Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 2: Fallen Angel Recap

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Original Kovacs after a devastating loss in battle.

Kovacs voiceover:

“Peace is an illusion. No matter how tranquil the world seems, peace doesn’t last long. Peace is a struggle against our very nature. A skin we stretch over the bone, muscle and sinew of our own innate savagery. The instinct of violence curls inside us like a parasite, waiting for a chance to feed on our rage and multiply until it bursts out of us. War is the only thing we really understand.”

So, there’s a slightly different tone between Quell’s inspirational voiceovers and Kovacs’ nihilistic calls toward violence and conflict. Having given in to the Quell that lives in his mind at the end of episode 1, stayed awake, and taken the case, Kovacs is left to navigate the world without her, other than as echoes from a long ago defeat. He begins his investigation in earnest, and considers who he can trust to become part of his team. The complexity of the case begins to reveal itself, as hallucination Quell predicted. Meanwhile, Ortega has secrets of her own. She spends much of the episode working on a separate, but possibly related, case.

The episode begins with Kovacs’ voiceover as we see a very pretty view of the Bay City skyline across the bay at dawn. A father and young son are fishing in a small boat in the bay in the foreground. I’m surprised there is still something to fish for. A body drops from the sky into the bay, literally out of the blue. I’m going to call it another obscure Monty Python reference.

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The boat and the body end up next to each other. It’s shockingly the body of a scantily clad blonde young woman who’s been murdered. Her breasts float higher than the rest of her, to get the required female nudity in, since most of the female regulars must have nudity clauses in their contracts.

The child starts to pull the woman into the boat, but his father tells him to stop. She’s not their problem, and they could get arrested. Touching. She floats away, the lengths of gauzy white fabric that make up her sheer dress flowing away from her, the perfect image of a helpless, victimized woman. She’s lit beautifully, and the camera shoots her lovingly from above and below. The live women don’t get this treatment from the cinematography, especially the fully clothed ones.

The underwater image of the helpless dead woman, shot from below so we’re looking up into the silhouette of her private parts, making her even more vulnerable in death, is an image that will be returned to over and over again this episode. In case you didn’t get the message, women are exploited and victimized in this world, and it’s so normalized that the father didn’t even try to shield his young son’s eyes from seeing a nude woman, a dead body, or a brutalized woman. Instead he told his son that they couldn’t help her, and to turn away from evidence of suffering.

I would believe that this was being shown as a cautionary tale of what we could become, if the camera didn’t linger so long, and the shots weren’t so pretty, turning this into porn and even sick art. If the women’s injuries and bodies were shot the way the men’s are, it wouldn’t be too bad, but they aren’t, despite the amount of time that Joel Kinnaman spends naked. And if, in this instance, it wasn’t specifically males right there getting a good look before they turned away, tacitly giving the viewer permission to enjoy the view as well.

We move on to the aftermath of a terrible battle that ended in slaughter. Original Kovacs stands in a clearing, surrounded by burning woods, and weeps. One of his wounded comrades yells “Long live Quellcrist Falconer!” as he lies dying. Protectorate soldiers move amongst the fallen. What looked like it snow on the ground in episode 1 is now clearly a thick layer of ash that continues to fall. Is this the Battle of Stronghold?

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Kovacs wakes up from the nightmare that was his memory of the battle and its aftermath. Or he thinks he does. At first, it’s as if the battle still surrounds his senses. Then he actually wakes up. This entire sequence was also beautifully done.

But now it’s time for round 1 of naked Tak!

Poe and Oumou Pescott, an attorney who works exclusively for Bancroft, are waiting in the hotel room for Kovacs to wake up. He wakes up and, fully nude, walks over to tell them to get out of his room. Kovacs thinks that Prescott is the hooker he was expecting. Oops. She does fit the description Poe gave him, so we’ll let it go this time.

