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Recap / Altered Carbon S 01 E 09 Rage In Heaven

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Title from: Rage In Heaven (1941)
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After Reileen issues a violent ultimatum, Kovacs and his associates plot to infiltrate her ship.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Bad Habits: Leung is able to gain access to the Ortega family residence by posing as a representative of their church.
  • Bathtub Scene: Kovacs puts an injured Ortega in a copper bathtub to clean her up and treat her injuries. Then he discovers that Ortega is actually his sister wearing her sleeve.
  • Brick Joke: Vernon Elliot breaks down Tak's bedroom door the same way Tak did to him at the start of the season, complete with the same one-liner.
    Vernon: You didn't answer.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Reileen, in Ortega's body, maintains the latter's Mexican accent, even after revealing her true identity to Kovacs.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Kovacs hopes by removing Rei's immortality, she can discover what it is to be human again.
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  • The Caper: The episode becomes this halfway through with the plan to rescue Ortega from Head in the Clouds, complete with Caper Crew.
  • Call-Back: Several:
    • Tak mentions De Soto when revealing he poisoned Rei's backups.
    • Reileen's evil plan involves stopping the passing of Amendment 653.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several:
    • Mary Lou Henschey's missing stack. Tak uses it as part of his summation to Rei.
    • Miriam's secret sex-paradise island. Tak sends his clone there as a decoy to confuse Reileen.
    • Isaac Bancroft's 3D Sleeve Printer. Tak uses it to create his clone.
    • The Helminth Code that was used to torture Takeshi. Turns out the one person that the Wei Clinic used it on was Lizzie Elliot, hence her madness. She still has the lizard with her.
    • Takeshi uses his Reaper-laced knife to lower his body temperature enough to fool the thermal scanners on Head in the Clouds.
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    • Kovacs' ability to withstand Reaper is weaponized here.
    • Takeshi spikes Reileen's backups with the Rawlings Virus, rendering her unable to come back if killed.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends on one. Kovacs and Vernon have successfully corrupted Reileen's backups, rendering her effectively mortal, but she stalls them long enough for her security team to arrive and capture them. And she vows to kill all their allies and families.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Lizzie's therapy has progressed to the point where she is only this, but carrying on a conversation with her is still difficult. She gets confused about what stage of the conversation she is at.
  • Death Seeker: The prostitutes employed by Head in the Clouds are conditioned to be this, under the promise that they will be resleeved once killed. If they aren't killed, they are fired, and the girl given to Vernon even starts begging him to kill her. What the employees don't know is that, if killed, they die for real, due to Reileen secretly faking Neo Catholic coding on their stacks.
  • The Determinator: Kovacs has "singular force of will". Or he's a suicidal idiot who never gives up.
  • Disney Villain Death: Kovacs kicks a guard off the docking platform.
  • Drugged Lipstick: It's revealed that Miriam drugged her husband with Stallion via a kiss.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: The creepy security guard fondling the naked hooker sleeves in cold storage.
  • Engineered Public Confession
    • Reileen suspects that her brother sent or manipulated Ortega into killing her clones, so she turns up in Ortega's sleeve and tries to coax an admission of guilt or a Love Confession from him. Kovacs is horrified at the suggestion, but then quickly works out that 'Ortega' is not who she appears to be.
    • The Plan is to force a confession from Reileen, which will make her lose all her power and backups and be put on ice. Reileen plays along only to stall for time until help arrives.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: After he murders Ortega's mother, Leung briefly pauses to eat some of the cookies she just finished baking.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As noted by Reileen, Bancroft still has enough sense of honor to feel guilty about committing murder, and so Ate His Gun out of remorse.
  • Evil Feels Good: Head in the Clouds is specifically designed to evoke this reaction. To visit, you have to qualify through killing prostitutes in virtual until you become addicted to the feeling, with the people who keep coming back now willing to pay anything to experience it in reality.
  • Evil Is Petty: Just before putting Ortega into virtual torture, Reileen makes a point of telling her that Kovacs knows of her fate and said he didn't care.
  • Evil Plan: Reileen reveals hers in this episode.
  • Exact Words: Poe is quick to use this when Takeshi forbids him from letting anyone in his room. Poe opts to let Vernon break down the door instead.
  • Expendable Clone:
    • Averted; Rei takes Ortega killing her clone bodies personally, and has her family murdered in retribution, even when Kovacs offers all the money Bancroft paid him in compensation.
    Rei: Blood was taken from me. Blood is owed.
    • Averted when Kovacs double-sleeves himself — they pay Rock–Paper–Scissors to choose who will take part in a dangerous mission and who will enjoy the pleasures of Miriam's island. The clone ends up going to the island, with the original Kovacs pointing out that the clone technically has never had sex before so he deserved to get laid.
  • Eye Scream: Kovacs having a microwire camera implanted in his eye.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Ava Elliot is not happy about her husband enjoying the services of a high-class brothel, and her worst fears appear to be realised when Vernon is shown into a room with a beautiful blonde in a Vapor Wear bikini. However the Elliots are then horrified to find the prostitute is only nineteen years old and expects to be raped, mutilated and killed as part of the Lithium Experience.
