|“||Death doesn’t let you say goodbye. It just carves holes in your life... and your future... and your heart.||”|
— Riley, in Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye
Riley Blue (née Gunnarsdóttir), portrayed by Tuppence Middleton, is a main character in the Netflix series, Sense8. Riley is an Icelandic DJ who is haunted by her past; she became involved in the drug trade after moving to London.
Riley believed she was "hexed" and blamed herself for her mother's death, as well as the deaths of her husband and daughter. Despite this, she later visits her father, Gunnar, in Iceland, where she discovers an even worse reason she shouldn't have returned.
Riley has had two partners who have died. She was married to Magnús Þórsson who died in a car crash and also had a boyfriend, Jacks, who later died in a drug bust that went wrong. She is currently in a relationship with Will, a sensate from her cluster.
Riley was born on August 8th in Iceland, in the home of Sven, a family friend. At some point in her childhood, she met another older sensate named Yrsa, who appeared to her and convinced Riley that she was cursed. Some time after this, Riley's mother died.
As a young adult, she met Magnús Þórsson, who memorably picked her up at school by horse. They married and she became pregnant. When Riley went into labour, Magnús attempted to drive her to a hospital through the snow. When Riley said she felt extremely cold, Magnús offered his jacket for his wife and child, removing his seat belt. Shortly afterwards, the car crashed and toppled off the road as a result of the icy conditions and low visibility. Magnús was killed instantly when his head hit the windshield. Riley gave birth to her daughter Lúna before passing out holding her new baby and grieving for her husband. Upon waking, she desperately attempted to save her child by smashing the windshield and leaving the car. Trapped in the mountains in the middle of winter, her newborn daughter died in her arms. Yrsa, feeling her pain, called for a rescue helicopter, narrowly saving Riley's life. With her childhood belief in the hex reconfirmed and the emotional pain of losing both her child and husband, Riley left Iceland to become a DJ in London.
Season One Edit
Riley is first seen performing a set in KOKO, a London club, as her boyfriend, Jacks, and Nyx admire her musical talents. Afterwards, she regroups with Jack outside and meets Nyx. Nyx asks about her vision, which she had told Jack about earlier and Jack, in turn, had told Nyx about, but she dismisses it as merely hallucinations caused by too many drugs.
Later, Riley imagines Angelica standing on a hallway while she was leaving. When she left the building, we see that Jack made arrangements with Nyx to take the drug they discussed earlier. She says she couldn't go because of her headache from becoming a sensate. Suddenly, she briefly takes Nomi's place and sees Amanita. We see her again at her house, when Riley was listening to music with headphones on. She hears clicking sound from Wolfgang's, so she takes her headphones off. And then she hears police siren from Will's police car, so she looks outside her window but sees nothing on the road.
Then we see her back at Nyx's house and all her friends are getting high except her. Nyx goes to her and asks how she is. He then goes on to talk about the fact that he also had visions and he found something that helped him cope. He found some drug. Then, he gives her the glass pipe filled with it and she takes a hit.
She sees a bright light and came into the mind of Will. After that, she remembers herself as a child in a cave, then she is again in the police car with Will. She reappears when Diego, Will's partner, leaves. They ask each other questions about the woman that they saw killing herself, Angelica. They go on and start asking each other where they are. All of a sudden, Riley vanishes because she has woken up. Back in London, Jacks and Nocker are stealing from Nyx. Riley tries to stop Jacks but Jacks remind her that they'll need the money to start a new life in America. Nyx gets knocked down but recovers. He and his bodyguard go on and kill Riley's friends. In all the action, they all die, except for Riley, then she leaves.
Riley walks home as she sings an Icelandic song while still covered in blood. She shares a moment with Nomi while she was hospitalized. Once she returns home, she opens the shower and removes her clothes. She and Will then see each other throught their mirror. After she was done showering, she starts packing her bag when she hears banging on the door. Then, a thug enters, but she escapes without being seen. Walking through London, she sees that she has taken all the drugs and a lot of money from Nyx.
