I Can’t Leave Her
Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by The Wachowskis
Chicago Sometime in the Past:
A young Will is looking out the window at a snow-covered neighborhood. A child psychiatrist is speaking to him, asking if he likes the snow. He doesn’t like shoveling it, and being from that area I know what a pain that is. The psychiatrist is asking him about Sara Patrell, who has affect Will greatly due to her disappearance and who has remained a mystery through the series. He’s bothered because Will says he can see Sara, and that bothers other people. He wants to know if Will still sees Sara. He does, but she shushes him, so he says no.
Will (Brian J. Smith) wakes up as his plane lands at Reykjavik.
Somewhere in Iceland:
A van speeds through a tunnel. (Note: probably filmed in Hvalfjörður Tunnel, an underfjord tunnel 18 kilometers north of Reykjavik.) Riley (Tuppence Middleton) is aboard and she’s hallucinating—
Iceland, 1 December, 2008:
Magnus is driving fast through the night while a pregnant Riley has strong contractions. She’s in a lot of pain and he’s going much faster than he should. Magnus is complaining about their midwife, but Riley says it’s the hex. He doesn’t believe in the hex, which is about the time something goes wrong:
The van—owned by Biologic—continues onward. Magnus is at Riley’s side asking her to come with him.
Iceland, 1 December, 2008:
Riley wakes up from the accident and finds Magnus dead. She frees herself from her seat and falls to the roof of their upside-down car. She weeps for him just as her water breaks. She delivers her daughter in the wreckage of the car, and Luna is born face up, just as all the sensates were. (Note: being born face up makes for a difficult delivery, and it is likely why Riley couldn’t use the midwife.) She tells her daughter that someone’s coming for them—
RT: Having delivered a baby face up, I can certainly vouch for how painful and difficult it is.
CF: It’s been pointed out that all the sensates were born the same way.
Somewhere in Iceland:
The same thing Riley whispers in her delirium. She calls for Will, and he’s there for her. He’s coming for her.
Will makes his way through the airport.
Nomi (Jamie Clayton) has bad news and worst news for him—
They talk as Will walks. She’s found out where Riley’s being taken: a BPO research facility up the coast. It has heavy security and she’ll looking for a way in. What’s the worst news? A private plane with Whispers is landing—
Nomi has confirmed that a helicopter is waiting to take him to the facility, but Amanita (Freema Agyeman) has confirmed a car for Will—
A red Porsche pulls up and a woman ask if he’s Will so he can sign the rental agreement. He wants to know how they’re affording this and Nomi says it’s from having access to Dr. Metzger’s credit cards. She’s got the coordinates of the facility in the GPS and says it’ll take them twenty minutes to get there. Will says he’ll do it in ten.
Riley wakes up in the car, cold and hurt. No one has come for them and Luna and she are freezing. She gives Magnus a hug and punches out a window to escape the car. It’s daytime and the wind is blowing hard across the snow. She makes her way up the side of the mountain, but at the top discovers that Luna is dead. She promises the child that she won’t leave her and lays down to die. BPO Facility, Iceland:
The van arrives and Riley is removed. She’s asking for her baby, but Yrsa (Lilja Thorisdottir) arrives say that Riley would have done anything for her child, and since this is her last chance to save the cluster—take it. She grabs a guard’s pistol and fires—
Somewhere in Iceland:
Will hears the shot.
BPO Facility, Iceland:
Riley holds off the guards as the cluster arrives. She sees herself as Angelica and knows what she must do to protect the cluster. She puts the pistol in her mouth but Will asks her not to kill herself. He’s coming for her: don’t give up. She removes the pistol from her mouth and the guards grab and sedate her.
Somewhere in Iceland:
Jonas (Naveen Andrews) shows and says putting her under is probably the best thing for everyone. Now Whispers won’t be able to track the cluster through Riley. He tells Will that Whispers knows Will is there—
Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) goes in to see his uncle. Goons are everywhere including the one Wolfgang beat up. His uncle can’t find Steiner: he won’t pick up his phone. He wants to know if Wolfgang knows where he’s at. He does. He tells his uncle since he didn’t want to choose between him or his son, now he won’t have to. The uncle is demanding to know. Wolfgang is like, I would tell you, but you can ask him yourself. One of the goons finds a pistol on Wolfgang, who grabs it quickly and starts shooting goons—and just like that it’s game on, bitches.
