Clash By Night
“What we believe shapes who we are. Belief can bring us salvation or destruction. But when you believe a lie for too long, the truth doesn’t set you free. It tears you apart.”—Kovacs
Not my favorite episode. The main focus is on Kovacs wrapping up Bancroft’s murder case at Reileen’s behest. At the beginning of the episode, Kovacs is pretty spun out at the revelation of Rei’s level of involvement behind the scenes. She is very unapologetic about it all, insisting that she did so for him, so that they could be family. Kovacs doesn’t take the news well and threatens to kill Rei for her traitorous actions. She doesn’t care. She has been fully converted over to a meth mentality. And it’s for this reason I immediately dislike her character. Even if she is a ninja bad ass, she’s turned to the dark side. But regardless, she sends Kovacs off to find someone to take the fall for Bancroft’s murder.
That she had something to do with it is fairly obvious. She explains she has become a titan of industry dealing in the meth weaknesses of the flesh. And one of these dealings is in information extraction. It was at her clinic that Dimi tortured Kovacs in a previous episode. If he refuses she will subject Ortega and Vernon Elliot to that same virtual torture. Kovacs accepts. And this is where my problem with the episode starts.
First, Kovacs decides he needs a “dipper” (read: hacker) to make all this happen. What better hacker than Ava Elliot? His side kick Vernon’s imprisoned wife. He pulls some strings (via Rei) and gets her released…into a cross-sleeve. The impact of which is lost because of the whole episode with Ortega and her Abuela who she cross-sleeved into a male body. So there is a very touching but awkward reunion scene between Ava and Vernon and Lizzy. Lizzy recognized Ava as her mother almost immediately. Then Vernon creeps out and they all have a family hug in VR after which they proceed to lambast Poe for his violent rehabilitation techniques.
The first order of business in Kovacs’s plan is to replicate the Rawlins virus. This is the same virus that the Protectorate used against the Envoy stronghold in the previous episode. And Kovacs even supplies samples of the virus via the burned out stacks of the Envoys at Stronghold. Once the virus is extracted and refined, Poe takes it to his AI buddy that owns a VR brothel. We’ve seen this AI pimp briefly in previous episodes and he was generally painted as a bastard. I guess so we wouldn’t feel so bad for him when Poe infects him with the Rawlins virus and he disintegrates, screaming discordantly.
Meanwhile, Kovacs lays his trap at Bancroft’s mansion in the sky. He invites Prescott, Captain Tanaka, Bancroft’s wife and son Isaac and the meth’s personal bodyguard. Clarissa Severin (who is really Rei) also shows up to watch her plan play out. Kovacs makes a big production and pins the whole thing on Prescott, using the Elliots to fabricate evidence on the fly.
The whole thing seemed hasty and rushed. It’s like they spent seven episodes building up to something and then just said, “you know what? We’re just gonna wrap all this up with a hastily constructed plan.” The whole thing was disappointingly anticlimactic. The Bancrofts buy the whole story and Laurens promises to “ruin Prescott” before having her removed from the premises. Then Kovacs demands his payment and pardon. I mean, this was a serious letdown.
Meanwhile, Ortega’s storyline isn’t doing much better. She spends the first part of the episode getting fired from the police station and convincing the tech guy, Mickey, to help her identify the blood on her knuckles that was from Rei. She’s desperately trying to find Kovacs who pops up on her radar shortly after he and the Ghost Walker pull Ava from storage. Kovacs pulls the usual “get away from me, I hate you now for absolutely no reason” bit to save Ortega’s life presumably. Mickey gets back to her and tells her the blood on her hand matches an undisclosed vault at Psychasec’s clone storage facility. Well naturally, Ortega runs off to investigate. What she finds is a room full of Rei clones who immediately wake up and try to kill her. Ortega puts a bullet in somewhere around 7 clones and lays down to recover when she hears a child crying. She looks around to find a young girl huddled in a corner, sobbing. This is Rei’s child sleeve. Again, the whole thing seemed rushed through and was wholly unsatisfying especially after the awesomeness of the previous episodes.
The one thing this episode did have going for it was several great quotes and a satisfying revelation by the Ghost Walker assassin. While in an elevator with Kovacs, the assassin explains his loyalty to Rei. He refers to her as “She Who Endures” and treats her like a goddess. In fact, he explains, she is. All the meths are gods and should be worshipped as such. Called it!
So all in all, a disappointing episode. I’m not sure what’s left to do in the final two episodes and am hoping for some kind of excitement to ramp us up for season 2.