Altered Carbon S1:E5

When everyone lies telling the truth isn’t just rebellion it’s an act of revolution. So think carefully when you speak it because the truth is a weapon.—Kovacs

ac kovacs and ortega
Image Source: Netflix Screenshot

This episode opens with Riker beating a witness (a low level bureaucrat) trying to get information about a murder out of him. Riker is obviously strung out and teetering on the edge of a psychotic breakdown. He keeps going on about a conspiracy and Ortega comes to his side, calming him and assuring him that there is no sinister plot. What this plot is remains unknown. She distracts Riker and cuts the prisoner free.

This flashback moves to Ortega conversing with Kovacs in his room picking up where they left off last episode. Kovacs deduces that Riker’s conspiracy and Bancroft’s murder are somehow connected. And also that his tormenter, Demi, from the virtual torture clinic, was trying to frame Riker for the murder of his brother. This all hints to a deeper conspiracy involving Kovacs, something he’s not very happy about. Ortega leaves the hotel in a huff with the head of Demi 2 and Kovacs goes to see Bancroft.

He’s met by Mrs. Bancroft. She asks him to drop the case and offers to buy him a new identity. She claims she’s making the offer out of concern for Kovacs. Really, she is concerned for what the answers Kovacs finds will do to Bancroft and fears her husband’s wrath would extend to her and the family. She knows her husband is capable of terrible things and doesn’t want any of that harm directed at her.

Kovacs heads to the slums to confront Bancroft about putting him in Riker’s sleeve. Bancroft is tending to a crowd of poverty stricken people infected with a deadly virus.  Bancroft meets Kovacs’s accusations with much exposition about gods like Odin and Zeus and compares himself to them. He really feels as if he has become like one of them. His megalomania has steadily been growing since the beginning of the series and in this episode we finally get to see it start to crack his sanity.

You say because I cannot fix everything, I should fix nothing at all.—Bancroft

Bancroft, infected with the plague that runs through the slums talks a lot about power and the nature of it. When his clone dies, infected with the virus, the people mourn his death like some sort of king. It was a really odd scene, to be honest, and seemed to set up Bancroft as some sort of savior archetype.

Afterward, back at the hotel, Ortega’s partner shows up and warns Kovacs not to hurt her. The AI, Poe, give Kovacs a tip that the night of Bancroft’s murder, the meth was at an underground fight and that video footage existed.  Kovacs and Ortega head to the Fight Drone and watch the footage which shows Bancroft beating his son Isaac to a pulp. So naturally, they head to Isaac’s apartment to search for clues.

They find that Bancroft’s son is into art and also that he was keeping a clone of Bancroft on ice. Isaac has been using Bancroft’s sleeve to impersonate him.

Finding truth is more than a search for data, it’s an excavation of the self.—Kovacs

They head back to Ortega’s apartment and end up sleeping together.  After a steamy love scene, Ortega hands Kovacs a stack that triggers a flashback. The stack belonged to the bureaucrat whom Riker was pummeling in the opening scene. In the flashback, Riker and Ortega are interrupted by the police who insist Riker was involved in a murder. The unstable man immediately starts ranting about his conspiracy which causes Ortega to doubt his innocence. This destroys Riker’s resolve and he is led away in cuffs presumably to have his sleeve recycled and made ready for Kovacs to inhabit. After that trip down memory lane, Ortega gets a call and they head off to interview Demi whose stack they spun up in the same body of abuela from last episode.

The episode concludes with a riveting  confrontation when Ortega and her partner are attacked in the elevator by what appeared to be a religious terrorist. The terrorist was briefly referenced earlier in the episode but no clues as to who he is or who he works for were really offered up. The zealot frees Demi and kills Ortega’s partner. The lieutenant was seriously wounded in the attack. Kovacs gets there afterward and rushes a wounded Ortega to get medical care.

ep 5 final scene
img: Salutemag.com

This episode had some startling revelations. It definitely started answering some of the questions that have been building from the earlier episodes but at the same time the mystery of Bancroft’s murder deepens.

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Author: That One Guy

Jason lives, laughs and loves in the Land of Enchantment. He has been many exciting things in his life, but his title has always been "author." His book, "The Ruined Man," was a finalist in the 2017 NM-AZ Book Awards. Follow him on Facebook at: facebook.com/jasondegrayauthor Twitter: @infinityjones and Instagram @theruinedman and don't forget to check out his blog at universalshiftblog.wordpress.com

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