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S01.E07: Nora Inu

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As Kovacs reconnects with a figure from his past, his tangled history with the Protectorate, the Uprising and Quell plays out in flashbacks.

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I wanted to love this show but so far I've been pretty ambivalent about it. This episode has convinced me to like it. I enjoyed the flashbacks much more in part because I prefer original Takeshi. I know his character is meant to be stoic but I find future Takeshi too robotic and difficult to connect with. Plus I don't really like the actor.

It was pretty obvious that Takeshi's sister was shady and not really into the cause. It will be interesting to see what happens between them now that Takeshi knows the truth of what happened. 

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1 hour ago, snowwhyte said:

I wanted to love this show but so far I've been pretty ambivalent about it. This episode has convinced me to like it. I enjoyed the flashbacks much more in part because I prefer original Takeshi. I know his character is meant to be stoic but I find future Takeshi too robotic and difficult to connect with. Plus I don't really like the actor.

It was pretty obvious that Takeshi's sister was shady and not really into the cause. It will be interesting to see what happens between them now that Takeshi knows the truth of what happened. 

From the second the sister showed up I knew she wasn’t to be trusted. 

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5 hours ago, snowwhyte said:

I wanted to love this show but so far I've been pretty ambivalent about it. This episode has convinced me to like it. I enjoyed the flashbacks much more in part because I prefer original Takeshi. I know his character is meant to be stoic but I find future Takeshi too robotic and difficult to connect with. Plus I don't really like the actor.

It was pretty obvious that Takeshi's sister was shady and not really into the cause. It will be interesting to see what happens between them now that Takeshi knows the truth of what happened. 

100% with you on this. I find the OG Takeshi/Will Yun Lee far more engaging than the "sleeved" version. I feel like WYL would have portrayed the stoic outside but tortured inside far better than Kinnamen did. It's like Kinnamen didn't realize that stoicism only works if you can tell a story non-verbally, which I didn't see him do here. Anyhoo, even though Rei is shady, I like the relationship dynamic between her and Tak. 

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It's amazing how much a *second* cage fight sequence really lowered the quality of the show for me. It always comes across to me any more as insisting people are just rabid animals insane with blood lust.

So much so, I'm starting to have trouble accepting the premise that immortal capitalists mean capitalism is immortal too.

Or that everybody can live forever, because *where will they get the bodies?!* Calling them sleeves doesn't make them mass produced. If cloning is too expensive, then most people won't be immortal. And why don't Neo-Catholics object that taking another sleeve is murder, and that is what's wrong. 

Or that Ortega somehow doesn't know how things work and that "Ryker" isn't Ryker any more. 

And the seeming contradiction between the cryptofascist aesthetic of Envoys and revolutionism is resolved by discovering their program is in fact genocide, albeit genocide for everyone in excess of a century. 

Of course, if I was enjoying the show more I would be too distracted for this stuff to come to the surface of my mind.

Edited by sjohnson
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1 hour ago, sjohnson said:

Or that Ortega somehow doesn't know how things work and that "Ryker" isn't Ryker any more. 

She knows he's not Ryker.  I am confused about how the selection is made as to who becomes a sleeve and gets the true death, or whatever it's called, and who gets to use these sleeves.  Admittedly, I may have missed some stuff in the super exposition heavy first episode.

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39 minutes ago, Whimsy said:

She knows he's not Ryker.  

My attention has started wavering but I could have sworn I saw her sleeping with Kovacs. And that would be because she feels like she's sleeping with Ryker...even though according to the story she's known all her life that's not so.  And sleeping with him is why I don't think she's just trying to save the body for when she clears Ryker and he is taken off ice, as they call it (I think.) If Ryker's RD'd (I've lost track,) as someone Neo-Catholic, she'd feel like Kovacs murdered Ryker for the sleeve, instead of feeling such an attraction. Women in general, and Ortega in particular, are not supposed to be so fixated on the body. And this show isn't challenging stereotypes. As witness Isaac and his boy friend Brevlov.

