Carmen Sandiego Season 2 Recap:
Netflix’s captivating addition to the Carmen Sandiego universe will grace our screens once again on March 10th for an all-new interactive special, becoming the seventh addition to Netflix’s interactive repertoire. Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal will tell the story of how Carmen must choose whether or not to co-operate with evil corporation V.I.L.E in order to rescue teammates Ivy and Zack. With Netflix’s special on the horizon now would be as good a time as any to revisit the world of Carmen Sandiego and remind ourselves what happened to our favorite mistress of disguise during Season 2. And if your memory isn’t what it used to be, feel free to remind yourself of the events of the first season as well.
Season 2 begins one week after Carmen discovers that her seemingly cold and uncaring ex-tutor, Shadow-san was, in fact, the person who had found Carmen when she was a baby. The series begins with an unfocused and distracted Carmen, stumbling through her latest mission in Prague before moving on to Rio de Janeiro. V.I.L.E attempts to use the Rio Carnival as the cover for a gem stealing scheme. In the meantime, Inspector Devineaux wakes from his coma before describing V.I.L.E members, Brunt and Shadow-san to a forensic artist, eager to impress the Chief. Unfortunately, the Chief is not convinced and decides Devineaux is too much of a liability, demoting him back to an office job with Interpol. On the other hand detective Argent is promoted to full-time A.C.M.E agent and given a new partner, Zari.
With a tip-off from a local family, Carmen is able to track down V.I.L.E’s mining operation. Once inside the mining tunnel, Carmen is confronted by Tigress, Le Chevre and El Topo, before being interrupted by ex faculty member Shadow-San. Shadow-san convinces the naive V.I.L.E recruits that he was in hiding to close the gap on his pursuit for Sandiego and that the V.I.L.E leaders were in on his plan. After successfully fooling the cadets Shadow-san and Carmen escape, only being pursued once the V.I.L.E faculty reveal they had no knowledge of Shadow-san’s plans. Once free, Shadow-san and Carmen deduce V.I.L.E’s intentions to transport stolen gems using a duck boat (an amphibious military vehicle) disguised as a Carnival float. The unruly duo works together to apprehend the gems and use the value of the loot to repay the generosity of the poverty-stricken family that earlier helped Sandiego.
As Carmen, Ivy and Zack reach their next destination, Nagano, Japan, Carmen wakes to discover Shadow-san has disappeared. Following clues to Shadow-san’s whereabouts, Carmen arrives at Matsumoto Castle and discovers that Shadow-san had stolen a Katana from a daish? (pair of swords) in his youth to be initiated into a life of crime. Sandiego meets Shadow-san’s older brother and discovers Shadow-san’s had brought a lot of shame upon his family. In the meantime, the second sword of the daish? is stolen by Paper Star, after a quick and dynamic battle Carmen retrieves the sword, escaping to swiftly interrupt a confrontation between Shadow-san and V.I.L.E. hopeful Dokuso. Once all parties are safe Shadow-san returns the Katana to complete the daish?.
Next, we are introduced to V.I.L.E agent Dash Haber, a weaponized hat-wielding smooth talker that manages to escape Carmen as she seeks to stop a heist for a crate of smart-fabric. Using Players intel, Carmen and her team fly to Milan in order to foil V.I.L.E’s plan to use the smart fabric to mind control models into stealing valuable clothing. Cookie Booker, the next V.I.L.E hopeful, tries to secure her position on the faculty by executing the ‘Fashionista caper’ to help V.I.L.E recover from some of their financial debts. After tranquilizing A.C.M.E agent Zari, Carmen enlists agent Argent who reluctantly helps rescue the valuable clothes and bring them to safety. Meanwhile, Carmen and Shadow-san destroy the mind-controlling hats, bringing an end V.I.L.E’s lucrative plan.
During a seemingly peaceful period of time, Player suggests that Carmen and her gang should have an HQ. Shadow-san agrees and the team travels to inspect a prospective base, which happens to be none other than an abandoned factory for the Carmen Sandiego clothing brand. During their inspection, Ivy and Zack tell Shadow-san the story of how they came to work alongside Carmen Sandiego. Their story begins when the sibling duo comes head to head with the loan shark that gave them money to fund their driving career dreams. Only their dreams failed when one race Zack, trying to beat rival Trey Stealing, decided to ignore Ivy’s advice, totaling their car completely, compromising their share of the winnings. The loan shark demands the pair rob a Donut shop, which happens to be a front for one of V.I.L.E’s operations. During their petty stealing job, they run into Carmen and inevitably become involved as they follow her in hopes for a share of the “reward”. Once successful the pair claim their cash but of course, the money is technically stolen and so Carmen convinces them to dump it. With the V.I.L.E operation dismantled and the siblings now on the run and with nothing to lose, opt to join Carmen on her world-traveling adventures.
