What Is Human?
Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by The Wachowskis
Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) wanders the Holocaust memories where Felix and he first met the diamond merchant. He is thoughtful and is reminded of what the merchant told him when they met—that he would come there to think. Wolfgang he is not alone: the cluster is there with him as well. Wolfgang stops before a saying etched in mirrored glass, and Will (Brian J. Smith) reads it: “Is the Holocaust an aberration, or a reflection of who we really are?” Wolfgang hears people around Will and wants to know why it’s so loud. Will tells him it is Independence Day, the 4th of July. Wolfgang wanders off and Will follows, losing him—
But return to where he was at, Millennium Park, in the northwest corner of Grant Park. Will wanders toward the Crown Fountain and makes his way though the shallow pool before the enormous structure. (Personal Note: like The Wachowskis I’m originally from the Chicago area and I’ve stood more or less where Will stood during this scene.) There in the middle he’s contacted by Jonas (Naveen Andrews) once more; he wants to talk.
Sun (Doona Bae) meets with her lawyer. He says that her father has contacted the authorities and that they have decided to hear his testimony in the embezzlement matter at his company. He figures that if everything goes well she could be out in a week. He’s got her signing some paper and she asks about Brother Douchebro, wondering what will happen with him. The lawyer says the court went easy on her because she cooperated, but since her bother weaseled his way out of this crime, his best bet would be to get the fuck out of Seoul as quickly as possible before the law comes for his ass. Sun thinks about this for a moment—ending up with Wolfgang for a bit—before sighing the papers. Berlin:
Wolfgang is back with Felix at the hospital when Steiner and his merry gang of assholes bursts into the room. His cousin is there to lean on him and get back the diamonds that he figures should be his. He wants them back, and he makes it pretty clear that if he doesn’t get them back, something bad is going to happen to Felix. And just to make sure nothing does, he’ll leave a couple of his boys behind to watch. Chicago:
Will and Jonas speak at the Art Museum. Will is given a bit of his back story, and they begin talking about the sensates. Will wonders if they are really human, giving Jonas the chance to give the title shout out, “What is Human?” Jonas figures they are really more human that any human could ever be. Mumbai:
Kala (Tina Desai) is still at the hospital and troubled as hell. Her father wants to know what’s going and she tells him that she’d troubled about the wedding, and confesses to what Rajan’s father was doing there. She really doesn’t know what to do now, and her dad says that Rajan’s father came to her because he knew his son wouldn’t listen to him, but if he could get Kala to call off the wedding, it would give Rajan’s father control over his son. Her father says to tell the truth and hope for the best. I say tell Rajan there’s this naked white dude in Germany…
RT: HAHA! I wonder how telling Rajan about the naked dude would have gone down!
CF: It’s a vision from the gods! And then he’s lose his shit.
Will and Jonas continue talking. Jonas has been where Will is now, hearing about how the cluster works, to even feel back to the moment of their first breath. Will doesn’t know how he’s not been found out yet and Jonas tells him people have to know what they’re looking for. Will says he feels the same, but Jonas wonders how he feels sharing his thoughts with someone on the other side of the world.
Capheus (Aml Ameen) is watching a Van Damme movie—
Kala is sitting on a bench outside the hospital when Capheus joins her—
And she joins him for movie night at his place. (Note: this is the first time Kala has met any of the cluster other than Wolfgang.)
Wolfgang is getting the diamonds, which he’s frozen in ice trays. He also has his pistol. He puts them in a small drawstring bag—
They continue watching, and Kala is wincing and turning away from the action on the screen—a big movie fight fan she isn’t. She says she thought there was dancing in this, and Capheus is like: this is dancing! She thinks it’s violent, but Capheus tells her that life is violent and she agrees: she now knows this to be true.
Jonas compares the sensates to birds and forests in the way they understand the way they are, the way they interact. He believes sensants have been in the world forever, but Will doesn’t get that: how could they be around humans so long and no one knows of them. Jonas knows that secrets are important to any species, and humans will do anything to prevent their existence from being known. It would be far too dangerous. Will wants to know if Jonas has a secret, and he does. He says Whispers is going to use him to try and get at the 8 August Cluster, and reminds Will never to look him in the eye. Will understand that Angelica killed herself to prevent them from being found.
Wolfgang drives into a vacant lot in his BMW. He has the diamonds in the glove box.
Jonas has one bit of advice for Will: he was told that what makes us “us” was far less important than what makes them “them”. It doesn’t matter who came first: the lack of ability in humans not to communicate with each other as sensates do makes them better at one thing: killing. Because it’s easy to kill when you feel nothing.
Steiner and his gang assholes show up to get the diamonds, which Wolfgang hands over because he doesn’t want anything to happen to Felix. But since Steiner is an enormous asshole he has to needle Wolfgang, and he wants to know just how he got in the safe. Wolfgang tells him the truth: he cracked it. BZZZT! Wrong answer! Steiner beats Wolfgang to the ground and puts a gun to his head demanding the right answer.
RT: *fist pumps the air*
CF: I loved this scene, and I spent about five minutes getting the grenade launch. This was so bad ass.Lito is pumped as hell: he loved it. Wolfgang thanks him and Lito tells him that lying is easy, it’s what he does. Wolfgang replies that when you make a mistake, you live with it, or you fix it. I’d say you fixed this shit out of your cousin.