Poe hands Kovacs an upgraded set of clothes that are better suited to someone who hangs out with a Meth, while Kovacs tells him, again, to take the lawyer downstairs and stay out. Prescott points out that Kovacs isn’t Bancroft’s buddy, he’s an employee, because no one is jumping the line to get ahead of her in the race to go from employee to friend of the Meth.

Ortega, who doesn’t sleep nude, wakes up to the soothing tones of her police tracker asking her if she wants an update on Kovacs position. From there, she trains with Aboud, who one has to feel sorry for. That beating can’t have been good for his shoulders. He tries to convince her of the benefits of having a personal life. She’d rather be hardcore and angry, because she has an axe to grind, a score to settle, a Meth to… well, let’s face it, the odds are slim to none that she’s going to affect the Meth on her own.

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Ortega sleeps with a very interesting file on her bed. Who was Kovacs’ sleeve? Multiple people have given him a double take, and more will by the end of this episode. Is it a perp file or a staff file?

There’s a beeping sound in the gym, which Aboud declares he’s going to ignore, because it’s the sound of a police tracker, which they aren’t currently authorized to have. If he heard it, he’d have to turn Ortega in. He leaves, with the suggestion that the tracker disappear before she gets to the station.

Prescott takes Kovacs to the Psychasec, Mission branch building where they meet with Director Nyman.  While they wait, Kovacs tells Prescott that he’ll need to interview all of Bancroft’s closest business and social associates. Prescott replies that those people are much too important to be bothered with that kind of thing. They have a little fight for dominance, then Nyman arrives. Nobody likes an uppity terrorist. Go figure.

Nyman gives them a tour of the facility, of which he’s very proud, especially the designer clones.

Nyman: Our primary business is in clones. No doubt you know that a single clone costs more than most people make in a single lifetime. (Kovacs: So Meths only.) Our clients are the most discerning, wealthiest people in the Protectorate. They don’t do anything as pedestrian as dying…This is the Bancroft family vault. We keep 24/7 tech personnel in the vault. Gus was here the night Mr Bancroft needlecast back from Osaka.

Kovacs, looking at a clone of Laurens: They aren’t aware, right?

Gus, the tech on duty: No, clones’ brains are blanked. Stacks are empty. The bodies are electrically stimulated periodically so they don’t lose muscle tone.

Kovacs: Gonna need to see any footage you have of Bancroft’s arrival. Back when I went down, you resleeve too many times, eventually you go nuts.

Gus: Personality frag. It’s a bitch. But it only happens if you bounce around between lots of different sleeves. So, turns out, if you resleeve into your own clone, you can do it as many times as you want.

Kovacs: And live forever, if you’ve got the cash.

Gus: It’s great, huh?

Kovacs: What does everyone else do?

Gus: Folks resleeve in whatever they can find, if they can afford it.

Kovacs: So your clients, they needlecast directly into the clones here in the building?

Nyman: Our lower levels house a fully secure satellite-to-download DHF facility.

Kovacs: It can’t be that secure, if someone tried to hack Bancroft’s backup the night he was shot.

Prescott: Police think it was Dippers. They steal snippets of Meth memory during uplink. Moments from a king’s childhood, a socialite losing her virginity. (Kovacs: Is that common?) Oh, it happens all the time. Black market value is huge for a slice of those memories.

They are brought the video file of Bancroft’s needlecast back from Osaka on the day he was murdered. It’s only a few seconds long, showing him opening his eyes, then Miriam kissing him. He’s very blank faced. Kovacs is surprised it’s so short.

Nyman: We only record the moment of reacclimation for quality control. Anything more than that would infringe on our clients privacy.

Miriam and Laurens enter, with Laurens agreeing that he values his privacy, even though he’s stark naked. He tells Kovacs that he wanted to watch Kovacs at work on the investigation. When Kovacs asks about the video, Miriam tells him that she likes to greet her husband when he wakes up after traveling for business.

Kovacs asks when the footage was recorded. Prescott replies that it was six hours before Laurens was murdered.

Laurens: I know I’m watching myself, but it feels as if I’m watching a stranger.

