Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 3: In a Lonely Place Recap

AC103Kovacs

Laurens: “In this world, the only real choice is between being the purchaser and the purchased.”

Kovacs: “We stick together, Rei. Never face the monsters alone.”

In this episode, Laurens invites Tak to a dinner party attended by all of Lauren’s closest friends enemies. Both spend the evening evaluating and testing people, though Tak is trying to assess how likely each is to be a murder candidate, while Laurens is assessing how likely they are to challenge his dominance or resist his authority. Laurens makes a point of publicly humiliating Tak, to remind Tak that he’s owned, because Laurens owns almost everything. Laurens also goes out of his way to humiliate Ortega, and to remind his wife that she belongs to him. He’s very possessive and territorial, and this hour drives it home.

Tak, on the other hand, begins assembling his own team in earnest, doing favors and making deals. Poe and Vernon are his first two prospective team members. He brings in another guest for Poe, Lizzie Elliot. Her virtual psychosurgery requires a large amount of Poe’s time and attention, just the thing for a lonely AI. That frees up Vernon to act as Tak’s back up at the party, once they’ve visited the friendly neighborhood arms dealer. Vernon gets to investigate Bancroft connection to Lizzie’s attack while he’s there, and Tak doesn’t have to face the monsters alone.

AC105Harlan'sWorld

This episode’s flashback takes us back to Tak’s childhood on Harlan’s World, the world with two moons we’ve seen before. He and Rei sit in the dark and read tell each other a story so familiar that they know it by heart, about Mad Mykola, a miller with two children who he abuses. Rei wonders where the mother is, but Tak says there are never mothers in these stories. When the children faint from the exhaustion of doing all of the work, the miller throws them into the mill. Mad Mykola steals more children from the village, cuts them to pieces, and sews them together again into one giant person, the Patchwork Man.  The Patchwork Man turns on the miller and rips him to pieces, then goes out to wander the world. But he’s continuously falling apart, so he’s always looking for more children to kill and make a part of him.

AC103PatchworkMan

As the story ends, Tak’s parents come into view, arguing. His Slavic father is telling his Japanese mother that she shouldn’t complain so much, now that they live on a new world. Their father looks a lot like the mad miller. Their mother tries to backtrack and apologize for her complaints, but it’s too late. Their father slaps and beats her in the background, as Tak tells his sister, “We stick together, Rei. Never face the monsters alone.”

AC103Rei&Tak

We switch to current day Tak in the shower, because the man has a thing about spending too much time in clothes, okay? His skin needs to breathe.

But, seriously. This is one of the rare times that we see current Tak reveal his true, vulnerable self. His expression is complicated, with both memories and thoughts of his current dilemma swirling around. His deep depression and fierce determination also lurk in the background. Joel Kinnaman does incredible, subtle things with his facial expressions.

He gets out of the shower and dries off, being careful not to look directly into the mirror until the very end, when he slowly slides his eyes up to look at his face. This face is not just a stranger’s face, but a face that reminds him of his father’s hated face rather than his sister and mother. It haunts him to see Mad Mykola staring back at him with his own eyes.

As Tak is getting dressed, Poe brings him an invitation to a dinner party that Laurens is holding that night. Poe also informs him that the hotel was hacked the night before, and a spy drone got footage of Tak and Miriam having sex. At that moment, Laurens calls to ask why Tak hasn’t responded to his invitation. Tak half-heartedly tries to get out of attending, but of course this is a working party. Laurens has invited everyone he knows who might want to kill him. Tak will have a chance to observe and talk to all of them.

Tak decides that he needs a wingman for this job. Poe can’t take the job, since, as an avatar, he can’t leave the hotel. He can go anywhere in cyberspace though, a very useful skill. Tak asks Poe to become qualified in psychosurgery to help a friend- not Tak himself.

Ortega is tapped to monitor the fight which will be the entertainment at Laurens’ party. She’s angry, because it would normally be done by a beat cop, not a detective. Laurens requested her specifically to harass her again. Captain Tanaka tells her to suck it up for the night and kiss the ring.

Tak pays a visit to Vernon, disarming him and offering a trade. He’ll pay for psychosurgery for Lizzie if Vernon will be his wingman at the party tonight. Vernon is skeptical, but agrees.

