Review: Glitch Season 2

Emily Barclay and Patrick Brammall in Glitch

Glitch season 2 is an Australian sci-fi series now on Netflix US and other worldwide locales. The basic premise is that people are resurrected from the dead. In season 1, there was no explanation as to how that happened. In season 2, we learn how some of them rose from the dead and get many more glimpses into backstories of the risen characters.  There are many, many spoilers ahead.

In season 2, there are two categories of risen characters. The folks we saw crawl out of their graves in season 1 are still around. Kate (Emma Booth) is there. Kate is the former wife of of the cop James Hayes (Patrick Brammall). James is a plain old living human (POLH) who struggles to protect the newly risen. Kate is one of those risen.

Luke Arnold in Glitch
Luke Arnold plays Owen, a POLH

Since James is now married to someone else, Kate takes up with a new character named Owen (Luke Arnold). Owen is not one of the risen and is only in the story to add to the interpersonal drama between James, Kate and Sarah. He does that very well.

Paddy Fitzgerald (Ned Dennehy) is still around. He’s demanding justice for his Aboriginal offspring from his Fitzgerald descendants. POLH Beau (Aaron L. McGrath), the young man who saw all the risen climbing out of their graves, is Paddy Fitzgerald’s great grandson (or great great grandson).

Kirstie (Hannah Monson), the angry young woman with a skateboard is present. She finally remembers how she died. Charlie (Sean Keenan), the gay soldier, is still with us. He also remembers his own death. We still have John Doe (Rodger Corser). John figures out who he was and what his real name is (William). John/William was a sea captain a couple of hundred years ago. His seaman’s whistle is important in season 2.

Dr. Elishia McKellar (Genevieve O’Reilly) is around most of the time. We see her resurrection and learn that she is responsible for the research that made all this unbelievable living dead stuff happen.

The new mom is Sarah (Emily Barclay). Do you remember at the end of season 1 when Sarah had her baby? She died, and she immediately revived? But it seemed a little wonky? It was wonky.

Sarah is now part of a second category of resurrected people. She’s like the cop Vic (Andrew McFarlane) from season 1. She’s risen but not from a grave. She died and seconds later she was alive again. And like Vic, she sees it as her purpose to kill all the people James works to save – all those who crawled out of the cemetery under their own steam.

Sarah sees it as her “duty of care” to look after her infant and love it. But she’s also determined to kill the risen.

Rob Collins in Glitch
Rob Collins is Phil

A new character who falls into the same category of resurrected as Vic and Sarah is Phil (Rob Collins). Phil dies in an oil rig accident. Seconds later he’s alive again. He returns home. Phil is Beau’s stepdad. Beau’s mother has forbidden him from seeing any more of Paddy Fitzgerald, but Phil starts asking questions about how to find the risen.

Phil has a purpose. He wants to kill Dr. Elishia McKellar. He manages to do that late in the season. Afterwards he figures he’ll just hang around and live like a regular guy. A regular guy who pesters Sarah about why it’s taking her so long to kill her quota of risen. A regular guy who can put his mouth over the mouths of people in graves – Vic – or people up walking around – Sarah – and learn all their secrets.

Pernilla August in Glitch
Pernilla August is the scientist Nicola Heysen

Nicola Heysen (Pernilla August) is a new character. She works at Noregard and is desperate to get her hands on Elishia McKellar’s research so she can recreate the process that resurrects people.

It’s from Nicola Heysen that we finally learn how the resurrection process works. From a sci-fi point of view, the scientific explanation Glitch uses to explain everything is hopelessly lame. One stem cell is used to recreate a whole person. Not a clone, not a copy. The actual person from the first time around with all the same memories and everything. Part of this process with the stem cell involves producing a sound at the exact right frequency. The sound activates the stem cell.

Don’t ask how Elishia McKellar did this to herself while on a slab in a morgue. Don’t ask how she did it with the dusty corpse of a 200 year old man in a cemetery. Don’t ask why Vic and Sarah and Phil are different. The expectation that the audience will suspend disbelief for this bit of implausible science is astonishing. But there it is.

As in season 1, there was an invisible boundary beyond which the risen could not go or they would turn to dust particles like a vampire slain by Buffy. That boundary kept shrinking in season 2. It should have added to the tension but it did not. Elishia McKellar claimed she could fix it, but Phil got to her first.

Another new character who pops up in season 2 is Ellen (Katrina Milosevic), a nurse who worries that Sarah has post natal depression because she acts weird. Whenever James is busy and Sarah wants to hand off her infant to someone while she goes off to commit murder, Ellen takes the baby. If you’re a fan of Wentworth, you’ll probably agree when I say that Boomer cleans up nice.

Overall, I thought didn’t think season 2 was as good as season 1. I love sci-fi and I don’t mind science that isn’t real – if it can be made to feel real. The science fiction in Glitch didn’t work for me. Maybe it was just me not buying into the explanation for the resurrections, but it made season 2 feel less than for me.

Compare Glitch with the well-grounded science about stem cells and clones used in Orphan Black. Both series create worlds that aren’t possible in reality, but Orphan Black gives that impossibility a realistic sounding explanation.

