Sense8 S02E05: Fear Never Fixed Anything
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writers: J. Michael Straczynski, Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Starring: Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Max Riemelt, Tina Desai, Toby Onwumere, Tuppence Middleton, Brian J. Smith
A review by Samantha Pearson
Sense8 S02E05, Fear Never Fixed Anything, deals predominantly with the real-world dangers that plague homo sensorium. This episode takes storylines we’ve been following since season one and shows us how the cluster is forced to confront their demons in order to keep living.
Fear Never Fixed Anything is more about the whole ensemble cast than previous episodes this season. Less focused on BPO (though obviously not ignoring it entirely), this episode grounds the sensates in the real world. An appearance by someone belong to an Anonymous-type hacker group who interacts with Nomi serves as a nice reminder that Sense8 explores the idea of how the world could be if homo sensorium existed in the world as is.
Whenever Sense8 moves outside the specific problems of the cluster, the emotional impact is hard-hitting. Though this episode begins with the cluster all mourning the devastating loss of Jonas, Fear Never Fixed Anything quickly dives into the outside forces plaguing the cluster as individuals who still have to exist in society despite the awfulness happening to their cluster.
A quick breakdown of events: Bug is able to solve Nomi’s FBI tail while also giving Lito a new spring in his step, reminding him of what it’s like to have fans. Kala’s perfect world begins to crack apart at the seams, politics and family mixing poorly. Capheus discovers that pursuing someone of a higher class is more complicated than it should be. Will has a meeting with Whispers. Sun goes home, but can’t escape from the detective pursuing her case.
And finally, Riley takes her friends up on their offer to do a DJ set at a concert, wherein more homo sensorium from other clusters make eye contact with her. They become part of the broader network of clusters that Wolfgang has tapped into by connecting with Lila.
There’s a lot happening in Fear Never Fixed Anything, though three subplots held my attention most. In this particular episode, I found myself most drawn to Sun, Nomi, and Lito.
Sun’s journey this season has, so far, been my favorite. Doona Bae’s performance is so layered, each element of Sun’s trauma coming into play in unexpected but incredible ways. Her strength and determination to continue on, to find her brother, to be truly free is admirable, especially with what seems like the whole world working against her.
Seeing her return to her mentor (and her pup!) in Fear Never Fixed Anything was heartwarming. The warmth with which she is received by everyone she meets — from fellow prisoners to old friends — really shines a light on how important she is to people, even though she often tends to stay out of the spotlight until it’s forced on her. Even within the cluster, Sun doesn’t often put herself at the center of everything. When she does, she has to have a really good reason to do so.
Fear Never Fixed Anything shows Sun truly content for the first time. I cried when she reunited with her dog. The lighting in the scene was so beautiful, accentuating the joy that everyone felt from her walking through the gates of her mentor’s home.
What’s interesting about that is how later, when the detective on her tail shows up to question her mentor, the lighting doesn’t change. It becomes rapidly apparent that the detective not only remembers her — as he did on the roof, when they fought — but wants to help her in spite of what it would mean for his job. Sun is innocent, and the way she wins people over to her cause is so fascinating to watch, because she always seems so surprised to have so much support.
The detective’s scene in Fear Never Fixed Anything also serves another purpose within the overall theme of the episode. As with every Sense8 episode, the title plays a major part in the dialogue as well as the plot. Herein, as the cluster all attempt to deal with their real-world demons, as well as those employed by BPO, fear is something none of them can afford.
“Your life is either defined by the system or by the way you defy the system.”
— Nomi Marks, Sense8 S02E05: “Fear Never Fixed Anything”
For Nomi, that means agreeing to let Bug introduce her to a hacker who can eradicate her from the system. “E-death” takes away all of her records, warrants, notices, and anything else that makes it difficult for her to live her life because she has been so relentlessly pursued by the FBI.
Jamie Clayton is especially good in Fear Never Fixed Anything; she’s dry and sarcastic, but also carefully hopeful that her life can, maybe, go back to normal if she digitally kills herself. Her cabin fever has slowly but surely made itself known throughout this season, finally culminating in her not only coming out to Bug as a sensate, but trusting him enough to come up with a real solution for how she — and Neets — can finally go home.
Like Sun, Nomi is eager to be free of her past, especially the legal trouble that makes it hard for her to pursue any kind of normal life. Unlike Sun, whose return home is a sun-drenched, puppy-kissed event, Nomi’s takes place in the dark, on a computer screen. It’s a really interesting dichotomy, and once again brings to light just how different each of the sensate’s lives are outside of the cluster.
The direction in Sense8 is always really focused, and Fear Never Fixed Anything is no exception. Each decision is obviously so calculated to bring attention to each sensate’s individual circumstances while also revealing how they are all connected beyond just psychically. Each of them yearns to pursue their passions without consequence.
That brings me to Lito, who broke my heart in this episode. I’ve written before about Miguel Ángel Silvestre and the depth that he brings Lito in every scene. As Lito pours through script after God-awful script with his family and then finds out he’s been asked to serve as the Grand Marshall at Sao Paulo’s Pride parade, it stings more than it should. To be invited to take on such a huge role should be a compliment, but Lito is so devastated to have his acting career shoved down the drain for being gay that it doesn’t feel that way.
After Bug geeks out when Nomi tells him Lito is in her cluster, Lito’s spirits lift a bit. He takes that little bit of confidence and runs with it, going straight back to the bar he visited in season one during the early stages of his international coming-out process. This time, he brings his cluster, and all of them realize that “fear never fixed anything,” aptly put by Wolfgang.
The inclusion of “liquid courage” is a great throwback to season one, for Lito, as well as a good way to transition us back into the season’s overall plot: Whispers, BPO, and the aggressive hunt for other homo sensorium. While Lito bucks up to pursue a career as a gay actor, Riley prepares to perform for the first time since she left London.
Fear Never Fixed Anything draws the sensates together for this final sequence, their real-world problems temporarily put on hold as Riley attempts to seek other sensates in the crowd and the rest of the cluster relax a little and dance. Then, because these people can never have too much happiness, Whispers arrives (with reinforcements) and Will and Riley barely escape (with the help of her friends).
Keep watching Sense8! The more season two dives into each character, the more emotionally invested I get in each of them, which is remarkable considering how large of an ensemble cast this series boasts.
If you’re watching, or if you’re even thinking of watching, be sure to that you tell Netflix want them to keep Sense8 around. Its renewal is in question, and I can’t stand the idea of it getting cancelled so soon, especially after what happened to The Get Down (R.I.P.)