 

They bring Lizzie’s stack to the Raven, where Poe appears and introduces himself as Tak’s partner colleague the proprietor of the hotel the hotel itself. Poe has a VR suite ready for Lizzie, but Vernon won’t be able to talk to her at all during her treatment. Vernon says that he understands that sometimes you have to get burned to pull someone out of the fire, and consents to the procedure, putting Lizzie’s stack in Poe’s hands. Then he promises to destroy Poe if anything happens to Lizzie.

Ortega goes over Laurens’ guest list. Many of the attendee’s are potential suspects in Mary Lou Henchy’s death. She asks Aboud to help her by scanning the cars at the party, while she interviews suspects.

AC103KovacsVernon

Tak and Vernon visit the neighborhood arm dealer, Flake, who also sells candy to children from a street cart and wears furry pants. He shows them his top of the line weapons. Tak gets an Ingram 40 flechette gun prototype from CTAC R&D. It uses flanged armor-piercing rounds, has a ten round clip, with homing tech onboard. He shoots a flechette into the wall, then has the machine call it home. When you reverse the field generator, the plasma homes through a plasma chamber, and autoloads right into the mag.

Flake notices the weapon Tak’s carrying, and recognizes it immediately as a modified second series Nemex. Tak declines to be specific about where he acquired it. (From Dimi the Twin, as far as I can tell.)

AC103Vernon&ArmsDealer

They look at knives next. Both Tak and Vernon go for Tebbet knives- twinsies 👬- with a tantallum steel alloy blade, flint in the pommel for weighting, and runnel (or blood groove) coated with Reaper/betathanatine, a bioweapon scientists created to study near death experiences. The deeper you stab, the bigger the dose. Vernon adds on a Sunjet 2320 classic firearm.

The Sunjet 2320 sends Tak into a memory of using one during his Envoy training with Quell. They use a combination of martial arts moves and their weapons as she lectures the Envoys.

Quell: “You must learn the weakness of weapons. This sleeve is a tool. It does not control me. I control it. The true strength of the wolf isn’t fangs, speed and skill. It’s the pack. Whatever world you needlecast into, build a pack. Find ways to inspire loyalty in a few capable locals, even if many of them will ultimately be expendable. We are Envoys. And we take what is offered.”

 

 

Back at the Raven, Poe is making progress with Lizzie’s treatment. He’s slowly converting her spot on the street in front of Jack It Off into a bedroom, with a warm pink glow. Tak says the pink is Poe’s idea of non-threatening, while Vernon thinks it looks like the inside of someone’s stomach. Vernon is watching the process on an old TV from the 1950s.

Lizzie moves from lying on the street, surrounded by rats, to sitting on a bed. She never lets go of her baby doll. The camera makes sure we get a good look at it. When Poe turns on a small bedside lamp, Lizzie grabs his arm. He kneels in front of her, and tells her that he’s there for her. She says, “They took Mommy away because she stole stars from the sky. They ripped her soul out through her eyes and froze it. Now she just spins around and around, a dancer in the frost. She has icicles in her hair.”

Poe is mesmerized. He responds: “I will let nothing harm you in this place.”

Let’s hope some of that is metaphorical. Some of it likely means there’s more to Mama Elliot’s imprisonment than we’ve been told. I wonder if Lizzie’s words meant something in particular to Poe.

After that the TV feed dies.

AC103HotelPinkRaven

Now that Lizzie’s settled in, it’s time for Laurens’ party. Tak reminds Vernon that he’s invited so that he can watch Tak’s back, not to go after Laurens. Vernon solemnly swears to fulfill his duties as Envoy wingman.

Speaking of pink, Tak packs his weapon in his favorite pink backpack, but has to leave both at the coatcheck. Vernon is acting as a server for the evening. The Meths are all wearing white, pale silver, or pale champagne. Tak is in black, as are the staff. Kristin wears a bit of color, making her stand out as the most vibrantly alive person in the place, and someone who doesn’t care about the Meth’s unwritten rules.

Miriam approaches Tak, and comments on his unusual fashion choice. She wonders what he brought for his unique item, but no one told him that they were each supposed to bring an item for Show and Tell. The reason why will become obvious later.

Tak tells her that there was a spybot watching them last night. She looks mildly surprised, then mildly uncomfortable. Laurens joins them to ask Tak to meet him in his study to discuss business.

Ortega uses her com connection to Aboud, who’s back at the station, to get him started on checking the party guests’ cars. Then she goes to the fight arena to check the credentials of the evening’s entertainment- a married couple who fight to the sleeve death in zero G. Their winnings include new sleeves, which they wear home to their 5 and 7 year old kids.

