The long wait is over—today we finally get to reunite with our Sensates! With a stellar cast, intriguing storylines and a stunning backdrop, Sense8 is one of the most exciting TV series of the moment. But what would the Sensates be without their trusted sidekicks? How would Nomi (Jamie Clayton) hack her cluster out of dangerous situations without the help of Bug (Michael X. Sommers)? What would Riley (Tuppence Middleton) do without the support of her father, Gunnar (Kristján Kristjánsson)? Sun (Doona Bae), Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and company may be blessed with octuple powers, but they wouldn’t be where they are in Season Two were it not for the support of other. (For our purposes, Alfonso Herrera’s Hernando and Freema Agyeman’s Amanita are main characters—though that may just be because we love them so much.)
Here, Paste presents the eight best secondary characters in Sense8. [Editor’s note: Some light Season Two spoilers follow.]
Min-jung (portrayed by the amazing Youn Yuy-jung) has had Sun’s back ever since she first entered the prison cell they share. She is the eldest of the women in the cell and takes on the mother role, always concerned for the wellbeing of her cellmates. In Sense8’s second season, she becomes a real ally to Sun when she rescues her and goes on the run with her. Without knowing much about Sun’s background and history, Min-jung is aware of the softness behind her tough exterior: “I have met strong women before, but none of them were like you. You have a heart as soft as a baby bird. It was what made me like you the moment we met.” Min-jung´s kindness and maternal care gives Sun, who lost her mother at a young age, the strength to continue her fight against her brother, Joong-Ki (Ki-Chan Lee).
OK, I’ll admit it: One of my major attractions to Felix (Max Mauff) is his relationship with Wolfgang (Max Riemelt)—what can I say? I’m a sucker for this kind of special bromance. These two really are as thick as thieves, and their wildly contrasting personalities make their friendship all the more touching. Where Wolfgang is stoic and a man of few words, Felix is outgoing, goofy and, at times, overly confident. Felix was easily seduced by the grandeur of the dodgy lifestyle Wolfgang created for them in Season One, splashing out money left, right and center while “Wolfi” continued on in his humble ways, treating himself to nothing more than a few pairs of sensible shoes. (God, I love how this show really brings out the German in these characters!) This season, however, sees Felix waking up to the consequences of being a pawn in Berlin’s underbelly, and following his journey en route to reaching an important conclusion was great fun to watch.
From the first moment we were introduced to Riley’s dad, Gunnar, in Season One, it was clear that these two share an incredible bond—and it’s not all that difficult to see why. Gunnar exudes a warm, gentle charisma, the kind that makes others feel calm and comfortable around him. He’s not the conventional father, in that he’s open-minded and not averse to smoking a doobie with Riley and his band mates prior to an important show, nor is he afraid to test the drugs of the EDM generation in order to get a taste of Riley’s experience when she´s spinning her records. Whether Riley is staying with Gunnar in his Icelandic home or they’re meeting over coffee with a view of Amsterdam’s canals, whenever she’s with him, it feels as though she’s at home in his presence, and his easygoing attitude and humble lust for life make the audience feel that same sense of love and security.
4. Sun’s trainer
As a teen, my group of besties was made up of Bloodsport-loving dudes who made us watch the movie on any occasion: innocent sleepovers, drunken parties and lazy Sunday afternoon chill sessions. And every freaking time, they cried with laughter. To this day, we call one of the guys “Frankie” and the other “Dux,” after Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Frankie Dux. I never understood the obsession until Sense8’s Capheus (Toby Onwumere) explained his fascination for Van Damme movies with such contagious passion I had to re-think my stance on these films—which isn’t to say that you’ll now find me watching martial arts movies with the same excitement as Frankie and Dux. The only thing that has ever drawn me to martial arts movies, other than beautifully choreographed fight scenes, were the wise, relentlessly strict sensei, and I feel that same enchantment for Sun’s trainer (Kay Nam Myung). He may not have played a huge part in the series thus far, but he’s played one of the most important parts in Sun’s life and, through her actions, we often get to see the man who helped shape the woman she is today.
He’s not always the most tactful when it comes to his hacker friend Nomi’s transition, but as we get to know Bug better, it’s obvious that his remarks aren’t born from a place of malice or intolerance, just ignorance. Bug truly values his friendship with Nomi—and by proxy, Amanita—and is happy to do anything in his hacking power to help his “Angels,” as he lovingly calls them, and keep them safe. He leads a pretty lonely existence, connecting with people mostly online, but yearns for real-life, human contact and is moved when Nomi and Amanita include him in their activities—no matter how weird. Though his mind is understandably blown by Nomi’s psychic interactions with her fellow Sensates, he is not in the least bit put off by it. On the contrary, he’s excited to learn that his perception of the world wasn’t all that far off after all.
Nomi’s relationship to her mother is problematic, if not traumatic—but, luckily, she’s found a loving mother-in-law in Grace (Maximilienne Ewalt). Regardless of how absurd Nomi’s situation may sound, Grace shows her nothing but kindness, support and understanding, letting her know, “I’m one of those people who is comfortable with the idea that there’s more going on in this world that we don’t understand, than all the things that we do.” She has that special San Francisco vibe about her—bohemian, open-minded and incredibly charismatic—and makes the people around her feel as though they have been part of the family forever. She does not believe in one “right” way for everyone, and instead encourages people to find their own way, much as she did herself. Amanita’s upbringing was far from conventional, with not one but three fathers in her life—and not knowing which of them is her biological father. But you know what? It worked for them. Seeing the unforced harmony among the members of this unusual family this season confirms what I already knew: Grace is one cool lass.
When his partner, Will (Brian J. Smith), shares the details of an intensely vivid dream with him, Diego (Ness Bautista) doesn’t necessarily dismiss it as insignificant. But when Will becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind his violent vision, Diego is understandably skeptical. He cracks jokes at Will’s expense, calling him Dr. Strange and a Mulder wannabe, but he ensures him that, should he actually find any evidence of a crime in this dimension, he’ll have his back no matter what. Sense8’s second season proves Diego is a man of his word—a feat that should not be taken for granted, given Will’s situation. But when Will makes contact with Diego through Riley in a manner most people would deem too bizarre to be true, he does everything he can to help his best friend and former partner. Though he doesn’t actually get to see Will, Diego anticipates his every move and thought in a manner that highlights the depth of their friendship. Theirs is, without a doubt, the second-best bromance on Sense8.
I doubt Puck (Kick Gurry), a Sensate from a different cluster, will remain a secondary character for much longer, and honestly I have mixed feelings about it. This guy, with his tasteless biker-style outfit and blue-streaked hair, gives me the heebie-jeebies. His particular style of sexual innuendo and general grossness reminds me of Jip’s (John Simm) description of Nina’s (Nicola Reynolds) boss on Human Traffic: “He slides around the shop floor fueled by the bad sperm that pours from every orifice.” Only Puck slides through space on his snazzy motorcycle, ready to hump anything and everyone who comes his way, cause, you know, “the dick wants what the dick wants.” One encounter with this hornball and, like Riley, you’ll worry you may have picked up “the Sensate equivalent of an STD.”
Season Two of Sense8 debuts today on Netflix.
Roxanne Sancto is a freelance journalist for Paste and The New Heroes & Pioneers. She’s the author of The Tuesday Series & co-author of The Pink Boots. She can usually be found covered in paint stains.