    • The usual sexual undercurrent of the Bathtub Scene and After-Action Patch-Up is subverted when we discover that it's actually Reileen wearing Ortega's body.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Leung's slaughter of Ortega's family is initially presented this way, with him entering the house and the audience hearing the slaughter, with their blood coming out from under the door. Later we see the aftermath in all its gory detail.
  • Handicapped Badass: Kovacs uses Reaper to fool the heat sensors, but it slows him down considerably enough that an average mook actually presents a danger, and he has to fight to keep passing out.
  • Heroic BSoD: Takeshi has a brief one after discovering the scene of the Ortega family's murder.
  • High Turnover Rate: As noted by the prostitute; they're not encouraged to socialise so none of them notes that it's actually a No Turnover Rate.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Averted; when Kovacs produces Mary Lou's stack, it looks like he will offer to swap it for Ortega. However he lets Rei have it in a Batman Gambit to convince her he really has given up.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: It turns out that Laurens Bancroft really did kill himself. He murdered a prostitute while violently raping her (not just her current body; he smashed her stack too) and caused another one to run away and jump to her death. He felt so ashamed that he shot himself, knowing that he would simply wake up in a new body with no memory of his actions.
  • I Know You Know I Know:
    • The conversation between Kovacs and his clone sounds like this, as they debate whether each is trying to manipulate the other into making the decision they want.
    • Rei-in-Ortega's body suggests that Kovacs rejecting Ortega outside Psychasec was actually him coaxing Ortega into making an attack on her sister. Her brother's aghast reaction convinces her otherwise.
  • Improvised Weapon: Rei notes that the weapon Vernon has pointed at her is a short-range bolt gun for killing livestock. As Vernon already knows it's used for killing prostitutes in Rei's brothel, he responds coldly, "I think I can make it work."
  • Indy Ploy: When Vernon can't shut down the sensors, Kovacs doses himself with Reaper to lower his body temperature. Realising this makes Kovacs vulnerable and prone to passing out, Vernon kills the guards and concierge and runs after him to provide backup.
  • In Medias Res: Subtle, but there. The episode opens to Takeshi and his clone playing Rock–Paper–Scissors to decide which of them get to live. Then it flashes back to Tak talking to Poe. Later we flash ahead 18 hours after the Ortega family murder, and don't realize it until flashing back.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Part of the plan to infiltrate Head in the Clouds involves Vernon posing as an African General who purchased the most expensive and exclusive package the brothel offers.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: Not for the characters, but for the audience. Ortega's first words to Kovacs on entering the Raven Hotel is that she has been killing his sister. However, Reileen never told Ortega of her relationship to Kovacs, and neither did he, and it is unlikely that Reileen disguised as the little girl would have told her.
  • Incest Subtext: In this episode, the subtext is thrown out the window when Reileen outright tries to seduce Takeshi while wearing Ortega's sleeve.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Vernon uses this as a pretext to drug his assigned prostitute so he can complete the mission.
  • Instant Sedation: After ingesting the drugged drink, the prostitute goes out in 5 seconds.
  • Intimate Healing: Weaponized by Rei, as she tries to frame her After-Action Patch-Up by Takeshi as one. He sees through the charade before it can get too far.
  • Karmic Death: Vernon kills the Head in the Clouds concierge and his mooks after the man offers him one too many depraved services.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rei's backup clones are infected with Rawlings virus; the exact same one she helped the Protectorate use to wipe out the Envoys.
  • Love Confession: Reileen tries to elicit this from Takeshi while disguised as Ortega. He doesn't bite.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: The prostitute is willing to be terrified on cue for her clients.
  • Mad Oracle: Lizzy claims to be this.
  • Mr. Exposition: Poe takes on this role in the opening minutes, neatly recapping the events of the previous episode.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Both Mickey and Captain Tanaka have this reaction after hearing about the death of the Ortega family. It cements Mickey's Heel–Face Turn and he joins Tak's team.
    • After causing the Real Death of two prostitutes, Bancroft shoots out his stack so he won't have to live with the guilt.
  • Neck Snap: Kovacs takes out one of the security guards at the brothel's parking lot by snapping his neck.
  • Never Suicide: Subverted. Bancroft's "death", which everyone suspected of being attempted murder, was suicide all along. He refused to believe it because his timed backup prevented him from knowing the circumstances.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In universe, the "Iridium Experience", Head in the Clouds' most exclusive package, is this for Vernon. You get to do absolutely anything to the prostitute in question. She even hands him a knife and tells him he can cut holes in her and capitalize on them. To make matters worse, the entire floor is supposed to be his playground. Left unsaid is that if the victim runs, he can chase her anywhere. Then she starts convincingly faking being scared and begging. He's thoroughly horrified.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Reileen refuses to accept her brother walking out on her as well. Takeshi wavers when she shows them an old family photo of them as children with their mother, but he ultimately dismisses it.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Kovacs is smuggled in 'General' Vernon's Flying Car. This causes problems when he accidentally activates the car alarm.
  • Race Against the Clock: Kovacs has to get to Rei's apartment within the narrow window when she has her scheduled backup.
