Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 6: Man with My Face Recap


In episode 6, Tak gets Kristin the treatment she needs for her wounds, and they continue their investigation, leading to a major confrontation with Dimi the Personality Fragged Twin. Vernon remembers how to be pretty good back up and a pretty good friend, though he’s an impatient dad. Lizzie makes some progress and reveals a new clue. Isaac is exonerated in the murder case, at least according to Tak’s Envoy intuition. We meet a new mysterious new character, Hemingway, and Tak’s sister Rei returns from the dead. Themes of family, protection and revenge run through the episode, culminating with Rei’s reveal.

The episode begins with a brief flash forward and a return of the Mad Mykola song. We see through Tak’s eyes, but his head is covered by a ragged black cloth. He looks down and sees his hands in cuffs and chains.

In the here and now, Tak and Kristin are being driven to the hospital, while Tak tries to keep Kristin alive. She’s bleeding profusely from her wounds. He keeps her talking so she doesn’t pass out. If her sleeve dies, he can put her in a new one, but her mother and the rest of her family, all devout Neo Cs, will never speak to her again.

When she asks him about Samir, he tells her that Aboud is fine. Then he asks her to tell him about Ryker. She says he had more open cases than anyone at the station. It drove her crazy.

At the hospital, Tak rushes Kristin into the emergency room. In a commentary on emergency rooms across America, the waiting room is full of people who’ve been waiting for hours, and will wait for hours more. The nurse at the desk speaks in a bored voice the entire time, until she sees Tak’s credit score. Before that, the nurse tells Tak to put Kristin’s hand on the scanner to see if she can pay for services. Since Kristin doesn’t have enough money for the kind of treatment she needs, she’ll have to wait until they get to her. They aren’t turning her away, not at all. They don’t turn anyone away. They can’t help it if she bleeds to death in the waiting room.

Tak spits on the scanner to get his DNA approved and to express his opinion. When the nurse sees his credit score, everything changes. Kristin is taken straight back into surgery, and offered the best of everything. Her shoulder is so badly damaged that her right arm will have to be amputated. The doctor recommends a new state of the art biomechanical synth arm.


Doctor: We offer a wide range of replacement models for someone with your considerable financial resources. These are our most popular options: biomech, gene-spliced, cloned or full mechanical. Personally I would recommend the Jager-Schuster model 16. Reinforced titanium mechanical substructure covered in a neurachem-enhanced cloned human skin. Seamless interface with the patient’s nervous and musculoskeletal systems. And the real selling point is that it’s completely natural looking. Truly the best of both worlds.


Tak agrees to the Jager-Schuster model 16, but also threatens the doctor with violence, should he offer to sell Tak one more thing. He punches out the pay screen. It leaves enough DNA for the payment to go through.


Appendage displays (click to enlarge):

Vernon is watching Poe work with Lizzie in the Psychosurgery VR suite. Poe is changing up the color scheme, since Vernon doesn’t like too much pink. It reminds him of Pepto-Bismal. Poe has added black and red.

Lizzie: I was in the black, and the monsters turned my insides to red.

She was unconscious, and someone hurt her in a way that made her bleed internally. On the plus side, the baby doll is gone, or at least not in view right now, and she’s talking more. Was the doll her child self, or was she pregnant and lost the baby along with the sleeve?


Poe explains that he has a treatment that might help her and offers to let her hit him. He doesn’t feel physical pain, so she can’t hurt him. Poe tells her, “It is not our enemies that defeat us, it is our fear. Do not be afraid, Miss Elizabeth. Make them afraid of you.”

Lizzie punches him and he flies across the room. He jumps up cheering, and she smiles. But Vernon isn’t okay with Poe teaching his little girl to fight. He puts on the VR cap and appears between Poe and Lizzie, threatening to hit Poe himself. Poe orders Vernon to leave.


Vernon ignores Poe and turns to speak to Lizzie.

Vernon: Ladybug. It’s me. I’m here.

Lizzie: I was in the forest, Daddy. It was dark and full of monsters. I couldn’t get out. WHERE WERE YOU?

Vernon (bewildered): I didn’t know!