Back in the present-day, Player has discovered intel for V.I.L.E.’s next plan, leading Carmen and her gang to the extravagant city of Dubai. Here V.I.L.E has recruited the help of the next V.I.L.E hopeful, The Mechanic, to steal schematics for a supercar that can be reverse-engineered for their own benefit. As the mission unfolds Zack bumps into his old rival Trey and in a moment of jealousy Zack steals the supercar, getting himself and Ivy arrested. A little while later the pair is bailed out of prison by Trey’s father, and impressed by the duo’s talents he offers them a place on his racing team. Following this, Carmen is confronted by The Driver, a V.I.L.E agent who was disguised as Trey’s girlfriend. After a quick scuffle with both the Driver and the Mechanic, Carmen and her team manage to save the day, returning to the warehouse they previously recce’d for a new base. As thanks for Zack’s and Ivy’s loyalty, Carmen buys the warehouse, leaving the pair to make themselves at home as she heads off with Shadow-san to Moscow.
Once arrived, Carmen and Shadow-san come head to head with V.I.L.E’s next faculty hopeful, Neal the Eel, a slimy, wormy agent that steals the blueprints for an EMP weapon. Shadow-san deduces that with Neal the Eel’s involvement V.I.L.E must be working from New Zealand. Carmen travels to Australia to recruit ex-V.I.L.E recruit Graham, a cadet with no memory of his previous work as his mind was wiped by the V.I.L.E faculty. Carmen convinces Graham to help control the lighting for a ballet production, while unbeknownst to him he is actually controlling a series of security gates. Graham discovers the ruse, leaving his lighting duties behind and finding Carmen during combat. A quick fight ensues and Graham uses his subconscious V.I.L.E training to sabotage the V.I.L.E machinery, ensuing a swift victory. As a reward, Carmen finally joins Graham for a date. Meanwhile, A.C.M.E spot Carmen with Graham, making him a person of interest.
Over at V.I.L.E, the remaining faculty members vote to abandon V.I.L.E island, deciding their current graduating class will be their last. Meanwhile in Stockholm, Carmen, Ivy, and Zack spread themselves out in order to distract and misguide A.C.M.E agents who are hot on Carmen’s tail. Agent Argent makes an agreement with the chief to talk to Carmen alone in the hopes of recruiting her. When Argent approaches Carmen the A.C.M.E team betray her agreement, ambushing the pair and severing any trust Carmen had for Argent. Carmen barely escapes after being sedated and crash landing into a forest. Meanwhile, Ivy has been kidnapped by V.I.L.E agents Otter and Moose, believing her to be Carmen (as she was disguised in Carmen’s iconic coat and hat). Ivy uses her skills to outsmart the duo, swiping nuclear codes they had planned to sell and escaping to reunite with Zack. Carmen, as a last resort, uses a pen she pickpocketed from Argent to call the A.C.M.E chief for help.
The A.C.M.E team find and rescue Carmen, handing her BACK to Ivy and Zack as an act of trust. As Carmen is in recovery Shadow-san takes it upon himself to complete her missions during her absence. Not wanting to waste any time Carmen heads to Botswana to foil V.I.L.E’s next scheme to mine diamonds illegally. Meanwhile, V.I.L.E decides their faculty opening will go to Roundabout, who informs V.I.L.E of Shadow-san’s involvement with Carmen. In Botswana, Carmen, Ivy, and Zack confront Brunt and Tigress, Carmen contacts the Chief and the trio narrowly escapes when A.C.M.E raids the mine. Later Carmen is captured by Coach Brunt and the cleaners, and Brunt proceeds to tell Carmen that Shadow-san had been the one to kill her father.
Following a trail he has drawn for Sandiego, Inspector Devineuax finds himself at V.I.L.E island, seeing nothing of interest as the V.I.L.E headquarters are now destroyed. In the meantime, Carmen finds Shadow-san and confronts him on his involvement with the death of her father. Shadow-san proceeds to explain that her father, Wolfe, was a faculty member at V.I.L.E but was often absent from duties (a fault overlooked due to his mission success rate). When Wolfe became careless and seldom attended his role at the academy V.I.L.E came to the conclusion that Wolfe will eventually leave them for good. The faculty ordered then-student Shadow-san to kill Wolfe. When Shadow-san comes to execute his mission he finds the truth of Wolfe’s absence; he has a family and a baby that he needs to protect. Shadow-san hesitates to execute his order but during his reluctance, Wolfe’s home is raided by Interpol and Wolfe is instead killed by Agent Fraser, the current chief of A.C.M.E. Shadow-san saved baby Carmen and the faculty voted to raise her, keeping her origin a secret.
Back to the present day, Player helps Carmen track down the Chief’s location. Upon arriving Carmen hacks the A.C.M.E database using V.I.L.E tech, linking the database with Shadow-san’s faculty account. From the A.C.M.E intel, Carmen discovers that her mother, ‘Vera Cruz’, faked her death and may still be alive, but her location is unknown. Elsewhere Fraser discovers she has been hacked. Feeling betrayed, the Chief rehires Devineaux, hoping his unrelenting desire to pursue Carmen will deliver results. Devineaux accepts the role with pride, ready to finally capture the ever evasive Carmen Sandiego.
Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal release date 10th March 2020
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
Maggie has been a film critic for Ready Steady Cut since 2018. Maggie gained a BSc in Film Production and Technology leading to her most notable credit for the production designer for a short film screened as part of the London Film Festival line up.