I didn’t think season 2 was as interesting as season 1. The characters were the same, doing essentially the same things as before, but it wasn’t as compelling a story.

I did like learning the backstories for all the characters. I liked the slow reveal of their memories and lives.

I thought the way things ended between James and Sarah was oddly out of the blue. James going emo on Sarah and wanting her to die seemed forced and unnecessary. Maybe they did it that way in hopes of addressing it again in a 3rd season as James works out his conflicts over his feelings for Kate.

James and Sarah’s baby was played by several different infants. Some with hair, some without. They looked nothing alike. That lack of attention to detail also bothered me.

The season cliffhanger shows John Doe blowing his seaman’s whistle near the new grave of Elishia McKellar. It turns out to be the right resurrection frequency. Will Dr. McKellar rise again for a season 3 of Glitch? (If there is a 3rd season planned, I have no knowledge of it.) It would be nice to see the forces of evil at Noregard taken down should the story continue.

I watched all six episodes of season 2, obviously. Every episode left me wanting it to grab me the way season 1 did. I was interested enough to keep going. I was encouraged by the mild cliffhanger at the end to hope that a 3rd season is in the offing. Maybe season 2 was that Sophomore slump, and another chance with these excellent characters will perk up the story and run with it.

I know my review sounds critical of season 2, but I’m not saying don’t watch it. It’s worth watching, especially if you were fascinated by season 1. It simply isn’t as fascinating as season 1.

Emma Freeman and Tony Krawitz share the directing credits. Emma Freeman directed all of season 1, but only 3 episodes of season 2. Most of the writing was done by series creator Tony Ayres, along with Louise Fox, and Adam Hill.

How did you feel about season 2? I’d love to hear your comments.

30 thoughts on “Review: Glitch Season 2”

  1. Thanks for your thorough review. I thought S2 was quite interesting, and I hope the producers and writers will get the chance to expand their narrative in a third season, as a lot was left unexplained. I hope this show won’t become a good vs. evil battle, or some other tired trope, as it has potential for creative interpretations, especially of the enforcers.

  2. I was disappointed with season 2. I enjoyed season 1 quite a bit and hoped season 2 would give satisfying answers to the questions raised in the first season. The answers weren’t at all satisfying – the science was unbelievable and the characters behaved in ways that didn’t make sense to me. I did like the background revelations, which were reminiscent of OITNB. I was mostly interested in the James Kate Sarah triangle and it’s resolution. I’m not looking forward to a season three as I am to Rita season 4 or hopeful for a season 4 of Dicte. But if there is a season 3, I will watch it.

  3. I enjoyed season 2 and was really intrigued but had to go back and watch the last episode of season 1 to remind myself how it was left. I was really glad of the mention of the baby details I thought I missed something and was confused especially with the close ups of the baby in the last episode. I remembered thinking in an earlier episode that she had a lot of hair and looked older or something then went back to looking like a new born. I thought maybe the baby was affected or something but I guess it was just lack of details. I think the only connection I didn’t really follow was the that between Elisha and the captain. If it was a longing that brought the others back how did she even know about him or why did she long for him….. I feel like I missed something when they were in the water and she was trying to explain their connection. I am looking forward to a season 3, while the science was far fetched I really didn’t get hung up on that. Maybe next season (if there is one) at the beginning they can run through highlights to remind you what happened previously; especially if it won’t be for another year.

    1. I think they left the connection between Elishia and the captain nebulous because it’s a cliffhanger for a 3rd season. His whistle is going to resurrect her (I think) and they will have more time to work out whatever connects them. I keep acting like there will be a 3rd season, but I don’t know that for sure.

    2. christopher swaby

      it seemed to me that Elishia was needlessly obtuse about the connection between she and the captain. there was no good reason she wouldnt have completely explained it at that moment. i can only assume that the creators are banking on a third season (confirmed by the Glitch twitter account).

  4. There was a few things that was kind of off in season 2. 1) The different babies (James and Sarahs)that was used in the series and another this was in the last episode when Chris Reddox was talking to Kirstie by the grave site, I’m pretty sure he said the wrong dates for her death. But to just be honest it wasn’t as good as season 1 and if there was to be another season, I’m pretty sure I would watch it, in hopes that it regains the captivity from season 1

  5. I liked it. Elishia did not just resurrect herself though. They are making her and William out to be something else entirely separate from the risen and the enforcers.

  6. When Elisha was remaining to William that he escaped from somewhere… and then became captain William… am I the only one who noticed she said he and her were both somewhere and something else before they were human? Don’t you think they were like.. angels.. with no free will.. who escaped to live like humans or something.. but that wasn’t allowed so the other 3 were sent down to stop it… but they aren’t just regular risen people… I don’t think it’s supposed to be as scientific as it is mystical… it’s making me crazy too bc i wanna know what and where they were first.. angels just seems to fit the profile.

    1. That was my immediate thought, as well. But Phil was offended when James made the suggestion that the “universal laws” were like God. I’m guessing it’s a more of “keep the universe in balance” kind of being.