Kala (Tina Desai) is in the middle of lab work when Wolfgang shows up to say goodbye.
She joins him in the kitchen which is under attack. She’s not impressed with his plan. She starts looking at the household chemicals in the room and beings putting shit together: she may not be able to fight like Sun, but she knows how to use her brain. She wraps a bunch of cans together, mixes in a few spices because why the fuck not, and before you know it they’ve got a pretty nice homemade bomb. She hands it to him saying she’s not ready to say goodbye, and he kisses her—
RT: I love how all the sensates all have time to come into their own. Each has skills that can help the others.
CF: It’s been a huge growing experience all along for everyone, and it’s one of the things I’ve loved about this show from the start. There was also one quick scene in this moment when you saw Kala from the inside of the cabinet looking for things, but the camera shows from the outside it’s Wolfgang doing the looking. Totally drives home the idea that it’s someone in my head doing the heavy lifting.Then he lights the fuse and tosses it out to the goons, because what time is it? Why, it’s time to blow these motherfuckers up. Goons are dead or dying and Wolfgang makes his way back to his uncle, who is not only in pain from a leg shot but is out of bullets. The uncle wants to know why, because they are family. Wolfgang says his uncle once said he’d give anything to know who killed his brother, Wolfgang’s father, and we find out that Wolfgang did it, strangling him with a printer cable before getting him in his car and setting it ablaze. Wolfgang say his father was a monster, and so is his uncle—and so is he. And then he unloads a clip into his uncle and turns to Kala, who is watching. And tells her: And that’s the first heartbreak for this episode–
BPO Facility, Iceland:
Riley is being monitored, awaiting Whispers’ arrival.
Will is hauling ass to get to her, but Whispers is in the air and he can fly in a straight line, where as Will can’t. Whispers blows past will, and Nomi shows up and tells him to stop the car. BPO has been alerted that Will’s coming, so they need a distraction. Nomi wants will to break the oil line on the car, but he knows that will destroy it. Nomi says that’s why Amanita picked this car, and Neets is gloating over how guys just can’t stand to see a beautiful car damaged. Nomi agrees because Will is so torn right now but eventually does as told. Now he wants to know how he’s gonna get away: Nomi says they’re working on an exit strategy. In the meantime Amanita has found someone’s ID they can hack and they’ve fixing that up for Will. They’re gonna put it on his phone and he should be able to use that to get in. As Nomi says, the more hi-tech a company has become, the easier it is to walk in the front door. He asks about Riley, and since Nomi says no one can reach her, she’s probably still out and kinda safe. So just drive that smoking son of a bit to the front door, Will, and sneak past all the male guards outside weeping for the death of your 911 Turbo. San Francisco:
Amanita wants to know about this whole “Don’t look at the bad guy” thing because she also saw Whispers. Will explains that Jonas told him that Whispers can only connect to other sensates so she’s safe—
BPO Facility, Iceland:
—though as Nomi puts it, a guy who can use zombies to murder other people also knows who she is, and she’s wanted by the police and using equipment that can get her 20 years in the joint, so she’s not safe. But Neets is cool with it, so it’s all good.
RT: I fucking LOVE Neets! 😀
CF: She’s totally like, “Fuck it: we’re in this together.” I’m keeping my fingers crossed she makes it through Season 2 unscathed. I also like how she doesn’t question AT ALL the fact that Nomi’s connected to seven other people around the world.
As expect the guards stand around bemoaning the death of the 911 and Will walks right in— (Note: the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station was used for the exterior of the BPO facility.) He shows at the front desk and Nomi gives him the fake name. He introduces himself and scans the ID from his phone over the entry gate—no joy. It happens again, and the desk guard wants to check him. Nomi tells him to turn up the brightness on his phone and—ta da! He’s in like Flint.
Whispers (Terrence Mann) is checking in on Riley, who is still out. He wants her awake: the attending nurse said they could kill her. Jonas starts needling the fuck out of Whispers and he’s not happy. He wants Riley up now.
Will’s wandering around with no idea where to go. Nomi doesn’t know where she is, either: she’s not in the system. How they gonna find her?
Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) will find her. Will looks confused—do I know you? Lito’s like, yeah:
Lito takes over ‘cause he knows how to act, which means he can charm and lie. He grabs a lab coat and runs into the woman taking care of Riley and begins to first talk about what a shitty day he’s having, then flatters the fuck out of her, getting her all happy and giggly while Will and Nomi watch. He has to get back to work and go see—what room is she in again? Oh, 620. Thanks.
