“We are more than the sum of our intentions” - Quellcrist Falconer
Our favorite kind of entertainment is the kind that we can consume at home. First of all, because as moms, we rarely get out to the movie theater. And even if we weren't moms, it's just easier to stay home, right?
And now that we need to practice social distancing, it's more important than ever to stay HOME and consume entertainment for a while. While I think it's important to keep the light-hearted content coming, I am living for this show.
I've been waiting for a year or so for two things: Altered Carbon season 2, and my kids to spend the weekend at my parents' house so that I can watch all of Altered Carbon season 2 in one day on netflix. I did the same thing with season 1 when it first came out, and coincidentally a trip down to the grandparents was planned for shortly after the season 2 premiere. I literally put it on my calendar and blocked off the evening.
A quick, spoiler-free summary in case you're unfamiliar with the series:
In the distant future, humans have learned how to synthesize themselves into a disc that gets inserted into their spine. Should their bodies die, the disc can simply be removed and placed into another body, or "sleeve." If you're super rich, you can essentially afford to live forever as your consciousness is regularly backed up to what I can only explain as the cloud, and you have endless "sleeves" waiting for you to use, if necessary. (Because duh, you can afford to have endless clone-sleeves generated for you.)
The poor get the short end of the stick, as always. In season 1, Our main character is a revolutionary (or terrorist, depending on the P.O.V) that wakes up in an unfamiliar sleeve, and learns that he was "spun up" (inserted into this body) so that he could help solve a murder case.
I'm extremely bad at summarizing, so if I continue on about the story, I won't be able to stop myself from telling every detail about both seasons. Suffice it to say that it's the kind of thing that the more you watch, the more you figure out. And you have to watch closely. My favorite kind of show.
I loved season 1 because I love sci fi and I liked this take on the rich getting richer and the poor continuing to suffer, and the revolutionaries trying to change the system. I also love Renee Elise Goldsberry because she originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton on Broadway and her voice on that soundtrack lives on in my brain forever. Of course I didn't see her in that performance, but I'm eagerly awaiting the theatrical release.
Season 2 is... incredible. So. many. female characters. And they’re all complicated. Some are good, some are bad, most are powerful in different ways. The show doesn't ask the question "will it be a popular show if we feature this type of woman or that type of woman," they do what they want and Netflix forked over the cash. To date, it's the most expensive show on the streaming service.
It’s incredible to see.
One female character goes through a storyline wherein her mind is invaded. She refers to it in a future scene as a violation and is ready to jump at the chance to help another woman in need of help who’s mind has also been invaded. They don’t call it rape or molestation, but it’s evident what they’re getting at with the invasion/violation storyline.
And that's only one example of women teaming up in this show. An unlikely pairing of two main female characters is inspring and beautiful, but also not the main storyline. They become something of a support system for each other. It took me a little while to figure out why I liked it so much, and I think it's because usually if women become close friends, that IS the story. But it's just part of it here.
Spoilers ahead regarding the overall themes of the show. Only read this paragraph if you've already watched, or don't care about plotlines somewhat coming into focus. I like being completely surprised, so I would have been bummed to have any themes revealed.
Overall, it’s also a story about colonialism and natives of fighting back. It’s like Avatar, if Avatar wasn’t a white savior movie.
I love focusing on the theme that "intentions” aren’t everything, but perception and reality really ARE everything. It’s a good lesson in today’s world. We tend to brush over the harder parts of our history by saying that people only wanted to explore or people wanted to only do good, but in actuality our ancestors did a ton of damage. And what matters is the havoc that was wreaked on entire people groups and on their futures. It's complicated and complex, but we have to face it.
Oh and apparently this is based on a book (or book series?). I have not read it, but I will be re-watching this entire series. Probably while editing the podcast.
Main photo credit: IMDB