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S01.E09: Rage in Heaven

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After a devastating rampage, Kovacs and his allies hatch a bold -- and very risky -- scheme to infiltrate Head in the Clouds.

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Sheesh, Rei.  Ortega kills your clones, so not only do you then kidnap her and have be virtually tortured, you sick your henchman on her entire family.  That was brutal.  Oh, and then there is the creepy bonus of you slipping into Ortega's skin and Kovacs give you a bath and be all flirty with him until he figures it out.  Yep, Rei-Rei be cray-cray!

I'm still trying to figure everything out, but the basic gist seems to be that Rei is truly behind everything, and it was all to get Kovacs back.  Also, Banecroft actually did commit suicide after-all, because of the guilt of he felt over killing a sleeve, thanks to some kind of drug that Rei and Miriam infected him with.  But now it sounds like Kovacs messed up her back-ups, so she only has one life now.  I have a feeling she won't be using it to make amends and redeem herself, heh.

Lizzie seems to have gotten a bit cold now.  Poe might have been too good at his job.

Off to the finale now, thanks to that cliffhanger.  I'm sure Kovacs will be fine, but if Vernon is harmed, there will be consequences!

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The return of the pink backpack!

It is super clear that what Rei needs most is to be given many therapy sessions with Poe. Girl has a grocery list of issues a mile long. Not the least of which is this incesty obsession she has with her brother. And the desire to retaliate against imaginary slights with wholesale family slaughter may be a bit of an over-reaction. Ortega doesn't even know who she is for fuck's sake. I imagine that whole scene was to drive home the fact that Rei is the bad guy here, just in case the massacre,torture and prostitution from previous episodes has somehow not made that clear. 

The scooby gang was fun. Mickey was much better when paired with the rest of the cast. His line "I can't leave town I have responsibilities, I just got a dog" was really well delivered. As were Poe's hopeful "we're friends?" and Vernon's "there aren't enough of us to be cannon fodder".

As soon as I saw the opening frame with the 2 hands playing rock/paper/scissors I knew there was going to be a copy/clone situation! They did it on Farscape about 10 years ago and it was a memorable episode. I'm glad to see that it has now become a standard trope. 

And I'm sad to say that Dichen Lachman's delivery made me cringe a few times. She didn't pull off the malignant manipulative psycho vibe that I think the role needed. 

But with a double dose of Joel Kinnaman and the scooby gang and a heist (my favorite thing) this was a solid penultimate episode. And we finally found out what actually happened with Bancroft! I honestly thought that was going to fall by the wayside with all the Rei stuff happening. 

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I think part of my problem with Rei being his adoring little sister and now this Meth Overlord Nutjob is that we didn't see what happened to her in between.  We're told but .... it didn't sink in for me, at least. 

Spoiler

(We were told more about Lizzie by the end than we were about Rei.)  

 

I just never invested in Rei's insanity any more than as a two dimensional foil.  No tears from Joel Kinneman could convince me she was ever lovable.

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On rewatch, I think the whole business with the "microwire camera" was a little silly. As I understand it, Rei's quarters are shielded, so regular phone calls can't work, so her confession couldn't be streamed out from there. But (1) why wasn't the whole Head in the Clouds compound shielded? I guess the plot wanted Team Kovacs back at the Raven rather than on board in a van, but still.

Then anyways, the plan is to work around the shielding by making a local recording and then getting the recording off the airship. (2) Why does he need a "microwire camera" for this when he already has the 25th century smartphone (the ONI) on him? So what if it's offline in a shielded room? My phone can make video recordings even when there's no signal.

Separately, there's no reason to put all the important gear in the backpack. Kovacs got very lucky that the antenna didn't go overboard with the rest of his equipment. And even so, he shoulda packed one gun in a holster for quick access as well as to have something if/when he gets separated from the backpack.

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13 hours ago, Captanne said:

I think part of my problem with Rei being his adoring little sister and now this Meth Overlord Nutjob is that we didn't see what happened to her in between.  We're told but .... it didn't sink in for me, at least. 