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12 minutes ago, sjohnson said:

My attention has started wavering but I could have sworn I saw her sleeping with Kovacs. And that would be because she feels like she's sleeping with Ryker...even though according to the story she's known all her life that's not so.  And sleeping with him is why I don't think she's just trying to save the body for when she clears Ryker and he is taken off ice, as they call it (I think.) If Ryker's RD'd (I've lost track,) as someone Neo-Catholic, she'd feel like Kovacs murdered Ryker for the sleeve, instead of feeling such an attraction. Women in general, and Ortega in particular, are not supposed to be so fixated on the body. And this show isn't challenging stereotypes. As witness Isaac and his boy friend Brevlov.

Yeah she slept with Kovac basically because he looked like her ex. I guess that's why she was stalking him too. Not because she thought he was a terrorist, but because he was wearing the sleeve of the man she was sleeping with before he died. RME. I still can't stand her and did not miss her in this episode.

Speaking of which, this was IMHO the best episode thus far. 

I like Kinneman, but like others prefer WYL as Takeshi/Kovac. He definitely brings more depth to the character. 

Quell was such an interesting character.  I could understand what she was trying to do, but it was impossible. Once Pandora’s box is opened there’s no way to close it. I enjoyed REG in this role and would love to see Quell in the present, but that is likely impossible considering how she died and I'm not sure where they could take her story if she suddenly returned. 

That Rawlings virus was a nasty piece of sh*t.

All that said, I'm still intrigued with this show, but...I don't know for how long. It is exhausting to watch due to the varying people  in various sleeves along with the multiple murder cases that I have yet to care about and the multiple factions with their own violent agendas. It's impossible to keep the story straight, at least for me, which is causing me to start to lose interest. 

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4 hours ago, Enero said:

Yeah she slept with Kovac basically because he looked like her ex. I guess that's why she was stalking him too. Not because she thought he was a terrorist, but because he was wearing the sleeve of the man she was sleeping with before he died. RME. I still can't stand her and did not miss her in this episode.

Speaking of which, this was IMHO the best episode thus far. 

I like Kinneman, but like others prefer WYL as Takeshi/Kovac. He definitely brings more depth to the character. 

Quell was such an interesting character.  I could understand what she was trying to do, but it was impossible. Once Pandora’s box is opened there’s no way to close it. I enjoyed REG in this role and would love to see Quell in the present, but that is likely impossible considering how she died and I'm not sure where they could take her story if she suddenly returned. 

That Rawlings virus was a nasty piece of sh*t.

All that said, I'm still intrigued with this show, but...I don't know for how long. It is exhausting to watch due to the varying people  in various sleeves along with the multiple murder cases that I have yet to care about and the multiple factions with their own violent agendas. It's impossible to keep the story straight, at least for me, which is causing me to start to lose interest. 

Before they slept together she touched his face and said she knew he wasn’t Ryker. I actually think she slept with Kovacs for Kovacs. 

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4 hours ago, Enero said:

Yeah she slept with Kovac basically because he looked like her ex. I guess that's why she was stalking him too. Not because she thought he was a terrorist, but because he was wearing the sleeve of the man she was sleeping with before he died. RME. I still can't stand her and did not miss her in this episode.

Speaking of which, this was IMHO the best episode thus far. 

I like Kinneman, but like others prefer WYL as Takeshi/Kovac. He definitely brings more depth to the character. 

Quell was such an interesting character.  I could understand what she was trying to do, but it was impossible. Once Pandora’s box is opened there’s no way to close it. I enjoyed REG in this role and would love to see Quell in the present, but that is likely impossible considering how she died and I'm not sure where they could take her story if she suddenly returned. 

That Rawlings virus was a nasty piece of sh*t.

All that said, I'm still intrigued with this show, but...I don't know for how long. It is exhausting to watch due to the varying people  in various sleeves along with the multiple murder cases that I have yet to care about and the multiple factions with their own violent agendas. It's impossible to keep the story straight, at least for me, which is causing me to start to lose interest. 

THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one that can't stand Ortega. I cannot express enough how unnecessary I feel she and her character are, and the actress just isn't bringing it for me. Thus far she could be plucked from the storyline and I still think we'd have a cohesive and engaging story. 

I really like Quell's character, even moreso knowing her origins. You're so right, she was fighting a losing battle, but I can respect that she wasn't complacent about the detrimental byproducts of her creation. I also liked her intuition about Kovacs in seeing through his tough guy act to the deeply scarred boy beneath. Maybe they related to each other on the level of being two people who made choices with good intentions but reaped unforeseen and dire consequences. I think it's entirely plausible that Quell could be backed up and that her DNA was recovered to clone her again (by some rich weirdo like Bancroft), but what the story would be going forward would be the question. Would she be contented to "run away" with Tak, or would she be hardwired for war?

