Episode 3 of Altered Carbon begins with Carrera bringing Kovacs to Danica, convinced that he’s the Meth-Killer and the one who killed Axley’s partners. Forced to kneel before her, Kovacs admits that he’s not working with the Quellist. As he’s taken away, Carrera struggles to remain calm in the face of Danica transferring him once The Circle is done.
Poe hears the news about Kovacs being set to death and immediately gets to work righting this wrong, connecting to the AI Archaeologist Club where he asks the group for help. Dig 301 perks up and agrees to throw her hat in the ring, as Poe tells her that his guest has been consigned to The Circle.
Kovacs wakes up and finds himself imprisoned, with the ghost of Rei hovering over him. She tells him chasing Quell is a death wish and as she disappears, Carrera arrives to interrogate him. Using a high-tech neural tool, Kovacs screams in pain as they successfully extract the information they need, including the names of Rei and Quellcrest Falcon. With this, they deduce the man inside this custom sleeve is Kovacs himself.
On the eve of him being executed, Poe heads off and finds Trepp, asking for her help but she refuses to listen. Instead, she receives a call from the bounty giver and the extra credits do the trick – they loosen some lips and give her crucial intel to go on. With a lead, she hurries out and questions the contact about her brother Anil, until she finds herself captured. As she’s bailed out by her partner, she comes up with an idea; hunt Kovacs herself for the high-stakes bounty currently on his head.
Now knowing the truth, Carrera confronts Kovacs over what he knows and it’s here his true form is revealed – he’s Jaeger. In German, he tells him he’ll see him in hell before injecting Kovacs with a drug and throwing him out. With a bounty on his head, Danica and the rest of the high-ranking group put credits down on how long he’ll last in The Circle.
As Kovac is thrown into this fighting pit of death, Poe and Dig 301 work together to try and shut it down from afar. As the power goes out, Kovacs learns that the woman infront of him, Kristin, is not who she says she is, prompting another hunter to arrive, this time taking the form of Elliot. He works his way through the different fighters, killing them all as the final two hunters take the form of Rei and Quell.
Only…Quell is actually the real one and not the impostor. She heads into The Circle and starts fighting with Rei as Kovac plucks the sword out of his own chest. One of The Circle operatives realizes Quell is alive and not a synth, proceeding to shut down the power, uttering the words “Long Live Quellcrest Falconer” as Kovacs and Quellcrest slip away together.
As Kovacs’ life hangs in the balance, Altered Carbon’s latest episode feels very John Wick 3-esque in its execution. Seeing a whole group of bounty hunters going after one target while a high-ranking group try to orchestrate from above feels a little too close to home but Altered Carbon does just enough to prevent it feeling like a carbon copy.
With Quell and Kovacs now together, the motive changes to that of survival as the duo try to find a way out of their precarious situation. With Trepp intending to go after them now and Kovacs stuck with hunters after his head every way he turns, there’s an exciting buzz hanging over this one as we approach the midway point of the series.