Poe tosses Vernon out of VR.

Lizzie’s living in a fairy tale nightmare that has a lot in common with Mad Mykola. She’s been in the darkness, with no one to save her, attacked by monsters that turn children bloody. Her mother is gone and her father is ineffective. At least he’s not one of the monsters.

Then again, maybe he could be. He takes out his frustration with the situation on Poe, yelling angrily at Poe for taking him out of VR and teaching Lizzie to hit people. Poe explains that he’s teaching Lizzie to defend herself, because self-defense training, in conjunction with psychosurgery and trauma therapy, is very helpful for survivors.

Vernon angrily sweeps the glasses off the bar, then picks up one that he missed and drops it on the floor. He asks if Poe can feel pain, to which Poe replies that he can feel anger, and lowers his guns out of the ceiling.


Vernon continues egging Poe on, but Poe gets a call from the hospital informing him that Kristin has been admitted in critical condition. Vernon tells Poe that this isn’t over and leaves for the hospital.

In episodes 5&6, shots are characterized by lines created by architecture, light or furniture making boxes or sharp, pointy angles. Bars and shadows are Noir staples; the sharp angles and boxes are taking it a step further. What we’re seeing is often being carefully staged/framed by someone in-universe to appear a certain way, when the truth might be the complete opposite. Tak has painted himself into a box, and he needs to be careful so that he doesn’t get stabbed in the back. Betrayal and being tricked into attractive traps are major themes here.

Tak stands outside in the rain, letting it wash away his guilt and Kristin’s blood. Quell appears a short distance away. She says, “Locals. Ultimately, they’re all expendable.” Tak replies that Kristin isn’t expendable, and he’s not going to let her die, even though Quell continues talking, reminding him that his centuries old pattern is to leave a trail of death in his wake and that she’s only a figment of his imagination. He tells her that it won’t happen this time, or ever again.

Quell and Tak, each in their own boxes. She lived and died on Harlan’s World, an advocate of freedom, equality and mortality.  She’s surrounded by deep water because she’s already cleansed. She’s with the trees, since nature symbols are a motif for Harlan’s world, and red lights, meaning family, love and mortality. Quell’s box is larger than Tak’s because her life was lived for a larger purpose. Tak stands undecided about the way his life will go from here. Accept the blood money of the Meths and what it can do for his future, or try to gain his freedom, again, and find a new purpose for living.

They debate whether he’s grown to care for Kristin. Quell thinks he has. He says it’s sleeve memory, or pheromones, or the ghost of Quell that he’s chasing.


Quell: That isn’t who we were to each other, Tak. Love isn’t finite.

Tak: Maybe life shouldn’t be either. Maybe we should keep living, forever. Maybe we all fought for nothing. Maybe you died for nothing.


Quell disappears, now that he’s disavowed their cause. He’s left with the bars and white lights behind him. A cold, sterile, boxed in future, if he’s not careful.

Vernon shows up just after that. He reassures Tak that Kristin is a badass and will pull through. But he also wonders why Tak doesn’t just resleeve her. Tak explains that she’d never forgive him, since she was raised Neo-C. Vernon doesn’t understand the nuances of the situation, since she’s renounced her religion, but most of the family haven’t.

Poe interrupts with an ONI call. First he turns into a junior high schooler, and asks Tak to tell Vernon that Poe isn’t speaking to him. I really wanted him to have a messenger deliver Vernon a note somehow with scathing slights written on it, like your jacket is wrinkled beyond repair, but, oh well.


Poe really called because he’s figured out who bought Isaac Bancroft’s art. It was Sergei Brevlov, using a series of shell companies. He’s from Volgograd, and used a shell company he owns called Ural Syth Co. Sergei was at Bancroft’s party, just like Ghostwalker. Tak prepares to go talk to Sergei, since there’s nothing he can do for Kristin at the hospital. Vernon decides to give being Tak’s wingman another shot, since he can’t actually hit Poe.

AC106Tanaka and Blood in Elevar

Meanwhile, Tanaka is still cleaning up the mess in his station. Prescott shows up with a snide remark about the blood bath and her absolute certainty that she won’t have to frequent places like this much longer. The police are still holding the clone seized at Isaac Bancroft’s house, and that is unacceptable. Laurens will visit his plague upon them if they don’t turn it over immediately, no paperwork required.

