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.
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.
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.
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.