Netflix’s Altered Carbon
Season 1, Episode 8: “Clash by Night”
Directed by Uta Briesewitz
Written by Brian Nelson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Nora Inu” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Rage in Heaven” – click here
This episode’s title comes from the 1952 film Clash by Night, directed by Fritz Lang.
“What we believe shapes who we are; belief can bring us salvation, or destruction.”
We’ve discovered, along Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), that Reileen (Dichen Lachman) helped destroy the Envoys, including killing Quell (Renée Elise Goldsberry). She’s also been going around using those various sleeves, she’s the one who led Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) to Tak. Of course brother didn’t see himself as “brainwashed” by Quell, the rebellion, whereas sister believes she saved him from death for a cause that wasn’t his own.
Tough as shit Lieutenant Kristin Ortega (Martha Higareda) is dealing with the aftermath of the various shit she and Kovacs have been through recently, as well as the ever scheming Oumou Prescott (Tamara Taylor). Worse are the looks in her own police department, she’s being painted as a corrupt cop, and on top of that Abboud is gone, for which she blames herself. The real corrupt one, Captain Tanaka (Hiro Kanagawa), is still in his position and Lt. Ortega’s asking questions. He tries to tell her she’ll get herself “real deathed” by continuing her line of questioning.
Rei tells her brother he has to finish the Bancroft case. She also reveals he was “high on Stallion” the night of the murder, that Tanaka doctored the paperwork. She says that someone needs to go down for the crime, doesn’t matter who that is, really. That’s when we discover more – Rei’s had the ghost walker, Mr. Leung (Trie Tran) working for her. In addition to everything, she’s the one who runs the institute, working on “information extraction.” Holy christ.
Ortega goes to Mickey (Adam Busch), begging that he help her with the ghost walker situation; she needs to find out who it was that took Kovacs after the Fightdrome incident. He relents from his refusal at first, offering to do her one last favour. He runs a test on some of the blood leftover on Kristin.
Together for the first time, Leung and Kovacs have an antagonistic conversation about faith and death. The ghost walker says that Takeshi’s sister is a “living god.” Brother has to bey all the orders, though. Or else more of his friends will die. And at this point our resleeved Envoy’s sick of seeing people around him killed, knowing now what he knows of his sister, what she did to Quell, the rest of the Envoys. He leaves bodies in his wake, everywhere. Might be time he’s done with that.
On the streets, Leung takes Takeshi to get a “dipper” to help with coding to clue up Bancroft’s case. They’ve got a “cross–sleeved” Ava Elliott, wife to Vernon (Ato Essandoh). But in the middle of it, Lt. Ortega’s noticed that the Ryker skin tracker has activated again, so she shows up to find him. The ghost walker tells him to shake her, or Ava’s finished. Tak is forced to drive Kristin away with nasty emotions.
Back at the Raven, Poe (Chris Conner) is showing Vernon his daughter Lizzie (Hayley Law) is gradually building up a feeling of safety in the virtual, to one day make her capable of reentering the Real in the same way. However, Ava in a “sleeve sick” suit arrives with Takeshi, making things quite complicated. Particularly when mom wants to see her daughter, then wanders into the virtual with Lizzie; except daughter recognises mother, even in that unfamiliar sleeve. A strange yet sweet reunion. Takeshi’s got a bunch of stacks from the old Envoys, he tells his story to Ava, who’s supposed to be good with coding and wants her to get to work. Hmm, that’s intriguing. In the meantime, Poe is infiltrating the rest of the AI through a cheeky poker move. This sets the Elliott husband-wife team up with all they need.
At Suntouch House, Takeshi gathers everyone, including Miriam (Kristin Lehman) and Laurens himself. The resleeved private eye talks about Prick Up, a hideous, violent VR shop – the last place Bancroft was seen the night of his death. Seems that while he was there Laurens was infected. Through it all, Tak and his team are putting the blame on Prescott; she’s the mark in their scheme. And it works. Everyone believes the lie, most importantly Bancroft. Prescott’s life is now going to be totally ruined in every way aside from legal charges. Despite it all, Takeshi realises a few things about the case on which he’s been working this whole time. For now he takes his pardon, his money, and leaves.
Ortega won’t give up on Kovacs. She gets in touch with Mickey, who’s picked up something on the “gene map,” which doesn’t belong to anybody known. All the same, the tech guy’s loyalty can only extend so far. He’s only able to help so much for fear he’ll get run out of the department. This leaves Kristin with going alone. She’s more than able to get shit done on her own, too. Although she winds up walking herself right into a vault where she faces down the sleeve of Rei, armed with a jagged piece of glass; a vicious fight made worse by the fact there’s a bunch of Rei sleeves, each of them attacking Kristin one after the other. Lucky the cop has some bionic limb action going on.
But can she avoid all the tricks of Rei and her ever shifting consciousness? Could be tricky.
Fantastic follow-up to last episode’s big reveal. Really enjoy this piece of the first season, I never expected such a bomb to drop. Also love Dichen Lachman, she deserve more recognition and hopefully Altered Carbon will precipitate some bigger fame for her.
“Rage in Heaven” is next, the penultimate episode of Season 1.