  • The Reveal: Several:
    • Lizzie Elliot's madness is the result of being tortured at the Wei Clinic.
    • We knew Head in the Clouds was an exclusive high-end brothel before. What we didn't know is that it's specifically designed around snuff work, with the promise to the prostitutes that when they die, they will be resleeved. They won't, courtesy of Reileen's faked Neo Catholic coding on their stacks, put there without their consent or knowledge.
    • Rei's evil plan is to stop the passing of Amendment 653. To this end, she convinced Miriam to drug Laurens with Stallion through a kiss, and had him invited to Head in the Clouds. Mary Lou Henschey was one of the prostitutes assigned to him, and witnessed him Real-Death another prostitute under the influence. Mary Lou ran from the scene, and Reileen chased her throughout the satellite until cornering her on the edge. Mary Lou jumped from the satellite, intending for her body to die but her stack to survive, meaning she could expose Reileen, but Reileen had secretly recoded her stack the moment she was hired. When Ryker refused to stop investigating the case, she had him framed. Reileen then blackmailed Laurens with the knowledge of the girls' deaths to get him to use his influence to stop 653. After doing so, he unexpectedly committed suicide before his timed backup, with the intention of forgetting the whole affair to assuage his guilt, as his backup lacked his most recent memories.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Tak plays this with his clone in order to decide which of them will go on the suicide mission to Head in the Clouds, and who will be the decoy that goes to Miriam's sex-island. The clone ends up going to the island.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Takeshi claims to Reileen that he's given up and is just going to walk out on Ortega and Reileen and everyone else. She's suspicious enough to have Leung follow him, but when he leaves for Miriam's pleasure island she's fooled into letting her guard down.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: When discovers that Ortega is actually his sister Reileen wearing her as a sleeve, Reileen makes a point of slowly rising from the water while checking out Ortega's body.
    Reileen: I can see what you like about the sleeve. It's... nice.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Ava took some time off-screen to clean up her male sleeve. She looks much more presentable now.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Vernon opens the door to Reileen's apartment by shooting out the lock using the bolt gun the staff helpfully provided.
  • Shout-Out: The Caper Crew check their coms by saying "Five by Five".
  • Showing Off the New Body: Reileen is posing in Ortega's sleeve in front of Kovacs commenting that she can see what he liked about her.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Elliot drugs the young prostitute's drink with sedatives.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: There's a shot of the girl falling from the Head in the Clouds in slow motion.
  • Spotting the Thread: Kovacs is quick to pick up on Reileen's Impersonation Gambit. She was being way too straightforward, tender, and even playful, not at all like the fiery woman Kovacs may love. She then has the audacity to mock him for not spotting it sooner (though he is an Envoy).
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: The entire Ortega family, gratuitously murdered by Leung on orders from Rei, as revenge for Kristen killing a pile of her clones.
  • The Summation: Tak gives a brief one to Rei when revealing what he knows about the conspiracy. She found a way to fake Neo Catholic coding on stacks, then recruited all of her prostitutes from the streets and secretly recoded them without their knowledge. Therefore, if they die in her employ, they stay silent.
  • They Were Holding You Back: Reileen's goal is to turn Takeshi back into The Unfettered killer she knew, loyal only to her.
    Reileen (as Ortega): Let go of all these fireflies, Tak. If you don't, I'll do it for you. I'll burn every one of them down if that's what it takes to bring you back to me.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: After the Ortegas are wiped out, Kovacs tells Mickey and the Elliots to get out of Bay City. They force their way into his plan regardless, because it's too complicated for him to carry off on his own.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • After realising just how complicated (and thus prone to failure) his plan is, Kovacs asks if there's any good news, and is met by silence from the Caper Crew.
    • A guard talks of how lucky he was to escape the massacre at the Wei Clinic, only to be killed by Kovacs shortly after.
    • Faced with an apparently dissatisfied customer who's leaving early, the concierge urges Vernon to just tell him what he wants to do. Cue Boom, Headshot! from Vernon. "That."
  • Tragic Keepsake: Reileen relates a story of how, when taken by the Yakuza as a little girl, she was deprived of her only keepsake of Tak, one of his shirts. When they literally tore it out of her fingers, she ended up eating the remaining threads in desperation to hold onto any piece of him.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The complicated caper has to be laid out for the audience beforehand. As per this trope, things go wrong.
  • Vomiting Cop: Captain Tanaka, though it's not as much out of disgust as guilt, because he kept playing hatchetman for the Meths, Ortega's entire family — all Neo-Cs who can't be resleeved — was butchered by the Ghostwalker and it's all his fault.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Leung also kills the Ortega children, even though they were playing a VR shoot-em-up and so didn't hear their parents being murdered.
    • The prostitute assures Vernon that she's not an old woman in a young sleeve, but is a genuine nineteen years old. As a father Vernon is aghast at the idea that clients are expected to harm her, and that she can be fired if she fails to play along to their satisfaction.
    • When the 'general' appears to leave too early, the concierge asks if he doesn't want to indulge himself with someone else. A man, this time? Or a child? Vernon doesn't hesitate to kill him at the first excuse.
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: There is a shot of the bodybag of Ortega's father being zipped up.

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