REVIEWED: SEASON 2 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX
Based in the 26th century, when humans can (sort of) live forever, if they decide to, through Cortical Stacks (technology that stores everything about you) and sleeves (just like a different skin in a video game), Altered Carbon chronicles the adventures of mercenary Takeshi Kovacs through different moments in time. One of the benefits of this is the fact that you can have different actors playing the lead. In Season 1, Will Yun Lee took on the Envoy story of Kovacs, then RoboCop remake star Joel Kinnaman lead us on a horrific and jealousy-filled tale involving his character's sister, Reileen Kawahara. Now, Marvel's Falcon, Anthony Mackie, sheds a new, much more advanced skin in Season 2, as he tries to find the love of his life, Quellcrist Falconer on Harlan's World.
After Horace Axley (a founder of Harlan's World) asks for Kovacs' protection - in return for telling him where Quellcrist is - their mission is brought to a violent stop, as Kovacs wakes up to find Axley killed, by, who would have thought it, Quellcrist herself! As she runs away from the scene, instead of catching up with her once partner, this poses a whole slew of new questions, as not only is Kovacs trying to find Quellcrist once more, but now he has to find out about the person in that skin, as she is far from what he once remembers. Believing that Kovacs is behind the murder of said founder, Season 2 gets tangled up with a political agenda as the deceptive Governor Danica Harlan (Lela Loren) and the aggressive Colonel Ivan Carrera (Torben Liebrecht) try to track down our show-runner.
Emitting calm chaos (with a frustrated attitude), and at times cooly narrating his current predicament in the background, Anthony Mackie has done a profound job at taking over as Kovacs, and after the first episode, you will already accept his take on continuing this killer personality. For those of you thinking that a new protagonist would change the entire cast, then prepare to be mistaken as many fan favourites from Season 1 return! Pulling in massive intrigue with their screen-time has to be Chris Conner, as we see a glitched-up/deteriorating Poe again working alongside Kovacs, while he tries to figure out his own place in all of this madness. This side plot about Poe is a fantastic evolution for the character, and with the brilliant addition of their new close friend, Dig 301 (Dina Shihabi) it unravels so many interesting sides to Poe that will delight viewers.
The fast-paced flow of Season 2 (to keep up with the plot, we recommend that you don't look away from the screen - ever) is firmly held together because of the time travel relationship between Kovacs and Falconer. As the continuation of this pair brutally confronting the darkest corners of their lives progresses, the story goes on to conclude in a fiery, and fulfilling fashion. They've fused key elements from the first season with this one, and by mixing that with plenty of thrilling, slow-motion augmented fight scenes (don't forget that Kovacs has a high tech skin, so the action is going to be on a more stomping level), you'll find it hard not to go straight on to the next episode as one finishes.
There's no doubt that this comparison has been made before, but for fans of Blade Runner (with a pinch of John Wick) you will completely love the landscape that the series has created. (Please can the people that worked on Altered Carbon immediately start constructing a Blade Runner TV show?). The sets and cinematography are incredible, and as Kovacs searches for Quellcrist through neon-lit nightclubs, markets, and hotels, you'll find yourself completely immersed in this addictive sci-fi scenario. Initially, Season 2 might seem like it has a lot of unnecessary layers to it, however, once you give those said layers time to grow, and a much closer look, then you'll see that there is a lot to be adored.