Altered Carbon Recap Episode Eight: Clash By Night
Rampaging Clones. Naked Sword Fight. Family Reunion. You can’t ever say Netflix‘s Altered Carbon doesn’t know how to pack a lot into a single episode. So much is being revealed in the last three episodes of Altered Carbon’s first season it might give you whiplash. As Kovacs recruits a dipper to help him bring an end to the Bancroft case, Ortega tries to discover the identity of the mysterious woman who saved her and Kovacs at Fightdrome.
The episode begins with a shocked Kovacs reeling from the realization that his sister, Reileen, is responsible for the death of Quell and the slaughter of the Envoys at Stronghold. Reileen emphasizes it was all for him. Kovacs heatedly says the Envoys were family. Reileen counters that they were soldiers. Kovacs furiously responds everyone he loved was taken, that Rei has no idea what the fall of Stronghold did to his psyche.
Rei revealed she tried to find Kovacs but CTAC had discovered him first and put him on ice for 250 years. She divulges that she played Bancroft into wanting Kovacs services revealing herself as the real orchestrator behind Kovacs’ resurrection. A troubled Kovacs looks at the line of clones in Rei’s room. He asks why she never spoke to him as herself. Rei explained it would have been too hard for him to understand much less trust it was really her. Dimi botched her plan to bring Kovacs back to her (as Hemingway), so they could talk. Rei expresses she just wanted to be reunited with him. Kovacs insists why did she have to betray the Envoy and kill Quell then?
Rei replies that Quell was a manipulator brainwashing people to fight a hopeless war. When Kovacs draws a katana on Rei, he violently declares he loved her, referring to Quell. Rei responds that she loved him and that if he had to kill her, do it. But she would always come back for him. A vexed Kovacs drops the katana and walks away.
Elsewhere Ortega, still bloodied and bruised from the FightDrome, stomps her way back to her police precinct. Upon entering the staff watch and stare in silence at her walking in and she is pulled into Captain Tanaka’s office. She is furious no missing person’s report has been filed for Kovacs. Fed up, Ortega tells Tanaka he needs to step down. Tanaka replies that even if he wanted to, he can’t. Ortega then demands answers. She needs to know why Ryker was framed and who this Ghost is that killed Abboud. Tanaka tells her to leave or be escorted out; he declares he can’t protect her anymore.
Back at Rei’s, Kovacs remains disconsolate. Rei tries to suggest they move on and explains she requires Kovacs assistance. Rei divulges she needs Kovacs to close the Bancroft case as soon as possible. When Kovacs inquires if she killed him, she replies no, that’s ridiculous. Rei confesses she gave Bancroft precisely what he wanted and was unappreciative. She admits she paid off Captain Tanaka for Bancroft’s post-modem report. Kovacs is instructed to close the Bancroft case and frame a culprit if he must by Rei.
Kovacs asks what if he refuses? To which Mr. Leung (Ghost) enters and stares daggers through Kovacs. Rei announces she’s become a titan of industry. She is the owner of the Wei Clinic. Information extraction is highly lucrative. Rei threatens that if Kovacs doesn’t close the case, she will take his new friends to her various clinics and do to them the kind of torture he endured.
Meanwhile, upon her leaving the precinct, Ortega visits Mickey and asks if he can analyze some blood stains on her clothes hoping to discover the identity of the woman who saved her and Kovacs at Fightdrome. Mickey gets an I.D. on Kovacs and Ortega goes after him. Elsewhere, Kovacs and Mr. Leung go to Pyschlosec. Kovacs hopes to recruit a dipper there who just happens to be Ava Elliot, Vernon’s wife. When they see Ortega trailing them, Mr. Leung tells Kovacs to ditch her or else. Kovacs has to reluctantly act like an asshole toward Ortega.
When she asks if this behavior has anything to do with the woman who saved them Kovacs smugly responds yes. Kovacs explains the other woman actually cares about him. He then tells Ortega whatever she thought they had going on between them is nothing. Ortega doesn’t believe a word Kovacs is saying as he tries to slither away into the crowd of people.
Otherwhere, at the Raven, Vernon, and Poe watch a television monitor. Lizzie is training with knives in her virtual environment. Poe assures Vernon this is excellent for hand-eye coordination and will teach Lizzie empowerment. Kovacs returns with his dipper, a scrawny, dirty looking man. He reveals to Vernon it was his wife and had her re-sleeved into the only body Pyschlosec had available. Ava is overjoyed to see Vernon, but he doesn’t know what to make of his wife’s stack being put into the sleeve of a man.
They both, with Poe, go to visit Lizzie in the virtual training program. The family is finally reunited, and Lizzie shows them how much she has learned thanks to Poe. Later, Kovacs explains they need Ava’s help to close the Bancroft case. Through a series of manipulations and lies carried out by everyone at the Raven, Kovacs creates a scenario that depicts Laurens Bancroft’s stack succumbing to the Rawling virus. When a disgruntled Bancroft visits a brothel called the Prick Up, the Rawling virus mysteriously infects all of its customers.
When Kovacs invites the Bancroft family, Clarissa (who he met at the dinner party) Captain Tanaka, and Oumou Prescott to the Aerium where he will state his case. Kovacs accuses Prescott and with the help of Poe, Ava, and Vernon, they create an elaborate and compelling case that Prescott cannot refute. Bancroft is convinced. Laurens has Prescott’s license in law taken away as well as all of her privileges at the Aerium. Bancroft wants her to suffer as the lowest and poorest person. Kovacs is paid in full by Laurens and awarded with his pardon. This seemingly ends the Bancroft murder mystery allowing Kovacs to be a free man.
Mickey informs Ortega the gene trace has returned results that link it to a vault at Pyschlosec. A vault that mysteriously doesn’t belong to anyone. When Ortega goes to investigate she discovers one of Reileen’s clones inside with a katana hanging on the wall for whatever reason. Ortega is locked in the vault, the clone bursts out of the pod in the room and clashes with Ortega. Ortega is stabbed with a shard of glass but is able to shoot and kill the clone.
A staggering Ortega is then attacked by numerous clones who all burst out of their pods. She furiously guns down one after the other. One clone grabs the katana and violently slashes at Ortega who deflects it with her metallic arm. Ortega finally gets the upper hand with a well-placed punch. Ortega’s gut punches the clone so hard with her robotic arm she shatters every bone in the clone’s body. As Ortega stands over the numerous dead clone bodies, a single door opens revealing a frightened school girl. The real version of the girl Rei had sleeved to spy on Kovacs. Ortega embraces and comforts the child as the episode ends.
Such an action-packed episode with two satisfying endings. Most series would have ended with the frame job Kovacs pulled on Prescott. However, it’s the Ortega vs. Reileen clone army sequence that steals this episode.
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