Episode 7 of Altered Carbon begins in the forest as ash falls thanks to the angelfire strike. With the group nowhere to be seen, we pan across the landscape and see that Kovac Prime is the only survivor, captured by a new group of soldiers that enter the fray.
Back at the hotel, Poe and Dig 301 exchange pleasantries before teleporting to Quell’s location and processing her diagnostics. Taking Kovacs aside, Poe reveals what he’s found out before throwing Trepp headfirst into Anil’s memories and seeing what led to his death. He was the one who woke up Quell from cryo-sleep and seemingly was wrestling with something powerful and volatile inside himself.
Remembering the way Quell asked about the screams early in the season, Kovacs contemplates whether it’s possible that two people are currently inhabiting the same sleeve. This would explain the Angelfire blast, as it may not be Quell that caused this – it could be the invader that hijacked her body.
Danica talks to Stone and they discuss Quell’s ability to control the Orbital. Needing more resources, she heads down to the prison bay and speaks to Carrera, asking for his help and trying to make a deal. He offers him a lucrative set of terms, including Kovacs Prime, who’s been brought back in for questioning.
Kovacs and Trepp work with Dig 301 and Poe to make a construct to send them into Quell’s memory. Before they go however, Poe and Kovacs clear up their differences. Just before Kovacs dives in, he tasks his AI friend with keeping Quell alive. After promising not to take him out until the firewall is complete, Kovacs is hooked in and thrust head-first into the construct.
Trepp learns that Myka and TJ have been captured by Danica so she takes Kovacs’ sleeve while his mind is caught in Quell’s construct. Trepp tracks them down and confronts Danic, as another fight breaks out. After defeating the guards, Trepp saves TJ and Myka before heading back to the hotel and switching bodies again.
Inside the construct, Kovacs and Quell fight, teleporting through several different scenes in a really slick fight sequence. Eventually this entity reveals the truth. The blue tendrils hold memories and in particular, that of an ancient race that originally inhabited the planet called Elders. The invader in Quell’s body happens to be one of these Elders.
She proceeds to show him what she originally showed Quell; Konrad underground and shooting the tendrils, committing genocide despite pleas from those around him not to. Quell’s blood-thirsty mission to kill all the Founders was simply an act of revenge. Unfortunately amidst all this carnage, Dig 301 loses her life for the fight.
After learning the truth, the firewall is activated and the Elder is caught inside Quell’s mind, where Carrera still happens to be. It turns out Quell was containing this being but what Kovacs has actually done is far worse. With no mercy, this Elder can now reign hellfire (or Angelfire as the case may be) down on the planet.
With Kovacs Prime back in the driving seat, leading the squad to Kovacs’ location with the intention of killing him, inside the construct Carrera is attacked by a winged beast that controls his body and awakens with renewed purpose.
Parts of this season have really felt like The Expanse, and the blue tendrils and idea surrounding The Elders does feel quite similar to the protomolecule seen in that show. That’s before even mentioning how alike Carrera and Amos are. Of course, Altered Carbon is not The Expanse and it does enough to set itself apart from its sci-fi brethren.
The fight sequence inside the construct is excellent and has a real finality to it in the way it’s delivered. At times the concept and ideas here are a little convoluted but the show does just enough to keep things exciting and enthralling. Still, the finale looms on the horizon and Altered Carbon leaves things wide open for an explosion conclusion to follow.