Altered Carbon: Season 2
Updated: May 4, 2020
Suits and meths and stacks, Oh My!
It feels like it’s been forever since I watched season 1 of Altered Carbon so when season 2 came out, I DEFINITELY needed the recap. Throughout the recap I had moments of, “Oh yeah, I forgot that happened, hahaha”. I even forgot about Takeshi Kovac’s backstory with Quellcrist Falconer and his sister, Reileen. ANYWAY… after watching season 1 I remember loving it and couldn’t wait for more but wasn’t sure if it was just a one-off series or if there was more material for them to make more seasons. Since it had been almost 2 years with nothing I figured it was dead in the water. But lo and behold we got trailers and now have season 2. I was so stoked when I saw that Anthony Mackie is playing Takeshi Kovac’s new suit. I loved Anthony Mackie as The Falcon in the MCU so I couldn’t wait to see him play a role not as a superhero. This is the point where I tell you to stop reading if you don’t want anything spoiled. There are *light* spoilers ahead so leave now if you’d rather watch the show first.
One thing I want to point out in this season is that there is significantly less violence. If season 1 was rated “R”, season 2 is still rated “R” it’s just more on the mellow end. I typically don’t have a problem with violence or gore in movies. In fact, I have a soft spot for disaster movies like Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas, and Geostorm. I'm fully aware that they're not great movies by any means, but I get a kick out of the destruction that occurs. I find it funny. Anyway, so now that I’ve revealed my morbid sense of humor, now you know why I’m cool with all the violence in Altered Carbon.
There was a point in season 1 and even a little in season 2, I got really bored with Takeshi’s love sick puppy attitude on finding Quellcrist Falconer. He’s not 100% likeable as a character so when you add a whiny boo-hoo-my-heart-is-broken layer on top of that, it’s hard to relate to or even feel sorry for him. However, I like that they kinda address it for a moment in season 2. Takeshi finds an old friend, Tanaseda Hideki, and cashes in on a debt that Hideki owes. Tanaseda and Takeshi have a moment where Tanaseda basically asks who Takeshi is truly aiming his anger at, and overall questions why he’s going after Quellcrist so hard. I feel like in that moment, Takeshi is forced to ponder why he’s so freaking angry after 300 years and why he’s so determined to find Quell no matter the cost. Season 2 takes place 30 years after season 1, so it stands to question.
Another thing I really liked about season 2 is that they shifted the focus from Takeshi to Quellcrist a little more. We find out at the end of season 1 that there’s a possibility that she’s still alive. In the first episode of season 2, it’s revealed that she’s responsible for the murder of several Meths, and almost kills Takeshi in the process. So of course after that episode we’re left wondering “Where the hell did she go? Why did she attack Takeshi? Why is she killing Meths? Is it even here or someone wearing her suit?” For all the questions we have, I'm sure Takeshi has a million more. After Takeshi and Quellcrist finally reunite, we get to know Quellcrist a little more and see her in action. The audience gets to see how elite she is in her fighting skills and she’s a total badass. We see her fighting a little in flashback scenes of season 1 but this season we see Quell practice what she preached to her envoys.
One of my favorite characters from last season hands down is Poe. How can you not like Poe? He's charming, funny, and such a good companion to Takeshi. Perhaps my eye-roll attitude towards Takeshi is how he treats Poe. Poor Poe is often on the other end of Takeshi's short temper and it's often unwarranted. All that aside, there's a good portion of the season where Poe and Takeshi aren't together. During this, Poe spends a good bit of time with a new A.I. he meets named Dig 301, or "Dig" for short. I really like the addition of Dig as a way to help flesh out Poe as a character but to also develop a relationship between Poe and another character that's not Takeshi. Poe has his own issues this season so seeing him off on his own adventures, but still in Takeshi's court, was nice to see.
The last thing I want to add before I wrap up is something I saw in the first season that I really enjoyed again this season. The "heroes" of the show aren't your clean and pristine heroes. They're emotional, complicated, and often do things that don't make logical sense. However, they're still distinctly the champions of good. In season 1, there were multiple villains and that trend continued in season 2. However, this time, they're more obviously evil and bad, but not always on the same team, which I can appreciate. It's almost like a villain bracket. Which villain is the most evil and how will they be defeated? The conflicts between all the characters are fun to see play out.
Overall I really enjoyed this season of Altered Carbon more that season 1. With the cliffhanger left from season 1 about Quellcrist being alive, I’m glad they delved into how she suddenly shows up and fleshed her out as a character a bit more. I didn't want to give too much away with the story line because there's more to it besides what's going on with Quellcrist; she's only a small part of a bigger equation. I hope that if they do a season 3 that they’ll be able to dig into Quell’s backstory a little more with flashback scenes perhaps. Kinda like what they did with Takeshi in season 1.