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

AC106MissionReport

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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 5: The Wrong Man Recap

AC105Ryker&Bureaucrat

Kovacs: “When everyone lies, telling the truth isn’t just rebellion. It’s an act of revolution. So think carefully when you speak it, because the truth is a weapon.”

Tak and Kristin spend most of episode 5 dealing with the aftermath of Tak’s torture. She tells him the story of how her partner and boyfriend, Elias Ryker, ended up on ice. They find a way to spin up the stack from Dimi’s disembodied head. Poe gives them a tip that begins to pull more of the disparate strands of the separate cases together. They grow closer to each other as they work together and learn they can trust each other.

And Captain Tanaka brings on disaster, just like I knew he would.

Continue reading

Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 4: Force of Evil Recap

AC104SidewaysTortureTak

Gird your loins, kids, this is the torture episode. Tak’s in the virtual reality torture chamber for much of the episode. Though it was difficult to watch, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, based on the warnings. The Outlander season 1 rape/torture episode was much, much worse. Maybe I’ve just seen too many seasons of creatively dragging entrails on The Walking Dead. Which isn’t to say this episode isn’t violent, gruesome, and, you know, tortuous. But it’s not very different from what we’ve already seen on Altered Carbon.

The real torture is in the emotions that the characters suffer over the course of the episode, especially in Tak’s flashbacks. We learn more about his life, his relationship with Quell, and how heartbroken he still is. We also get to see more of Ortega’s personal life, and begin to discover why she’s so interested in Tak.

So. Probably the most disturbing part of the episode is the Wei Clinic, an interrogation facility which specializes in “extracting data from unwilling subjects”. Torture is such an ugly word. The facility is large, clean, brightly lit, fully staffed, organized, and obviously part of a larger organization with franchises or branches. There’s a routine and a schedule for torture extraction sessions. The Nazis would be jealous.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 2: Fallen Angel Recap

AC102OGTakBurns
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.

Continue reading

Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 1: Out of the Past Recap

AC101LeavingPrison

My review of episodes 1-3 isĀ HERE.

Altered Carbon is a wild cyberpunk ride through a dystopian future starring Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, a centuries old supersoldier, rebel, and former mercenary who’s been imprisoned and asleep for 250 years. The method of his imprisonment is the removal of his “stack” from his “sleeve,” meaning the disc which contains his soul and consciousness was removed from his spine and stored until a wealthy man who requires his services pays for his release. His stack is then inserted into a new sleeve, also known as a body, that his patron bought for him to use while Kovacs works the murder case he’s been hired to solve.

Everyone in society is fitted with a stack when they are very young, but new sleeves vary in price. Functional immortality using clones and backup stacks is fashionable for the very rich. Normal people hope that their stacks aren’t damaged when they die so that they can be brought back, and that they can afford a decent new sleeve. Neo-Catholics believe that being spun up in a new sleeve is a sin and vow to live only the single life span their original sleeve allows them. Overall, life has become cheap because it’s so easily replaced, and corporate decadence rules society.

Episode 1 begins with images of modern Kovacs before he’s revived, dreaming that he’s floating in water. The view of his body is interspersed with images of original Kovacs being intimate with a woman, and mercenary Kovacs showering intimately with another woman, or at least another sleeve (although they start out covered in blood). The future gets confusing at times, with all of the body hopping. We can see the stack insertion scar on the back of the showering woman’s neck. The floor of the shower is littered with stolen stacks.

Continue reading

Altered Carbon Episodes 1-3 Review: Out of the Past, Fallen Angel, In a Lonely Place

AC101CityView

Browse Altered Carbon Episode Recaps Here.

Altered Carbon is my new guilty pleasure. Do we still have guilty pleasures? I don’t care, that’s what it is. It may or may not make the cut for prestige television when the critics are done deciding, but, after watching 3 episodes, I’ve decided I’m just going to have fun with it. It’s not the best, or the worst, or the first, or the most, of anything. But it is a hardcore, pulpy, scifi cyberpunk neo-noir murder mystery with a detective who’s both completely futuristic and a total throwback. This show is not taking itself too seriously while still including all of the essentials of its genre(s). That means that we can all relax and enjoy the ride.

Altered Carbon is based on the 2003 novel by Richard Morgan. It stars Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) as Takeshi Kovacs, a former mercenary and legendary rebel soldier who fought against the Protectorate, the universal government of the future that’s run by the wealthy. He was caught and imprisoned 250 years ago.

Continue reading