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20 hours ago, sjohnson said:

Or that everybody can live forever, because *where will they get the bodies?!*

But I think the point is that everybody can't live forever, only the ultra-rich.  If you get "sleeve-deathed" and you aren't rich enough to have a clone or six standing by, you have to take whatever is available at a price which you can afford.  And if you can't afford a young, strong body, you have to take something older and in worse shape.  If you can't afford anything at all, you don't get brought back.  Some people will make their living by renting out their bodies as sleeves for others to utilize, and insurance coverage guaranteeing re-sleeving if a renter abuses the rental.  People will work themselves to death in order to afford a health/medical plan that includes a re-sleeve.  But ultimately, the average person will reach the point where they can't afford new sleeves, and so, effectively die.

It sort of reminds me of the book A Gift from Earth (Larry Niven, 1968) wherein medical science has reached the point that any part of your body can be replaced/renewed by transplant, making immortality possible.  The problem is a source of spare parts.  In this story, all crimes (including minor traffic offenses) are punishable by death/involuntary organ donation.  Thus the rich and powerful alter the rules of society to ensure the availability of the spare parts needed to maintain their own immortality.  In this show, I imagine a similar state of affairs, where the rules are changed by th3e rich and powerful to suit the rich and powerful.

What I don't really understand is the ban on 3D bio-printing.  If this can be done (and we see that it can) what can be the legal objection to using this (relatively) low-cost source of replacement sleeves for the less affluent?

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1 hour ago, Netfoot said:

But I think the point is that everybody can't live forever, only the ultra-rich.  

What I don't really understand is the ban on 3D bio-printing.  If this can be done (and we see that it can) what can be the legal objection to using this (relatively) low-cost source of replacement sleeves for the less affluent?

Every single body has a stack. Every single re-sleeve displaces a stack. It's musical chairs. Only clones and 3D printed bodies will ever extend life in general. It is not clear why these should be so expensive, especially since the rich would prefer their original bodies (indeed, it is supposed to be safer for the person's mental health!.) There would be more research money put into cloning than in Viagra. 

I forgot to mention, though, that the usual fate of the poor would be a shadowy afterlife in a construct, spun up into VR. Or so it would seem. 

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The mother of the girl whose body the cops wouldn't release -- didn't she say something about it being over three months now, so she couldn't be re-sleeved any longer?  I didn't quite understand that entire plot thread, but perhaps some other viewer can shed some light.

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WYL was truly awesome, I'm so glad that he got a big chunk of screentime in this episode. 

Kovac's childhood was absolutely tragic. Many people have had a "stolen childhood", but in his case it is literal. He doesn't look like he is even 10 years old when he is recruited and wakes up in an adult body as a protectorate soldier. That takes the concept of child soldiers to new and awful heights. 

I can't even begin to describe how much it bugs me that Rei constantly refers to Kovacs as "big brother". Who does that?! She sounds so awkward when she says it. And there is a creepy incesty vibe coming off of Rei and her obsession with her brother. Sadly Dichen Lachman's performance suffers greatly in comparison to Renee Elise Goldsberry's. Falconer makes a hell of a convincing messiah. Nice reveal about her being the creator of the Stack technology. 

I think this was my favorite episode so far in the series. The combat training scenes were beautifully executed. And the rebellion was really interesting, it is too bad that it will probably only get 1 episode for backstory. I'm glad they spent the budget where it counted, this one had cinema level quality. 

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I had a feeling that at some point that there was going to a flashback-centric episode that explained Kovacs' relationship with Rei and Quellcrist.  I enjoyed it, although it did make me realize that while I do think Joel Kinnaman is fine as Kovacs now, I really, really enjoy Will Yun Lee's version more, and am bummed that he is no longer with us.  Maybe some of it is just that he is written more interestingly, but I just found Kovacs to have more depth and emotion in Will's scenes.  Also, I think it's pretty obvious that he's more comfortable with the fight sequences then Joel is.  But, hey, maybe his "sleeve" is out there somewhere.  Still wondering why he'll eventually become Byron Mann at some point.

