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The Dull Women of Sense8

I'm partway through the sixth epsidoe of Netflix's streaming show Sense8. The premise is that eight people in eight different countries are somehow hooked together and get flashes of what the others think, feel, and sense.  An interesting idea.  The show starts off slooooooow (fortunately I watch it while I'm working in the kitchen), but then it finally gets going.

But man! The women are dull, Dull, DULL.

(Warning, there will be spoilers.)

We have Riley, an Icelandic woman living in London.  She spends her entire time wandering through London's underworld, drifting from one set of bad guys to another.  She never does anything but wander about with a sad, vaguely stoned look on her face.  She never actually ACTS, she only REACTS.  She's been rescued a couple of times, but she never helps herself. Whenever the show flicks to her, my attention wanders.

We have Sun, a businesswoman in Korea.  When the show starts, we know extremely little about her, but all she's does for several episodes so far is refuse to answer the phone when a particular businessman calls her.  She attempts to call on her businessman father once or twice, but only half-heartedly, and we don't know why or what's going on.  She's a martial artist, but she never fights for a cause of her own.  She fights in a ring once and she accidentally takes over one of the men to help him fight.  Now she's taking the fall for her lazy, criminal brother and allowing herself to be arrested so he won't have to go to jail.  She's a doormat.  Dull, dull, dull.

We have Nomi, the transgender woman in America.  Fairly quickly on, she faints at a Pride parade and is taken to a hospital, separated from her partner, and told she's been committed against her will.  She'll be required to undergo brain surgery "for her own safety."  (This is patently illegal, but the surgeon is one of the villains.)  Nomi tries the door once and finds it locked, so she spends the rest of her time huddled on her bed or in a chair, weeping.  When the phone rings, she's afraid to answer it for fear it's a hallucination.  She reluctantly does and discovers it's her partner, who swears she'll rescue Nomi.  Nomi hangs up and waits.  Eventually a nurse comes in and when Nomi says she wants to be released, the nurse brings in an orderly with restrains while Nomi cringes on her chair.  Once again, we have a female protagonist who does NOTHING but whimper, cry, and moan.  She doesn't even TRY to escape or fight back.  Eventually she's rescued, but not by her own agency.  Someone else helps the damsel in distress.  Boring.

And we have Kala, a woman in India.  She got her Master's degree from a pharmacological university, but we never see her use it. Instead, her main storyline revolves around the fact that she's engaged to a handsome, talented, very nice, kind billionaire whom she doesn't love.  The wedding is coming up soon, and she doesn't know what to do.  That's it.  The old "Ohhh, I'm engaged to the perfect man, but I don't love him" routine.  Does she say anything to her family?  No.  To her friends?  No.  To him?  No.  She prays in a temple and smiles wanly when her friends twitter about how lucky she is.  Once, she attends a business meeting in which someone talks about tainted drugs that are killing people around the world, but she isn't paying attention.  Why?  The female co-worker next to her is distracting her with girlish giggles about her handsome billionaire fiance.  Holy crap!  A couple of times, one of the other Sense8 men appears to her in her, like the prince appearing to Rapunzel in her tower, and she's attracted to him because he's just so handsome.  No other reason--he's just good-looking.  Holy crap part two!

Meanwhile, the men are having a ball!

Wolfgang the safe cracker literally pisses on his father's grave, then breaks into a wealthy house and cracks an uncrackable safe, then faces down his evil uncle.

Will the cop re-opens the long-ago murder case of a little girl and gets into a shootout and a car chase while looking for clues.  He saves the insipid Riley from a drug dealer who tries to kill her.

Capheus the impoverished bus driver in Africa desperately looks for ways to earn money for drugs to save his mother, who dying of AIDS, and gets himself tangled up in a drug underground, one that's probably connected to the one Kala ignored.

And Lito the actor is leading a double life in Mexico.  He hides the fact that he's gay and has a long-term male partner, but the woman he's been fake-dating discovers the ruse and forces herself into their lives anyway because she wants to get away from her violent ex-boyfriend Jaoquim, who just happens to be the producer of the show Lito is currently acting in.  Jaoquim, whose wealth comes from a drug empire, isn't happy that Lito seems to have stolen is lady love away, but Lito can't tell him the truth without outing himself to the Mexican press.  He dances a thin line between the woman, his husband, and the drug lord.

The line between the woman and the men in this show is stark.  The women have things done TO them while the men go out and DO things.  It's a major, major flaw in the show.

Maybe things get better.  But if it takes six episodes or more of a show for the women to be shown as anything but passive doormats while the men get all the active, go-get-'em plotlines, the show has serious problems.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
I won't give any spoilers, but Amy and I finished the season. Well, Amy finished every minute of it, and I started wandering about the house around episode 4 or 5, looking for chores to do. I did most of them in the living room, so I got to see a lot of what went on in eps 6+, but honestly didn't care much about any of the characters.

I did like Lito, Cappheus and the cop, and I thought Riley has potential, but that waned quickly. I'm in agreement with all the rest you posted.

Show could have been called "InSense8" for all the lack of excitement I got from it. I'm more anticipating the second seasons of DareDevil and that show with Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda.
Sep. 17th, 2015 12:07 am (UTC)
Lily Tomlin?
Sep. 17th, 2015 01:37 am (UTC)
"Grace and Frankie", also on Netflix.

Finding out that their husbands (Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen) are not just work partners, but have also been romantically involved for the last 20 years, two women with an already strained relationship try to cope with the circumstances by living together.

I figured you'd have heard about this. Amy and I really like it.
Sep. 17th, 2015 02:56 am (UTC)
Cool! I'll go look.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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