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Recap / Altered Carbon S 01 E 10 The Killers

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Title from: The Killers (1946)
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Everything is revealed as Kovacs confronts Reileen for the last time, and Lizzie faces the Bancrofts.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • When Laurens is arrested, he looks less like a Corrupt Corporate Executive and more like a small child who realized he actually did something bad.
      "I thought I was a decent man."
    • Same with Miriam, at least in Laurens' eyes; upon hearing she drugged him into the rage-induced Real Death of two prostitutes as vengeance for his philandering, he is genuinely remorseful.
      "... We've ruined each other, haven't we?"
    • There's also the death of Rei. By the time of her death she's almost completely unsympathetic, but it's hard not to have some pity for her given her past and her psychotic devotion to her brother. That same brother kills her because he knows she'll never stop trying to kill the people he loves. They share one last Head Butt Of Love before he shoots her stack, then cradles her body and cries. For a moment they're even briefly transformed into the innocent children they were rather than the people they are now. Kovacs wonders if she felt relief in her final moments, or if she realized what kind of monster she became.
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  • Asshole Victim: Lizzy kills the pervert guard in cold storage who immediately tries to rape her, as well as a deranged customer who just killed two sleeves for his satisfaction.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lizzie Elliot, who uploads her consciousness into a synth body on Head In The Clouds so she can save her parents and work with them to crash the ship.
  • Big Electric Switch: What the Elliot's use to Cut the Juice and bring down Reileen's hovership.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Reileen is defeated, and her organization dismantled. The senior Bancrofts face justice for their crimes, with the more moral son Isaac taking over their empire. The Elliot's are reunited, as are Ortega and Ryker, and Takeshi is left a wealthy man. Also, Amendment 653 is passed, meaning Mary Lou and many of Reileen's victims can be resurrected. But a lot of people are dead, including Mickey, Poe, and Ortega's entire family. Takeshi is left once again alone, having been forced to kill his own sister, on a possible wild goose chase searching for Quell, and possibly loved Ortega to boot and had to let her go.
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  • Bond One-Liner: Lizzy in her new role.
    Customer: I didn't dial for the S and M package. Although, maybe I'll just take it anyway.
    Lizzie: (stabbing him in the head) It's on the house.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When Ortega finally takes down the Ghostwalker, she delivers his own catchphrase to him.
    "Are you a believer, motherfucker?"
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Literally. The gun that Rei drops at the start of her fight with Kovacs comes back later, when he uses it to kill her permanently.
    • As shown in the first episode (with the synth-stripper performing for Kovacs) synthetic sleeves have the ability of Voluntary Shape Shifting, changing their appearance at will. Lizzie, after needlecasting into one of Head in the Clouds synthetic sleeves, morphs from a generic female into her original appearance.
  • Colony Drop: Averted. Lucky for the protagonists, Head in the Clouds was orbiting above the former San Francisco Bay, meaning there were no casualties from the impact, save those already in the satellite.
  • Cradling Your Kill: After killing Rei and damaging her massive hovership so that it starts to fall from the sky, Takeshi chooses not to escape and instead cradles her body because she's his little sister. As he does so, we get a brief glimpse of both of them transformed back into the children they were when first separated.
  • Darkest Hour: The start of the episode: Takeshi and Vernon are captured without weapons, Ortega is trapped in virtual torture, Ava is kidnapped, and Poe and Mickey are both Killed Off for Real. It's not looking good for the heroes.
  • Death Is Cheap: A final example. Kovacs dies together with his sister in dramatic fashion but is alive and kicking in the next scene.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Averted; the climactic fight is between Ortega and the Ghostwalker and between Kovacs and Rei respectively.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: Rei's reaction when Tak tries to shoot himself with her gun, as she didn't trust him enough to give him one with bullets.
  • Dies Wide Open: Combined with Due to the Dead. On board of the Head in the Clouds, Lizzy closes the eyes of two sleeves who died with open eyes, murdered by a sadistic John.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Poe uses to his last moments to transmit Lizzie to Head in the Clouds.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Vernon family survive, and Ava gets pardoned and her proper sleeve back, though Lizzy elects to keep her synthetic sleeve. One of the Ryder sleeves survives also, so Ortega can be reunited with him now that he's been acquitted.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The recording implant Takeshi installed in Ryker's sleeve survived the destruction of Head in the Clouds, and he and Ortega use it to broadcast her confession of the conspiracy directly in Sun Touch house during a party the Bancrofts are throwing. It's complete with the crimes of Laurens and Miriam.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Averted; Reileen reveals that she now despises her mother for being weak, and is determined never to be like that herself.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Laurens is horrified with Miriam's torture of Lizzie, having never intended any harm to come to her and completely ignorant of his wife's actions.
    • However it's also subverted, as the fact that Laurens had standards gave him the illusion that he was a fundamentally decent man with some Byronic flaws. His Heel Realisation strips away this illusion.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Poe, AI to the Raven Hotel, calmly stares down the Ghostwalker and declares him to be an inhuman monster. While in VR, he sends Elizabeth Elliot away to save her life and allow her to exact revenge on those who destroyed her. He even quietly recites poetry as death overtakes him.
  • For Want of a Nail: The entire present day events of the series are revealed to have been kicked off by Lizzie's pregnancy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Tanaka and Prescott are both finally faced with too many atrocities from the Meths to ignore.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Combined with Forced to Watch. Leung forces Ortega to continuously relive the scene of her entire family's murder in virtual reality. For the Evulz.
  • Handicapped Badass: Vernon's leg wound considerably slows him down, but doesn't stop him once he sees that Lizzie has made it to Head in the Clouds.