Can't see Quellcrist coming back though, which is too bad.  Renee Elise Goldsberry was good and I like the reveal that she was the one who invited the "stacks" and felt guilty over it.  Overall, I do kind of see her point that immortality can actually be a bad thing, because more then like, it would be the ones who are rich and powerful that benefit the most, and even the good ones will likely be corrupted somehow.

Anyway, back to the present: so, it seems like Rei is now apart of the elite, which is why she still has her original sleeve?  And what's with her claim that she killed Quellcrist to protect him?  I wonder if they'll actually go down the villainous route or there will be more to it.  Either way, I hate to admit it but Dichen Lachman really seemed to be struggling in a lot of her scenes, so I worry she isn't a good fit for whatever this is.

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Couple things cross my mind...

- So was the woman that was killed when Kovacs was arrested in Ep 1 NOT anyone significant? I have only watched the first episode the one time but I assumed that woman was actually Quellcrist but it seems that isn't so.

- Can we be sure that Rei is actually who she says she is and not just someone wearing her skin? 

- Is the Patchwork Man some metaphor for these Meths (btw can someone explain that nickname, I don't get the etymology of it) who are cannibalizing off of the ground dwellers to keep themselves going?

- Is it still considered cheating if you sleep with your SO's body when your SO's mind is not inside of it? lolol

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7 hours ago, RadiantAerynSun said:

 

- Is it still considered cheating if you sleep with your SO's body when your SO's mind is not inside of it? lolol

It's one of those interesting things that they completely skipped. Strangely enough, I'd be more sympathetic if Ryker was dead-dead - last goodbye and all that. But using your boyfriend's body to cheat on him with another is kinda sick. Since they seem to imply some feelings between them. 

It's an interesting messy situation and they didn't even bother to really discuss it.

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On 2/7/2018 at 8:13 PM, Cruella said:

It's one of those interesting things that they completely skipped. Strangely enough, I'd be more sympathetic if Ryker was dead-dead - last goodbye and all that. But using your boyfriend's body to cheat on him with another is kinda sick. Since they seem to imply some feelings between them. 

It's an interesting messy situation and they didn't even bother to really discuss it.

I had thought Ryker was actually dead (real dead), then they explained about how Ortega was paying to save his body, so I guess he's in virtual prison? But somehow I forgot about that when she was sleeping with Kovacs...you're right, it is a kind of messed up situation and they didn't really address it. How much was her feelings for Kovacs and how much was it that she was missing Ryker?

This was a good episode. At first, I thought I wouldn't like all the flashbacks, but they explained a lot that had puzzled me from previous episodes. And who knew that human ash could be so cinematic?

As for their "cause", I could see both sides of the issue. Immortality would suck if it was only for the rich. But instead of getting rid of it, maybe Quell should have been working on ways to make it more affordable for everyone.

So Rei's story about how she survived Stronghold was a bunch of B.S.? In reality they (Protectorate? Meths?) backed up her stack and put her into a clone and she's been with them this whole time?

I like this show but sometimes I have to go back and watch scenes again to understand. And I had read the book years ago! But I don't remember a lot of this.

I agree about Will Yun Lee -- I like Joel Kinnaman a lot but Yun Lee just brings a certain emotion to the character.

On 2/5/2018 at 1:08 PM, sjohnson said:

My attention has started wavering but I could have sworn I saw her sleeping with Kovacs. And that would be because she feels like she's sleeping with Ryker...even though according to the story she's known all her life that's not so.  And sleeping with him is why I don't think she's just trying to save the body for when she clears Ryker and he is taken off ice, as they call it (I think.) If Ryker's RD'd (I've lost track,) as someone Neo-Catholic, she'd feel like Kovacs murdered Ryker for the sleeve, instead of feeling such an attraction. Women in general, and Ortega in particular, are not supposed to be so fixated on the body. And this show isn't challenging stereotypes. As witness Isaac and his boy friend Brevlov.

Have you seen that body?? Joel Kinnaman is ripped. I'd be fixated on that body too.

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Have no idea what's going on with the sister so let me take a moment to step into the shallow end of the pool and be really happy I got a whole episode to look at original Takeshi's pretty pretty face. On to episode 8.

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Hold on.  Quellcrest Falconer was the one who invented cortical stacks?  So she is (1) one of the greatest inventors of all time, (2) a complete bad-ass martial artist, (3) a genius tactical leader of rebels, and (4) enough of an observer of society to see the catastrophic effects stack use will have in the long run.

