‘Altered Carbon’ Season 2 Review: The Scifi POC Deserve & Need in 2020

There’s no use in denying it. Coming into season 2 of Altered Carbon and we were worried. Joel Kinnaman had done such an amazing job as Takeshi Kovacs in season 1. He blew it out the water, in fact, in a manner that left us wanting more of his journey as Kovacs. Unfortunately for Kinnaman lovers, his journey ended in season 1 and Anthony Mackie has taken up the mantel in season 2 of Altered Carbon.

And to say he’s raised the bar when it comes to the story of Altered Carbon, the character he plays, and the struggles he faces as Kovac, is an understatement. Mackie took this role and made it his own without forgetting where he came from and how it all started with Kinnaman’s character. Oh, and let’s not forget the OG Will Yun Lee. He followed in Mackie’s steps and created a Kovacs of his own. Back to Mackie. He takes the pain of his characters past and portrays it in an unforgettable and sometimes heartbreaking manner.

Then there’s Quellcrist Falconer, played by the Renee Elise Goldsberry. She is and will forever be the biggest bamf on Altered Carbon. During season 1 we had to make due with flashbacks and hallucinations of Quell. There’s no need for that in season 2 because she is right there. Yes, she might be a little touched in the head due to an Elder, but she is an organic fixing the mistakes of the past. 

Talking about the past, the flashbacks and explanations that we got about what happened in the past…BLEW US AWAY! It was a hot mess. And yes, a few of them really set themselves up for their future deaths, but the quality content was there, ready and willing for the plucking by our very eager Netflix binging eyes. The language as well felt like an old friend that we understood, from stacks to DHF’s, and would like to know more about.

Same thing goes for the world building and the whole shebang with Angelfire and Governor Danica Harlan. Quality writing portrayed by choice actors and stunning visual effects on a show that builds on its past to deliver an amazing adventure like no other. Season 2 felt like coming home while experiencing a hot mess with people who never want to die and will do what they want to achieve that goal.

There lies the most heart wrenching part of this review and this show: what people like Danica Harlan are willing to do to survive. They are willing to kill without impunity. They are willing to cut ties, even with those close to them. And they’re willing to destroy a whole way of living to keep her way of living alive and well. It’s all grounded in greed and at the core of this show from start to end.

Thank god villains like Danica have people like Kovacs, Kovacs OG, and Quell in their way. Because these three, well…they’re the heroes of this story. They’re the ones who save the day, make the hard decisions, and sacrifice for each other because love is at the heart of everything that they do. So, bring it on, world. Give me more Kovacs and give me more Quell.

I’ll take the OG version of Kovacs, the traveling version of Quell, and that version of Kovacs that is the raw DHF. It just has to be Kovacs in there. Now imagine what body, what actor, gets to take on this role? Whoever it may be, they’re going to be brilliant. Just like Lee. Just like Kinnaman. Just like Mackie. 

It is known.

Altered Carbon is now available on Netflix.

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