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Recap: Altered Carbon Episode Seven

The swerve is on

Altered Carbon Episode Seven Recap: Nora Inu

The seventh episode of Netflix‘s Altered Carbon, Nora Imu, throws the biggest swerve at the viewers in the series yet. The episode is mostly a flashback to Kovacs past. From childhood to his recruitment into CTAC, reunion with his sister Reileen, the eventual rise and fall of Stronghold, the gaps in Kovacs backstory are finally filled. These revelations present new twists and turns in the series.

The last episode saw Kovacs sister, Reileen (or Rei) save him and Ortega from the clutches of Carnage and his cage fighting enthusiasts. Kovacs wakes up in Rei’s household where he begs her to save the sleeve he has that has succumbed to the reaper toxin inflicted by Dimi The Twin in the previous episode. Rei grants his wish and assures him Ortega is safe as well. As Kovacs fades in and out, he asks Rei how she survived. Rei explains after her ship was blown out of the sky at the battle of Stronghold her stack was recovered by an archeologist who surveyed the wreckage.

Reileen claimed she was an innocent bystander who was kidnapped and murdered. Rei reveals she later ran off, came into some money and some clones and has been on her own ever since.  As Rei injects him with a sedative, Kovacs flashes back to his childhood. A harsh upbringing at the hands of an abusive father who murdered his mother and abused his sister. A young Kovacs shot and killed his father to protect his younger sister Rei.

Upon his arrest, Kovacs and Rei were separated. Rei was put into a foster home, and Kovacs was recruited by a CTAC officer, named Jaeger. Jaeger saw potential in the young boy and had him re-sleeved into the body of a man. Kovacs was then taken off world to train with the Protectorate. Once Kovacs assumed the position of a CTAC officer he was denied the right to see his sister, Rei, again. Any ties to his past would be severed.

Kovacs tenure with CTAC was cut short when his first mission had him hunting down a Yakuza crime boss guarded by a now much older Rei. When they reunite, both are on opposing sides, each urging them to kill each other. They betray both sides systematically killing everyone in the room and decide to run away. That night the siblings’ lives are forever changed in the woods.

 Envoy leader, and resistance fighter, Quillcrest Falconer and her militia take them in and recruit them to join based on Kovacs knowledge of CTAC. Kovacs and Rei are hesitant at first until they are led into the Envoy stronghold that shows a community of men, women, and children. Rei and Kovacs are re-trained in the ways of the Envoy. Quell reveals how fast and strong she is in a demonstration that leaves the siblings very impressed.

Over time, Kovacs and Rei are able to assimilate themselves into the Envoy army and Quell sends them on missions. Quell’s mission is to bring back the real death. She has seen humankind reach new heights in technology and devolve to its lowest point as a society. The wealthy live forever and become malevolent despots, while the poor continue to perish. She has developed a program called Acheron that will rewrite stacks giving everyone no matter how rich or poor they are a total of 100 years of life max. Immortality is a sickness and corrupts good people.

Quell expresses that the only way to embrace life to accept death. The mission to upload Quell’s program into the core would most likely be a suicide run, to which Kovacs volunteers. When Rei asks him what is thinking Kovacs responds that he’s trying to make a difference. The mission is canceled prematurely when Kovacs is caught by the Protectorate and sent to virtual interrogation. He is questioned by Jaeger. Quell hacks in and saves Kovacs. Back at the envoy stronghold, Rei expresses to Kovacs she wants to leave. Rei is tired of fighting to die; she wants to live.

Later, Quell and Kovacs have an intimate conversation by a lake. Quell reveals why she is so passionate about this mission to stop immortality. Quell discloses to Kovacs that she isn’t what or even who people think she is. She reveals her actual name is Nadia Makita, the engineer behind the creation of the stacks. Quell conveys that she had the heart of an explorer and didn’t want to bound by a single lifetime. So she created the stacks. But like all good intentions, they fall into the wrong hands and are used for evil purposes. Instead of watching her gift to humanity become its ultimate destruction, Nadia ran away and changed her name. Kovacs comforts her, and the two have passionate sex.

The following morning before the next mission, Reileen stumbles upon the two locked in an embrace. Reileen has a look of disapproval and runs away. Kovac takes off after her. The Protectorate then launch a preemptive strike on the Envoy Stronghold. They upload a bug to their Stronghold residents’ stacks known as the Rawling Virus causing them to all turn on each other in a crazed and frantic manner. The once peaceful community savagely murder each other.

When the Protectorate land they survey the landscape covered with corpses. Reileen and Quell reveal to Kovacs that CTAC hit Stronghold with the Rawling virus. However, they were at a safe distance and were not affected. Kovacs demands that they board a ship and escape while he holds off the Protectorate soldiers. He tells to get to the core and upload the Acheron. As Kovacs looks up, he sees their departing ship suddenly blown out of the sky. Kovacs falls to his knees in shock and agony.

Back at Reileen’s household, Kovacs wakes up, weak but cognizant. When Kovacs asks Reileen how Quell died, Rei doesn’t remember. As Kovacs stammers to his feet, he comes across a room housing a few sleeves, sleeves he remembers encountering. A little girl from the museum, Hemingway, and another. Kovacs deduces Rei has been stalking him this whole time.

A flashback of the ship shows how Quell really died. When Quell discovers the escape route plotted is incorrect, Rei unsheathes a blade and attempts an assassination. Quell easily unarms her and angrily asks her why would do this. Reileen replies “…because they gave me life.” Rei then activates a device, and the ship explodes.

Kovacs surmises that the reason why Rei couldn’t remember how Quell died. Rei backed up her stack just before the ship was destroyed. When Kovacs asks why she did it, Rei says it was for him.

A great episode that fills in the holes of Kovacs and his sister Rei while furthering explaining the many questions presented by the series. We learn about the Envoys cause, the creator of the Stacks, and finally introduced to possibly the main villain of the show. Reileen. Altered Carbon’s story continues to have intriguing twists and turns.

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