If you haven’t watched the special yet but are still planning to, I highly advise you to not read this post! You can find a spoiler-free version HERE.
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Kala & Wolfgang & Rajan
The „resolution‟ of this love triangle has deeply divided our fanmily, which makes me a little sad. I do understand some issues, others leave me shaking my head in disbelief and disagreement.
Let me tell you first what I loved about Lana’s vision and how it plays out in the special and then I will offer some thoughts on the criticism that exists among the Kalagang shippers.
A side note: If you are one of those people feeling deeply disappointed and offended by the choice Lana has made regarding Kala and the men who love her, please understand that I have read some of your grievances on Twitter but have had the feeling that viewpoints are so set in stone that any discussion might just lead to a deeper rift within the fanmily. I do not want to belittle your feelings in any way but also feel the strong need to voice my opinion about that. I still do not, however, want to delve into a heated discussion here or on Twitter. I don’t want Twitter mutuals become enemies. There are so many other things we can agree on, let’s focus on those if we differ in opinion in this regard here.
- The development of Rajan:
Rajan has to come to terms really quickly with the whole idea of the sensates and his wife being one of them and risking her life to save one of them. He may not know at first that Kala loves Wolfgang but he can sense how important he seems to be to her. So Rajan actually risks his life for Wolfgang in the club where the exchange of prisoners is not going according to plan. That is huge – and it shows his complete and unconditional devotion to Kala. What impresses me even more was how he shows no jealousy when he sees Kala and Wolfgang kissing for the first time. His face displays puzzlement and a sense of understanding at the same time, perhaps knowing that he can’t really compete with the connection these two sensates have. There is no hostility whatsoever between him and Wolfgang, no glances of reproach towards Kala – on the contrary, he seems excited to form a bond with Wolfgang too.
- Kala’s near death:
Seeing Wolfgang’s despair and sadness over Kala’s supposed death broke my heart into tiny pieces – and it still does every time I see that scene again, despite knowing full well that she will survive. Max Riemelt’s acting is so convincing that it doesn’t feel like acting at all, making this display of the deepest grief imaginable one of the most heartbreaking moments I’ve seen on screen. His real-life sadness over Sense8 very possibly being over seems to come into play here, and witnessing that has made me love Max even more.
And then Rajan arrives – and Wolfgang gives him room to grieve as well. Two men loving the same woman, neither being angry at the other for doing so. On the contrary, when Kala visits Wolfgang and tells them they better do something to save her life, they both work together to do so, Rajan actually being the one that comes up with the idea that saves Kala’s life. No wonder that Kala also loves Rajan: He helped save Wolfgang’s and her life.
- The threesome/orgy:
OK, I did not see it coming that this would actually evolve into a threesome, a polyamory triangle. And yet, I half expected Wolfgang to kiss Rajan at some point – I mean, he really kisses everybody, right?! Admittedly, I believe that polyamory doesn’t really work in most cases. I’m not sure I would be up for it as I have always been faithful to the partners I’ve had and the thought of my partner with someone else has always appalled me. That being said, I do love the idea here because it fits within Lana’s vision of all-embracing love. Plus, I have always held the belief that love comes in many colors, shapes and sizes, and that you can love more than one person, as every kind of love is different. Not every kind of love becomes sexual, still I do strongly believe that you can also be sexually attracted to more than one person at a time. In Lana’s vision that fact does not lead to betrayal and hurt but to inclusion and even more love and joy (see Rajan’s last words). In her vision shown in Sense8 sex is (almost) always connected to love (Wolfgang is the exception here, at least at the beginning) – and the orgy scenes clearly show that „Art is love made public‟ (Hernando) as they have all been shot so beautifully that you would not be surprised to see the individual frames as paintings or sensual art photography in a museum. This also applies to the orgy scene at the end of the special, perhaps excluding the very last shot of the (used) dildo in rainbow colors. But I loved that shot as well, since it brings the viewer right back to the very first episode.
- The criticism
The critics of Lana’s resolution of the triangle have mainly three complaints:
It does the character of Kala a great disservice as she doesn’t overcome her biggest flaws – her indecisiveness and her sense of duty towards her parents and societal Indian conventions – by not clearly choosing Wolfgang over Rajan.
To be honest, yes, I would have loved for Kala and Wolfgang to have a scene in which the two of them finally meet face to face and enjoy each other physically – just the two of them. I mean, hey, I ALWAYS have to cry when Kala and Wolfgang kiss and have sex (by visiting) in season 2, episode 6, because it touches me so deeply. I probably would have been fine for the first real-life (sexual) encounter to last 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an eternity… ❤ So, I do understand Kalagang shippers who feel robbed of these moments. But I don’t agree with them when it comes to this development casting a bad light on Kala. Isn’t choosing both a decision as well? Isn’t choosing to love two men (albeit in different ways, surely the connection between her and Wolfgang will always be stronger as they can literally feel each other’s feelings). Isn’t choosing two men instead of one the ultimate break with societal conventions (not just in India but pretty much everywhere)? Granted, I don’t have first-hand knowledge about Indian society and I know that some critics are Indian women, but I have not yet seen compelling arguments proving why choosing to have (sexual) relationships with two men – who both consent – shows less independence than choosing to leave one and getting together with the other.
Kala never loved Rajan – why should she suddenly love him now?