Damn.  Even by the absurd standards of this show, that is over-the-top.

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I vaguely understand in the books the stack technology is derived from Elder tech rather than invented whole cloth by humans (might be the case in the show as well, not sure), though it’s still a tremendous work of science and invention even so.

As for (4), she told Takeshi that she used the tech to extend her own lifetime and so she would have lived long enough to see the first immortal billionaires stay young and rapacious into their hundreds.

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On 2/9/2018 at 11:12 PM, CaptainTightpants said:

On that note, Joel Kinnaman should always wear black. It really does things for him. 

I was just meh on him in The Killing but I love him in this. I don't like or dislike Tak any more than Kovacs (as Tak). I like them equally for different reasons. They are both hot as hell.

I'm enjoying the show overall, but am a bit confused by some things. What is needlecasting? They've said it several times, but I don't know what it actually is. I feel like there's a fair amount of that going on. There's just SO MUCH going on that I feel like I need to watch again to understand it all, but the thought of watching again exhausts me.

When the whole...alliance(?) was in the forest together before Quell asks them to join her (to allow true death and) on the mission to the core(?), there was a big tree on the right that looks like the one in Bancroft's home.

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See, I loved him in The Killing.  His performance was so nuanced.  This man who is drop dead gorgeous makes his American debut (or close to it) as a street-wise, heroin-addicted AA and NA-going, cop sidekick.  I loved it.

In this I think he looks like over-pumped beefcake and is trying much too hard to audition for James Bond.  

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13 hours ago, Captanne said:

See, I loved him in The Killing.  His performance was so nuanced.  This man who is drop dead gorgeous makes his American debut (or close to it) as a street-wise, heroin-addicted AA and NA-going, cop sidekick.  I loved it.

 

Actually he was addicted to meth. 

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In this I think he looks like over-pumped beefcake and is trying much too hard to audition for James Bond.  

Yes he was a beefcake ? but I did not see a Bond audition at play here. He was way too brooding, even more so that DC IMHO to be Bond. I definitely saw a completely different character than what he played in The Killing, which was great. Ironically I have friends who thought he tried too hard in that role and wasn’t authentic. 

19 hours ago, bilgistic said:

I'm enjoying the show overall, but am a bit confused by some things. What is needlecasting? They've said it several times, but I don't know what it actually is. I feel like there's a fair amount of that going on.

Needlecasting is transferring your consciousness from one body to another body remotely at least that was my understanding of it. 

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When the whole...alliance(?) was in the forest together before Quell asks them to join her (to allow true death and) on the mission to the core(?), there was a big tree on the right that looks like the one in Bancroft's home.

I think it was supposed to be the same tree. Bancroft’s wife said they spent a fortune to get in transported to Earth from Harland’s World which was where Quell and the other Envoys were hiding out. 

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I figured we would get flashbacks to Kavacs time with the rebel alliance, and I really liked seeing how everything played out. It answered a decent amount of the questions I had (not everything, but a lot of things) and we got more of Will Yun Lee as Kovacs. I like both Kovacs, but he is definately my favorite. His stoicism seems more of a defense than how he actually is, considering his extremely messed up childhood AND adulthood. The Riker sleeve Kovacs seemed like he is kind of going through the motions, and his stoicness is more emotional deadness and detachment. I think they both work. 

I knew right away his sister would turn out to be trouble. She is way too fixated on her brother. I did like her and Kovacs teaming up to fight, and they do have a nice chemistry together, in both bodies. Again, maybe a little too much on her end...

Putting kids in the bodies of soldiers and bringing them up in combat is a seriously brutal way to raise a child soldier. I do enjoy (well, maybe not enjoy, but find it fascinating) how many ways the show explores the way the skins and world they've created can be used.  Quellcrist being the creator of the technology who feels guilty for whats been done with her tech wasn't something I saw coming, but I thought it was a cool twist. Now I want to get HER backstory! Prequel anyone? I assume she meant for this tech to be used to make anyone immortal who wanted to be, not create a new class of super rich immortals with all the best bodies, while normal or poor people get the leftovers (like the little girl in the first episode put in the body of an old woman because her parents couldn't afford anything else) and bodies are used to abuse sex workers and put child soldiers into adult bodies. Of course, whether immortality is good or not is a whole different issue, but it certainly leads to interesting debates. 