AC106Tanaka&Prescott in Station

Once Tanaka understands what the heck she’s talking about, he tells a cop to take her to evidence and help her get what she needs. But she can’t resist taking it a step too far, into being disrespectful toward him in front of his subordinates, when she chides him for his hesitation like he’s an unruly child.


He grabs her by the arm and pulls her aside, then tells her she’s no better than him, so stop acting like she is. She tells him, no, they’re not the same. “One of us is a powerless puppet being used by forces that can’t quite be comprehended, and the other one is me.” Why do I think she just unknowingly described herself as well?

Prescott struts away just as another cop comes over to tell Tanaka that they found Officer Levine’s body RD’d in the basement, just like Aboud. Ghostwalker was wearing Levine’s uniform while he was impersonating a cop.


Tanaka goes to Mickey to look at the elevator footage of the attack. Of course Ghostwalker can’t be seen on it. Mickey shows Tanaka the footage from Bancrofts’ party as well, but of course Tanaka starts complaining rather than listening to Mickey’s explanation of what he’s seeing. The ironic thing this time is that he’s complaining that they didn’t tell him about these theories sooner. Yeah, cause he’s always so open to ideas that might interfere with the Meths 24/7 party and oppression lifestyle.


On his way out of Mickey’s closet, Tanaka has the nerve to blame Mickey and Kristin for Dimi’s escape. Except Dimi was secure until Tanaka came riding in to free him and hand him over to the serial killer. Tanaka is the consistent variable when people are wrongfully imprisoned, Meths are allowed to escape justice, and hardened criminals just happen to escape.

Making Mickey sad is not okay.

Ghostwalker, whose name is Mr Leung, escorts Dimi2 into a restaurant for a meeting with a new character, Hemingway. The restaurant is like a greenhouse, with trees and plants. Each table sits on a glass platform that floats in a long tank of water filled with fish. The effect is like the tables are on rafts floating down a lazy river.


Hemingway is cultured and sophisticated, but not as condescending as the Bancrofts and their crowd. He speaks softly throughout his exchange with Dimi2, despite becoming very angry with him.


Dimi sits down at the table with Hemingway and (sort of) thanks Hemingway for sending Leung to free him. Now he can get on with the business of killing Kovacs. Hemingway tells Dimi that Kovacs is an Envoy and Dimi won’t be laying a hand on him.

Dimi lectures Hemingway on his closeness with his “brother”, the only person he could trust for 200 years. He WILL have his revenge on Kovacs. Hemingway says that he understands. He has family himself that he’ll protect at any cost. He further explains that Dimi1 was hired to go to the Raven and pick up the Envoy, then bring him to Hemingway. That’s it. Instead he picked a fight with the hotel and died very publicly.


Dimi2 slams his fist on the table and screams again that he wants Kovacs. Hemingway tells him, “Then you are destined for disappointment.”

Hemingway goes into a backup cycle, while Dimi considers the knife on the table in front of him. Leung/Ghostwalker puts his death tool to the back of Dimi’s head and promises to kill him if he interrupts Hemingway’s backup cycle. When Hemingway comes out of it, he looks at the tension in both men, and the knife next to Dimi’s hand, and has no trouble guessing what happened.


Hemingway reminds Dimi that he will leave Kovacs alone. Leung will take Dimi to a safehouse until the larger situation is resolved. Hemingway gives Leung a long, slow look. As Leung escorts him back out, Dimi still looks like he wants to jump over the table and kill Hemingway.


Tak and Vernon shoot their way into Sergei’s apartment for dramatic effect. Tak grabs Sergei and roughs him up, while Isaac appears with a gun and shoots at them. Tak finishes with Sergei, accusing him of using his company and art purchases as a cover to funnel money to Isaac. Then Tak grabs Isaac, and he and Vernon both rough Isaac up a little, accusing him of murdering his father’s sleeve. And murdering 48 hours worth of back up? How is that crime described?