Tak follows Kristin to the arena and joins the conversation. When the couple say that their kids are used to Mommy and Daddy coming home in new sleeves, Kristin and Tak agree that the kids actually aren’t.

When they get back down to the party, Kristin asks Tak why he’s there, when there’s no case. He informs her that someone bugged his room last night. Since he was with Miriam Bancroft, it seems like something’s going on. Kristin is angry with him for sleeping with a suspect, but Tak reminds her that there are no suspects if there’s no case. She walks away in a huff.

AC103Kovacs&OrtegaSunrise

Tak goes upstairs to meet with Laurens. As they stand on a balcony overlooking the party, Laurens says that he’s been thinking about who the most likely suspects are. Tak replies that he thought maybe Laurens was going to talk about his habit of renting biocabins and brutally beating women. Laurens didn’t think it was important, since he’s careful to never injure anyone to the point of real death, unlike Tak, whether it’s his sexual exploits, knife fighting, or gambling.

It doesn’t occur to Laurens that people who are still alive can grow resentful and want revenge. Or that sometimes it’s kill or be killed, and you can’t always pay someone else to fight for you.

Laurens’ son Isaac causes a disturbance. Tak wonders whether Isaac should be a suspect. Laurens scoffs at the idea. He thinks Isaac is too weak to get up the nerve to pull off a murder. Tak notes that by staying alive for centuries, Laurens has disturbed the natural order of things. Isaac has never gotten to grow up completely and inherit the kingdom. Laurens thinks that’s a ridiculous point of view.

Laurens tells Tak that he could have all of his lost comrades and loves back if he lived in this time period. No one has to die. Tak insists that it’s up to God to decide who lives or dies. Laurens declares God dead, and himself and the others like him the new gods. Tak wonders why they need him then. Laurens says that all Gods have minions.

He sends Tak back to the party to use his Envoy Intuition. I think Laurens actually very much enjoys their little chats. He probably hasn’t had anyone stand up to him this way in centuries. At least not someone who he valued enough to hold back on squashing them like a bug.

Tak works his way through questioning the guests. None of them care that Laurens was shot, but they do care that it could happen to them. The guests are appalled that someone got to a Meth so easily, and covered their tracks so well.

AC103KristinatParty

Kristin sees the Asian man who was watching the drone’s footage and asks Aboud to ID him. But there’s no one on the feed Kristin is sending Aboud.

Tak sees Miriam slip upstairs and behind a secret panel. He’s suspicious, so he follows her. He discovers “Miriam” having sex with Curtis, part of the security staff. Curtis leaves the room so they can talk privately.

Tak has figured out that someone else is wearing Miriam’s sleeve. It turns out to be Naomi, the 67 year old, 12th daughter, who’s taking Mom’s state of the art sleeve out for a joyride. Tak wonder’s if Naomi could have removed the particle blaster from the safe to shoot Laurens, but she explains that if Laurens dies, the rest of the family gets nothing. They’d be penniless.

Tak returns to the party and finds Isaac telling racist jokes to his father’s Japanese business associates. Tak apologizes for Isaac’s behavior in Japanese, and drags Isaac into the next room, where he slams him against the wall. He begins to question Isaac, asking how drunk you have to get to go Oedipal on your father. Isaac responds seriously, looking completely sober. He says he’s not stupid. He knows they’re all backed up.

That wasn’t a denial.

AC103Prescott&Clarissa

Prescott and a friend rush in to stop Tak’s interrogation. They quickly send Isaac away. Whatever the cover up is, Prescott is one of the chief people making sure no one ever discovers it. Isaac slips his spoiled, drunk rich boy persona back on as he leaves.

Prescott’s companion, who introduces herself as Clarissa Severin, dealer in art and antiquities, tells Tak that she expected more from him than pushing Isaac around. Maybe she was wrong about him when she brought him to Laurens’ attention. Laurens has been obsessed with Quell for forever. Clarissa received a hefty finder’s fee for Tak.

Tak gets that look on his face again, like he literally wants to jump out of this sleeve. He’s been turned into a commodity once again by these people. Did he fall under art or antiquities, I wonder? He needs to find a way to buy his own sleeve, as quickly as possible, much as I’m in love with Joel Kinnaman. Tak needs to make sure he doesn’t owe anyone, anything, most especially the Meths and their toxic culture of hanger ons.

