Netflix did it again with its newest and hottest show Altered Carbon. With a Blade Runner‘s look, Altered Carbon poses many questions. In the year 2384 humanity doesn’t need to worry about death any longer. Your memories are copied into your “cortical stack,” a device that allows a person to change bodies or sleeves. These stacks were reverse engineered from alien storage devices. Bodies are disposable vessels that accept stacks. You could have been born a woman, but you can have a male sleeve if you have the money to pay for it.
[SPOILERS: this post contains massive spoilers for the show. The show has high contents of violence and nudity. It also makes you think about your values.]
Your body is not who you are. Bodies are but sleeves that are used and thrown away. Only the super-rich can afford the best ones or even come back in the sleeve they want. They’ve lived for so long that some of them think they’re gods. Takeshi Kovacs, a political operative with mercenary skills, wakes up after 250 years of sleep. His last sleeve was terminated, and now he is given a choice: to solve a murder or to go back to the freezer. He has to solve the death of the wealthiest man alive. And yes, the victim is the one who wakes him up. Takeshi is also the only survivor of an uprising guerilla that failed when his sleeve was terminated.
With no other choice, he decides to take his boss case and try to find the killer, and then he’ll have his freedom. But, there’s a problem: a police officer is on his heels. Ortega bugs him often because Takeshi is now using his ex-boyfriend’s sleeve. He was a messed up police officer who went down. The reason might be connected to why Takeshi is back.
While he investigates, we can see decadence gone wrong. To kill someone is to destroy their stacks. That means that you can murder someone in whatever fashion you want. You can damage the sleeve as much as you want without any consequences. But everybody is in favor: many want to charge for crimes those who kill sleeves. Rich men have sex and kill prostitutes at will. Sleeves are discarded easy. There’re even gladiator games for the rich, with one wrestler killing another. The payment can range from upgrades to new sleeves.
Humanity is cruel, and the value of life and death has changed. Not only that, there are people against the stack. Religious folk who believe that people should remain dead and never come back.
The value of life has changed, and so has gender. When you can change sleeves at will, what refrains you from being whoever you want? Of course, it’s expensive, and not everyone can afford it, but those who can enjoy endlessly. In fact, if you wish, you can have a clone. It’s illegal, but rich people do whatever they want to. So much so, that even the police have problems in digging into cases.
Ortega teams up with Kovacs since she believes that her case and his are connected. He lives in a hotel that has a virtual intelligence, and that comes in handy for his investigation. In fact, he’s his friend, despite Kovacs treating him like trash.
While Kovacs makes friends, his case gets more and more complicated by the day. When he thinks he’s found the murderer, something is astray. However, soon he learns his sister is alive, and she isn’t exactly friendly at all. She is behind many murders, including this ex-girlfriend. 250 years ago, he saw the ship where they died. Little he knows that it was his sister who killed his love and also the uprising. She’s a badass villain with frightening dudes working for her. She’s rich, has lots of influence, and argues that she did everything to get Kovacs back.
The show is a fantastic display of virtual graphics. There’s a high doses of nudity and blood. And it poses questions to us that might make our heads blow up. If you could change sleeves that quickly, how do you think you’d feel? If you are a woman and die, and then they give you a male sleeve, what would you do? What would happen if you don’t have money enough for a replacement? What would you do to get one?
This is a show to watch more than one time. It has many layers, like an onion. While you have questions about changing sleeves, it also demands you to think about what would happen if death would be a rare thing. How would people react? How would our values change?
This show is a masterpiece that will leave you thinking about many topics. You’ll be rooting for Takeshi, while you try to see life from a different perspective. What you feel is essential, is it so?
One of the funny things about the show is seeing Kovacs walking around with a pink backpack. I love the detail. He’s a badass ex-military who doesn’t give a damn about sleeves, colors, or whatever happens next. For him, the essential values aren’t materialistic, but those of the heart. That said: don’t miss the details! And above all, don’t miss this show.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only share things that I love.
Copyright: Images on this post (C) Netflix (C) Altered Carbon / Memes & Gifs (C) by their owners