Wow, my clue alarm is pinging. Was that someone else in one of his clones? The facial expression just didn’t look like him.

Kovacs: What were you doing in Osaka before you came back?

Prescott: Mr Bancroft closed a 400 billion credit trade deal.

Laurens: Which I also have no memory of.

Kovacs: And your associates there were questioned?

Prescott: They saw nothing amiss with Mr Bancroft. On the contrary. They remarked on his focus and skill.

Laurens: Yes, I still have no idea how I managed to pull that together quite so quickly.

After he needlecast back to Bay City, Miriam went home, but Laurens went out. Security cameras showed him coming home in the morning. Prescott has continued to answer the questions instead of Laurens, and Kovacs remarks on it. Laurens loses his temper. He doesn’t see the point of this line of questioning.

Laurens: The one person who is not a suspect in all of this… is me.

But what if his stack was sitting in the vault at Psychasec while someone else who was double-sleeved used his clone for 48 hours, then made the clone shoot itself in the head?

Kovacs: You wants answers, they come with questions attached.

Laurens: Let’s take a walk, Mr Kovacs. (He’s now fully dressed. They walk down the designer clone display model hall.) Just to be clear, if I die, you go back on ice. If you don’t solve this quickly enough, you go back on ice.

We’re down to the fine print conversation regarding their contract. Kovacs lays his side on the table.

Kovacs: I’m going to need access that you don’t want to give and I’m going to find answers that you may only think you want. You wanted me to work for you, I’m working for you. You want my respect? That’s a little harder to come by. If you don’t like it, just put me back on ice right now.

Laurens: I admire a man who can look over the edge without flinching. Might make a Meth of you yet.

In other words, he likes a guy who doesn’t back down, and who has the goods to go with his nerve, so he’ll accept Kovacs’ terms.

As they leave Psychatec, Prescott informs Kovacs that surveillance footage and suspect/witness interviews have been sent to his hotel. They run into Ortega on the way out. She confronts Kovacs about taking the job, but he doesn’t respond directly. Instead, he asks about the investigation into who tried to have him killed the night before. She hasn’t made much progress yet, since the assailants are all dead.

Poe meets with the other AI businesses in town. The rest have moved on from being hotels into more lucrative ventures. One, Maddy, has been enslaved by someone. He only speaks in sign language. Poe owes the rest money, and will be able to pay them back now that he has a guest.

Because she checked up on Kovacs, Ortega is late for work and missed the morning briefing. Her boss, Captain Tanaka, tells her to handle the mother of a murdered woman who’s there to complain again. Ortega balks that it’s not her case, but the Captain reminds her that she missed the morning meeting, so this one’s hers.

Ortega doesn’t want to talk to Mrs Henchy because the department has lost her daughter’s body. She’s waiting impatiently for the body to be released, so she can bury her daughter, but the police keep stalling and giving her excuses. They haven’t told her that they’ve somehow lost the body.

This is the body of the young woman who fell from the sky into the bay in the opening sequence. The police have been holding her body for 2 months. Mrs Henchy hadn’t seen her daughter for 3 years before she died, and was told that her daughter converted to Neo-Catholicism, so she can’t be resleeved. The body is all she has left.

Ortega pauses and thinks for a moment when Mrs Henchy says that her daughter converted. The mother works herself up into a crying jag. Aboud starts to come into the room to take over, but Ortega goes to her and holds her.

Kovacs sits in the hotel and goes through the recordings sent to him by Prescott. Poe suggests he use his ONI, a high tech multi purpose wrist device, rather than the ancient hotel viewer. The ONI is fast and state of the art. He’s able to quickly sift through videos to remove the unlikely candidates.

Quell: Rage at injustice is universal. The ability to strike back is not. And at its heart, violence is almost always, in one way or another, personal.

Kovacs settles on one death threat, from a man with a disguised voice but holding an easily identified weapon, with a visible serial number. He says he’s going to kill Bancroft for his girl, his Lizzie.

