Takeshi Kovacs is back and in full-effect in Altered Carbon Season 2!
After a grueling emotional battle with his sister Reileen, Takeshi Kovacs has now set his sights on finding his lost love Quellcrist Falconer. Who at the end of Altered Carbon Season One, was revealed to still be alive. Altered Carbon Season Two jumps further into the future, 30 years to be exact. Takeshi Kovacs is now on Harlan’s World, spun up and in a brand-new sleeve, enhanced with new abilities and on a mission to protect a Meth who is fearing for his life.
But what happens when Kovacs fails at the mission he was hired for and Quellcrist Falconer isn’t who Kovacs believed her to be? The emotional struggles that Takeshi Kovacs has to deal with when it comes to Quell are understandable. Relatable at best. For those who have had to deal with that kind of attachment of course. Eventually, it becomes an excessive cat and mouse game with no real answers for the majority of the season, until the truth is finally revealed.
The series has a lot going for it though in terms of action, plot points, emotional beats and great performances from the lead cast. While some shine brighter than others, everyone made their best effort to put on the best performance they possibly can with what they were given to work with. This time around Anthony Mackie is the leading man, portraying the Last Envoy, Takeshi Kovacs and he delivered a great performance. We’re all used to seeing him as Captain America’s sidekick at this point but here, Mackie is the star and he truly shines.
Whether it was in an emotional scene or an action scene, Mackie really put his best foot forward and delivered on all aspects. This is no slight against Mackie in any sense of the way either. I never underestimated Mackie’s acting capabilities, but I was super intrigued to see how he portrayed Takeshi Kovacs and how he would approach the character to make his version of the character unique to him, so he’s not being compared to Joel Kinnaman’s version of Takeshi Kovacs (which will happen anyway).
There are some lovely cameos I cannot talk about right now, but they were great!
Newcomers like Simone Missick’s character Trepp, an expert bounty hunter, at first, was not appealing to me. I just didn’t like the way she was written and the dialogue she was given. It could’ve also been Missick’s performance or even her line delivery. We’ve seen her in these badass roles before, like Marvel’s Luke Cage and I personally loved her there, but her character just wasn’t hitting the right chord with me until we got close to the end of the season when they finally beef up her story arc. To be completely honest, whether her character was there or not in the entirety of this season it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
I only say this because it felt like she was playing tag-along the majority of the time. That can mostly be blamed on how the character was written. I also expect an expert bounty hunter to be on par both physically and mentally with the likes of Kovacs and Quellcrist Falconer.
Another character who falls into the same issue as Trepp is Lela Loren’s, Danica Harlan. But her character’s development and motives and how well she played the game of chess (not literally) eventually won me over. She was looking at the bigger picture and played a super intricate game of chess while the others played a game of checkers.
One of the best character arcs of the season surrounded our beloved Poe and his new AI buddy Dig 301. I loved what Chris Conner offered as Poe in Altered Carbon Season One, but I loved his performance this season just a tad bit more. They find a perfect way to humanize him so you can empathize with him. And Conner just has this adorable charm to him that is irresistible to admire. Dina Shihabi’s Dig 301 just adds to that, and their on-screen chemistry was great! She, just like Poe, despite being A.I.s, has a real humanistic charm that compliments each of their characters and they are simply adorable to watch. One of my favorite arcs of this season hands down.
The End Result?
Unfortunately, Altered Carbon Season 2 suffers from some of the same issues that Altered Carbon Season 1 suffered from. Where the story kind of falls flat at some point and it becomes a little uninteresting until the pace picks up again and things start unraveling. Then that’s when you’re locked back in. It’s a slow burn just like Altered Carbon Season One. Which is something many critics critiqued about the series.
Granted this season is much shorter than the prior season, but it somehow managed to fall into the same pacing issues from the last season. You would think fewer episodes would help fix that issue but it really doesn’t.
And that’s not to say that this season was failing entirely. It just doesn’t hit the same way season one did at first. But I can say that despite those issues this second season manages to stick the landing it was going for and I absolutely loved that. So I can be a bit forgiving on that aspect once all the pieces are all tied together. Bringing things to a close in an unexpected way.