One of the most intriguing sci-fi dramas of recent years is Netflix’s ‘Altered Carbon’. Based on Richard Morgan’s book of the same name, it is set in a futuristic world where humans have found a way to cheat death. Takeshi Kovacs wakes up 250 years after his last body was killed and finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation that leads to a shocking conspiracy with personal connections for him.
The first season brings the mystery to a resolution, with some loose threads for the second season. Here is a quick recap of all that happened in the first season and the things you need to remember for the next chapter of the story.
The Story of Takeshi
Takeshi grew up on a planet called Harlan’s World. He shared a difficult childhood with his sister, Rei. When they were little, their abusive father killed their mother and to end his reign of terror, Takeshi killed him. Due to this, he was arrested. Instead of facing prison time, he was offered to join CTAC, an elite special forces team, and was promised that his sister would be taken care of. The condition is that he wouldn’t be able to see her.
Years later, Kovacs returns to his home-planet, exceptionally trained in combat. He discovers that Rei is now a part of the Yakuza. The Protectorate did not fulfil their promise. This angers him and he rebels against them, while Rei leaves Yakuza, as well. They both run for their lives and end up in the forest near their home. This is where they come in contact with Quellcrist Falconer.
Before she was Quellcrist, she was Nadia. She wanted to be an explorer and knew that one life wasn’t enough to fare the stars. So, she came up with the technology that would allow human consciousness to be stored in “stacks”. The bodies inhabited at a certain point would be “sleeves”. What she didn’t anticipate is how the rich would take control of this tech and use it to increase their influence in the world. With the threat of death no longer hovering around, they essentially become the gods of the new world.
She tries to resist the system and is forced into hiding. Slowly, she creates her own army called Envoys. Takeshi and Rei also become a part of her team. However, the problem emerges when Takeshi falls in love with Quell and Rei turns possessive. In the end, Rei cuts a deal with the Protectorate. She helps them in destroying Stronghold, the base of the Envoys. In turn, she receives wealth and a DHF backup. She also kills Quell but also backs up her stack as well. Takeshi believes both of them are dead.
The Murder of Laurens Bancroft
Years after he is caught by the Protectorate, Takeshi wakes up in the body of an ex-cop named Elias Ryker. He discovers that his services have been demanded by a Meth, i.e., an ultrarich man named Laurens Bancroft who wants Takeshi to solve his murder. In their investigation, the cops came to the conclusion that Bancroft had committed suicide, but he believes there has been some foul play.
In solving the case, Takeshi crosses paths with a police officer named Kristin Ortega. She quickly turns from his foe to his ally to his love interest. He also discovers that Elias, whose sleeve Takeshi is in, is Kristin’s boyfriend and had been arrested for killing a CTAC officer while looking into the death of a friend named Mary Lou. He finds another friend in an AI named Edgar Poe, who runs a hotel named The Raven. He also befriends Vernon Elliot, who had initially been a suspect in Laurens’ murder.
It comes to light that Vernon’s daughter Lizzie had a relationship with Bancroft and was tortured so badly that she went insane. Poe helps Lizzie in dealing with the trauma.
The Truth about Rei
After trying to connect the dots and digging up secrets about the Bancroft family and the people around himself, Takeshi discovers that the real villain is his sister, Rei. He had presumed her dead, but not only does she turn out to be alive, but is also the one who orchestrated the entire thing.
After killing the Envoys and Quell, she rose up the ladder and now owns Head in the Clouds, a place that provides rich clients with everything to satisfy their sexual needs. Mary Lou had been one of her prostitutes, and it was Rei who manipulated Bancroft into killing himself. She did all this to protect her interests while also bringing Takeshi back from the ice. Now, she wants them to be together and tries to kill all of his friends.
In the end, Takeshi kills her, saves the world, solves the mystery, gives back Ryker’s body and goes out into the world, ready to take on another sleeve and find Quell.
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