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So Rei's story about how she survived Stronghold was a bunch of B.S.? In reality they (Protectorate? Meths?) backed up her stack and put her into a clone and she's been with them this whole time?

I want to know how she said “I don’t remember” for how she died, and that is confirmed to be true by being evidence of her being backed up, yet she knew what her last words to Quinn were.

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On 2/4/2018 at 10:54 PM, rogueprinzess said:

100% with you on this. I find the OG Takeshi/Will Yun Lee far more engaging than the "sleeved" version.

Yeah, if the show was focused on Will Yun Lee as the lead from the beginning, I maybe could have gotten into it. I get that that's not how the book was (never read it), but Joel Kinnaman is just not a very engaging actor for me. 

This was the most interesting episode of the series for me, but it still couldn't make me care about this world or any of the characters.

Edited by Gillian Rosh
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Man, I hate that envoy leader's speech about immortality. It's so obnoxious and pointless. I don't see how eliminating immortality is even a possibility, seeing as immortality is a transitive property and society would just rebuild. Also, I think it's ironic that someone who relies on such futuristic technology is so set on restoring this quasi-religious idea of natural. Every time a major new breakthrough in tech occurs TV makes some stupid dystopic warnings about it and then later media incorporates it in storytelling making those anti-progress rants derivative and pointless.. I like this show for the action and the characters but the whole hippie 100yr death is annoying, especially as that's how the writing glorifies it. 

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One thing i like about this series is the whole character played in 2 bodies dynamic. Joel Kinnaman is quite a bit different personality though- he's a lot more energetic and sarcastic acting overall. Original Sleeve guy seems to be a lot more laid back

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On 2/7/2018 at 8:13 PM, Cruella said:

It's one of those interesting things that they completely skipped. Strangely enough, I'd be more sympathetic if Ryker was dead-dead - last goodbye and all that. But using your boyfriend's body to cheat on him with another is kinda sick. Since they seem to imply some feelings between them. 

It's an interesting messy situation and they didn't even bother to really discuss it.

This bugged me a lot. And it reminded me of what one reviewer said of this show: that the writers seemed uninterested in exploring the implications of the premise. I found that to be true as I watched the show. 

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I'm in the minority I guess.  having just binge watched the whole season, this was by far my least favorite episode.  I've really enjoyed the show - and just finished reading the book prior to watching - but I kept looking at how much time was left during the entire episode.  It felt like it crawled along at a snail's pace.  I just don't have much interest really in all the flashbacks and since this episode was practically all flashback....snooze.  The flashback actors are fine but I just don't care about that aspect of the story.  And I don't see any chemistry between birth Kovacs and Quell or Ryker/Kovacs and Quell for that matter.  I'm not a huge fan of Dichen either so this episode was a total lose-lose for me all the way around.

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I liked this one. The were some twists with Quell and Kei, the sister, that were surprising. 
Though, I expected more of Quell's group to balk at her abrupt announcement - which would have turned them from a sort-of paramilitary rebel group into a sort-of suicide cult. That's the kind of thing that would need some easing into. But subtle is not really a thing in this type of genre. 

I am not really hung up on what actor plays what character. It only bothers me if the acting is bad to to point of being distracting. If the actor can make me focus on the character, I am good. (I do seem to prefer the BBC type casting choices where people look more authentic - - instead of the Hollywood casting where everyone must look like a fashion model.) 

As for this series, I assume that some of the casting was based on what actors were comfortable with a lot of nudity.
As for the nudity, I am okay with that if it does not get too gratuitous. It does seem odd that many societies have been conditioned to react to the natural state of nudity as if it is offensive or always sexual - but these same cultures are perfectly okay with the unnatural appearance using  make-up, hair coloring or body enhancement/alteration. 

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Aside from the fact that this episode was way too long, especially for a flashback episode, I really enjoyed original Takeshi, and that fight scene with Rei and the Yakuza was John Woo-style awesome.  I also found it easy to connect with this version of Kovacs while Kinnaman's version is difficult to relate to.  Maybe they explain it by Kovacs just becoming more hardened and cynical from these events?  But original Takeshi is positively emo compared to present day Takeshi who is positively James Bond-like.

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