Next, Sergei appears with a gun, but he’s easily disarmed by Tak. Isaac repeatedly tells them they’ll be in big trouble when his dad finds out. Sergei doesn’t see why they have to be so violent about everything. Isaac recognizes Vernon as a waiter from the party. Isaac and Sergei try to protect each other, giving Tak pause. Both Isaac’s notice of details and unimportant people, and his loyalty to his lover, say good things about him that aren’t true of his father.


Tak and Vernon bring Isaac and Sergei to the Aerium, arriving at about the same time as Prescott arrives with the clone. They all meet in the study, joined by Laurens and Miriam. Laurens sends Vernon and Curtis out, but makes Prescott stay.

Isaac sits in the one chair in the room, with Sergei and Miriam on either side and to the back. He looks like a king attended by the queen mother and his consort. Laurens probably thought it would look like a punishment chair. But they are next to the fire (symbolizing family and home, and now the king in his castle), while Laurens is standing next to a dead copy of himself, and otherwise alone. Tak and Oumou are nearby, but stay far enough away to avoid overtly choosing sides. Right now it’s clear who pays them, but they could jump ship anytime.

Didn’t Shakespeare write this play?

Tak gives Laurens his basic report about what he found out concerning Isaac wearing the clone to go to Osaka to close the deal. Then Tak tells Laurens about the altercation at Fightdrome when Laurens beat Isaac senseless.

Laurens verbally rips both Miriam and Isaac to shreds, saying Isaac is a huge disappointment. He blames Miriam for coddling Isaac. His anti-gay sentiments aren’t said out loud, but there’s a certain amount of homophobic code in the language.

Isaac says he didn’t try to kill his father, he just wants his father’s respect. Laurens looks sickened at the idea. It’s clear he’ll only be proud of children who are exactly what he is: ruthless, abusive gameplayers who are proud of the slaughter they’ve left in their wake. The “fighting and f*cking machines” that he bragged about to the people of the Old City. A kind, thoughtful, intelligent successor isn’t what he had in mind.

After listening to the family argue, while remembering how abusive his own father was, Tak realizes that Isaac couldn’t have done it, because he doesn’t hate his father in the way that would lead to murder. Miriam and Sergei have been very protective of Isaac through all of this. Sergei finally tells Laurens that Isaac couldn’t have shot him because they were in a grounder hospital at the time, getting treatment for the injuries Laurens gave Isaac when he beat him. I’m not sure I believe Sergei, but onscreen no one questions it.

Protect the heir to the throne at all costs.

Laurens throws out a few terrible words to his wife and son as he passes by them to grab a heavy fireplace poker. Worried Laurens is going to use it on Isaac, Miriam and Sergei shield him with their bodies. Laurens goes to the clone and viciously beats it to “death” until it’s a bloody pulp, leaving himself covered in clone blood, and Prescott with blood speckles. She forces herself to remain stock still through the destruction, despite how close she is to the violence.

Laurens looks like a shriveled old man here, after he’s killed a version of himself, and drained his own life’s blood. Maybe Miriam was right. Maybe he is killing himself in symbolic and nonpermanent ways, over and over, out of anger, because he can feel his mind deteriorating and can’t stop it.

When he’s done, Laurens turns to Tak and thanks him for the information as if nothing unusual has happened. He holds out his bloody hand to shake, and says he looks forward to the next report. Then he leaves the room, and leaves Tak with blood on his hands.

Laurens must hate Isaac at this point. He takes every opportunity to denigrate his son, but the reality is that Isaac closed the Osaka deal more efficiently than Laurens could have. Isaac encourages loyalty in the people around him through his natural personality, while Laurens either buys it or gains it through fear. Isaac is a better potential king than Laurens is, and is a true threat to him.

But Laurens will never admit it. Isaac will have to take the throne, like so many sons have had to take their rightful places from father-god-kings who refused to step aside when the time came. That’s the story that Laurens expects and wants to play out, even if he won’t admit it consciously.


Tak and Oumou ride down in the elevator together. She hasn’t wiped the blood off her face yet. He asks her if she still wants to be a Meth. She says yes, she has what it takes. Tak responds by showing her the police sketch of Ghostwalker. She says she doesn’t recognize him, but she twitches when she looks, and breathes harder after that.

