Altered Carbon (S01E02) "Fallen Angel"

spoiler
Takeshi Kovacs is excited to get started with the investigation. Well, not really. But he’s all in regardless, even if it means putting up with Laurens Bancroft’s condescending attorney, Oumou Prescott, and other various and sundry assistants and helpers who see him as something to be scraped from their shoes.
knocking
A quick trip to Psychasec garners seemingly little, other than confirming Laurens traveled via needlecast to Osaka for some business thing he doesn’t remember and that he was restored seemingly without incident into his body there at Psychasec.
He also catches a glimpse into the lives of the uber wealthy, who can keep vaults of their own clones so they can be resleeved over and over. The little people however, don’t get that luxury. They take whatever they can get when they need to resleeve.
After a brief exchange with a clueless and thoroughly naked Laurens, Kovacs starts looking into recorded threats against Bancroft, and there are like a LOT of them. He uses his ONI (optical neural interface) to sort them.
ceiling
He quickly narrows it down to an obvious choice only to determine pretty quickly this guy is not THE guy. Vernon Elliot’s just a broken father whose daughter Lizzie was murdered and all he has is her stack. Elliot’s convinced Bancroft was involved because Lizzie told him she’d been seeing him.
Kovacs enters VR into Lizzie’s stack and realizes Lizzie is too is broken and traumatized to get any information from her. She’s stuck in a trauma loop, the poor girl.
Bummed out and missing Quell…he’s always missing Quell…he makes the mistake of going to a museum exhibit documenting the Battle of Stronghold. It’s a horrifying bastardization of the truth. As Kovacs’ voiceover during the scene acknowledges, the victors rewrite history and it’s like another kind of war whose sole purpose is to murder the memory of the defeated.
Kovacs starts looking into what happened to Lizzie and winds up in the seedier part of town. He clarifies for himself what he’s already figured out: Lizzie was a prostitute and Bancroft was one of her regulars.
Meanwhile, Elliot shows up and he’s just thrilled to find out what Kovacs is up to.
happy
It’s possible Elliot might still be holding a teensie grudge for their earlier “meeting.” Possibly because Kovacs beat him up and tied him down. Or maybe it was because he ate all his cereal. Regardless, their “conversation” is interrupted by some dudes with a bone to pick with Kovacs, it seems. Of course nothing in this show is what it seems, right? Especially when they’re angry he’s “back.” (This is the first time Kovacs has been anywhere, really.)
At any rate, the fight is brutal and the police show up before too long. That in itself is surprising, given the location. Or maybe not so surprising since it’s Ortega who arrests him.
Kristin’s had a day and a half of her own. It started with her stalking Kovacs using a tracker she planted on him! (Which btw clarifies how she was able to find him so quickly and arrest him later that evening.) Next, she had to comfort poor Mrs. Henchy, a woman whose daughter Mary Lou died under VERY suspicious circumstances and who is now missing from the morgue.
Time with her own mom didn’t help much either and not only because she fusses at her for her poor eating habits.
bats
Her mom doesn’t support her views that someone can be “spun” back up and resleeved after death. It’s a religious thing and apparently the church believes doing that will cost someone their soul. She doesn’t even support it for identifying those guilty of murder and she’s happy Resolution 653 was quashed. (Resolution 653 would have allowed murder victims to be spun back up regardless of religious coding in order to testify about what happened to them.)
And after all that, having to deal with Kovacs? It’s a real buzzkill. But something’s snapped inside of her after Prescott gets him released. She goes to confession, admitting she’s abused her power. For what? We don’t know everything yet…
bad
…but we do know she knew Mary Lou Henchy’s body was hidden in the morgue because she sets it out to be “found” (sans stack of course).
Meanwhile Kovacs finds Miriam Bancroft in his room and… if you love dubious consent scenes, you’ll be a big fan of what she does to him. Yay dubious consent sex scene!
The scene is made even more awesome when you realize someone spying on the whole thing. Yay spying! Because of course creepy sex is only made better when creepy watched by a creep.
creepy
Favorite Moments:

  • Ortega venting her frustrations on her very patient partner. Poor Abboud!
  • Poe preening to other AIs that he has his first guest in decades
  • Kovacs leaving Elliot money for the cereal he ate and the door he busted. Oops.
  • Kovacs bitter stroll through re-written history, just so he could see Quell again

Final thoughts:
“To the victor go the spoils,” or so the saying goes. The victors in Altered Carbon rewrote history to paint Envoys as terrorists and now it’s simply an understood truth. But this lie tarnishes everything about this world, especially when (in a few short episodes) the truth is revealed as to what the Envoys really wanted and how the conflict truly ended.
We’re introduced to not one, but two women who died under mysterious circumstances and meet the family left behind who are still struggling to pick up the pieces. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: these stories are not random. They’re not extra. They are entirely relevant to the larger picture and it’s important to pay attention to how that plays out.
My primary quibble with the episode was the dubious consent sex scene at the end because I’m just not a fan. That said, it’s important to understand that the Meths feel entitled to get whatever they want however they want it and this is just another example of that attitude, gross as it absolutely is.
I give “Fallen Angel” 4.25 Kovacs tattoos out of a possible 5.
kovacs-tattoos-425
 

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