The Netflix sci-fi series “Sense8” features eight young adults from different cities around the world who discover they are “sensates,” connected emotionally and mentally to one another despite the distance between them. Created by Chicago sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski — the duo behind “The Matrix” — the show debuted in 2015 with a generally positive reception.
The show’s second season debuts Friday on the streaming channel. During a 10-day shoot last summer in Chicago — one of several cities worldwide visited in the course of making the new episodes — cast members revealed the group of eight will be helping and interacting with one another much more.
“In season one, we were all understanding the fact that we were sensates and understanding how we visit and where it happens and all those things, and now we have kind of figured that out,” said Tina Desai, who plays Kala Dandekar, a pharmacist and devout Hindu living in Mumbai, India. “So now we as a cluster come together a lot more; we communicate with each other a lot more.”
Desai also implied her character’s pharmaceutical knowledge would come to play a larger role in season two, as Chicago cop Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith) continues to flee the show’s villain, known as Whispers.
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“I think season one was a lot about establishing each of these characters in their world and them kind of coming to terms with this new skill, power, experience that’s happening to them,” explained Tuppence Middleton, who plays the Icelandic DJ Riley Blue. “And then in season two they kind of got the hang of it more, so they know what they’re doing, they know what to expect, they know where their strengths lie in each person and they’re starting to work as a group a lot more effectively. I think we see a lot more of the cluster as a group of eight.”
According to Middleton, Riley spends most of season two on the run with Will, protecting him despite her own emotional vulnerabilities.
“It’s a massive role reversal this season because Riley, after having been saved herself, becomes more of the carer of the two,” Middleton said. “She has to be strong and practical and put all that emotional stuff behind her and really come through for Will and the whole cluster.”
Meanwhile, Max Riemelt’s character, the Berlin safecracker Wolfgang Bogdanow, continues his own perilous journey among gangsters and criminals.
“My going and killing my whole family certainly has some consequences,” Riemelt joked of his character’s murder spree at the end of season one. “[Wolfgang] has to make choices that are really hard. I have to deal with these other people who would like to take over Berlin. I have to find my place in this crime dynasty of Berlin gangsters. And on top of that, there are still of course feelings that are involved.”
When asked if those feelings for Desai’s character, Kala, ever amount to a relationship in season two, the two actors simply smiled and laughed. “It’s complicated,” they said simultaneously.
According to the cast, season two includes new characters and new locations outside their hometowns, including Positano, Italy, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they filmed a scene involving Lito Rodriguez at the city’s gay pride parade.
The cast concluded that many of the same themes from season one are continued and expanded upon in season two, including, according to Middleton, director Lana Wachowski’s “sex-positive message.”
“There’s more crime, more violence, more sex,” Riemelt said, laughing.