Riley is walking through a subway tunnel when she hears a street musician play the piano. It reminds her of a flashback when her father played when she was a kid. She gives the blind musician all of the drug-money and throws away all the drugs.
Later, she meets Shugs, an old friend to seek shelter. Shugs introduces her to Bambie and think she needs help. At the bar, they talk about break-ups. Shugs sympathizes Riley and invites her to his home. Lito and Riley briefly connects, as Lito says "i do know" and Bambie asks what is, and she replies nothing. There, they talk about their fathers and Iceland. Bambie asks Riley if she tried to kill herself and quickly apologizes. Shugs intervenes by showing his tattoo. The meaning of his tattoo is that he adds another streak every time he should be dead in a hospital and goes on by saying that suicide is the only logical answer if you see the world how it is.
She appears briefly, listening to a voicemail from her father. Gunnar tells her he's got accepted back in the symphony and that he would really appreciate it if she was there. Later, Riley is woken up and leaves because of Bambie's moaning while she and Shugs have sex. She takes part of the cluster's singalong of "What's up?" By 4 Non Blondes on her iPod. She gets visited by Nomi briefly at the ending of the episode.
While Riley sits with her laptop in London. Riley visits Capheus in Nairobi. She talks about how warm it is and ask him where she is. Capheus also talks about how cold it is and ask her where he is. and they talk about where they are. Capheus excitedly asks and drinks her tea. Their connection ends after a light illuminates on Capheus. Riley is seen again with Will.
This episode starts off with Riley and Will sitting in separate bars. All of a sudden, they connect because they were thinking about each other. They properly introduce themselves and talk about what they do and where they currently are. Riley asks him if they are going crazy which gives Will an idea. He thinks that she can't possibly know his number so he dials himself and lets his phone ring. He then gets up from his seat and asks Diego to pick up. He picks up and Riley asks for Will. Will indicates that it makes it safe to say they are not going crazy . He then asks about what happened after she was in the church and she answers with: Difficult friends. As he agrees on having difficult friends as well. They say goodbye and vanish from each other's minds.
She goes to Shugs' home and there she gets ambushed by Nyx, who wants his money and his drugs back. Riley admits that she gave it all away, but Nyx doesn't believe her. Nyx suffocates her with a plastic bag, attempting to get more information out of her. He tells her he hates violence, but loves how it can turn simple things into fears. Nyx continues to suffocate Riley, when Will violently feels the sensation of feeling suffocated in Chicago. He controls Riley's body and defeats Nyx and his friend, saving Riley and allowing her to flee.
We see her again in a park, crying. Sun and Riley connect and they introduce themselves. When Sun says her name, Riley finds it odd because where she is sitting, there is "I have conversed with the spiritual sun" carved in stone. She says she comes here after long and hard nights to smoke and think. Sun replies that she would kill for a cigarette, but Riley says she only has hash. Riley takes a hit and Sun says she can taste it but that it feels like an old memory, even though Sun never smoked it before. Riley asks why Sun is in prison. She tells her that she made the biggest mistake in her life, they realize that they are in trouble for someone else's crimes. Riley goes on by asking Sun if she's heard of the Hidden People. She tells Sun that she used to hear one singing a child's lullaby several times. This voice told her she was hexed. She admits that she is afraid and wants to go home. Sun replies: "Don't be. You're safer there than where you were." Riley asks her if she is afraid. Sun nods and Riley replies that same answer she was given.
Riley is on a plane to Iceland. Out of nowhere, Capheus leans over her to look outside, amazed by the fact that they are flying over the clouds as he has never flown in a plane before. He insists that she is so lucky. Riley replies saying "Privileged, not lucky." Capheus responds that she is lucky because she can see her father, and that he dreams he could see his father. Riley apologizes, but Capheus says it's okay, because he still has his mother, while Riley wishes she could see the world that simply, and Capheus redirects her attention to the beauty of the clouds outside. Then she goes on and wonders what if something terrible happens when she arrives in Iceland. Capheus optimistically replies, What if something wonderful happens?
