all, and I’ll see you in May.
Tuppence Middleton — Riley Blue, The Netherlands
Brian J. Smith — Will Gorski, The Netherlands
Doona Bae — Sun Bak, Seoul
Toby Onwumere — Capheus, Nairobi
Max Riemelt — Wolfgang Bogdanow, Berlin
Tina Desai — Kala Dandekar, Positano, Italy/Mumbai
Miguel Ángel Silvestre — Lito Rodriguez, Mexico DF
Jamie Clayton — Nomi Marks, San Francisco
Freema Agyeman — Amanita, Nomi’s girlfriend
Terrence Mann — “Whispers”
Purab Kohli — Rajan
Alfonso Herrera — Hernando
Eréndira Ibarra — Daniela
Max Mauff — Felix
Paul Ogola — Jela
Dolores Heredia — Estella Rodriguez
Michael Sommers — Bug
Peter King Nzioki — Silas
Martin Wuttke — Volker Bohm
Joe Pantoliano — Michael Gorski
Anthony Cistaro — Agent Bendix
Naveen Andrews — Jonas Maliki
Daryl Hannah — Angelica Turing, aka Angel