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He goes to visit the man he identifies as the gun owner, Vernon Elliot, proprietor of Elliot’s data brokerage. On the way there, Kovacs walks past a museum advertising an exhibit about Quell. That’s probably why Tak breaks down Vernon’s door when he doesn’t answer it immediately. Tak has some unresolved anger issues to work out. 😉 It’ll take a century or two of therapy.

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Vernon comes to the main room of his dwelling and complains about the broken door. He didn’t answer because he’s closed for business. Kovacs explains the situation using his usual sarcastic tone. Vernon pulls a gun and politely explains that he had nothing to do with Bancroft getting murdered, now Kovacs should get the f*ck out.

Kovacs questions Vernon as they go along, discovering that Vernon was a tac marine and medic. Lizzie is his daughter. They fight, of course, and Kovacs wins, of course. He ties Vernon up. Kovacs looks around and figures out that Vernon’s wife is gone. Vernon says she was sentenced to 30 years for dipping (hacking).

Kovacs notices virtual reality scars on Vernon’s temples, and looks for the interface. He puts it on, though Vernon desperately tries to stop him. Kovacs enters a crude cityscape and walks toward a young woman who’s lying on the ground, crying. She’s lying on her side, clutching a porcelain baby doll to her stomach. When Tak tells her his name and asks what happened to her, she screams and nightmare images flash through her memory. There’s a pink neon sign above her that says “Jack”.

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When Kovacs comes out of virtual reality, he’s angry at Vernon.

Kovacs: What the h*ll’s wrong with you? Can’t you tell she’s suffering? She’s caught in a trauma loop! Why do you have her spun up in VR?

Vernon: Because it’s the only way I can see her. Her body was beaten to death, but her stack was untouched. It damaged her mind. She hasn’t said a word since that night.

Kovacs: Why do you think Bancroft did it?

Vernon: Cause she told me she was seeing him! She said he needed her. That he was going to take care of her. And then she ended up dead.

Vernon breaks loose from his bondage, and they fight again. It’s bloodier this time. Tak duct tapes Vernon to the couch and has a bowl of cereal, though he accuses Vernon of having spoiled milk. He’s decided that although Vernon is smart enough and skilled enough to have killed Bancroft, he wouldn’t have done something that would have risked Lizzie’s safety like that. He pays Vernon for the cereal and the broken door, and leaves.

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Tak gets a new black sidekick, just like all of the other superheroes.

After Tak leaves Vernon’s place, he goes back to the museum to see the Quell exhibit, against his better judgement. As he walks into the museum, a recording says, “Welcome to the Battle of Stronghold. Experience the brutality of Envoy terrorists murdering countless women and children. Witness the Protectorate courage and triumph.”

People dressed like Protectorate soldiers, which means in head to toe black with black helmets and masks with red lights around their faces and where their eyes should be, stalk toward him, as they do with everyone who comes through the door. He looks like he’s trying to sink into the floor without being obvious about it.

Tak voiceover: “I knew I shouldn’t go, ’cause when the victors rewrite history, it’s just another kind of war, waged after the battlefield killing is done, to murder the memory of the defeated. But it was a chance to see her again. Not as a dream or a hallucination. I thought it would give me a moment of peace. I should have known better.”

Tak leans against a glass case filled with ruined stacks. A little girl sees him playing with a Songspire bud, and comes over to him to tell him he shouldn’t have it. They strike up a conversation. She explains that she doesn’t want to rejoin her class because the new girl, Emmeline, is there, and she’s stolen this girl’s best friend. The girl and another girl named Monica had been best friends since they were little kids, until Emmeline came along.

The little girl says that her mother told her, “Grudges are stupid. You have to let them go or they’ll kill your soul.” She asks Tak what he thinks. He says that her mom, “Doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Friends are overrated. Eventually, someone will come along and shoot them in the stack. So you’re better off alone.”

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Kristin Ortega comes home to find her mother, Alazne Ortega, waiting for her. Alazne is concerned that Kristin isn’t eating enough and will be too skinny to be an effective cop. She’s making enchiladas for the both of them for dinner. Since Alazne’s husband was the chief of police and died in the line of duty, she likely finds excuses to make dinner for her children as often as possible.