Leung/Ghostwalker escorts Dimi through Licktown. They stop on a footbridge to talk for a moment about their philosophies of independent contracting vs working for a large organization.

Leung: “If we do not know our role in this world, why are we in it?”

Dimi: “I cannot speak for you, my friend, but I am here to kick great amounts of *ss. Call it what you like, you are an attack dog on another man’s leash. I make my own way. I’m not a tool for someone else to use.”

Leung: “A pawn in the army of the righteous can be more powerful than a king who is without faith.”

Dimi: “Me, I prefer checkers.”

Leung: “This does not surprise me. [Or anyone else.] … Tell me, are you a believer?”


Dimi looks at Leung for a moment, then springs into action. Leung chases Dimi through Licktown, with Dimi using every creative way to lose or distract Leung that he can find. Dimi eventually gets a little breathing room and runs into a tattoo parlor. He rips the seat cushion off the back of one of the client chairs, and pulls out a transmitter device, putting part around his neck.


It’s a portable needlecast device. Dimi tells the person on the other end that he’s interested in taking them up on their previous offer, but he needs immediate extraction. Whoever’s on the other end must have a condition of their own, to which Dimi agrees. Dimi touches a finger to the device, transmits his location, and is gone. Leung comes inside the tattoo parlor just as the needlecast causes the power to go out. Skinhead’s sleeve lies abandoned on the floor.


Over at Fightdrome, Tak’s last sleeve comes to life while Carnage watches. He says, “Looking forward to working with you, Mr Kadmin.” Then he smiles a Very Evil Smile. Very Evil Indeed.


Kristin is sleeping in a recovery room after her surgery. Alazne, dressed in black for Aboud, is at Kristin’s bedside when Tak and Vernon show up. She stalks over to Tak and wallops him in the cheek hard enough to hurt. Then she considers hitting Tak a second time, or hitting Vernon, but figures it can wait. She goes to get coffee.

Vernon notes that all of Kristin’s read outs look really good. Tak goes to her bedside and holds her hand. When she wakes up momentarily and mistakes him for Elias, he decides he should leave. Vernon stops him, saying that Tak may not be the one Kristin wants, but he’s the one that’s there, so he’s owes it to Kristin to stay with her. Tak settles in.


Hours later, Tak has taken a nap in the chair next to Kristin’s bed. When she wakes up, the first thing she does is ask about Aboud. Tak has to tell her that Aboud didn’t make it. Real death. Kristen gets angry that Tak lied to her on the way to the hospital when he said that Aboud was okay.

As she goes to sit up, her new arm pushes too hard on the metal bed rail and bends it. Kristin quickly understands what that means, and asks if he gave her any other new body parts. Tak tells her no, just the arm. It’s a state of the art arm, the best Bancroft money can buy. She’s happy to hear that Bancroft paid for it. Personally, I hope Tak also got the full lifetime warranty, so she’s not stuck paying for expensive maintenance or repairs.


Tanaka comes in the door carrying a large bouquet of flowers. Tanaka’s very friendly and supportive, telling Kristin that Aboud died a hero and his photo will go up on the wall next to her father’s. She asks about Mickey, and Tanaka says that Mickey is fine, he’s on the case. Meanwhile, Tak is looking at the giant bouquet of flowers and the overly friendly police captain suspiciously. His spidey senses Envoy intuition is tickling his awareness.

Tak questions Tanaka about his bouquet of guilt and why Mickey is on the case instead of suspended. Shouldn’t there be an investigation into what happened? But that would bring up whatever Tanaka wants to keep hidden, namely his arrangement with whoever sent Ghostwalker to the station. Kristin slowly gets out of bed during this conversation, not wanting to believe it’s true, but knowing that the things Tak is saying make sense. Tanaka nods that yes, Tak is right.

Kristin sends Tak from the room, then slams Tanaka into the floor using her new cybernetic arm. Tak has already figured out that Tanaka gets paid off to look the other way occasionally, but they don’t fully own him. Tanaka insists that he was promised no one would get hurt.