  7. So much contradiction in Season 2. Wasn’t Elisha a lesbian with a wive of many years before she died and was resurrected and then resurrected the others. Then she has this connection with John/ William. I thought she was lesbian?

    1. “Elishia” isn’t Elishia from before she died. Something else inhabited her body, remembers her memories, but isn’t her. Hence why she came back just to resurrect William, who was also “not William”.

  8. I really liked season 1… season 2 felt like a total remake of season 1, with the same exact ending, identical clips from season 1 word for word. Or maybe Netflix merged the two seasons to make it seem close to identical. Seriously disappointed with season 2, not sure I would invest 6 more hours into a season three for more of the same.

  9. Seems to me that Phil Vic and Sarah coming back are either Angels or the universe just trying to balance itself.
    You heard Phil tell Sarah that after their task they will just live as humans which could imply they are Angels but it also seems they don’t know what they are either only that they have a task to balance out the universe.

  10. I think Elisha and the captain are the same type of beings as the enforcers. I think they escaped from their form of existence using advanced tech their kind possess and are made human by “occupying” the bodies of the dead (either newly dead or remade from their cells from the bodies). The risen were an accident as Elisha said. She was trying to awaken him not the others, they were a byproduct (with no other entity trying to use the body, I’m guessing then the original occupant returned to it). I think the enforcers came here just as Elisha and the captain did to bring them back and correct the mistake of the risen. Maybe some kind of police of their kind. Elisha commented that this body floats, implying that what they were before didn’t. Heard the word angel being tossed around, but it wouldn’t explain the floating in water business. I think they’re just another form of life come from somewhere else…space, another dimension, whatever the writers pick. They have advanced tech. Only thing bothering me is how cryptic Elisha is with the captain with explanation. How is it she knows stuff and he doesn’t if they’re the same. Is she keeping the information and doling it only a little at a time for a reason or is she like the risen and her memories take a while to catch up with her so she can’t explain yet? Hope there’s a season 3. I’m hooked! I love the idea that sound is key in this. We’re discovering now how powerful sound really is. It makes you look back at history and wonder if sound can explain a lot of how the impossible was done before machines came along. I can totally see how sound could return memories or trigger the seemingly impossible to happen. It’s like a key or a password to us nowadays.

  11. I’d like to bring up the issue of the last scene of Heysen, with a relentlessly undead Phil in the back of the van. If they were in cahoots, why would she not have told Phil and Sarah where to find the Risen and kill them when they were hiding in her lab? I hope this is explained believably. I do still like the series though, and will try Season 3 for sure. Like some others have said, I enjoy the mix of science and mysticism and hope to see more of this blending, although it can be hard to pull off. Now almost completely off topic: anyone still miss “Fringe”??

  12. So, James was thinking about Kate and that brought her back. Elishia was thinking about John Doe. Chris was thinking bout Kirstie. Beau was thinking about his dad, but I guess brought Paddy back by accident. Who was thinking about Maria and Charlie to bring them back?

    1. Maria’s husband (in one of his few moments of clarity) thought about her, but not their daughter, oddly.

      The guy who runs the hotel/bar would have been locking up at around the same time the Risen appeared – I reckon he may have been looking over his memorabilia room or the medals etc. He is undoubtedly a WW1 enthusiast and I can easily believe that he thought about poor young Charlie before he shut off the lights and headed off to bed.

      That was my interpretation, anyway. Like Carlo – his brother died around the exact moment the risen appeared, so it’s likely as he was passing he thought of his long lost brother. That was incredibly sad to me – Carlo had literally less than a day back in the world and never got to make any sort of peace with it.

  13. James “going all emo on Sarah” and wanting her to have remained dead as she should have been wasn’t forced at all. Sarah/James relationship is a consolation and contingency. Deep deep down James and Sarah know that but human beings have a way of repressing true feelings and living a lie or getting used to a new situation because there’s no other immediate better choice. They know if Kate didn’t die, there would be NO James/Sarah. James doesn’t love Sarah in the same way he does Kate. It’s more so consolation, agape and “you were my wife’s friend” kind of love love, the kind of basic love/care that grows between two roommates or any two friends who happen to be going through the same situation and use each other for comfort to get through the situation. Convenience. So when James found out Sarah was like Vic, all those repressed feelings blurted out… if not for Sarah, Kate, the person he actually wants/loves would be in the house with him. He would have much preferred he and Sarah never happened now that Kate is back. Deep down, Sarah has always known she is and always will be second place, a consolation, she grew to live with that. Of course James wouldn’t admit to her she’s a consolation (in S1, she said they discussed it, and James told her she isn’t second place/consolation, LOL, such a weak lie, but she knew deep down she is, she can’t be so stupid to believe she isn’t). She wouldn’t have been a consolation, if she were someone he met newly, no connection to Kate. A fresh start.

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  15. Debbie shampaner

    I agree season 2 was a faster moving series of events to get answers however we dont get many. what happens at the end is dozens of dead are rising now? The idea that people had been thinking of the dead who rose up was interesting. Anyway it is all fun yet not tied together neatly. But well done enough to watch!!!!. Not good enough to recommend to a friend

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