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(We were told more about Lizzie by the end than we were about Rei.)  

 

I just never invested in Rei's insanity any more than as a two dimensional foil.  No tears from Joel Kinneman could convince me she was ever lovable.

I have a high amount of dislike for the actress who plays Rei. She's appeared in a lot of genre shows -- Dollhouse, Being Human, Agents of SHIELD and probably other things I'm spacing on  -- and has been one of the worst things in each of them. Had I realized she was going to end up the Big Bad, I would have thought twice about watching.

As to Rei's insanity, I think her way of thinking overall makes sense from a certain point of view. Shaped by one of the shittiest childhoods conceivable, then fed a bunch of propaganda by the Envoys, then warped by wealth and quasi-immortality... a better actress could have made her a more sympathetic figure. (By the same token, a better actor than Joel K maybe could have sold the possible tension between "Rei is my sister and I'm tempted to be with her" and "Rei is cray and I would never consider joining forces with her.")

22 minutes ago, arc said:

On rewatch, I think the whole business with the "microwire camera" was a little silly. As I understand it, Rei's quarters are shielded, so regular phone calls can't work, so her confession couldn't be streamed out from there. But (1) why wasn't the whole Head in the Clouds compound shielded? I guess the plot wanted Team Kovacs back at the Raven rather than on board in a van, but still.

Then anyways, the plan is to work around the shielding by making a local recording and then getting the recording off the airship. (2) Why does he need a "microwire camera" for this when he already has the 25th century smartphone (the ONI) on him? So what if it's offline in a shielded room? My phone can make video recordings even when there's no signal.

Separately, there's no reason to put all the important gear in the backpack. Kovacs got very lucky that the antenna didn't go overboard with the rest of his equipment. And even so, he shoulda packed one gun in a holster for quick access as well as to have something if/when he gets separated from the backpack.

I would assume the rest of Head in the Clouds isn't shielded because the VIPs are still going to want to make contact with the real world periodically while there.

As for ONI vs. microwire camera

1. The ONI could be confiscated prior to the recording, as it's obvous, whereas the microwire camera is designed to be secretive.

2. Trying to record video with the Oni might require it being on and positioned at the subject of the video, whereas the microwire will record what its wearer is looking at. (Think of someone trying to record a video confession with an iPhone). 

3. Just as a specialized device like a GoPro is better at recording and playback than a cell phone camera, so too the microwire camera may be better than an ONI.

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The ONI is literally a contact lens (and a bracelet for manual controls). It sees what the user sees. In an earlier episode, Ortega shared her ONI’s view to ask about the guy who turned out to be Leung. So it sees exactly as well as the microwire camera.

And there’s no reason to worry about confiscation. Kovacs’ entire presence on the airship is a violation of the rules. Any scenario where he acquires the leverage to get a confession bypasses any point where ONIs would be confiscated. Hell, Vernon as a fake client had his on and in an active conversation while he was led to his room.

Edited by arc
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I was about ready to flush this show when Mr "Are You a Believer?" killed Ortega's mother and nephews.  WTF?

Then Kovacs got his gang together and a heist/caper plan together and I love a good heist/caper.  So this episode was all over the place for me.

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Chicago Redshirt, I couldn't agree more about the actor who played(s) Rei.  She's a one trick pony.  Not to mention, typecast.  I'm sick of Asian Stick Insects (™, someone smarter than I am) being Ninja Seductress Villains.  Ugh.  Get over yourself casting directors and agents and Hollywood.  

I was a big fan of the 1995 La Femme Nikita out of Canada -- starring an Australian fashion model and a Quebecer local star.  It was amazing.  And, in a way, refreshing to see a tall, blonde, anglo in that sort of role.  (It calls for a fashion model so that couldn't be helped.)  The Nikita remake was the cliche we're complaining about here.  (As is the actor who plays the love interest -- Spectra or some super hero name -- in Daredevil. That makes three typecast Asian actresses, specifically.)

