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Recap: Altered Carbon Episode Five


Episode Five of Altered Carbon throws the story back into the murder mystery of Laurens Bancroft. The episode is jam-packed with character revelations, a new foil to Kovacs, and unexpected death.


Episode Five, The Wrong Man, opens up with Kovacs coming to terms that he is wearing the sleeve of Lt. Ortega’s former partner/lover, Elias Ryker. Ryker is revealed to have been set up by Dimi The Twin in the murder of a CTAC officer. Ortega reveals she has secretly been waiting for Kovacs to fail in his investigation of the Bancroft murder in hopes Kovacs’ stack would go back in the dark and Ryker’s stack would be brought back, selfish but understandable. Ortega leaves with Dimi’s severed head that Kovacs had taken after single handily murdering everyone at the Wei Clinic.

Believing Ryker’s framing job has a connection to the Bancroft case, Kovacs travels to Bancroft’s house. He is met by Miriam Bancroft who offers Kovacs an alternative. She requests that Kovacs forget about the case saying that Bancroft’s moment of weakness led to his own death. Miriam even proposes to double the price for Kovacs to drop it. Kovacs refuses and manages to get Miriam to tell him where her husband is.

Elsewhere, Ortega steals Dimi The Twin’s stack and disposes of the head. She enlists the aid of tech guru, Mickey to help her with some “off the books” research. Across town, Kovacs comes upon a part of the slums guarded by some very well armed men. Kovacs says he’s there on Bancroft business and they let him pass. What Kovacs sees is a darkened encampment of unkempt people living in squalor.

Kovacs sees Bancroft doing what appears to be charitable work, giving to the people in need; gifting games to the children and comforts to the adults. When Kovacs confronts Bancroft about Ryker’s sleeve being chosen for him, Bancroft pauses from his duties to walk and talk with Kovacs through the slums. Before Bancroft goes into the whys and hows, he informs Kovacs to keep his hands in his pockets, the community is sick, and a single touch could infect him as well.


Bancroft reveals that his choosing of Elias Ryker’s sleeve was to teach Lt. Ortega some respect and of course give Kovacs an effective and useful sleeve in the field. As Bancroft speaks, Kovacs can see the sleeve of Bancroft slowly start to succumb to the infection. First with black veins coming to the surface of his skin, his slurred speech, and finally scabs and sores covering his neck and face. The people see this and begin to mourn the passing of Bancroft (or sleeve at least) something akin to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Kovacs tells him, “This is not sacrificing, its theater,” as news cameras look on from a distance. It’s not much sacrifice indeed when Bancroft has a dozen or so re-sleeved clones already in the waiting.

Kovacs returns to The Raven and is confronted by Abboud, Ortega’s partner. Abboud tells him he is concerned about Ortega. Abboud goes on about how Ortega and Ryker were really close. She was devastated when Bancroft took Ryker’s sleeve and repurposed it for Kovacs. Abboud plays a form of good cop/bad cop in this scene with Kovacs. At first pleading with Kovacs to treat Oretga with decency and compassion. Then he flips the script and warns Kovacs if he hurts Ortega he’ll personally kill him. Kovacs gets a tip from Poe about Bancroft’s appearance at a questionable establishment the night of his murder and requests the aid of Oretga in the Bancroft investigation.

Ortega and Kovacs investigate a place of interest Poe had tipped them off to known as “FightDrome.” They are met by a lanky, off-putting gentleman, named Carnage. A synth-sleeve wearing promoter and owner of the FightDrome. Ortega informs Carnage she and Kovacs are there to follow up on some recently discovered footage that is connected to the Bancroft murder case. The footage in question shows what appears to be a tweaked out Bancroft bum rushing the FightDrome stands and laying into this son Issac. The footage shows Bancroft shoving his son aggressively in a caged fence and hitting him repeatedly. Kovacs, being able to read lips, deciphers from the muted footage that Bancroft was yelling, “You’ll never be me” to his son.


His motive in place, Kovacs, and Ortega break into Issac Bancroft’s home. Stylishly furnished with rare art lazily spread about the house on the floor. They see on his display, footage of his father dealings with some Japanese businessmen. Ortega breaks down a locked door that leads to the discovery of highly illegal portable 3D bio-organic printer.

Kovacs comes upon a sleeve container housing a cloned sleeve of Laurens Bancroft. Issac had been using his father’s cloned sleeve to deal with the Japanese in Osaka. Laurens Bancroft kept Issac in a young sleeve so no one would take him seriously. Like all his family including his wife, he liked keeping them in a perpetual state of dependency. Issac understood this and realized he didn’t need to compete with his father when he could just simply be his father. Ortega calls it in and soon a team is on the scene, confiscating both the printer and the cloned sleeve.

Ortega sees Kovacs is bleeding from one of his unkept wounds and offers to treat him at her home. The two share a moment that turns into some pretty steamy sex. The following morning, Oretga tells Kovacs about Ryker’s arrest. He seemed out of it like everyone was apart of a vast conspiracy and he was one of the few who was on to it. Despite his ranting and ravings about a conspiracy, they arrested the wrong man. Ortega then shows Kovacs a drawing of the mysterious Ghostwalker that she saw at the party but not on the footage she recorded. Some pretty heavy conversation the morning after sex. Clearly, Oretga has to work on her morning after bedside manner.

Mickey calls Ortega and says Dimi is ready. Kovacs and Ortega interrogate Dimi who’s stack is placed in the same sleeve Ortega had previously used for her grandmother. Ortega demands a confession regarding who told Dimi to set up Ryker. Dimi gleefully toys with the both of them. Ortega loses her composure and starts beating him. The interrogation is cut short when Captain Tanaka barges into the room with Abboud and orders Ortega to stop immediately. The officers take the thug away. Ortega pleads with Tanaka explaining her case to the best of her ability. She says Dimi The Twin’s stack is a thug and he was about to the confess to the frame job he carried out on Ryker.

Tanaka begrudgingly grants Ortega more time to probe the Dimi. Ortega and Abboud enter the elevator with Dimi, and Kovacs notices the officer with them is the mysterious Ghostwalker Oretga had spoken with him about disguised as a cop. As the doors of the elevator close, the Ghostwalker slips a blade out of his shirt’s sleeve and stabs Ortega multiple times. Dimi begins to struggle with Abboud.

Kovacs rushes down flight after flight of stairs trying to get to Ortega. Bleeding out all over the elevator, Ortega desperately fights back against the Ghostwalker as Abboud struggles against Dimi. The Ghostwalker moves to shoot Ortega.  Abboud sacrifices himself, and the bullet smashes through his neck destroying his stack and giving him the true death. It is sad to see Abboud get killed off only five episodes in, but the character did go out a hero. The episode ends with the Ghostwalker and Dimi fleeing the elevator. Kovacs arrives and carries Oretga out of the elevator as she begs him to help Abboud.

This was an insane ending to a great episode of Altered Carbon.

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