Alazne also complains that Kristin hasn’t unpacked and settled into her home. Alazne says that Kristin is waiting for someone in particular, someone who’s not her mother. Kristin, like any adult child, refuses to talk about it. Her mother wants Kristin to move out of this home that isn’t really her own and live in one of the new places going up in the Tenderloin District. Kristin refuses. Is this just Alazne trying to get Kristin to move past an old boyfriend, or is there more here?

They discuss the Neo-Catholic belief in having religious coding attached to their stacks to ensure that they aren’t resleeved after death. Kristin’s father/ Alazne’s husband died and wasn’t brought back, even though he might have been able to identify his murderer. Kristin has had her religious coding removed for this reason, among others. Alazne worries for Kristin’s soul and doesn’t know what to say about the rest. They discuss it a while, but neither is able to make progress with the other.

As they are finishing dinner, Kristen’s police tracker goes off again, telling her that Kovacs is in Licktown, the busy, decadent part of town that he keeps ending up in. She takes off to follow Kovacs, while Alazne is concerned that Kristen isn’t supposed to have a tracker at home with her.

Kovacs is wandering through Licktown searching for answers to Lizzie’s traumatic memories. He finds the spot she was lying in front of, a brothel called Jack It Off. There are rats on the ground around the storefront, where Lizzie was in her trauma loop. Maddy the AI asked Poe if rats had eaten the corpses in the hotel after the shoot out. Are the rats in front of Jack It Off cleaning up blood and human remains?

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Kovacs enters Jack It Off, is told by the bouncer that he needs to leave his gun up front, then assigned to Cabin 102 for his personalized experience. He enters the booth and sits down. A mostly naked woman dances behind a frosted glass wall, encouraging her viewer to put credits in the slot so that she can come out into the room, and then so that he can touch her. Kovacs pays up so that he can interview her face to face.

He begins to question the woman, who says she’s named Anemone, about Lizzie Elliot, but she assumes he’s from the police and threatens to scream. He changes tactics and tells her that he’s Lizzie’s mother Ava, cross-sleeved in a man’s body for a particular job. Anemone knows that Ava’s in prison, so Kovacs explains that someone took “Ava” off ice and gave her a job doing “wetwork” (assassination). If she does it, she’ll get a new sleeve for herself and for Lizzie, but someone’s blocking Lizzie’s resleeving. That’s why she’s trying to figure out who killed Lizzie.

Anemone is taken aback. Her own mother would never do anything like that for her. Ava/Tak says, “I’d do anything for my little girl.” He asks if Lizzie had any regulars, especially any who were freaks. She gently tells Lizzie’s mother that everyone there is a freak. Lizzie had one regular, a Meth. She was his favorite, but he took care of his girls. Anemone touches her neck, which is covered by a heavy choker necklace. Kovacs questions what she means and carefully takes the necklace off. Her neck is covered with bruises from being strangled.

Anemone insists that Lizzie’s regular didn’t give her these bruises. And anyway, he’s one of the good ones. If he accidentally kills a girl, he buys her a new, upgraded sleeve. One time he bought a girl a sleeve that was ten years younger with great breasts.

Of course, since he’s a fabulously wealthy Meth and he’s compensating them for murder, he could set them up with better lifestyles, in whatever version of middle class exists in that world. Instead he makes it easier for them to find success as hookers. Great guy.

Oh yeah, we’re also having another conversation with a fully clothed man and a nearly naked woman.

Anemone tells Kovacs that she didn’t know Lizzie well, but promises to ask around about her. He should come back tomorrow to see if she finds out anything else. As she’s leaving, Kovacs tells her, “Doesn’t matter what anyone pays you. You shouldn’t let anyone hurt you. You’re worth more than that.” She hugs him and confesses that her name’s not Anemone, it’s Alice. They leave the booth separately.