I love Joel Kinnamen but, after Robocop (which I didn't see) I suspect he's been typecast, too.  Big, handsome, lug.  He's certainly worked his chest to hip ratio out of all proportion.  Give me the drug addict sidekick in The Killing back, please.

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8 hours ago, arc said:

The ONI is literally a contact lens (and a bracelet for manual controls). It sees what the user sees. In an earlier episode, Ortega shared her ONI’s view to ask about the guy who turned out to be Leung. So it sees exactly as well as the microwire camera.

And there’s no reason to worry about confiscation. Kovacs’ entire presence on the airship is a violation of the rules. Any scenario where he acquires the leverage to get a confession bypasses any point where ONIs would be confiscated. Hell, Vernon as a fake client had his on and in an active conversation while he was led to his room.

There's no way of knowing from what was in the show if the technical capabilities for recording, storing and broadcasting of an ONI are the same as a microwire camera. We know that both devices are capable of recording and transmitting video, yes. We don't know, to repeat my analogy from earlier, if the ONI's recording is more like a iPhone and the microwire camera is a more sophisticated device when it comes to that specialized function. I suspect that it would be.

There's plenty of reason to worry about confiscation. One doesn't have to have leverage to obtain a confession. It's a trope where villains explain what they are doing or have done when they have the hero in their control. Rei doesn't seem to have much problem talking about herself or what she has done or would do to get Tak by her side. It's certainly plausible, though, that Rei would take the ONI control and delete any recordings there, while not realizing that there was the microwire camera recording as well. (Of course, Kovacs should probably not have told her that he had one, but oh well).

I'm not sure what Vernon's having an ONI that works has to do with anything. 

12 minutes ago, Captanne said:

Chicago Redshirt, I couldn't agree more about the actor who played(s) Rei.  She's a one trick pony.  Not to mention, typecast.  I'm sick of Asian Stick Insects (™, someone smarter than I am) being Ninja Seductress Villains.  Ugh.  Get over yourself casting directors and agents and Hollywood.  

I was a big fan of the 1995 La Femme Nikita out of Canada -- starring an Australian fashion model and a Quebecer local star.  It was amazing.  And, in a way, refreshing to see a tall, blonde, anglo in that sort of role.  (It calls for a fashion model so that couldn't be helped.)  The Nikita remake was the cliche we're complaining about here.  (As is the actor who plays the love interest -- Spectra or some super hero name -- in Daredevil. That makes three typecast Asian actresses, specifically.)

I love Joel Kinnamen but, after Robocop (which I didn't see) I suspect he's been typecast, too.  Big, handsome, lug.  He's certainly worked his chest to hip ratio out of all proportion.  Give me the drug addict sidekick in The Killing back, please.

I think Maggie Q (the actress from the CW's Nikita) and Elodie Yung (the one who plays Elektra in Daredevil/The Defenders) have way more skill than Dichen Lachman (the one who plays Rei and the other roles -- ooh, I forgot her sucking in Supergirl and the 100 as well). 
Usually, I wonder if an actor/actress is to blame or the writing. But in the case of Dichen, she has sucked so hard for so long in so many shows that are generally at least competently written that I have to come to the conclusion it's her.

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Vernon having his ONI meant that the typical functioning of the snuff brothel did not confiscate ONIs as a standard procedure for guests. They even gave him a security scan on entry to check for contraband and he passed, so presumably they were only scanning for weapons. (Rei does enforce that no guns are allowed on the ship besides hers.)

Conversely, any worst-case scenario where Kovacs gets a gloating Rei to confess to everything from a position of weakness is almost as likely to lose the microwire camera to a heightened anti-surveillance protocol (for intruders vs guests) as the ONI.

All that said, when Rei had the team on the ropes she didn’t remove anyone’s ONI or the camera, but on the other hand when Takeshi had the upper hand on Rei he did take her ONI bracelet if not the contact lens.

Edited by arc

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It's not an issue about standard operating procedure for guest. It's trying to anticipate contingencies as to what would happen if Kovacs is able to confront Rei in the off-limits part of Head in the Clouds.

Scenario 1: Kovacs gets a free and clear confession from her and leaves without incident. He then has her confession both on ONI and microwire camera.