After Clarissa leaves, Prescott reiterates that Tak needs to behave and not make waves. He’s just there as a useless novelty. She won’t allow him to get in the way of her plan to become a Meth.

So, whatever’s going on, she’s not just covering it up, she’s in on it, in exchange for a rise in status. If she’s not murdered first, to keep her from talking or using the plot for blackmail material.

AC103Prescott

It’s time for Show and Tell. Isaac’s up first, with a dessicated human hand he claims belonged to Konrad Harlan, founder of Harlan’s World. He has the hand give the finger to the crowd as a message, undoubtedly meant for Tak or Laurens or both.

Clarissa has a 6 foot long snake around her neck that she says is the sleeve for a rapist and murderer named Janus. Putting a human into an animal is illegal, but Clarissa thinks the laws don’t apply to people like them. Janus was about to be erased when she convinced him to come with her, but she didn’t tell him the details about his new sleeve. She put him back into a human once, but he just writhed on the floor, so he remains a snake.

Laurens is last, bragging that he has the most unique object of all, something no one but he owns. He introduces the last Envoy, Takeshi Kovacs. Tak looks uncomfortable, while everyone applauds. Laurens sends the crowds into the arena for the next round of entertainment.

Vernon slips down into the control room to offer the security guard stationed there a drink. As the guard drinks, Vernon pokes the man’s shoulder with the tip of his knife so that he gets a tiny dose of Reaper. The guard falls unconscious, with Vernon giving him post-drug use care instructions as he’s going under, like any good assailant. Vernon taps into the Sun House records and downloads the surveillance files for the night of Lizzie’s attack.

Laurens walks by Tak on his way to the arena. Tak says, “I thought you didn’t want to own me.” Laurens replies, “In this world, the only real choice is between being the purchaser and the purchased.” Then he keeps walking.

Laurens introduces the fighters, saying, “Tonight, combat to sleeve death, between a married couple who love each other.”

So, maybe he knows something about Tak’s childhood. Plus he gets the two-fer of threatening Miriam. If that’s the real Miriam now? I’m not clear on if it’s been her most of the time, or not at all. If anyone has figured it out, let me know. I think it was Naomi who said hello in the beginning of the party, but it’s the real Miriam now.

“Miriam” feels the show is in poor taste, But Laurens feels that no one’s forcing them. Ah, yes, the rapist’s excuse. It was only sorta coerced. There was no gun to their heads, just starving children to feed. They could be doing some of those other, nonexistent, jobs. Just like I’m sure Laurens would let Miriam or his children leave him.

AC105ZeroGravFight

The couple beat each other brutally, falling out of zero-G and fighting inches away from Tak. That was, of course, Laurens’ plan all along. Tak finally can’t stand it and reaches out a hand to stop the husband from punching his wife in the face repeatedly. Laurens quickly calls out that he’ll upgrade them both if they can take out the Envoy.

As soon as Tak enters the arena, Kristin insists that the fight be stopped. The man at the control panel says the fight sequence is locked. Laurens says it was an unfortunate accident that he didn’t turn in paperwork on the Envoy. But after all, Tak is legally his property.

The fight is graphic and bloody. It’s tense and exciting, since it’s in zero-G and two on one. After a few minutes, Laurens throws a ninja star in, saying that should make it more interesting. The wife catches it and uses it to slice down Tak’s back. Painful, but no finesse.

Tak calls Vernon on his com, but Vernon is still in the control room downloading files, and doesn’t know what’s happening. He hangs up on Tak. So much for back up. When he finishes, he rushes up to the arena and pulls out Tak’s gun. Kristin sees him and grabs it. She shoots out the control panel, disabling the zero-G and sending all three fighters crashing to the ground.

Kristin: “Gun just went off. One of those unfortunate accidents.”

Laurens just stares at her. I love her so much.

The husband’s leg breaks badly when he hits the ground. His wife loudly complains that his sleeve is ruined. Tak tells her that they fought an Envoy and lived, they should be happy. She tells him that, since no one died, they don’t get paid. She can’t afford to fix her husband’s injuries. Tak throws the ninja star into the husband’s heart, killing him, and says that the couple can have his winnings, including upgraded sleeves for both. Unless Laurens is going back on his word? Laurens says he’ll pay. “It’s only fair.”