Kristin is angry because people trusted him, and he’s setting them up to be killed. Tanaka tells her that the city police have so little power that they can’t change much of anything. The most they can do is a little good here and there. Kristin doesn’t accept his excuses for being on the take. She throws him around a little more, using her new arm.

Actual Superhero Kristin Ortega

Tanaka admits that he meets with someone occasionally, but he doesn’t know who it is. He has a burner phone and sends a ping to an unknown number, then they meet at a cheap VR cafe in Oakland. But he’s never seen the man’s face. Kristin tells Tanaka to ping the man and send her the information. She looks for her clothes, then she and Tak head for the cafe.


At the cafe, they sign up for low res minutes. Tak insists that he should be the one who goes into VR, because he can control the construct. He disguises himself as Tanaka once he’s inside VR. The VR version of Hemingway appears. Tak tries to confront the him about the murders at the station.

AC106Tak going into VR

Hemingway immediately plays down the deaths, and says that the mission was successful. Tak demands a face to face meeting in the real, but Hemingway refuses. Then Hemingway figures out that he’s not talking to Tanaka. After a moment of looking closely at Tak’s Tanaka VR image, Hemingway says,”Takeshi, is that you?”

AC106hemingway in vr1

Kristin pulls Tak out of VR before he can answer. The cafe has gone completely silent. They stand up to investigate, and when one of them touches a customer, heads start falling off of bodies. Everyone has been garrotted, which appears to be a trendy form of mass murder this season. Fitz did it first on Agents of SHIELD, though.


Dimi, in the Byron Mann sleeve, is sitting in the corner watching them. When they notice him, he says, “I’ve been thinking, that’s f*cking enough.” He tosses a small grenade that knocks them out. The next time we see them, they’re hooded, cuffed and chained with the Mad Mykola theme playing. It’s the episode’s opening flashback.

They’re taken to Fightdrome, where Dimi enjoys taunting Tak for a minute about Tak fighting someone wearing his own face. Dimi’s developed an unhinged giggle in this sleeve. Then Carnage strolls in and tells them it’s time. The three are going to fight each other.

Carnage looks at Ortega and Tak and tells them never to threaten a man’s profit margin. He can’t let them live, now that they know he records fights and customers. Tak tries to be chivalrous and get Carnage to let Ortega go, not understanding that she saw the recording set up, as well, so Carnage won’t let her go. Guess his Envoy intuition failed him this time.

Carnage and his goons lead them through the backstage area and the crowd, who are chanting, “Ryker, Ryker, Ryker!!” Tak insists, to no one in particular, that he’s not Ryker. Dimi tells him that the crowd doesn’t know who’s in the sleeve.


Carnage goes into the fight ring to introduce the main event: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Fightdrome! Tonight we bring you a very special, very exclusive Fightdrome event. One time, and one time only, you alone in this room, with the man who has hurt you and those that you love. And so tonight you will see the love of his life hurt, her stack cut from her sleeve, her very soul destroyed! All in front of this monster’s eyes! You will see the final and most terrible humiliation of Elias Ryker! For this is a love story…with a body count! Real blood, real pain, real death!”


As Carnage introduces them, Tak and Kristin are brought into the ring. When he finishes, a buzzer goes off and their chains drop to the ground. A few Lord of the Rings rejects are released from the cages that surround the ring, and the fight to the death begins. Kristin quickly discovers that a superstrong, superdurable arm is very handy in a fight.

They take care of the first two goons quickly, using teamwork and the discarded chains. But that was just an appetizer to tire them out and rile up the crowd. A moment later, Dimi drops into the ring wielding two Reaper-laced knives. He flips and somersaults around them, slicing their limbs and verbally taunting them as he goes. Dimi likes to put on a show and play with his food, and the crowd wants to watch “Ryker” and Ortega suffer.


They begin to stumble and move slower as the Reaper takes effect. The crowd chants, “Real death, real death, real death!” Both Kristin and Tak end up down, the Reaper and their injuries overwhelming them. Kristin grabs the chains and throws them at Dimi, but he brushes them off. She keeps fighting, but Dimi overwhelms her. Dimi drags Kristin next to Tak and tells Tak that he’s going to cut Kristin apart, piece by piece.