When she lands, her father is waiting for her and is playing "Baba O'Riley" from The Who. As he finishes, they embrace in each other's arms as they head home.
Later, she wakes up in her old house with her father playing the piano. They go on and eat breakfast. He compliments her on her DJ sets and Riley says that it's nothing and she's just playing for drunks. Her father disagrees and tells her that she makes music and makes people forget their troubles. He says he's proud of her and that she can ask Sven to drive her everywhere. When her father leaves, she hears a voice telling her she should not have come back.
Will is getting ready for work when Riley suddenly stands in his living room. He tells her he was worried about her, and she reassures him that she's okay. Riley begins to show him her home in Iceland and her father interrupts them by asking who she is talking to. She simply tells him that she is talking to herself. Her father accepts this and leaves Riley and Will to continue their conversation. When they switch to Will's place, Riley scans through his records and soon gets distracted by the Chicago L train that runs past Will's home. They look outside the window together to observe the train passing by, and accidentally touch hands, which leads up to their first kiss. They are interrupted when a confused Diego enters the apartment and sees Will kissing air.
Later, Riley goes to see Sven. The talk about his boat, his home, and her father's concert the day after. He ends by saying that she can always count on him if she needs to get somewhere.
We see Riley walking through a cave while she is singing the child's lullaby. There, she finds a woman, named Yrsa, who used to sing the lullaby with her. Yrsa is also a sensate living in Iceland. She is the woman that told Riley she was hexed. Yrsa didn't tell the truth because she wanted Riley to believe she isn't safe in Iceland. She then continues by explaining what the BPO does, tracking down sensates and killing them. It's her job to save them before they get discovered, like with Riley. Yrsa told Riley she was hexed, what led Riley to believe she killed her mother. Yrsa is sorry about this and said she wanted to protect her. Riley goes on by asking if Yrsa has kids. Yrsa says she doesn't because didn't want them. She was afraid that they would be hunted like her. Riley continues by asking why she didn't help her. Yrsa answers that she took a serious risk protecting her. That if she hadn't intervened Riley would be dead. Riley replies that she wanted to be dead. To be with them. Yrsa then tells about death in her cluster and the pain it brings, but that life goes on and it gives you another chance. "But what if I don't want another chance?" asks Riley. Yrsa replies that she wouldn't come looking for her if that was true. Yrsa then says that she needs to go, because if they find Riley, she is going to lead them straight to her. She tells her that accidents happen and that Riley knows that. She goes on by telling they find new ways of tracking the psychic nervous system, the very thing that connects sensates. Yrsa picks up a gun and prepares to leave. Then Riley jumps into Will's mind, who is talking to Jonas. She asks who he is talking to and he in return asks if she is alone. She says she is with Yrsa. Both Jonas and Yrsa see that Riley and Will feel very connected. Yrsa tells her that love inside a cluster is pathological, the worst kind of narcissism. They also find out that they are both born on August 8 of the same year. She hopes that he can help Jonas. Upon hearing the name Jonas, Yrsa asks "Maliki?" Riley confirms and gets pulled out of visiting by Yrsa. She tells him he can't be trusted. That he and Angelica gave birth to clusters and used them to hunt down the sensesates.
Riley goes to the cemetery. Sven drops her off and says that he and her father visit them sometimes. Sven then tells Riley her father would come, not for them, but when he missed Riley.
She goes to a tombstone and says that she is sorry she hasn't come back. That she wasn't strong enough. the tombstone reads Magnús Þórsson. She sit and says that she sometimes looks in the mirror and doesn't know who she is. She still thinks of that time he came to her school and horseback. She continues that she isn't who she used to be. That the old her is buried with him. She then jumps into Capheus' mind. He asks her how it is. he then goes on by saying that if she doesn't want to, she doesn't have to tell him. Then they jump to Iceland. She tells him she never told anyone. that she loved her husband, but couldn't go to the funeral. She couldn't say goodbye. Capheus then tells her the story when his mother gave his sister up for adoption because they had not enough food. He tells her that he learnt that life and death are mixed up and some beginnings are endings, and that some endings become beginnings.
