Episode 4 of Altered Carbon begins with Quell talking to Kovacs about her past, how she felt like she was trapped in a dream with no way out. Desperate to wake up, she wrestled her own demons in order to save him.
In the present, Kovacs promises to help her, asking Quell to trust him to bring her off-planet. With her memories fragmented and the world out to get them thanks to how high his bounty has become, Kovacs tells her to stay behind as he heads out the hotel. Before he leaves however, Trepp shows up having followed Poe’s holo-trace. Given his old friend’s sloppiness in compromising their location, he hires Dig 301 instead and fires Poe from his position as synth.
Things get fiery between the two AIs in the wake of Kovacs’ absence, as they fight over what’s best for this human. Poe decides on what he needs to do in order to win back Kovacs’ trust and sets to work doing just that.
With the planet celebrating Harlen’s Day, Carrera arrives at Hideki’s hideout and promises to destroy him. He requests Takeshi find Kovacs and bring him in to prevent succumbing to a horrible fate of being erased.
As Trepp confronts Kovacs in the street, he promises to help her find Anil instead. After some deliberation, she agrees to form an alliance. She heads back home where Kovacs learns more about her life and why she’s a hunter – including the high monthly price of renting her son’s current sleeve after he died tragically thanks to stepping on a mine.
It’s enough for Kovacs to head off to Hideki’s, where he asks him for a way off the planet with Quell. It’s here he admits that Jaeger has been to see him but promises to try and get him his transport. Kovacs hurries back home where he finds Quellcrest looking at news headlines of her being a terrorist and questions just why he wants her back. As they keep talking, they wind up sleeping together.
While they do, Hideki visits Danica and requests Kovacs’ envoy, keeping the knowledge that Kovacs is the one asking a secret. He hands over an envelope to her with the strange symbols on in the process and it seems to seal the deal.
Carrera continues to interrogate Lily, the girl who opened the doors for Quellcrest and Kovacs last episode. He rips her teeth out but she stands strong, refusing to give in to his torture. However, she’s saved under Danica’s orders by being moved. As Carrera stews in his own fury, Poe makes a big decision and says goodbye to Lizzie, declaring himself resolved as he looks set to issue a full reboot. Only, before he presses the button Dig 301 suggests using her abilities to preserve his memories.
Meanwhile, Kovacs learns from Hideki that he’s managed to secure his transport but it comes at a cost. As he stops the call, he looks up to find Quell infront of him, who takes his life. Thankfully, Kovacs rushes to the scene before his memory is completely severed and manages to find out what happened.
Trepp arrives not long after and finds Kovacs. It turns out Quell is hunting the Founders and he scrambles with Trepp to try and find her. With a system breach inside, we cut to Quell herself on the verge of blowing a building up as Carrera’s secret weapon – Kovacs Prime – arrives for the hunt.
With lots of moving parts this episode, Altered Carbon continues to build up its main players as we see several different characters change their stance and tactics. Trepp does feel a little under-utilized here, with her mission of finding her brother clouding her judgment and going back and forth between hunting and working with Kovacs. Having said that, she’s also one of the more interesting characters this season and alongside Kovacs, they do work well together on-screen.
There are plenty of nods to the past too, and with numerous characters returning to new sleeves, it brings with it a really interesting power struggle that looks set to erupt in a neon-lit explosion as this futuristic sci-fi series continues to impress.