That’s his big mistake. No way is Tak going to let the Patchwork Man destroy another woman. He throws his arm between Dimi and Kristin, stops the knife from falling,  and pulls Dimi onto himself. As they roll on the ground, Dimi stabs Tak in the stomach. When Dimi stops to gloat, Tak pulls the knife out of himself and stabs Dimi in the neck. Then he moves the knife around and pulls out Dimi’s stack. Tak hands the stack to Kristin, who uses her cyberarm to crumble the man who framed Ryker into tiny pieces.


When she done, they collapse next to each other on the floor. Kristin says, “Kovacs, I really like my new arm.” Carnage has gone from glee to outrage within moments. He yells for his remaining goons to, “Kill them both!”


Just then, a ninja fights her way down the hall that Kristin and Tak were brought through, sword in hand. Kristin throws herself on top of Tak to protect the sleeve. When the ninja reaches them, Kristin gets up and tries to fight it. The ninja knocks her out.


The ninja kneels down next to Tak. He lifts his head to see who’s come to save them. She pulls down her hood and says, “Hey, big brother.” It’s his sister Rei, who he thought died long ago.

Tak lets his head drop and faints.



So, Vernon needs a wee bit of therapy himself, done in some sneaky way that he doesn’t realize is therapy, like him and Poe playing VR games together. The guy went to war, watched his wife go to prison, which he couldn’t stop, and now he couldn’t stop his daughter from being attacked and traumatized. He’s got some anger issues to work out, at the very least.

I don’t understand the problem that Vernon had with the self-defense training, other than that it was working. Lizzie was smiling at Poe while she won’t talk to her father. Is Vernon jealous of an AI? Of course her feelings toward her father are complicated right now, and her feelings toward Poe are simpler. She doesn’t know Poe. Maybe Lizzie is Vernon’s lifeline to sanity, after everything that’s happened. That’s why he’s shut down and camped out at the Raven during her treatment.

The petty sidekick squabbling is hilarious, whatever the cause. Miss Elizabeth and her two dads, one an AI who’s also their house, the other an ex-marine with some PTSD, both overprotective in their own ways, could be a good show.

Oumou is staff to the Bancrofts, not family, but she is a trusted insider, probably more aware of the totality of their secrets than any individual family member. Tak has now also been put in that position, which suggests that Miriam and Laurens both want to keep him, rather than kill him. Maybe they’ve lost whoever was in charge of doing their dirty work previously, or Tak has proven more effective.

What if Isaac produces some kind of emotion triggered hormone that makes people find him reliable and trustworthy, the way Miriam produces Merge9 and Iffy the dead rebel had enzymes to detonate the explosives triggered by fury? What if Isaac was able to fool Tak’s Envoy intuition that way?

Laurens worked on the Japanese deal for months, then Isaac closed it in a day. Isaac vacillates between being an obnoxious, resentful, arrogant, spoiled brat and a sweet kid who just wants his daddy to love and respect him. Since Isaac isn’t 12, it seems unlikely that both are true.

There is some kind of gaslighting going on here. Either the rest of the family is gaslighting Laurens or Laurens is gaslighting everyone else. Much more impersonation by wearing other people’s sleeves incognito happens than anyone realizes, or at least admits. Like Tak said, how do you know someone is who they are, if they’ve even learned to mimic someone’s speech patterns and mannerisms?

If black market sleeves and backups for DHF are available to anyone who knows where to look for them, people would start saving for replacement sleeves and periodic backups instead of saving for retirement. Better to be backed up once a year than to die a real death.

The dominant colors have changed in the last couple of episodes. They’ve moved away from neon candy colors and pink or amber fire/candlelight glows to stark white lighting, white or metallic backgrounds, and flashes of blood red or royal blue that look like blood and water. One of the new themes is “blood is thicker than water”, giving us the red and blue, which symbolize blood/family and water/betrayal.