Will is walking to his father when he sees Riley by the dock . They discuss about how they will both see their fathers today and Will asks Riley to be careful as Jonas told him that it's dangerous for Her to stay in Iceland. Riley tells Will that Yrsa said Jonas worked for BPO and therefore can't be trusted. Will just states that he doesn't know who to trust anymore, but does know that they should look out for each other. That makes Riley thank Will for saving her life as there was once was a time she didn't care about that kind of stuff, but now she does. They end their visitation with a kiss.
Later, Riley finds her father and his colleagues outside of the concert venue, while smoking. The older men gets stoned and Riley introduces them to ecstasy, and the group gets ready for the concert.
We see her sitting inside next to Sven, listening to her father play. This makes all the sensates remember the day that they were born. Riley was born in Sven's house because her father was away. He followed her birth on the phone. He was playing the piano the whole time.
At the end, we see Riley giving birth to her daughter, Lúna. After this, she gets a nose bleed, collapses, and gets taken to the hospital.
This episode starts off with her walking through the snow, cuts to her in the hospital where she sees Magnús standing next to her. He's saying that she should go with him. Then Yrsa tells her she is going to die here.
We see Gunnar singing Baba O'Riley again just outside her room and Will is holding her hand.
After Will helps out Kala, she asks if he is there. he replies that he is, but his thoughts are somewhere else. Then they both stand in her room. Kala recalls the music and asks what's wrong. Will says he doesn't know.
She has flashbacks of the night of the crash and goes into shock.
Riley is being driven to one of the BPO facilities in Iceland. As she is unconscious, she recalls the accident that had influenced her to leave Iceland. As Riley was having her labor pains, Magnús, her husband, was attempting to drive her to the hospital after the midwife they had hired failed their plans. Magnús struggles to control the car on the snowy and icy roads, and removes his seatbelt to offer Riley his coat. Riley is convinced that everything happened because she was hexed, but Magnús disagrees and comments that she is magical. As the car slips off the road, it falls and rolls off a cliff. Magnús is killed instantly, but Riley lives. She struggles to get herself out of the flipped car and manages to give birth to Lúna. She soon falls unconscious. When she wakes up, she gets out of the wreck and begins to wander through the snow, searching for help. Her new born daughter soon dies in her arms in the Icelandic winter snow, and Riley is left utterly alone. While Riley collapses to her weakness, she uses her remaining strength to keep her baby close to her and promises that she'll never leave her child.
It cuts back to the present. Riley is driven in on a bran card. Yrsa appears and tells her to protect the rest. Riley grabs a gun and points it at everyone. She wants to kill herself, but Will convinces her not to. She gets knocked down and drugged.
When Will and Riley finally meet in person for the first time, their minds keep alternating between the two and between memories with each other. Together, and with the help of the rest of their cluster, they escape the facility, but as they are going down the elevator to the parking garage, Will and Mr. Whispers make eye contact, connecting them. Capheus helps them hotwire an ambulance, and they drive away, being pursued by Mr. Whispers in a helicopter. In order to lose him, Nomi and Amanita advise them to turn left onto another road... the same road where Riley and Magnús drove 6 years ago. Riley re-experiences her trauma, and Will does as well. When Will drives over the same spot where Magnús slipped, Angelica appears and they slip too. Will stops the ambulance and Riley gets out. She runs to the top of a mountain and breaks down. This is the same place where they found her and her dead daughter. Will tells her he will gets them out of here. Jonas and Angelica appear and tell him the only way to save his cluster is by sacrificing himself. Will then goes and drugs himself so that he falls unconscious and Mr. Whispers can't track them. As Will drifts into unconsciousness, he tells Riley that she must drive them away or else they will be found. Riley refuses in tears. Will says he can feel her pain and he knows that she can feel what he feels for her. He ends with saying: "I love you," before he finally goes under.