Scenario 2:  Kovacs tries to get a confession from Rei, but Rei is aware that everything she says is being/could be recorded by the ONI. She takes it away from him, forces him to shut it down, whatever. Then she confesses. Kovacs will still have the confession on the microwire camera.

Scenario 3: Kovacs tries to get a confession but Rei is smart enough to not monologue. No confession to be recorded by either device.

There certainly may be more scenarios, but there's no variant where having both the ONI and the microwire camera hurts, and there's at least one set of scenarios where having the microwire camera helps (because the ONI is discovered and shut off or otherwise dealt with).

From what we were shown on screen, Rei had no idea that the microwire camera was there. So the notion that whatever anti-surveillance protocol there might be might detect the microwire camera doesn't have support from the show itself. 

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The only thing that bothered me about the microwire camera was that he flippin' told her about it. I guess it gave them an opportunity for Rei to threaten him later, but after she said no one would believe him repeating her confession, I expected him to say something like, "then what's the harm" in encouraging her to confess.

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Rei really is full on crazy pants, with a side order of incestuous creepy. She is probably the one person who watched Game of Thrones, and was like "I really relate to Cersei. I too like to kill people and want to fuck my brother." Her crazy is almost hilarious, her logic is so messed up. She really seems to think that if she kills anyone her brother has any positive feelings towards, and makes tons of money through evil means, he will totally want to go back to her, and she almost seems confused at why he seems not so thrilled with this. Especially whenever she talks about "Starting over" whenever he reminds her of all the people shes killed. "Yeah I had a whole innocent family slaughtered including small children, but that was a whole 45 minutes ago! Its in the past!". 

Love the whole gang working together, it led to a lot of fun banter, and I am always a sucker for a good heist sequence. Also a lot of funny lines this week, from Poe's cautiously optimistic "We`re friends?" to Kovacs saying his clone should be the one who goes to the sex island because "he technically hasn't ever had sex. He deserves this."

Truly the OTP of this show is Kovacs and his pink backpack. 

You know, something I would be interested in seeing (even though we dont really have time now) is how much racial/cultural/gender identity really exists in this universe, where you can slip from body to body. Racism still seems to exist, with the skinhead guy, and distinct cultures still exist, but there also seems to be a lot of cultural blending. We have seen several interracial relationships and characters whos names are a mix of a few different backgrounds, and it all seems to be a total non issue, and while Vernon's wife was freaked out at first about being placed into a male sleeve, it didn't seem to be a huge deal, and she and Vernon seem quite happy to pick up where they left off. I dont need an exposition dump, but I would have liked to see them explore that just a little bit more. Or maybe its better just implied, and we can figure it out on our own. Lord knows we have enough Exposition already. 

So after all that, Brancroft really DID kill himself. Go figure. 

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On 2/13/2018 at 4:26 AM, Chicago Redshirt said:


Usually, I wonder if an actor/actress is to blame or the writing. But in the case of Dichen, she has sucked so hard for so long in so many shows that are generally at least competently written that I have to come to the conclusion it's her.

Sadly, that's been my conclusion too. She certainly leans into her roles, but I never really feel the characters are real.

On 2/20/2018 at 12:04 PM, tennisgurl said:

Rei really is full on crazy pants, with a side order of incestuous creepy. She is probably the one person who watched Game of Thrones, and was like "I really relate to Cersei. I too like to kill people and want to fuck my brother."  

Loved all of your post, but this one wins!

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I cannot decide if I am impressed or disappointed that every plot point has turned out to revolve around Kovacs. 

It does fit with this genre, though. And we are still enjoying the ride. 

One element that I never agree with is when the main characters (Kovacs) decide that particular, main villain characters deserve saving or rehabilitation (Rei). Obviously Kovacs would have no problem killing the Ghostwalker guy without a second thought. Saving the bad guys for the final fight is standard trope. But these people have slaughtered families and children - the 'real death' killing - so I am not feeling the sympathy for their insanity. 

Edited by shrewd.buddha

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