When Tak leaves the building, Vernon’s waiting for him, angry that Tak is still investigating his daughter. Before they can talk much, two thugs join the party. One, with a cyborg apparatus on his spine, tells Kovacs that he shouldn’t have come back, then jumps him. So, the sleeve was probably a local guy, is what I’m getting here.

Alley fight ensues. Tak beats cyborg guy when he knocks out the guy’s power pack, which is attached to his belt. I think Vernon’s opponent took off when the flying Bay City Police car showed up, but I couldn’t tell. Kovacs tells Vernon to take off, too, so that he doesn’t get arrested. Obviously it’s Kovacs police stalker, Ortega, who’s in the police car. She tells him he’s under arrest for organic damage and puts him in a cell at the station, but later admits she can’t charge him with anything.

Ortega: Tell me something, Kovacs. You’re getting to know Bancroft. Why are you still willing to work for that pice of sh*t?

Kovacs: Before I was an Envoy, I worked for the Protectorate. For a long time.

Ortega: I didn’t know that.

Kovacs: No one does. It’s not the kind of work that gets logged into any system anywhere. And I was good at it. You want to know why? Because I’m capable of almost anything.

Ortega: You don’t think it’s possible to go so far you can’t come back?

Kovacs: Maybe. When I get there, I’ll let you know.

Ortega: When you get there, I’ll be right next to you, and I’ll stop you.

Kovacs: Somehow Ortega, I get the feeling you can’t even stop yourself.

By the end of this intense flirtation, their faces are very close, with just a pane of safety glass between them.

Ortega and Kovacs are interrupted by Prescott bailing Kovacs out. Prescott tells Ortega that she’s gone too far, this time.

Ortega thinks about the murdered woman’s missing body. She waits until no one is in the morgue, then opens up a supposedly empty drawer, Cold Chamber #7. Inside is the missing corpse. She looks at the body and says, “You should know, your mother loves you.”

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Kovacs returns to the Raven, where Poe greets him wearing a fedora. He tells Kovacs that he’s been watching old detective movies and now feels that’s he’s educated himself enough to become Kovacs’ sidekick. He notes that the sidekick usually ends up dead, though that seems unlikely since he’s an AI (his words).

Uhoh. Foreshadowing alert. I love Poe and the Raven. I want Kovacs to live there forever. Well, if there’s one thing that can, and should, definitely be backed up, it’s a computer program. Also, they’re portable. He can needlecast himself anywhere Kovacs goes.

Poe gives Kovacs the bad news that there’s someone in his room again, because of course there is. Poe legitimately couldn’t stop this one though, because it’s our resident femme fatale, Miriam Bancroft. She’s placed herself all artfully on the balcony, then moves to the balcony door.

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Look at the layers and shadows, the grids and bars, falling between our hero and the femme fatale. She’s meant to look like she’s outside, in the open and with nothing to hide, but she’s carefully controlled the view and this meeting to expose only what she’s allowing to be seen, and to put the hero in her thrall.

Kovacs: Why are you here?

Miriam: I want to know what progress you’ve made. I’m worried about my husband.

Kovacs: Your husband who pays to beat up whores in Licktown.

Miriam: It’s a complicated thing, being with someone over a century. I’ve given Laurens 21 children. He’s never had a child with anyone but me. Sometimes complexity can be exhausting… You fascinate me. You come from a time of real bravery, real risk. You’re everything this world has lost.

Kovacs: You twirl your fingers when you’re nervous, you know that?

Miriam: Why would I be nervous?

Kovacs: Could be fear.

Miriam: If I were afraid, would you save me Mr Kovacs?

Kovacs: I’m not sure you need saving.

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Miriam puts down her glass and moves closer to him. She asks if he’s been with anyone since he’s been decanted as she takes his Matrix coat off. He tells her that’s enough. She tells him that she’s a Meth, the word “enough” doesn’t apply, as she continues to undress him, slowly. Then she asks if he’s heard of Empathin, or Merge9 on the street, when you can get it. “It puts bodies in touch with one another. This sleeve is state-of-the-art biochemtech from Nakamura Labs. I secrete Merge9 when I’m aroused.”

