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Why Altered Carbon Fans Are Still Torn Over Season 2's Ending

Creating a fully realized, fleshed out science fiction universe is, by most people's estimates, a giant pain. Even the most popular franchises run into continuity snags once they've racked up enough entries (just look at how Spider-Man: Homecoming couldn't keep the MCU timeline straight). Altered Carbon, on the other hand, only lasted a scant two seasons before Netflix deprived it of a resleeve, cancelling the neo noir sci-fi series after just 18 episodes. 

The show's short run only served to exacerbate fans' confusion with a perceived uptick in nonsense during what wound up being the series finale.

A quick recap, in case you're still fuzzy from transferring your stack: in the far-off year of 2384, a body's disposability is inversely proportional to the size of a person's bank account thanks to a technological breakthrough which allows human consciousness to be stored on a removable hard drive. Burn through one body and you can have your mind implanted into a new one, as long as you've got the scratch to pay for one. Needless to say, the wealthy get an even bigger leg up in this world than usual, thanks to the fact that they never have to retire or surrender control of their businesses — they can just keep going forever. It's a heavy dynamic to wrap your head around. Unfortunately, it also doesn't make a lick of sense in light of Altered Carbon's second season closer ... at least not according to a vocal contingent of fans on Reddit.

Altered Carbon's second season was a real party Poe-per

At the end of Altered Carbon's second season, we learn that series protagonist Takeshi Kovacs has had his cortical stack backed up in the digital mind of Poe, an A.I., allowing him to return from the dead without the help of the requisite stack transfer. It's a big reveal — and one that threw viewers for a loop. 

It wasn't just the question of when Poe had the opportunity to hit Ctrl+C on the soul of the show's main character. What really bothered fans was that more people weren't taking advantage of this loophole in the immortality system.

"If it's possible to backup someone's stack in that fashion why doesn't every rich person keep an AI on hand," one frequenter of Reddit's /r/alteredcarbon forum asked, going on to question "If backing up a stack is something only rich people can do, why are none of the members of the AI management association selling this service?"

It's a solid point. In a world where cheating death is a premium commodity, why wouldn't enterprising entrepreneurs be capitalizing on another method of preserving human consciousness? It feels like exactly the sort of thing that a third season of Altered Carbon might have explored — glitches in the process that make it come off as an unacceptably risky proposition, or a company with their thumbs on the stack market trying to stomp out the possibility of widespread A.I. consciousness uploading. Unfortunately, until any kind of Altered Carbon cinematic universe takes off, we're stuck without concrete answers.