Welcome to this weeks installment of the Summer TV Binge 2021 with Altered Carbon. We’ve reached the halfway point for season two and we’re in episode five, “I Wake Up Screaming.” After realizing Quellcrist Falconer’s blackouts are killing founders Tekashi, Kovacs and Trepp have to find a way out of the city without being noticed. It’s another episode of running from someone, so let’s just jump right into it!
1. Kovacs’ Worst Enemy
Project Evergreen was something that Colonel Carrera kept mentioning and its status arriving at Harlan’s World. In the last episode, it was revealed to be Tekashi Kovacs in his original sleeve. Carrera had double-sleeved Kovacs years ago and had him on ice, only to be awakened during an emergency. It’s both a personal and tactical move because “Kovacs Prime” has the knowledge of current Kovacs and can find clues Carrera and his soldiers may not think of. This was also before he met Quellcrist Falconer, so his ideas and methods are ruthless with only the mission’s success in mind.
At one point, he finds the hotel and Dig301 behind the bar. He begins to interrogate her mercilessly by hacking into her programming and forcing her to divulge information on the whereabouts of Kovacs. Then, as soon as he gets his information, he leaves her stuck and continues forth. Kovacs was always portrayed as cold in personality and a tactician to find the truth, but seeing him attack without thinking twice is entirely different.
2. The Governor’s Big Move
Danica Harlan has had her leadership abilities questioned all season long. She’s the daughter of one of the founders of the planet. She should have it in her DNA, yet the masses are panicking with Kovacs escaped execution and now Falconer’s return. Part of those masses is her cartel of leaders trying to stage a coup to get her removed from power. However, since the panic has set in, she throws out the idea to declare martial law and put her in charge with no one to check the decisions she makes, which of course, they blindly agree. Her first move: put them all on house arrest for even thinking of trying to get rid of her.
Danica has proven in these last couple of episodes not only how ruthless she can be but how desperate she is to stay in power. Her moves reek of a fragile ego, but she also loves to piss off Carrera. Her newfound power puts her in charge of him and his soldiers, something that even the audience doesn’t want because we have no idea what she’s going to do with them at her disposal.
3. Poe’s Mission
Poe decides to go on a solo mission to help Kovacs and Falconer. He’s going to find the last “living” founder, Konrad Harlan. His daughter is in charge because he had decided to live in a constructed reality that feels like a corporate retreat type of utopia. Poe is greeted by the founder of this reality, Jack Soul Brasil, but is shocked when he sees his old friend Lizzie Elliot. Her return is a tactic by the founder to distract Poe from his mission. Harlan is not a part of that world, but Brasil is being paid to continue perpetuating the lie. Poe is seemingly backed into a corner before he realizes his terminal disease can be used as a weapon to this construct and begins to destroy it from the inside out. This does feel like a kamikaze kind of tactic for Poe, but he manages to get out of the construct with the newly obtained information on Harlan.
4. Falconer’s Guilt
It is still unknown who is controlling Falconer when she blacks out and goes on her mission of killing founders, but since she’s been reunited with Kovacs, the guilt has begun to eat at her. Kovacs’ mission has been to protect Falconer and try to get her memories, but she is far less optimistic about what will happen. Falconer gives Trepp a gun filled with poisonous ammo that will guarantee her death if it hits her if she loses control. It’s a secret pact because as strong and intelligent Kovacs is, his emotions lead him when it comes to Falconer; he wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger.Continued below
After a close call with Falconer, Trepp has her hand on the gun, and Kovacs quickly notices. He realizes the set plan, and as soon as he gets an opportunity, he throws away the gun. Falconer flips as soon as he’s out of sight and takes down Trepp; now the question remains of who will be in charge once Kovacs finds them again.
5. Underrated Dig
Dig301 is one of the new characters introduced this season and has a done a lot for both Poe and Kovacs. She’s been Poe’s one friend that is looking out for his well-being with his deteriorating condition. Dig also tries to stop Poe from entering the construct, warning him, “You can’t save humans from themselves.” By telling him that she’s trying to get Poe to think about himself for once, but when he still goes forward, she understands the emotional connection Poe and Kovacs have.
Part of what keeps her withholding information during her torture scene is she recalls standing by when the archelogues (Archeological AIs) were killed. Her strength in that scene seals her inside of Kovacs inner circle, at least in the eyes of the audience, because without him or Poe, she would still be stuck in a limbo of unused AIs. I think that she’s proven that she can be a vital resource for both of the main characters, and has no ulterior motives, unlike most other characters in the show. It’s also refreshing that the romantic agenda between her and Poe are not being forced into the audience’s thoughts.