Suffice it to say that the Merge9 mixes with her bodily fluids, wherever bodily fluids are made. The Meths must change their sleeves like other people change their clothes, if she has a dedicated sex sleeve.

They’re both naked by now, and she’s been breathing her sex pollen all over him as she’s been talking in his face. Next she kisses him and rubs it in. She’s not a nice girl or a hooker that he’d feel bad about using or exploiting, she’s real and not virtual, and she’s there offering. He’s in a desperate sleeve. He gives in to the inevitable and spends the night having sex with her all over the room.

Ortega goes to confession, which acts partially as a voiceover for the sex: “Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I’ve had lustful thoughts,. I’ve done terrible things. Violent things, unforgivable things. I’ve abused my authority for selfish reasons. Caused pain and heartbreak when I had no right. Please forgive me.”

As she confesses, we also see Laurens contemplating his bloody wall; a morgue attendant finding the missing body, lying on the table in the middle of the room, wearing a toe tag we can now see says Mary Lou Henchy; the place in Mary Lou’s neck where her missing stack should be, and the stack in Ortega’s hand as she leaves the confessional booth.

Kovacs: “The moments of peace that we find sometimes, they aren’t anything more than warfare, thinly disguised. And sometimes surrender can be as savage as any attack.”

There is a bug in Kovacs’ room, a small drone disguised as a literal bug. It’s watching everything they do. This man ↓, who’s been lurking in the shadows throughout the episode, watches the camera feed.

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Why on earth was Ortega hiding that body? Was she suspicious that there’s a new serial killer and trying to keep the victims bodies for as long as possible, in case new similarities were noticed that she wanted to check for?

So many mother-daughter references this episode, and so few father-son references. I hardly know what to do with that. It’s always, always meaningful to have the mother-daughter bond explored, whether it’s in a throwaway line or an entire series.

Of course most of the mothers weren’t physically there, and only one mother-daughter pair were physically together. Kristin’s mother was there, but they have a difficult relationship. Mrs Henchy was there, but she hadn’t seen her daughter in years, and now she’s dead. Miriam was, but we’ve only met one of her 21 children, and she didn’t get along with Isaac. Ava was in a photo and being faked by Tak. Alice referred to her mother. The little girl in the museum also told us about her mother, but we didn’t see her.

The message is that once you absorb your mother’s wisdom, it’s better if she’s not physically present. Two women will either become competition for each other for the attentions of the same man, or one will try to dominate and control the other.

I’ve been laughing inside for hours that they made Miriam able to literally cast a spell over the poor men she seduces. Except, she’s a Meth, so they have no recourse for justice and revenge after she rapes or sorta rapes them by using her bodily fluids as roofies. It’s not “real rape” right?

She will undoubtedly be one of the villains, since Lizzie was sleeping with her husband and going around saying Laurens needed her. Mary Lou Henchy is for sure going to be connected to Jack It Off and Laurens as well. Wonder if Miriam kills anybody Laurens gets too attached to. She was awfully proud of the fact that she’d given him 21 children and no one else had given him any.

The hilarious thing about Poe constantly invading Kovacs’ room is that Poe is just the avatar for the AI that is the entire hotel. He can always watch Kovacs in his room, always. Can AI’s be gay? Does he have a thing for the sleeve or is he attracted to Kovacs’ mind? I guess this is the stalker behavior everyone warned Kovacs about.

When Tak goes through Psychasec security, it appears that they pull up face shots of all of his previously registered sleeves. He had five in between the two we’ve seen already, including one female.

AC102TaksSleeves

It sounds like Laurens did act significantly different during the last day before he was murdered. He feels like he’s looking at a stranger, the Osaka deal doesn’t seem like something he could have accomplished, his business associates said that he acted differently (Prescott tried to pass that off, but a positive difference is still a difference), then he most likely shot himself when it’s something he’d normally never consider. No one was willing to say how typical it was for him to stay out all night, especially after an overseas trip. If someone else wasn’t borrowing one of his clones, he could have been drugged or in a manic phase.

