I couldn’t even finish the last two episodes of Season 1 of Altered Carbon because it was so bland, predictable, and boring to watch. I just had no interest in it. However, this Season 2 was vastly more interesting. While some parts were either stupid or nonsensical, such as Takeshi being able to avoid the entire planet’s military-police force with putting on a plastic toy mask to avoid facial sensors and from anyone recognizing him with their own two eyes and the entire first-half portion in which Takeshi is introduced to an old Japanese friend, the rest of it was surprisingly good with compelling character motivations, believable personalities, and a rather pleasant twist involving Quellcrist Falconer.
Needless to say, I was interested enough to watch the entire season and enjoyed it. I’d say it was decent overall. I enjoyed the eventual revelations involving the two antagonists and the double-sleeve twist involving a certain character. The Japanese businessman and Yakuza he runs is given their appropriate appreciation as a far more culturally sophisticated people than filthy Western barbarians, particularly in the background lore of the planet that Takeshi traverses in. Whereas Season 1 occurred on a futuristic Earth, this one occurs on a different planet and it is all the better for it. All the set-up of Season 1 builds up with appropriate execution in Season 2. I was pleasantly surprised it was all incredibly relevant to the narrative of Season 2. Moreover, whereas there are a few quirks insofar as worldbuilding, the worldbuilding in this is consistent and makes sense as we’re given compelling reasons why AI aren’t relied upon in Season 2 regarding their drawbacks. So a scant few of the plot holes of Season 1 were corrected.
To my own surprise, I enjoyed all the characters; apart from a few quips of dialogue, I felt all the motivations made sense and were compelling. What I thought were wasted scenes ended-up being relevant and making sense. To my own pleasant surprise, I enjoyed Quellcrist Falconer and Takeshi Kovac’s character arcs the most. I even enjoyed the three different villains and found them all compelling and believable. The wildcard character was a pleasure to watch as well. Perhaps I have indeed been underestimating most Western Barbarians in their attempts to make good storytelling. Indeed, perhaps Western Barbarians are indeed capable of decent stories without regurgitating trite crap as was depicted in Season 1 of Altered Carbon. It seems there is indeed good material and that Season 1 was a fuck-up on the part of Netflix and not the author.
Overall, Season 2 gets a 7/10. Far superior to the filth of Season 1 and it was actually enjoyable to watch to my own surprise. The only real contention I have is that it tries so hard for a tragic ending only for the last five seconds to reveal a “just kidding!” of sorts. Why waste all that build-up on a tragedy then? They should have either made it happier or just kept it tragic. The middle-ground approach with a faux-tragic ending just sort of ruined the whole impact of what they were going for. Nevertheless, there were charming moments, to give a hint as to one of my favorite moments: Long Live Quellcrist Falconer.