Feelings can change. I have experienced one real love-at-first-sight moment in my life – it was an overwhelming feeling but it never amounted to a relationship partly due to factors that couldn’t be influenced and partly because the „man of my dream‟ turned out to be quite different from how he existed in my memory and dreams. On the other hand, I had two long-term relationships with men that I was first not really interested in but that I grew to love partly by seeing they loved me for who I was. Admittedly, both of these relationships didn’t last for a life-time, but both were longer than ten years, and I do not regret any of these years. So, of course, feelings can change, can develop into something new. It’s not that Kala ever hated Rajan, she did care for him before. And seeing now how accepting he is about her being a sensate, how willingly he helps rescuing Wolfgang and defeating BPO, how he does not become jealous of Wolfgang, how he doesn’t look at her in a reproaching kind of way because of Wolfgang, how he saves her life, how he bonds with Wolfgang at Nomanita’s wedding, all that makes her see Rajan in a different light. Some say, „well, gratitude is not the same as love‟ but, really, who defines what love is? Isn’t that Lana’s vision: labels are the opposite of understanding, it is in this unfamiliar realm we find new possibilities?!
Rajan is an inherently bad guy, no matter what good he does in the special.
Now, this argument actually infuriates me, to the point that I don’t want to react to anybody claiming that this is true, fearing it might destroy any good contact I might have had with this person. What makes Rajan a bad guy in the two seasons leading up to the special? In my view, not much…
- In regards to Kala: He dances for her (any man that would do that for me, I would adore just for that ;)). He treats her with respect. He still wants to marry her after learning that his father is against the marriage. He patiently waits until she’s ready to have sex with him, even if that takes quite some time (I’m not quite sure how long). He promotes her – other, more traditional men might have told her to rather stay home and be a housewife (and mother eventually). He cares about her safety. OK, yes, he lies to her about his involvement in the investigation against his friend. But: Kala lies to him too, even longer and regarding an issue that affects their relationship directly! So why is Rajan the bad guy?
- In comparison to Wolfgang: Some say that Rajan has killed a lot more people by selling expired AIDS drugs to poor countries than Wolfgang killing his family out of self-defense, and thus is really a bad guy, whereas Wolfgang is really a good guy. First up, a few words about Wolfgang. As many will know: I do love Wolfgang, I pine for him, my heart aches for him, especially knowing about the climate of abuse and hate he grew up in. Sure, he indeed has a good heart, but not everything he has done up to the point he becomes a sensate can be considered „self-defense‟. He’s been part of organized crime all his life, and we don’t even know what exactly he’s done in all these years. The way he knows how to handle guns – and bigger weapons than that – implies a long „career‟ of hurting and killing other people. Sure, he was born into it – but, for that matter, so was Rajan, as the heir of his father’s business. I’m going to be honest: I was never able to watch the scene in which Wolfgang shoots his uncle. Is it understandable that he does that? Sure thing. Did he have to do this? Yes, at that point in his life he probably had to. But there would have been moments in his life in which he could have chosen another path – way before that situation. If I were Kala, would I have no problem witnessing that? Oh, I would really be struggling with what I’ve seen. Even I, sitting leisurely at home, was in deep shock. As much as I love Wolfgang, in real life, I would very likely stay away from such forces in my life.
- Now, Rajan. To me the only rationale making him a bad guy is the one about the drugs. I’ve read all kinds of other things about him as well regarding Kala, which I have already addressed above. Of course, it’s horrible that the company of Rajan’s father sells expired drugs to poor countries, and Rajan’s first reaction surely is quite appalling, granted. But, as I said, he was sort of born into this system as well, so why not give him time to realize that this is bad practice and change his ways and with it his company’s ways? Why is only Wolfgang granted redemption? There were even some people among the fandom who wanted to see Rajan die. As if he was the greatest villain! This is definitely not what Sense8 teaches us. I mean, not even Sun’s brother was killed! And, personally, I was really glad that Sun didn’t kill him, no matter how much I despised him. (But this is another topic…)
Let me close on a positive note with some of my favorite moments from the special:
- Bug meeting the cluster for the first time, Bug walking Nomi to her wedding, in general: Bug in every scene he’s in! Can’t wait to meet Michael X. Sommers at Sense8Con next year! 🙂
- How Wolfgang stops Kala from jumping and how Kala by doing this keeps him from killing himself.
- How Kala steps in front of Wolfgang when Lila appears at the airport with a resolute: „NO!!!‟
- Sun & Mun: The phone call, his surprise visit, their kiss, them kicking ass!!! ❤ ❤
- How tight Wolfgang embraces Kala when they see each other in real life for the first time. Finally. ❤
- The „I Feel You‟ sequence!
- Felix waiting for Wolfgang by the side of the road – I squealed with joy! These two are so close, I love them so much and they put a smile on my face every single time! ❤ ❤
- Everyone meeting everyone else on the Eiffel Tower („This is the Spirit of Jean-Claude!‟).
- The whole wedding sequence had me sobbing out of joy and melancholy. Almost more so, when they really started dancing to the remix of „Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing“ and you could even see Lana and Karin in the background in one scene. Love, love, love it! ❤
- The wedding-night orgy, especially when they included the flashbacks! Then I could hardly see through my tears… This makes me so emotional every time I see it.
- For our fans. That started the waterworks anew after the short laughter that the last scene with Rajan and then the dildo had elicited. And then the whole credits to the song „Rather Be‟ by Clean Bandit rolling with clips of, for instance, Brian J. Smith in tears, the cast and crew doing silly stuff… I just cried through all of this. Hard. While laughing.
It cannot end. It must not end. Sense8 – no place I rather be. ❤