Laurens and Miriam watched that entire exchange avidly, like it was the most interesting part of the show. A real person, with real concerns, and an honorable man who fought and died to protect freedom from being bought and sold, having a conversation about how the wife would take care of her husband and feed her children. Laurens and Miriam were like some kind of vampires. Nothing truly makes them feel anything any more, so they have to force out feelings in others, then feed off of them. Or sets up tests, to see how long it takes to corrupt good people, or to break them. Anyone caring about anything beyond themselves and money is fascinating to them.

Tak finds Laurens a little later. Laurens wants to be clear with Tak. He’s to stay away from Miriam. Tak assumes that Laurens was the one who spied on them the night before, but Laurens seems surprised by the accusation. He says he doesn’t need to spy on her.

Laurens: When you’ve been married to the same woman for over 100 years, you know what she does, and you know what she can’t help doing.

Tak: Why do you care what your wife does in her spare time, considering what you’re doing in yours?

Laurens: Your limited life experience can’t possibly encompass what it is to love another person for over 100 years. You achieve something close to veneration. How does one match such respect with the basest desires of the flesh?

Tak: So you love your wife too much to f*ck her?

Laurens: I certainly love my wife too much to let you f*ck her. Now, do you have anything to report on your investigations tonight?

Tak: No. Great party, though. Thanks.

Sometimes, I’d like to join the plot to get rid of Laurens. Also, we still don’t know who sent the spy drone.

AC105AeriumatNight

Tak, Vernon, and Kristin meet up outside. They agree that the way the Meths live disgusts them. Kristin and Vernon introduce themselves to each other. Kristin returns Tak’s gun and tells him to stay out of trouble for a while. Tak gives Vernon a hard time for being terrible back up, then goes on to his next meet up. Vernon asks if Tak needs back up. Everybody gives Vernon a look. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

Tak goes to Jack It Off to see if Alice has anything new for “Ava”. Alice stumbles out from behind her screen, covered in bruises. She grabs Tak’s shoulders and tells him they made her do it. He asks her what’s wrong, and what they made her do, just as she injects him with a giant syringe. He slowly drops, spectacularly shattering the glass screen as he falls through it. Tak hangs onto his backpack for dear life, but slips off his Oni before he loses consciousness.

The security goon with the spinal apparatus comes into the room with another man, saying he knew she’d do it. Then he slits Alice’s throat, and let’s her drop to lie on something furry next to Tak as rivulets of blood run down her neck. Can’t have violence done to Tak if there isn’t violence done to a mostly naked woman as well.

Vera Hall’s Death Have Mercy plays over the scene.

 

Tak wakes up strapped to a gurney, being wheeled into a lab facility. A woman behind a desk asks how long he’s going to take. A Russian accent answers, “As long as we need. He’s waking up. Dose him.” A technician injects something into Tak’s neck.

Tak remembers telling his little sister, “We stick together, Rei. Never face the monsters alone.”

Has he been taken by another Mad Mykola?


 

Laurens is incredibly condescending to Tak throughout the episode, as he assumes he’s so much older than Tak. Does Laurens, or anyone alive other than Tak, know his age? His history before he became an Envoy doesn’t seem to be common knowledge. Tak could be only 100, or he could be the human who’s been awake the longest. Either way, Laurens was purposely insulting during most of those speeches, when he talked about long term love and what not. It seems like Tak’s relationship with Quell wasn’t public knowledge, which is just as well, because it would be used against him now.

Laurens is a master at controlling people and keeping them in their places. I don’t think he even completely realizes he’s doing it anymore, in the moment, it’s such an ingrained habit. He certainly doesn’t see why it might breed murderous levels of resentment, even though he thinks of himself as a god. He really should read more Greek mythology. Or the history of any royal dynasty. Or just some Shakespeare.

Tak is visibly more comfortable in this body than he was in episode 1, especially as far as his physical use of the body, but he still has a hard time looking in mirrors. This is a great way for the show to continue to illustrate the cognitive dissonance that he has from being in a white man’s body. It brings out Tak’s inner thoughts about the sleeve that are represented in the book, but harder to show overtly onscreen.

AC105Takeshi

His morning routine is used to show us how alone and lost he really feels in this alien future world. Every shower can be compared to the first shower of the series, which he shared with a female partner. Once he’s dressed and facing the world, his Envoy armor mostly covers that up. But the one thing that young Tak wanted from life was to never face the monsters alone.

