Altered Carbon Season 2, Episode 3, “Nightmare Alley” serves Kovac’s biggest test so far as he literally has to fight his past.
This recap of Netflix Series Altered Carbon Season 2, Episode 3, “Nightmare Alley” contains significant spoilers.
- Read the Season 2 review.
- Read the recap of Episode 4.
- Read the recap of the previous episode (2)
- Access the archive of all the episode recaps.
Damn, Altered Carbon Season 2, Episode 3, “Nightmare Alley” is a banger, with Kovacs in deep trouble. Colonel Carrera brings Kovacs to Governor Danica and claims he is the Meth-killer. Danica asks Kovacs why he removed the backups from the people he murdered and wonders if Joshua Kemp put him up to the assassinations. Danica sends Kovacs away to interrogation, but more tellingly, the tension between her and Carrera remains as she tells him that he is no longer needed.
There are opposing agendas constantly occurring in Season 2.
Poe hears the news of Kovacs’ capture and his incoming execution in The Circle. Poe meets an AI called Dig 301 and asks her for help. She insists he needs a human to carry out a rescue plan. Poe is desperate so meets Trepp and warns her about Kovacs’ impending execution. Trepp is blatantly still stubborn after Kovacs’ rejection in earlier chapters and states she is looking for a man named Anil instead — her brother. Dig 301 decides to help Poe after initially declining.
Kovacs’ interrogation begins and a version of his sister Rei turns up and mocks him, and explains that Quell left. Carrera then enters the interrogation and he begins to torture Kovacs’ mind. Kovacs initially mocks Carrera’s torturing, displaying embarrassing images of the colonel from his mind. Carrera ups the torturing machine and Kovacs shows images of Kristin Ortega, Vernen Elliot, Reileen Kawahara and finally… Quellcrist Falconer — the extraction is complete and he realizes he is facing Takashi Kovacs, The Last Envoy. Carrera warns Danica who she’s up against.
Carrera reveals himself to Kovacs as CTAC and that he was put on ice — his days are numbered; he wants to serve Harlan and that it is his honor. He tells Kovacs that their paths have crossed before; Kovacs realizes Carrera is Jaeger. Carrera injects Kovacs with strong hallucinogenics and sends him to The Circle for execution.
The next phase of Altered Carbon Season 2, Episode 3, “Nightmare Alley”, is enticingly thrilling. A drugged-up Kovacs enters The Circle watched by an audience; first up they send in someone who looks like Ortega; meanwhile, Poe and Dig 301 get to work on the core reactor to make it overload so Kovacs can escape when the electricity surges. Kovacs realizes it is not the real Ortega and kills her. And then someone who looks like Elliot enters The Circle to fight; unfortunately, Poe and Dig 103’s plan is not working. And then Rei enters, which causes traumatic memories for Kovacs — he has to fight both of them for once but he falls for Rei’s words while the drugs keep on kicking in. And then, the finale, Quellcrist enters and in a twist, she fights Rei — Carrera realizes that Quellcrist is the real organic Quellcrist.
The action does not stop here; Kovacs is impaled by a sword and tries lifting himself out of it while Quellcrist fights. Quellcrist kills the Rei imposter and Carrera and Danica have no choice but to send in the Protectorate guards. A loyalist, that realizes it is the real Quellcrist, turns off the lights — Quellcrist and Kovacs kill all the guards and then escape.
This was tantalizing, gripping television.
Altered Carbon Season 2, Episode 3, “Nightmare Alley” ends with Quellcrist and Kovacs returning to the safe house. Kovacs needs medical help immediately. Carrera asks Danica for more resources. She asks Carrera to find Kovacs and Quellcrist and rip out their stacks. Carrera activates Evergreen, which will become clearer in later episodes.
Quellcrist and Kovacs finally speak for the first time — Quellcrist does not even remember her own name.
- Due to her digging work being outlawed, Dig 301 needs a purpose which is why she helps Poe.
- People gamble on the outcome of The Circle execution. Carrera put his money on Kovacs.
- Trepp ends up in prison while after Anil. Turns out to be his brother. Her partner bails her out. They are desperate for money. Trepp reveals the bounty advertisement for Kovacs. It’s a lot of money.
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