Netflix’s ‘Altered Carbon’ questions humanity and mortality
“Altered Carbon” has recently released a second season, which Netflix has finally graced our screens with after a two-year wait.
“Altered Carbon” takes viewers into a future where death is only for those who can’t afford to purchase a new body to live in. In this future humans have found a way to cheat death by creating chips that their minds can be downloaded into and moved from body to body.
In the first season “Altered Carbon” follows the story of Takeshi Kovacs, who is placed in a new body after spending 250 years “on ice” in prison and is tasked with solving the murder of a wealthy stranger in exchange for his freedom.
For those readers who haven’t watched the first season, please note there are spoilers ahead.
After the explosive events of the first season, detailing the backstory of Tak’s involvement in the rebellion and how his sister was involved in getting him resleeved, the second season returns with Tak in a new sleeve (played by Anthony Mackie) and we find that he’s still searching for his beloved Quell in the decades that have passed since the events of season one. Tak has been traveling around the different planets with his friendly A.I., Poe, who has been glitchy ever since he tried to help his friend Lizzie in season one.
The series continues to provide a commentary about what happens when scientific advancements are taken too far and the dangers of allowing the minority to exploit technology for their own means. Are we still human if we live like immortals? It also dips into theology as the characters sidestep zealous protesters arguing that humans don’t have the right to more than one life and that by hopping from body to body, they are destroying their souls. For season two, the debate continues as it’s used to prop up a war.
In the second season Tak faces off against an older version of himself while trying to figure out why the founders of Harlan’s World are being murdered. Having Tak literally fight a past version of himself as he tries to reconnect with another person from his past adds an extra layer to the series.
Mackie’s take on Tak is impressive, but Chris Conner steals the spotlight this season as Poe gains more and more screen time. Conner plays the kindly A.I. with such depth and emotion as he refuses to reboot his glitching system over the fears that he will lose his precious memories of Lizzie. When Poe realizes that his glitches are putting everyone else at risk, he is forced to choose between his memories and the future of his comrades. Simone Missick joins the cast as Trepp, a bounty hunter, who unwillingly finds herself sucked into Tak’s mission.
Episode duration: 1 hour
Similar series: The OA
“Altered Carbon” has two season available on Netflix. The series is rated TV-MA. Viewers might also enjoy watching Netflix’s “The Witcher.” The series takes place in a mystical past as three different characters slowly have their narratives converge.