Also important: “And at its heart, violence is almost always, in one way or another, personal.” Lizzie, Miss Henchy, and Laurens will all have been killed for very personal, specific reasons. Possibly to get to someone else, but it will be personal in some way.

I have a feeling that the voice of Quell might always be right. She was probably annoying and perfect like that. 😍 She’s now the voice of Tak’s Envoy Intuition.

Hiro Kanagawa, who plays Captain Tanaka, is another actor who gets around. Unlike Dichen Lachman and Tahmoh Penikett, who can go either way, things always go badly when he shows up. His presence tends to foretell doom and destruction. 😱

The little girl’s story of betrayal and possessiveness is foreshadowing. Between the Henchy murder, the Lizzie organic damage, and the Bancroft shooting, at least one of them will come back to territorialism and betrayal.

The little girl’s mom’s advice was probably what Quell would say, but Tak isn’t in a place where he wants to hear her words right now. He’s reliving her loss all over again, and needs to find his own philosophy to live by, even if it’s dark and destructive for a while.

I’ve been wondering about something: Just who was Tak’s partner in crime before they were killed the last time? She didn’t seem to know him well, but temporary amnesia is a potential side effect of resleeving. That means it could have been Rei or Quell, or anyone, really, since we’ve seen cross-sleeving now (in Tak’s Psychasec security ID panel). He reacted too strongly for her to have been a recent acquaintance. Part of his self-loathing is his failure to protect that person, whoever it was.

We saw Jaeger shoot Tak’s partner in the neck/head area, but we didn’t see precisely where, or a destroyed stack. We saw the woman cleaning bone fragments out of viable stacks in the same sequence. So, stacks can survive even when severe damage is done close by within the body, as long as the weapon or injury is precise and the stack itself isn’t damaged. If Jaeger made that shot into her brain or spine, just above or below the stack, from Tak’s angle it would look like a direct hit, but the stack would survive to be interrogated, tortured, imprisoned, sold, whatever.

And, of course, she could have been backed up, possibly without her knowledge, since we don’t know how that works yet. Any sleeve can also have back up clones, also with or without the current user’s knowledge, since presumably all that’s needed is a bit of DNA. Like the DNA trace that Kovacs gave his very thorough, very possessive hotel. But imagine what Quell’s memories would be worth on the Black Market, or her clones. Or those of the last Envoy, for that matter.

Jaeger’s shot at Tak’s partner is carefully filmed. During the shower scene ↓ we see a close up of her insertion scar about a third of the way up from the bony knob at the base of her neck.

AC101Partner'sStackScar

Jaeger moves very quickly when he decides to shoot her ↓, and the camera angles don’t show us the whole picture of what’s happening. It’s hard to tell the angle he’s aiming at when we see so little of her. This is still just a threat, anyway.

AC101JaegerTakingAim

Now Jaeger is actually about to fire ↓, but the camera has switched focus. Now we see the woman’s head, but only the tip of the gun. It’s not enough to judge angle, and her hair is place such that it’s hard to tell where the gun is placed on her lower skull/neck. But if you look carefully, you can see that the end of the gun is even with her ear, and above the curve of the base of her skull where it becomes her neck. It’s probably a minimum of 4 and more like 6 inches away from the stack.

AC101PartnerShotbyJaeger

You can see even better in this screencap ↓ that the gun is pointing along a line that goes through her ear and nose, well above her neck. It’s angled slightly so that the energy blast will come out under her chin and look like it went through the back of her neck to someone watching from the front/side and below.

AC101PartnerShotwithEnergyBlast
Oops, I got so excited that I managed to pause at the exact right microsecond that I screencapped too quickly! 😜

A couple more museum shots.

AC102ExterminationoftheEnvoysDisplayAC102BetterShotofQuell

Some other looks at Tak’s previous sleeves:

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Photo Credit: Netflix

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