Lito calls Hernando and gets his voice mail. He tells him he made a terrible mistake and he’s going to fix it. Let’s hope he stops at RPGs R Us first.
Will’s down by the riverside and Riley (Tuppence Middleton) is there waiting for him. He’s got beer and brats and he and his dad are going to watch the fireworks.
She’s also at the concert hall waiting to see her dad.
As they flip between locations Will warns Riley that it’s dangerous for her to stay in Iceland; Riley sighs as Yrsa said the same thing. She then tells Will what else Yrsa said: Jonas used to work for BPO and can’t be trusted. Will doesn’t know about that, but he knows they have to watch out for each other. Riley lets Will know that she wouldn’t be here—probably alive—if it wasn’t for Will, and while that wouldn’t have meant anything to her before, it means a lot now. And they kiss. And kiss some more— If their kisses feel this good in their connection, Will wonders what it will feel like in person.
Lito walks into the same bar he was in before; the same bartender is there. Lito starts hitting the double tequilas, and puts away five of them. He then grabs bartender by the shirt and pulls him in for a kiss—
RT: This episode is brought to you by *fist pumps*
CF: So much fixing in this episode, and seeing Lito embrace his sexuality publicly was so touching.
Riley walks up on her dad and two of his friends, who are in their tuxes and getting baked on a joint before the big show. She thinks it’s kind of cute, and says she does the same thing in London, only she starts out with Ecstasy. She passes her stash over to her dad and he and his two friends decide fuck it, why not? Because if you gotta get the creative juices flowing, best be trippin’ balls, yeah?
Will’s dad (Joe Pantoliano) is doing is own blazing with a grill and a shit load of lighter fluid when Will arrives with the goods. Turns out they’re on a boat, motherfuckers, on a BOAT! And that’s a good place to watch shit blow up as the firework are set off from barges just off the shoreline of Grant Park.
Joaquin (Raúl Méndez) and Daniela (Eréndira Ibarra)—who has fresh bruises on her face—are chillin’ when Lito comes driving up like he’s in one of his movies. He confronts Joaquin and says he’s there to take Daniela back.
Will’s dad is enjoying himself. He loves the 4th. He tells a little about his life and then tells Will that the proudest moment of his life was when his son told him he wanted to be a cop.
Riley shows up at the concert with Sven and finds her seat.
The fireworks go off and Will and his dad are enjoying the show as they are spectacular.
Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita (Freema Agyeman) are enjoying their own fireworks at the moment as they make love.
We cut back and forth between these scenes as Sun and Capheus join Will for the fireworks while Nomi and Amanita reach climax as they enjoy what could be their last private, sensual moment for some time.
Hernando (Alfonso Herrera) answers the door and it’s Lito, all beat to shit. Lito asks if Hernando still loves him and asks if he can come in. He knows why Hernando acted the way he did and Lito knows he made a mistake—but he fixed it—
RT: Yay! So glad this FINALLY happened!
CF: I can’t wait to see these guys next season. I don’t think Joaquin will say a thing, because in his mind it would hurt him more to admit he was beaten by a gay dude. Though he’ll probably still come after him—Reykjavik:
The concert starts and you can Dad and his friends are enjoying their high. And as Riley soaks in the music and the emotions the rest of the cluster appear and enjoys the show with her. But the piano connects her to a memory, and it was just as Jonas said: members of the cluster can remember back to their first breath, and we see Riley being born in Sven’s house while her father plays to her over that rotary phone that Sven still owns.
But it’s not just Riley that remembers: all of the cluster does—
Will remembers his father delivering him while his mother was in the back seat of a CPD car on the side of the road.
Kala remembers arriving during the rains, attended by many women with her husband at her side.
Lito remembers with his whole family around, all of them—including his mother—watching TV the entire time.
Sun remembers her mother going to a grave to lay flowers and going into labor, with her coming out moments later.
Nomi remembers being delivered by c-section and her mother saying her birth name almost immediately.
Wolfgang remembers being a water birth with his mother delivering him into a warm, shallow pool.
Capheus remembers his mother squatting by a lantern at night as she is helped by a couple of women to bring her son into the world.
Riley remembers her moment when she entered the world, but she remembers something else:She remembers screaming in the middle of the night while bloody and cold as she delivered her daughter. She remembers snow and a car flying off the road and someone hitting the windscreen and she stands up, blood flowing from her nose, and faints right away…
Personal note: As I’ve said before I thought it wasn’t possible for the show to get better as it went along, but the Cluster Birthing scene is among the finest ever written and shot. Just an incredible bit of work with nary a word, just the images set to music to see how these eight remarkable people took their first breath together as one.
RT: I completely agree. Sense8 just keeps growing and improving. Just when you think you are happy and the show couldn’t get any better, it excels itself, over and over again.
CF: I have never been as surprised with how a show builds as I have been with this one. Simply remarkable writing and storytelling.
Two episodes to go and I fear for the worse right now. What’s going to happen? You’ll just have to check out my recaps next week. As always, tell us what you think by leaving a comment 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
Naveen Andrews — Jonas Maliki
Eréndira Ibarra — Daniela
Alfonso Herrera — Hernando
Raúl Méndez — Joaquin