Thursday, August 6, 2020

Altered Carbon - Nightmare Alley

With Takeshi Kovacs (Anthony Mackie) falling into the hands of his enemies, who still believe him to be the assassin they are after, "Nightmare Alley" provides the opportunity for the season's torture episode. After identifying as Kovacs, our hero is sentenced to death in the Circle where warriors in sleeves of his closest friends are sent to kill him in the middle of an arena. Helping to tilt the odds against Kovacs, Carrera (Torben Liebrecht) pumps our protagonist full of drugs prior to sending him into battle. The structure of the episode allows for supporting characters from the show's First Season to return as Ato Essandoh, Martha Higareda, and Dichen Lachman all return as the sleeves of killers out to win the big prize. Quellcrist Falconer (Renée Elise Goldsberry) is meant to be the fourth killer, but the real one shows up adding extra drama to the night's proceedings.

The Circle presents an intriguing idea, death by the hands of your loved ones. Despite all the precautions taken, Carrera has no doubts that Kovacs will survive where none have before in the show's big fight sequence to close-out the episode. Overshadowed by Kovacs capture and time in the arena are the reveal that Carrera is another face from Kovacs past (one that has good reason to fear the Last Envoy and want him dead) and the trouble Trepp (Simone Missick) gets herself into searching for her brother as the show suggests the bounty hunter may just be stupid enough to try to take on Kovacs to settle her debts. Dina Shihabi is introduced as a friend for Poe (Chris Conner), although the pair aren't able to save Kovacs they do put up a good effort and form a bond which will likely be tested as the season continues. As for the legendary Quellcrist Falconer, it appears she's not quite the woman Kovacs remembers.

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