The episode opens with Ortega in VR replaying the discovery of her murdered family. Leung, the Ghost Walker assassin, admits he recorded his slaughter so that he could use it to torture Ortega. The construct abruptly ends, plunging Ortega into darkness and the scene cuts to Kovacs and Elliot facing off against Rei’s guards. They are outmatched and the tables turn back in Rei’s favor. She seizes the opportunity and sends Leung down to the surface to fetch the rest of the crew hiding out in the hotel.
The action moves to Mickey, Ava and Poe pacing nervously about, trying to figure out what their next move is since the power surge left them in the literal dark. Leung bursts through the door and wastes no time in killing Poe with an electron destabilizer, which reduces the AI into a pile of nano-dust.
Before he is erased from reality, Poe sets Lizzy free and sends her to Head in the Clouds at her request. Leung blows Mickey’s stack out when the techie tries to make a daring move. That leaves Ava to get hauled out by the collar, the lights in the AI hotel shutting down as they exit.
Lizzy wakes up in a sleeve in Head in the Clouds and is quickly found by a security guard who decides to have a turn with her. She manipulates the sleeve’s synthetic skin to take her form and kills the security guard. This sets off a killing spree as she daintily saunters down hallways and into rooms leaving death and destruction in her wake. It really seems as if her parent’s reservations about Poe’s methods were well deserved. She kills without remorse or emotion, like a meth, but the origins of those emotions inside her have a different origin. Whereas meths develop sociopathic tendencies after centuries of living as gods, Lizzy had her personality rebuilt by an AI after it was caught in a trauma loop. And though her own loss of humanity was a coping mechanism against the trauma she endured, it was ultimately made possible by a meth and every bit as corrupt.
Meanwhile, Rei continues to force her hand by giving Kovacs and ultimatum to choose which one of his “fireflies”, Ortega (who was brought out of VR), Vernon or Ava, to kill. If he doesn’t, Rei promises to kill them all. She hands him a gun and he immediately puts it to his own stack.
Rei can’t believe Kovacs would really kill himself to save himself the choice until he pulls the trigger. It clicks and Rei snaps, “Do you really think I’d give you a loaded gun?” She instructs Leung to lock up the hostages, promising Kovacs that she will have him kill all of them. “And in the end, you won’t even care.”
Down on the surface, a disgraced Prescott shows up to the BCPD offering to tell Captain Tanaka where Ortega is being held.
Lizzy intercepts Leung escorting Ortega and the Elliots and a skirmish ensues. Ortega goes back to get Kovacs and Lizzy goes with her parents to kill the power to the floating island. They succeed and a timer starts giving everyone ten minutes to get off the flying brothel before it plummets to the earth.
Ortega can’t get back to Kovacs since a metal door secured Rei’s apartment when the power got shut off. Luckily, Leung shows up and she gets some payback for her family. After a great fight, Captain Tanaka and the cops arrive on the scene.
“Not today,” Captain Tanaka replies, his character finally getting a chance to do the right thing.
Then, while Leung begs for his life, Ortega destroys his stack. It was one of the most satisfying scenes in the entire season.
Kovacs and Reileen battle it out and are equally matched. Kovacs eventually gets the upper hand and Reileen plays her final chip: she admits that Quell Falconer is still alive. Reileen backed her up without Falconer’s knowledge moments before the shuttle was destroyed. The Quell hallucination returns to Kovacs and at that moment he realized that Rei wasn’t lying. But he doesn’t spare his wayward sister. He holds her dead sleeve in his arms as Head in the Clouds crashes into the bay below.
Kovacs wakes up in VR with a UN agent explaining that he cannot have a clone of himself. The pardon only extends to one Takeshi Kovacs so one of them has to die. Then Kovacs has a chat with his clone, they play paper-rock-scissors and the scene cuts to Ortega’s apartment where she is praying and lighting candles for her dead family. Kovacs entered and she turns to him, welling up with tears at the sight of him.
“I was double sleeved. I cloned myself.”
“Which one am I talking to?”
“The one you said goodbye to.”
This little exchange implies that the original Kovacs and not the clone “won” the match. Kovacs and Ortega have their moment and then the final scene of the season brings it all back to Bancroft.
Using the footage from Kovacs’s microcamera, Bancroft is arrested and charged with murder and illegally influencing the outcome of Resolution 653. He is forced to face what he’d done and the forgetfulness of his intentional suicide is denied him. Bancroft can’t seem to believe he is capable of the kind of evil he committed. In the end his unwavering sense of honor wins out and he offers himself up with no incident, promising to leave everything to his son Isaac “as he should have long ago.” But Kovacs and Ortega aren’t quite done yet. Kovacs calls out Miriam, Kovacs’s wife, for murdering Lizzy because the girl was pregnant with Bancroft’s child.
After killing her and her unborn child, Miriam then gave Lizzy’s stack to Rei who put it through VR torture until she broke and fell into a trauma loop. And since Rei did a favor for Miriam, she expected one in return. That favor was drugging Bancroft. At this point the meth is staring at his wife in disbelief. He really never expected her to betray him in such a manner. Both are arrested and taken away.
The episode closes by informing us that the Elliots became a happy family again. Ortega got her job back and since Riker was cleared of the charges against him, Kovacs would be giving him back his sleeve. Ortega is obviously conflicted by this as she had fallen in love with Kovacs. As for Kovacs, he plans to find where Reileen hid Falconer.
This was an excellent season finale. It tied up the season, answered all the questions and prepared for the next season. I’ll give an overview and my final thoughts next week!