“Altered Carbon” Season 2 is weaker than weak


“Altered Carbon” was one of the most successful Netflix originals when it released two years ago, drawing praise for its gritty and futuristic worldbuilding and dynamic plot. The acting was fantastic, its various subplots were fascinating, and the action, although relatively bland, was choreographed well.

The second season of “Altered Carbon” is a mere shadow of its predecessor. Almost everything that the first season managed to get right, the second bungled fantastically. 

“Altered Carbon” takes place in a sci-fi, cyberpunk system of space travel and hover cars. However, there is a stark distinction between the mega-rich and the very poor: the rich can cheat death. Uber-rich men and women called “Meths” are able to transport their “stack” or downloaded human consciousness into an array of lab-grown “sleeves” or synthetic human bodies. The first season revolves around the death of a Meth who, after reviving, subsequently returned a former terrorist and freedom fighter, Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), to life in order to solve his murder. 

               After the events of season one, Kovacs travels the galaxy in order to find his lost love, Quellcrist Falconer (Renee Elise Goldsberry), and eventually gets pulled into a conspiracy on his homeworld.

One of the things that drew the audience into season one was the ethical and moral ramifications of “cheating death.” This was exemplified from senseless murders and tortures of prostitutes to the rich who have lived over 300 years in splendor while the poor suffer. Season two tackles none of this. There is a dreadful lack of substance in the entire series, relying entirely on the existing connection the audience had with some characters as a way to entice the audience. 

The dialogue, acting, worldbuilding, and plot in season two were so lacking to the point where the show was almost unwatchable. Takeshi Kovacs, as a character, was stripped of his raw emotion and grit until he was unrecognizable. All intelligence or reason that previous characters maintained was lost with the wind. All in all, “Altered Carbon”’s second season is a mess that never should have been released. ⅕.