The Mad Mykola story and surrounding scene explains Tak’s psychology, and the cultural psychology of stacks and sleeves. The regular people are worked to death to provide for a few wealthy people. The Meths are at the top of the heap, and they take not just the products of labor, but the children themselves- the young people’s bodies- and use them as new sleeves. The desire for sleeves is never-ending, meaning your life and your body aren’t really your own. If a wealthy person wants your sleeve, they’ll find a way to take it.

Like all fairytale mothers, Tak’s mother might as well not be there physically, because she’s unable to protect her children. Tak still feels safer with women than men, and prefers to work with a female partner.  He carries that pink backpack for a reason- it’s a symbol of the women he’s lost and couldn’t protect. It also reminds him of the qualities he doesn’t want to lose in himself. He easily recognizes how Poe is using pink during psychosurgery, while Vernon rejects its softness.

AC103JackRevisited

Pink codes female in this show. Not in a pejorative way, just as part of the show’s visual language. It’s frequently used for prostitution in particular in its various forms, but Poe rewrites it into symbolizing other traditionally female traits- safety, warmth, nurturing, protection. It stimulates Lizzie to speak for the first time, and the message is about her lost mother, who’s been frozen.

Lizzie says her mother stole stars from the sky. Stars actually belong to everyone and can’t be stolen. That suggests she found out something someone didn’t want her to see. Or she hacked something that particularly angered the Meths, the obvious metaphor for stars in the sky. She probably caught a Meth stealing. They ripped her soul out through her eyes, the traditional windows to the soul. So they interrogated  and tortured her. She’s spinning around and around- she’s caught in a trauma loop, like Lizzie, spinning but never spun up. Now she’s a dancer in the frost, with icicles in her hair- put on ice, like Tak was for 250 years, but apparently not completely asleep the way he was.

Was Ava taken as part of the attack on Lizzie? Are they connected? Did Bancroft tell Lizzie details about what happened to Ava, and what she was accused of? Was she framed/used?

All of these perfect sleeves have to come from somewhere. Imprisoning anyone who has a body a Meth wants seems like one good solution. Where do the fighters’ replacement sleeves come from, if clones are so expensive? The sleeve business and the rise of the Meths have turned everyone into a commodity to be bought, sold, used, displayed, and discarded, all at the discretion of their owner.

Even violent domestic abuse like Tak grew up with could be written off. Just compensate the victims with a new sleeve, the same way Laurens compensates the women he legally kills. They’ve convinced themselves that the violence, exploitation, and psychological damage don’t matter if it will all appear to be better by morning.

I believe, at this point, that we are seeing so many images of victimized women for this reason. (But I reserve the right to change my interpretation after I’ve watched more.) The Altered Carbon attitudes toward women don’t appear to be substantially different from our own. Women hold positions of political power, they work in everyday middle class fields, they own businesses and are respected professionals. They are wives and mothers.

They also are exploited sexually in every way possible, and the possibilities expand as technology develops. Society feels this is beneficial, because people who act out their urges under controlled “fake” circumstances supposedly won’t move on to commit real crimes.

The acts perpetrated on the women involved in the sex trade aren’t considered criminal, even though they might be if they happened in a private setting. Showing up for work is considered consent. But the sexual acts that started out as people living out their darkest fantasies have become normalized and fashionable. All women are expected to participate, and there’s major social pressure to consent.

A strictly classist society means that some women will have little choice but to end up working in the sex industry, meaning their “consent” is questionable. In an existential sense, and sometimes an actual physical sense, the consent of women can be questionable when having sex privately, since the expectation is so reinforced from birth that women will cooperate and make themselves available.

This is all celebrated by the culture, while the sexual violence that women in all walks of life experience is denied or seen as normal and fine. By showing us the victims of sexualized violence, over and over, and making them pretty, the showrunner is showing us what the future culture, and our own, does to women by oversexualizing them and making violence a normal part of sex. She’s showing us that this isn’t okay. Women can be traumatized and damaged beyond repair by this violence and abuse, but still look “pretty” to everyone else on the outside.

She gives us alternatives in Kristin and Quell, who aren’t oversexualized (so far) or prostitutes. They are people, not overly feminine or masculine, but still recognizably women. They do and fight for what they think is right. They are passionately alive, even though they’ve suffered. They have risen above their damage, and can’t be bought or sold by the people in power any longer.

That’s the true meaning of “We are Envoys, and we take what is offered.”

 

 

 

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