"Sense8" seems to pass every test that could be thrown at a tv series: the characters come from diverse backgrounds, the number of main female characters to main male characters is equal, women talk about things other than men, numerous LGBTQA+ characters exist and have meaning and depth—the list goes on and on. With numerous positive experiences associated with this show, it seems hard to believe that the show writers dropped the ball somewhere. And they did, big time. The missing mom trope, which is evident in many other aspects of media, as abundantly clear in "Sense8"; of the eight main characters, only three have a mother while the missing five mothers are either dead or never even mentioned. What do writers have against mothers? For someone as integral in a child’s life and development, it would be thought that these women would at least be mentioned or even given a name. Even the ‘mother’ of their cluster has but a few lines before her suicide, which follows the underlying theme of mothers abandoning their children.
Riley Blue’s mother died of an unspecified illness, and when she is mentioned it is for Riley to say that she thinks that she caused her mother’s death. Her father, on the other hand, plays a rather larger and more significant role. He appears in the story and is the pivotal factor that convinced Riley to return to Iceland. His skills as a musician are mentioned and seen and his presence in Riley’s memories is positive.
Sun Bak’s mother also died of an illness, possibly cancer. Sun’s mother shaped Sun into the woman she became; a woman who wanted her father’s love so much that she was willing to be the scapegoat for her brother’s crimes. Sun’s mother seems to only have existed to give agency to other characters yet have none herself.
Wolfgang Bogdanow has yet to mention his mother, but viewers can only fear the worst for her given his father’s violent tendencies. But fans can only speculate, given that when at the cemetery Wolfgang only visited his father’s grave. His father alone shows up in the series through flashbacks, including a scene where a young Wolfgang killed his father. Such an act supports the lack of a mother figure in his life.
Lito Rodriguez is the only character who never even mentions his parents; the most he states is that cancer runs in his family, which could be the reason for their absence. It is touching to see that Lito cares so much for people since viewers know that during his own birth his family was more interested in a soap opera.
Once again, a mother is missing from the series in every way, shape, and form, yet the father is a completely-formed character with flaws and strengths and a stable relationship with his child. Like others in the series, Will Gorski’s mother is never mentioned and is only seen briefly in the episode entitled “What Is Human," while his father seems to have been a guiding factor in Will’s decisions.
Kala Dandekar has perhaps the most relatable relationship with her mother, wherein Kala doesn’t outright say what she’s feeling and thus her mother cannot advise her. She hints at the fact that she is uncertain about marrying Rajan but her mother misses that and thus Kala talks about the issue with her father. Whereas her mother is present mostly for scenes about the wedding, her father is seen as always available to talk to.
Capheus’ mother is incredibly important to Capheus. For her he risks his well-being and safety. In a refreshing flip, his mother points him in the right directions and his father is only briefly mentioned in a scene that fleshed out his mother’s character.
Nomi Marks’ mother refuses to accept her daughter’s identity. Strictly religious and overbearing, she certainly wasn’t auditioning for Mother of the Year. She tries to shame Nomi for being transgender and constantly refers to Nomi as Michael. For being one of only three mothers alive during the series she certainly doesn’t do her status a favor.
All these characters and their mothers can only leave the viewer with the overwhelming feeling that only the father’s relationship with his child is important. The lack of motherly roles contrasted by the abundance of fatherly roles sends a clear message: that fathers are integral to their children’s lives and mothers are not. For someone who should be one of the most impacting people in a person’s life, why are the mothers of this series discarded and undervalued? So the next time you watch a new show, ask yourself: where are the mothers?