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: Poe's holographic image averts this trope throughout the season but it starts flickering when he dies.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Rei eventually decides that killing Kovacs is a better alternative than him locking her stack up and staying with his allies and love interest.
  • I Have Your Wife: Rei's final bargaining chip with Tak. She claims to have Quell's DHF backed up in a hidden location, and will only tell him the location if he helps her escape. He refuses.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Miriam is shown in a flashback as she kicks Lizzy in the stomach who is lying on the ground screaming, leading to a miscarriage.
  • ...In That Order: Lizzy has become transhuman enough to predict the future (in a Mad Oracle manner) which she sees as "Salvation...death...retribution." Poe quips, "Perhaps you could tell me in what particular order?"
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Tak sings "The Patchwork Man" to Rei as he cradles her lifeless body, the same story he read to her as a child.
  • Irony: Ortega is only able to defeat Leung because of her super strong new arm, with him being responsible for the loss of the original.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Kovacs learns that the gun Reileen handed him was not loaded when he tries to kill himself.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kovacs gives up Ryker's sleeve so that Ortega can be reunited with her lover...regardless of how he feels about her.
  • I Will Find You: Kovacs leaves at the end of season one to find Quell's stack and resurrect her.
  • Karmic Death: Ghostwalker/Leung is Killed Off for Real by Ortega, with the same weapon that he used to kill her partner and her family.
  • Lock Down: Tak is trapped on the wrong side of a door with his sister.
  • Mutual Kill: Tak and Rei's duel climaxes with them stabbing each other. Although, as they are both Envoys and Made of Iron, they don't die.
  • Neck Snap: Lizzy kills the guard in cold storage this way.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: When Kovacs tells his sister that she will stand trial, she replies that she will never go back on ice.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Prescott hitting Rock Bottom only means she has nothing to lose by turning on her former employers.
  • Pet the Dog: Laurens faces his arrest with dignity, and hands over his business empire to Issacs, admitting that he should have done it long ago.
  • Reality Ensues: When Poe disintegrates, Mickey tries to use the situation to disarm one of the Ghostwalker's mooks. Such a move usually has a high success rate in fiction but here Mickey dies trying.
  • Red Alert: Averted; Rei orders Leung not to sound the alert as it will tip off Kovacs' friends that their intrusion has been discovered. Instead she sends Leung to the Raven to kill or capture everyone there.
  • Sadistic Choice: Rey orders Kovacs to RD either Ortega, Vernon, or Ava. If he doesn't comply all three will be killed. He chooses to Take a Third Option to try to blow out his own stack, but Rei points out It Works Better with Bullets.
  • Save the Villain: Averted; Rei tells her brother that if they work together, they have a chance of making it across the hull to the Escape Pods. Instead Tak shoots her in the stack, knowing that Rei will continue to be a threat to his friends as long as she lives.
  • See You in Hell: A Defiant to the End Poe says this to the Ghostwalker. Ortega sees he ends up there.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Poe and Mickey are both killed.
  • Sword Fight: Combined with Katanas Are Just Better. How Tak and Rei's final battle plays out. It helps she has a collection of Katanas in her office.
  • That Man Is Dead: Rei about herself.
    Kovacs: Rei-chan...
    Reileen: Don't call me that. I'm not that pathetic little girl anymore. I killed her...and became something stronger.
  • There Can Only Be One: The U.N. representatives that run the investigation into the destruction of Head in the Clouds manage to safe Kovacs' stack from the reck, but Ryker's sleeve is killed on impact. They also apprehend his clone, place them both in virtual, and make them choose who will survive, as legally there can only be one DHF of a person at a time. They both accept the terms, and end up doing Rock–Paper–Scissors to determine. In the end, original Tak wins and lives, complete with Ryker's 3D printed sleeve.
  • The Reveal: Miriam Bancroft is responsible for Lizzie's madness. Laurens had impregnated Lizzie as one of her johns, and Lizzie visited Sun Touch House to tell him. Instead she found Miriam, who attacked her and forced a miscarriage when Lizzie refused to be bribed into a miscarriage. She then had Prescott reach out to Reileen to "fix the problem", and Reileen then had her tortured at the Wei Clinic and Driven to Madness. Reileen then blackmailed Miriam with the information, forcing her to drug Laurens with Stallion, who set off the events by murdering a prostitute at Head in the Clouds and forcing Mary Lou to flee.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: On being handed a pistol with one round and told to Shoot Your Mate, Takeshi aims it at his own stack, knowing his own life is the only thing that Rei values. But it turns out the gun isn't loaded.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The necklace that Rei wears belonged to her and Takeshi's mother, before their abusive father forced her to relinquish it and then murdered her. Subverted as Rei coldly tells Takeshi that she only wears it so that she won't be 'weak' like their mother was.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Once Ortega has the Ghostwalker on the ropes, he starts desperately pleading for her not to kill him. She does it any way for what he did to her family.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Ortega watches in horror from the safety of a police Flying Car as Head in the Clouds burns up and falls into San Francisco Bay, knowing that Kovacs is still on board.
  • Would Hurt a Child: For all her talk of loving her children, Miriam only loves her children, and won't accept Laurens Bancroft having a child with anyone else, which might usurp her position.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: When the Ghostwalker has Ortega at his mercy, he tells her that her mother prayed to God when she died. Ortega makes a point of reminding the Ghostwalker of this before she Real Deaths him.
    Ortega: My mother prayed to God, and He put you in my arms. So tell me; are you a believer, motherfucker?!

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