Netflix’s Altered Carbon
Season 1, Episode 6: “Man with My Face”
Directed by Uta Briesewitz
Written by Nevin Densham
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Wrong Man” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Nora Inu” – click here
Episode title derived from the 1951 film noir The Man with My Face.
After Kristin Ortega (Martha Higareda) nearly got killed in that elevator she’s being rushed to the hospital by Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman). Even though she’s bleeding to death she has “insufficient credit” for such treatment, so he pays with his connections to Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy). Ortega needs an amputation, but lucky for her the resleeved ex-Envoy can buy her a new arm. However, the lieutenant’s a “neo–C” (neo-Catholic), so she doesn’t believe in resleeving for herself. Therefore she still has to go through surgery, they won’t just fit her into a new sleeve.
Over at the Raven, Vernon (Ato Essandoh) is watching Poe (Chris Conner) give his daughter Lizzie (Hayley Law) some virtual therapy. Part of the latest session is her using a bit of physical force against the hotelier. Dad fucks things up when he jumps in there, worried for his daughter. That just about sets Lizzie over the edge. He can’t accept that Poe might just know what he’s doing.
“Do not be afraid of the monsters, Ms. Elizabeth. Make them afraid of you.”
Takeshi continually sees Quell (Renée Elise Goldsberry) remind him that wherever he goes “death follows churning” in his wake. Of course she’s just a “figment” of his own “tortured psyche.” But she isn’t entirely wrong, either. These are things he needs to hear, because it’s easy to get lost in this world full of sleeves, identity that’s far beyond fluid, somewhere where fixed and finite are no longer concrete concepts.
After all that’s happened the ghost walker (Trieu Tran) is still evading the system. Captain Tanaka (Hiro Kanagawa) is with Mickey (Adam Busch) trying to look into leads, and he’s pissed about not being kept in the loop when it comes to what Ortega’s been doing on her own time. First priority remains finding the cop killer, who’s working with the latest version of Dimitri (Matt Biedel). Dim goes to a man called Hemmingway (Arnold Pinnock), they’ve been working with one another well over a century. Hemmingway’s not concerned with Kovacs, whereas Dim wants to kill the man; he needs the last Envoy to remain intact.
We see Kovacs and Vernon confront Isaac Bancroft (Antoni Marziale). Afterwards, the two men go speak to the parents. Miriam (Kristin Lehman) won’t hear any of it. Laurens entertains their story a moment. He doesn’t like that his son’s been growing clones of dear ole dad. The son passes it off as trying to make him “proud” by doing something important. Dad just sees his boy as a fuck up. In the middle of it all, Takeshi figures out Isaac didn’t kill his dad, remembering his own father beating his mother centuries before. Such an act requires deep, hideous rage. Kind of like the one Laurens has running through him.
Dim and the ghost walker are at odds over faith. The big Russian gets away from his new friend, managing to secure “an extraction.” He’s digitally transferred via satellite by Carnage (Matt Frewer). Dim’s put in the clone grown from the DNA of the original Kovacs. Oh, my. This will prove interesting.
Kristin wakes in one piece, though she’s upset to hear about Abboud’s “real death.” Not just that, she has a bionic arm, one that can crush things pretty well. She doesn’t like that much. At least she’s alive. The captain comes by to wish her well, telling her about the valorous actions saving her life. Kovacs wonders why Mickey hasn’t been suspended, for lying about the ghost walker situation, which makes him believe that Cpt. Tanaka is being paid off. And it’s true. So, Ortega kicks the shit out of her criminal-compliant boss with that new bionic limb.
Now, someone has to go “into the Pipe” – the virtual – and so Takeshi offers, since he’s so damn good at manipulating the construct after all he’s been through, the training Quell gave him before the Uprising. In he goes, making himself appear as Cpt. Tanaka to try get a meeting “in the Real.” We see him talk with Hemmingway, who’s certain he isn’t actually speaking to Tanaka. But they have to finish up quick. Something isn’t right. It’s like the world’s gone silent, quiet.
This is when they run into the cloned Kovacs (Will Yun Lee). He knocks the two of them out. They wake up, cuffed, brought somewhere else by Dimitri in the Kovacs sleeve. Creepy moment. Naturally, Carnage is there for the next step of the plan: yes, it’s Fightdrome time, baby! Another semi-couple is being tossed into the ring, this time Takeshi as Ryker against Lieutenant Ortega. Very twisted.
In addition, the fight will include Rhino Man (Fraser Aitcheson); he’s exactly what the name implies. Plus another monster-like tiger creature. A vicious fight ensues. They manage to down the two beasts, before they must face the other Kovacs, a brutal killing machine. Although it takes more effort, the two of them gradually overcome the Dimitri-Kovacs sleeve. And Takeshi removes the stack for Kristin to crush into bits.
“For this is a love story, with a body count!”