RT: The sensates are awesome when they have a mission 😀
CF: And when you think about it’s totally scary that they can just pop in and out of these skill sets at will. But it’s also cool as hell, too.
Whispers is checking out security feeds and knows Will is in the building and Nomi is helping.
Will wants to know how they’re going to get out. Nomi says they need help. Jonas says they’ll need his help. He says someone on the inside who is helping them is arriving in an ambulance in twelve minutes—there’s your out.
BPO Facility, Iceland:
Whispers can’t find Will through Jonas so he wants security doubled around Riley. Whispers doesn’t like playing game with Jonas, but Jonas gives zero fucks.
Nomi knows Riley’s on this floor and the ambulance just arrived. And wouldn’t you know it but there are four guards outside Riley’s room. Like that bothers Sun (Doona Bae). Jonas tells Will that Whispers knows he’s here, and he has a message which Sun delivers: if he thinks he can stop us he’ll need a lot more men.
And Sun proceeds to kick the guards’ asses.(Note: In slow motion you can see it’s Doona Bae’s stunt woman doing the more difficult parts of this fight near the end of the sequence.)
Will goes in and finds Riley. Their first face-to-face and they connect at the deepest level. He picks her up and they book to a lab where Nomi waits. Will knows they can’t carry her out, but Nomi doesn’t know how to wake her up. Kala does, however, and puts together a combo shot that will snap her awake. And it does.
Jonas is being tortured to give up the sensates. Whispers wants to know how they’re leaving—ah. The ambulance.
BPO Facility, Iceland:
Ambulance is in the garage and Will and Riley head for an elevator to get there. Only the elevators have glass doors, and guess who Will sees? Whispers.
They are now officially fucked, and it’s my second heartbreak of the episode.
After beating a guard Will and Riley make it to the ambulance. They can’t find the key but Capheus (Aml Ameen) knows how to hot wire anything because the Van Damn has been stolen a few times and he’s had to steal it back.. He has the vehicle going in seconds and they are out of Dodge.
Whispers is back in the copter and taking off, ready to chase down the ambulance.
On the Run in Iceland:
Will is driving hard, but Whispers is next to him. They can’t get away, they can’t go anywhere: he’ll know all that will sees, thinks, and does. Like I said they are fucked and when Jonas shows up and tells Will that Whispers has won, my heart breaks again and pieces are falling on the floor.
RT: Yep, this part totally shattered me as well.
CF: As you’ll see below I was fucking losing it during this episode. Totally on the edge of my seat going, “No! Don’t do this!”Will isn’t giving up though. Nomi doesn’t know how they’re going to get away. Amanita has figured it out: she’s found a lot of overcast and the helicopter can navigate in that well. They hang a left and head for the clouds.
The copter is on them, however, and is flying in front of them trying to get them to stop. Whispers calls enough: he knows Will will protect people. He won’t do anything foolish like crash into a helicopter blocking the road and kill everyone—Sure, Will can’t—but he knows Wolfgang can. Whispers knows this, too, and orders the copter out of the way. With that the ambulance vanishes into the clouds.
So they’re safe, right? Wrong! Riley is freaking out and that’s because—this is the fucking road on which she crashed and lost her husband and daughter. My heart’s breaking even more because you know this shit isn’t getting any better, and sure enough they see Angelica standing in the road like a specter, making Will almost wreck.
RT: This part broke me up the most, with Riley being on the same road and all.
CF: This whole segment was pure emotional torture. Great writing and visuals, but when you’re this caught up in the show it hurt like hell to watch it all go down.
Riley’s relieving her contractions and Will has no fucking idea what’s going on. And Will sees his distended belly because he’s totally connected to Riley by now and feeling what she’s feeling, including her flashbacks.
Nomi gets a shocked look on her face. She can’t reach either Will or Riley now—
On the Run in Iceland:
The ambulance is stopped. Riley runs out and up a hill with Will right behind her.
Riley wants to die: she’s done, she’s through. Jonas shows and tells Will Whispers is in a car and on his way. There’s no time left. Once he has Will the cluster is finished. So—Will has to kill himself. It’s implied he needs to kill them both.