Family is important in this half of the season. Since Alice died and Tak cried for her, and since he discovered that he’s in Ryker’s body, he’s found that he’s not as disconnected as he thinks. He’s only been pretending out loud that he doesn’t care. His actions prove the opposite. Water itself, in the form of rain, showers, and standing water, continues to be cleansing, especially when used to wash away guilt.

We also find green turning up at certain times, either a washed out aqua green or a leafy green. Green and nature symbols are associated with Harlan’s World, Tak and Rei’s home planet. They are also associated with Rei and Quell.

Besides family, red also means love, sacrifice, and mortality. Lizzie says, “The monsters turned me red inside.” How does that relate? White means money, power, Meths, and immortality. The metallic backgrounds have generally been in dangerous places that are full of lies and betrayal- Fightdrome, Dimi’s transport vehicle, the police station, especially the elevator. I’m not completely sure of the meaning yet, but we seem to be spending more time in cages of various sorts and less time breaking glass.

What does Quell’s line about “that’s not who you and I were to each other” when Tak is standing outside the hospital mean? Were she and Tak not lovers? Not soul mates or exclusive? Did she not love him the way he loved her? What is happening??

Is that Rei posing as Hemingway? During the meeting with Dimi, he says that he has family himself, that he’d do anything to protect. Dimi1 was just supposed to bring Tak to Hemingway. Hemingway/Arnold Pinnock did an excellent Dichen Lachman impression. I was wondering if he was Rei even before he said Tak’s name in VR and she turned up at the end of the episode.

I hate it when Matt Frewer plays an unmitigated villain. He’s great at it, but I want to be able to love him, at least a little. He’s fantastic as a cartoon of pure evil in this episode.

The Fightdrome bout explains Carnage’s glee at seeing Ryker/Tak in ep 5. That was the fight that he wanted to promote, between a classic model (Tak’s old sleeve) and a modern one (Ryker). Ortega wasn’t originally part of the deal, but Carnage had to get rid of her once she’d seen his fight recording and set up.

Ryker must have busted a lot of people in Licktown. They really had it in for him.

Kristin’s replacement arm allows her to be the superhero on the outside that she is on the inside. Now she can keep up with Tak (or Ryker, if he’s freed and gets his sleeve back).

Alazne is proficient with a lot of weapons- hand to hand, knives, guns. With all that cooking, she could probably come up with a poison or two. She’s a formidable woman.

Somebody used that d*mn unsecured Laurens clone and the Ghostwalker tech the night Laurens was shot. Between the two, anyone could have gotten into the Aerium and the genelocked safe, then shot Laurens. Someone who knows the security codes, like Miriam, Prescott, or Curtis, who’s always lurking, helped with access. Now that we know Rei is alive and has access, she has to become a suspect in everything. She’s an Envoy too, with the same skillset as Tak.

Sergei said he took Isaac to a grounder hospital to be treated for Laurens’ beating while Laurens was being shot, and made sure there were no records. That doesn’t actually make sense. Wouldn’t Isaac just put on a new sleeve rather than going someplace with grounder riff raff for treatment?


I’m fascinated by this set up. The king is dead. Long live King Isaac. If we needed proof that Miriam hates her husband, this scene gave it to us.

We’ve never had any previous indication that needlecasting can be done on the fly the way Dimi did it. That’s a gamechanger. It also means that quick jumps can be made into bodies that are anywhere. Someone like Bancroft can quickly pull armies in and out of war zones, or instantaneously move teams for surgical strikes. A specialist of any kind can quietly be brought anywhere, for any reason.

Backups must be done the same or a similar way, which means they can also be done quickly and easily, from anywhere. We saw with Hemingway’s backup that they only take a minute. If done during sleep, the person being backed up wouldn’t know, so identities could be stolen and double sleeved against a person’s will, or just kept as a souvenir or to hold a person hostage after their murder.

I dearly hope that someone salvages Matt Biedel’s sleeve for use in season 2. His Dimi was as delightful as his Abuela.

Tanaka lied about never seeing Hemingway’s face and not being able to figure out his identity. Hemingway immediately stepped into view during their VR meeting. If Tanaka doesn’t already know who he is, it would be easy enough for a police captain to find out using facial recognition techniques. What else is Tanaka lying about?


Photo Credit: Netflix