Netflix’s Altered Carbon
Season 1, Episode 9: “Rage in Heaven”
Directed by Peter Hoar
Written by Russell Friend & Garrett Lerner
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Clash by Night” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “The Killers” – click here
This episode’s title derives from the W.S. Van Dyke-directed, 1941 film noir Rage in Heaven.
At the Raven, Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) tells Poe (Chris Conner) he’s figured out “the truth” about Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), though he hasn’t told him yet. Out of nowhere, Lieutenant Kristin Ortega (Martha Higareda) arrives, bleeding from her fight with Rei (Dichen Lachman). She made it out alive after all.
In the virtual, Poe is seeing that “violence seems to beget violence” in his therapy with Lizzie Elliott (Hayley Law). He worries maybe it’s not working how he intended. Whereas she’s doing a whole lot better. She’s becoming a very competent warrior in learning how to manipulate the virtual. May come in handy.
Maybe Ortega’s not Ortega. The brother figures out that his sister’s using the lieutenant as a sleeve to manipulate him. You can never trust your eyes, none of your senses. “Blood was taken from me, blood is owed,” Rei tells her brother. As they talk, Mr. Leung (Trieu Tran) is out ghost walking Bay City. The faithful assassin is out hunting down the Ortega family. Oh, my. The blood’s already flowing before Tak can rush to save them, not even the kids are safe. More death in the wake of Kovacs, more guilt to weigh on his shoulders.
But we also have to remember Head in the Clouds, the woman who fell from the sky, Ms. Mary Lou finally explained a little better. Takeshi knows more about Bancroft, his murder, so it’s only a matter of time before he decides on heading up there, right? Not just that, he uncovers the fact Rei figured out a way to fake “religious coding” and she runs that nasty city in the sky. She’s been a part of everything.
After seeing his sister Takeshi gets a lift from Miriam Bancroft (Kristin Lehman). Oh, wait – it’s actually a clone, while Takeshi, Poe, and the rest watch on.
Skip back 18 hours ago. After the Ortegas are murdered Takeshi rushes to find Ava (Cliff Chamberlain) and Vernon (Ato Essandoh). Back at the Raven, Mickey (Adam Busch) turns up worried about Kristin, knowing the police aren’t going to actually do anything about the whole situation. Kovacs warns everyone to leave, he’s going after Rei. Simultaneously, the sister has Ortega – the lieutenant is going to spend some time with Leung in the virutal. Don’t like the sounds of that.
The others refuse to let Kovacs face things alone, they know he’s pushing them away because of his guilt and using the excuse of being an Envoy for why he’s distancing himself from them. So, Vernon, Ava, and Mickey force their way into helping him. They see he’s already got a clone ready, and now it’ll take some “conscious mind cloning” to do the “double–sleeving” procedure. Weird for Takeshi, seeing himself standing across from himself. Oh, the wonders of a futuristic world.
Back to the cloned Tak heading off with Miriam to the “tropical sex paradise.” The real Tak has work to do. He goes to see Lizzie, as she trains with some knives. He notices that she’s had experience with the helmuth code, it was used on her before just as it was him in the virutal. She’s definitely got more to reveal.
Takeshi and his team are readying themselves to try infiltrating Head in the Clouds, the place of fantasies made into real experience. Using Vernon’s upgraded military license they plan on sneaking Kovacs inside, past all the security, depending on Mickey’s hacking abilities, as well. An intricate plan. Vernon in disguise gets inside, discovering a world of hideous delights designed for the most perverted, depraved elites with the money to pay for all the various disgusting pleasures available.
The Envoy takes a more physical approach to getting further into the facility, using a bit of reaper to help lower his body temperature. That doesn’t help Tak when he starts getting woozy. Soon, Vernon has to get physical, because he has to go find his friend. Tak does make it to his sister and his hackers at the Raven infiltrate Rei’s backup systems. They’ve got her down to “one life.”
Rei reveals everything about Bancroft’s death, how she pushed him into a position where she could blackmail him. She used Miriam to begin the whole plot. We see a disturbing look at Laurens going mad on Stallion, prompting the death and suicidal fall of Mary Lou, which Rei played her own part in aside from just being an enabler of deviant behaviour. The kicker is, Bancroft did indeed shoot himself, but couldn’t remember and wouldn’t accept that he’d done it, either. So much manipulation, so much blood on Rei’s hands.
And now Tak is right in his sister’s grasp. What’s about to happen? Who’ll come out on top in the end after so much carnage?
The finale – “The Killers” – is up next.
So, how have you all been feeling about Altered Carbon? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear everyone else’s take on the series. While it’s had a few issues, overall I’ve found it spectacular, in theme, tone, and action visuals. Let’s see how the season ends, then wonder if there’ll be a Season 2.