Riley doesn’t mind: she was supposed to die here anyway. Will pulls his pistol: it’s time to end them. But he can’t and he tosses it away. He’s not giving up. And he knows what to do.
He runs back to the ambulance and finds the drugs, then gets inside and gives himself an injection that will knock him out so Whispers can’t follow them. He connects with Riley and tells her what happened. As he’ll be out he needs her to get in and drive them to safety. If she doesn’t, they’ll die, the cluster will die.
But she can’t. She’s lost in her own sadness. And the flashback Riley gives us our final episode shout out:Will knows how much it hurt: he knows she wants to lay down and die. But he knows she feels what he feels. He loves her. And that’s why she can’t give up.
And he whispers the phrase as he finally goes unconscious.
By the water Riley sings as she holds Will’s head in her lap. His eyes start to open and Sven asks if he’s sick. Riley says no as she readies another injection. They’re on Sven’s boat, and he pull away from the pier in preparation for getting underway. Will is whispering as he falls back asleep: you saved us. She kisses him as the rest of the cluster looks on.
And that is it: the last episode of Season 1, and the last episode of an incredible series. Now, if I am allowed, some last personal thoughts:
I never said anything but starting with Episode 7 I binged the rest of the series in an afternoon because I was just so hooked on the show. I am a sucker for character driven narratives, and this was nothing but characters trying to adjust to the most insane changes to their lives. And it was so hard to pretend I didn’t know what was going to happen as I recapped each episode, but at the same time it was great to go back over each episode as I continued writing this novella-sized series of recaps. (Based upon my the word counts in Scrivener, I wrote around thirty-six thousand words between all twelve episodes.)
I’ve seen a lot of science fiction on TV going all the way back to a few things in the early 1960s, including a show that celebrates its 50th anniversary exactly a month from now. After all these years I’d have to say my top five are, in no particular order, Star Trek TOS, Farscape, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica The Reboot, and Orphan Black. Now I have to move one of these out because Sense8 has come to take its place in the top five, and I think I know which show will go. (Hint: it won’t be the one with the series finale that for at least fifteen years I’ve told people is the single greatest hour of science fiction drama to ever appear on television.)
I’ve been touched and moved by the show and the characters, and I can’t wait for more. I want to know what happens with Lito, Hernando, and Dani. I want to know if Kala gets married. I want to know if Felix gets better and Wolfgang learns he’s not a monster. I want to know if Capheus’s last heroic action moves him out of the slum with a price attached. I want to know if Sun gets out of prison and gets revenge. I want to know if Nomi and Amanita become fugitive cyberpunk renegades. And last: do Will and Riley ever get to have a normal life together. (I also want a girlfriend like Nomi, but that’s another story—)
Most of all—and I’m sure this is addressed in the next Season—I want to know why Nomi couldn’t contact Will and Riley during that one moment in Iceland. Jonas left a bit of a clue, I think, and we may find there are some players we have yet to see who are far more powerful than Whispers and can help the cluster break free from him—
Coming up we have a special at Christmas—called, I believe, Christmas Special, wee hoo!—and then Season 2 comes early in in 2017. And I will be there watching and recapping. Because, to paraphrase Riley Gunnarsdóttir, I can’t leave them. Not any more.
Happy Birthday, Sensates. May you have many more to come.
RT: Once again, thank you so much for recapping Sense8 and for bringing this show back to life for me again. Your recaps are, as always, epic, humourous (and snarky) as well as thoroughly insightful! Also, thank you for making me stop and think more about this show than you ever can when you binge-watch something in three days 😉
CF: It’s pretty obvious that I went through a lot of personal feelings watching this, but at the same time I’m in awe of what was presented. This, to me, is what I strive to do as a creative person: I want people totally invested in the characters and story. That happened here, and because I feel so connected to this show I may just do a weekend binge soon just to relive the ups and downs of this story. Also, I don’t think I’ve put as much thought and work into any of my other recaps–and maybe that’s because, like the sensates, I’ve worked at a much different level when it comes to this series. I so seriously hope they get at least five seasons out of this because I can see this becoming such and epic work that needs re-watching again and again. And I can’t wait for the next season to arrive.
As always, leave a comment below and tell us what you think!
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
Peter King Nzioki — Silas
Terrence Mann — “Whispers”
Naveen Andrews — Jonas Maliki
Lilja Thorisdottir — Yrsa