It’s impossible not to start brainstorming what Netflix’s Altered Carbon Season 2 will bring after that phenomenal finale for Season 1. It’s not really a question of “will there be a Season 2 of Altered Carbon?”, it’s more a question of “what will happen in Season 2 of Altered Carbon?”
Netflix is too smart to leave this cinematic gold left on the table. We left off with Takeshi on a new mission to find Quell after he killed his sister and she suggested she has Quell backed up somewhere.
However, is Altered Carbon‘s Reileen Kawahara really dead? In an Entertainment Weekly interview, showrunner Laeta Kalogridis explains, “Yes. Within the world of Altered Carbon, she is real-dead, stack-dead, all of her backups are corrupted. Kovacs did succeed in completely destroying the person you saw.”
However, her language and other suggested hints bring up a lot of questions.
“… the story of Altered Carbon is not told as a linear story, so we could see Reileen at another point in her life. But that version of Reileen who faced off against her brother at the Head in the Clouds is gone.”
The particular language Kalogridis uses, such as “destroying the person you saw,” “we could see Reileen at another point in her life” and “that version of Reileen,” makes me think there’s a huge chance we will see her in the second season… and it might not just be in flashbacks either.
Okay, so bear with me here, guys. The huge reveal at the end of Altered Carbon shows Bancroft completely at a loss as to how he could’ve “taken the cowards way out” and killed himself.
He was so sure he wasn’t that type of person that he ruined countless people’s lives to prove it. His last exchange with Takeshi is very telling:
Bancroft: Even if you’re right… that I real-deathed that girl… the person who did that is dead. I destroyed him.
Takeshi: You erased the memory, not the act.
Legally speaking, he did commit that act and that sex-worker is still dead, whether he remembers it or not. So, he still has to go on ice.
However, psychologically speaking, Bancroft was no longer the person who murdered that girl. He couldn’t remember those crimes. Therefore, he wasn’t haunted by those same memories and those memories could no longer affect his actions or him as a person.
With this knowledge in mind, when Kalogridis says, “that version of Reileen,” could she be referencing more than flashbacks? What if there’s a backup version of Reileen that occurred before she became a Meth and her online backups were corrupted?
She has to have Quell stored somewhere.
So, what if she had an off-line stack stored somewhere too? We see just how smart, calculating, and fearful of death she was in the envoy flashbacks. I wouldn’t be surprised if another version of her is stored somewhere in case someone did corrupt her or real-death her.
Let’s talk other episodic support for this theory, shall we? Aside from Bancroft laying the logical groundwork, Takeshi’s familial and romantic bonds, and how they’ve shaped him as a person, are the core of this show. His “firefly” attachments give him a support system that allows him to hope, his romantic attachment to Quell drives him to live, his familial attachments shaped the set morals he lives by, etc.
For that to be such an all-encompassing theme, it makes sense for pre-explosion Reileen Kawahara to appear in Altered Carbon Season 2. If she’s stored somewhere and Tak finds her first she could help find the love of Tak’s life through virtual, the liquid Elliot used for his daughter or re-sleeved in the real world.
This would still keep the mystery element in season 2, because pre-explosion Rei wouldn’t remember where post-explosion Rei stored the stack. So, it would still be a detective’s game, but it would be much less of an impossible task because she could narrow down the possibilities.
We get to see Takeshi’s romantic bond with Quell fleshed out more in a new world while he’s on a new mission that means the world to him. Why not continue another core relationship that shaped who he is?
In her ET interview, Kalogridis says there’s a possibility we’ll see Takeshi in a woman’s body: “I’ve discussed [Takeshi being a woman] with the studio and network precisely because I think that’s part of the promise of this type of story — you can explore what those gender differences mean from the inside and not just the outside.”
And I’m completely here for this shift and how it would open the narrative — especially in how it might open Takeshi’s eyes to seeing exactly what his sister may have gone through as a woman in the Yakuza, the Envoys, and society.
It would be an amazing marriage of Season 1’s familial bond theme and it’s feminist message that I outlined in my review of Netflix’s Altered Carbon Episode 6-10.
In this way, Season 2’s narrative would force us to make fewer adjustments than we’d have to with completely new characters and new relationships in a completely new setting. The core relationship between Rei and Tak would ground the story.
It would also give us a chance to enjoy the Rei that Tak knew before the Meth life destroyed her, because, biasedly speaking, I’d love to see more of her.
All ten episodes of season one are now available on Netflix. What do you guys think will happen in Season 2 of Netflix’s Altered Carbon? Are there any characters you want to see again? Start a conversation in the comments section below!