Later, we see Riley and Will on a boat, sailing into the sunset. As the sedative wears off, she gives him another shot to keep him unconscious. Before Will goes under again, he tells her, "You did it. You saved us." She kisses Will as he falls back into unconsciousness, and she looks up to see the whole cluster gathered around them.
Season Two Edit
Riley is should to keep watch and nurture Will after escaping Whispers. They hide out in a disclosed location, allowing Will to rest and injecting drugs into his system if he is suddenly visited. Being born the same day, Riley surprises her partner with a bath and candles. Admist bathing, Riley remembers that the rest of the cluster were celebrating in their respective homes in the world, suggesting to Will that they visit them and celebrate alongside them, enjoying dances, cake, and soon afterwards, intercourse.
Time flies by, Riley is visited by a friend with drugs and a cellphone. In an attempt to be careful from Whispers, she speaks in Dutch, thanking the friend for the drugs and requesting laxative before they leave. Will, visibly unwell, continues to warn that he could have heard it had he been presently visiting. He also did not trust the use of the cellphone, though Riley tells him Nomi believes it was fine so long as the phone is disposed afterwards. She sits beside him as he calls his father to check in.
Another bit of time flies, Riley takes Will outside, surprising him with a small ice rink. When he tells her that he cannot ice skate, she reminds him that their sensate connection allows her to easily teach him since she has experience. They enjoy their time together before abruptly being visited by Whispers.
Inside the Cluster Edit
- Will Gorski: Riley's closest relationship in the series is with Will. The two of them are in a romantic relationship. In Limbic Resonance, their first interaction happens as they see each other in the church where Angelica died. In Demons, Will and Riley share each other's phone number through visiting and contact each other. Later that episode Will helps her escape from Nyx. In the episode We Will All Be Judged by the Courage of Our Hearts, Riley and Will share their first kiss. In What Is Human?, Riley warns him that Jonas can't be trusted. She also thanks him for intervening with Nyx and they kiss again. In Just Turn the Wheel and the Future Changes, we see Will sitting next to her hospital bed. In the last episode, I Can't Leave Her they finally meet in person. After Will goes into the BPO facility and saves her, they come to the place where she lost her child. Riley breaks down, but Will drugged himself so Whispers can't find them. Riley gets herself together because she can feel how much Will loves her and saves him. The last we see of them, is on a boat, sailing off into the sunset.
- Capheus "Van Damme": Riley interacts with Capheus several times. The first time is in Art Is Like Religion when Riley meets Capheus and they talk about where they are. They get interrupted by some thugs and meet again in W. W. N. Double D? when she is on a plane; he is amazed by how lucky she is to be flying and seeing such things. They meet once more in Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye, where they talk about losing family.
- Sun Bak: They meet once, when they both are struggling about if and where they should run.
- Kala Dandekar: Kala assists Riley in keeping Will sedated without killing him, performing physical examinations and administering Nalaxone as necessary.
- Nomi Marks: Nomi, along with Will, helps Riley escape being lobotomized by hacking the security systems in the hospital where Riley was kept.
Non-Cluster Sensates Edit
- Yrsa: Yrsa is a sensate who lives in Iceland. She and Riley established an eye-contact connection somewhere in Iceland during Riley's childhood. Not yet aware of her sensate abilities, Riley believed Yrsa to be a hidden person, a figure from Icelandic myth. Yrsa convince Riley she is hexed and must leave Iceland. Eventually, after Riley's rebirth as a sensate, Yrsa explains to Riley that she was trying to protect Riley from BPO's hunt for sensates. Later still, when Riley is in danger of being captured by Whispers, Yrsa tries to convince her to kill herself to protect her cluster. Riley and Yrsa also differ greatly in their opinions on inter-cluster relationships. Yrsa views them as narcissistic, whereas Riley views her relationship with Will as true love.
