Episode 2 of Altered Carbon begins with Colonel Carrera marching purposefully up to Axley’s apartment and seeing the devastation firsthand. Talking to the detective on site, he learns about the custom sleeve and gives them his theory, proceeding to slaughter the officers in cold blood.
Meanwhile, Poe does a full scan analysis of Kovacs’ new sleeve, trying to suss out what other tricks it may have. Poe suggests finding the bounty hunter that shot him in the back and as he starts doing the scan, he glitches, replacing the monitors with pictures of Lizzie. Kovacs tells him to reboot but the synth refuses, telling him he doesn’t want to let go of his life.
Kovacs catches up with the bounty hunter (who’s called Trepp) and confronts her while she hunts a new target, a man named Raab. Things quickly turn violent though and having tracked down and killed the other top bounties, Kovacs gets her attention and she agrees to talk. Alone, they discuss Axley’s partners – Anton Durov and Haruki Okada. Trepp suggests teaming up but Kovacs refuses, dropping the precious cargo and heading back to the hotel where he tells Poe he believes there’s a sleeve-jacker out there.
Carrera confronts Danica, who tells him to find the killer and get off her planet. This rivalry is far from over but for now, the Colonel agrees to leave. Meanwhile, Kovacs heads to the Soul Market in search of answers, where he sees the graveyard of stacks firsthand. He heads to the club and speaks to Semetaire, the man in charge of this area and as he does, Carrera learns of his location and immediately tasks his group to gear up.
Trepp trades the bounty credits for a reward in finding a missing person. This offers up some valuable intel in exactly what her end-goal is but for now, she remains separate to Kovacs for the rest of the episode.
Kovacs himself catches up with Durov and Okada, gaining their trust in the bar as he learns from them that Quellcrist is back. It’s here he solemnly informs them Axley is dead, going on to request they tell him what they know in exchange for keeping them safe.
Quellcrest crashes into the club and proceeds to murder Axley’s partners in cold blood, asking if they can hear screaming. Kovacs watches from afar, realizing this isn’t the Quell he knows and tells her to get out the sleeve. Inevitably, the two begin fighting. As he throws a knife through the air, Quell shakily calls his name and appears to know who he is. Unfortunately she bolts as Carrera arrives with his men. Kovacs is unable to kill him though and thanks to the sleeve being Wedge tech – he’s programmed not to hurt one of his own.
Carrera knocks him to the ground and takes him away as we leave things hanging on a knife edge.
From world-building to action sequences, one thing you can’t deny this year with Altered Carbon is its aesthetic. The two big fights – the one in Axley’s apartment and the other in the nightclub – are gorgeously shot and boast some impressive camera work in the process. With Carrera now entering the fray and plenty of questions hanging over this one, the fight is only just beginning as Kovacs finds himself in a precarious position.