- Puck: Puck and Riley established eye-contact connection when Puck chemically analyzed the blockers Riley had been given at the request of a mutual friend. At the time of their meeting, Puck was on blockers, and therefore Riley did not realize her was a Sensate. Once they began to visit, Puck displays an intense sexual interest in Riley although Riley is uninterested. Puck is later called by Riley to assist Sun at a pivotal moment in her escape from the scene of her assault on her brother.
- Old Man of Hoy: Riley meets while DJ-ing a show in London. Though initially extremely weary of they connection, fearing that Riley is working with BPO, Hoy reveals his location and opens up to Riley after Riley reveals her location in her secret London hideout. The Old Man of Hoy then helps Riley to locate Whispers, using his connection to the intelligence sharing sensate community known as The Archipelago.
- Bodhi: Making eye contact with her, Riley is briefly visited by Bodhi on her plane to Chicago. They share a short conversation in which they have conflicting philosophies. While she was visited by Bodhi, Riley makes a note that she was unable to visit her. Whether she is to be considered an ally is still unknown.
- Gunnar: Gunnar is Riley's father. He and Riley have a very close and loving relationship, despite Riley not seeing her father for several years after leaving Iceland. Riley often reminisces about sitting under the piano while her father practiced. When Riley is on the run from Whispers with Will in Iceland, she enlists her father's help in convincing Whispers that her and Will had remained in Iceland. He does this by delivering to her many Icelandic products. It is implied that Riley has told her father of her sensate abilities, making him one of the few non-sensates to know about the August 8th Cluster.
- Magnus Porsson: Magnus and Riley were highschool sweethearts. They were later married and had a daughter together, Luna. On the day of Luna's birth, January 12th, 2008, Magnus died in an automobile accident which nearly killed Riley as well.
- Jacks: Jacks is believed to be Riley's boyfriend. How they met is unknown. The two had their time doing drugs; he introduces her to a dealer named Nyx, whom offers to give Riley DMT to help with her migraine. He is later killed in a gun-fought ambush.
- Shugs: Shugs is an old friend of Riley's from her days in London. When Riley tries to find shelter, she turns to him and his girlfriend Bambie. Though she felt comfortable around them and he gave her a place, she still felt as though bunking with the couple was an ominous mistake, a betrayal waiting to happen.
- Nyx: While in London, Riley has interacted with a couple of people whom were into doing drugs. Through Jacks, she is introduced to Nyx, a drug dealer. He offers her DMT to help relief her migraine and her hallucinations. After an ambush that leaves Jacks and his partner Nocker dead, he reemerges when Shugs and Bambie invite him into their apartment with drugs. Nyx threatens to kill Riley when he learns (or chose to deny) that his money and drugs have been dumped. His whereabouts are unknown, thuogh it could be implied that he seeking out her for the dump.
- Sven: Sven is a family friend to Riley and Gunnar. After Riley returns to Iceland, he becomes her form of transportation around the island.
- Empathy: Riley is known as the "mother" of the cluster due to her likeness to Angelica. Riley is considered to be the most empathetic out of the cluster.
- Music: Riley's a skilled DJ and uses music, without realizing it, to pull the cluster together.
- Multilingual: Riley can speak English, Icelandic (implied), and Dutch.
"It's not the drugs that make a drug addict, it's the need to escape reality." Demons"It's just playing records for drunks trying to get laid." W. W. N. Double D?
"That's all I wanted. To be dead." Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye
"There’s two reasons to go to Iceland: the Aurora Borealis, and Riley Blue. One is a natural phenomenon so beautiful it will blow your mind... and the other is just some pretty light in the sky." Shugs to Riley in Smart Money Is on the Skinny Bitch
“Death doesn’t let you say goodbye. It just carves holes in your life... and your future... and your heart.” Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye
"Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I don't know who I am. Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye