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S01.E01: Out of the Past

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Waking up in a new body 250 years after his death, Takeshi Kovacs discovers he's been resurrected to help a titan of industry solve his own murder.

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The first quarter was a bit rocky for me, with flashbacks before you know what is remotely going on. But both male leads are quite convincing. Kovacs looks like a sincere blend of disoriented and completely world weary. James Purefoy always kind of looks like an evil dictator so I don't imagine that Bancroft is too much of a stretch for him. 

The scheming wife is definitely guilty of something. A conclusion I base solely on the film noir traditions that this shown is obviously and beautifully embracing. 

So far the weaker parts of the narrative are constant referrals to the magical "Envoys" (who seem to be a cross between Jedi masters and browncoats from Firefly), and also the cops.

The plot around Ortega and her concerned partner is very stereotyped. In the good cop crosses the line for personal reasons and her partner tries to cover for her ect. ect. kind of a way. Ortega might be a more sympathetic character if we ever saw her doing any actual police work. But right now she just comes across as a stalker. 

That being said I really liked the pilot, it certainly gives you a sense of place. And I am very happy to see a scifi show with a budget worthy of the story. I am hoping for great things from this series !

Edited by CaptainTightpants
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I didn’t love it but didn’t hate it. I think I’ll give it a chance. The biggest drawback for me is Dichen Lachman. She’s one of a handful of actors who I have an irrational dislike for, to the point that when I saw her I audibly groaned. Other than that, once I got the who is who and whose memories are whose, I enjoyed the futuristic ideas and the lead worked for me. It did make me giggle that the ultra wealthy are called Meths. I get the reference but my first thought was meth head which doesn’t bring to mind unending wealth. 

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I'm not usually a sci-fi fan, but I like Joel Kinnaman, and the premise sounded kind of intriguing, so I thought I'd give it a try. Also, I'm from Vancouver and get a kick out of picking out Netflix film locations.

Eh, I don't know if I'm going to continue watching or not. It was very hard to get into - I thought about turning it off several times. I don't object to violence in movies if it has a purpose, but so much of it felt like unnecessary  window-dressing. You can almost hear the show's creators frantically trying to fill running time with  "Hey! for added coolness, let's do lots of balletic slo-mo blood-spurting acrobatics!".  

The rest felt like hackneyed wanna-be Bladerunner stuff. The dialogue felt very cliche and irritated me to no end. It takes real skill to pull off hard-boiled exchanges without looking laughable, and this show isn't quite getting there.

Another problem for me is that they seem to be spending a great deal of time on the former Takeshi Kovacs - wanting to pull the audience's heart-strings with flashbacks. I just don't care about his previous incarnation AT ALL. So if this is going to be a major plot-thread of the series, I'm not going to be engaged. The two cops are not working for me either.

The best thing so far is Kinnaman, and I think if they inject a bit more humour into the series it might have potential. Kovacs wandering around dazed carrying  a pink kiddie backpack, along with the AI hotel scenes were at least somewhat amusing.

Spot the Vancouver location: the ultra-wealthy industrialist's house is the Marine Building!

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I'll go easy on it for now since pilots tend to be rough and that's usually increased by ten when it comes to sci-fi shows.  It basically felt like the majority of this was focused on world-building, exposition, technobabble, and setting things up for what is to come, which I guess is necessary, but it was kind of a chore at times.  And I know this is based off a book, but it really felt like it wanted to be Blade Runner with even more violence and nudity, which is saying something.  But I'm hoping now that they have settled on the main plot (who killed Bancroft?), things will go a bit quicker and be easier to understand.

I'm usually not a huge fan of Joe Kinnaman, but I think his style of acting fits the Kovacs character, even if right now he's basically just another variation of the "grizzled merc, who isn't as unemotional as he tries to be."  Definitely got a kick out of James Purefoy hamming it up again.  Great to see Kristen Lehman and I suspect there will be more to her character.  Same with Dichen Lachman's character (Kovacs' sister, I think?  And it sounds like something bad happened to her?)

I do hope Ortega gets more interesting soon, since right now she's just another cop who seems to really be taking things personally, and going off half-cocked.  Really, what was there to gain by crashing the car into the Bancrofts lawn and pissing them off?

As usual, it was fun seeing all the Canadian-based actors pop up here like Byron Mann, Tahmoh Penikett, and a few others.  Waiting for the contractually obligated Roger Cross appearance!

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For some reason, the Richard K. Morgan books I remember are Market Forces, Thirteen and The Steel Remains. Can't even remember if I've read all the Takeshi Kovacs. 

I am confused as to whether the female voice is Quell Falconer, who sounds like his leader, or his sister. Somehow Dichen Lachmann seems to be the sister. 

Envoy=gun kata, so the primary influence so far is Equilibrium, not Blade Runner. There is more Western than noir in this too, because Kovacs is supposed to be a defeated rebel, but this has a right wing slant where the rebel is admirable, a la Firefly. And James Purefoy is reprising Mark Antony from Rome. 

At least that's what it looks like so far. 

But hey, I'm in, so far.

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I almost quit in the first 10 minutes because I generally have limited patience for flashbacks, unexplained time jumps, and non-linear storytelling. I get that the intent was to make viewers feel disoriented and out of place, but my main reaction was exasperation.

Things got better once I pushed through that, but I'm mostly sticking around at this point because I like mysteries and think Kinnaman is interesting to watch.

So far, Ortega as the obsessed, rebel cop with a past is clichéd and the actress' performance is compounding the problem.

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Kinda surprised to see that kind of backlast from you guys above.

This is definitly the type of show I love. I enjoyed every single drop of that first episode, from the aesthetics to the narrative, encompassing the actors, the rythme, the sets, the dialogue...


Definitly in for the long haul myself ! 

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Watched this episode Friday night, and decided that it was not a show I could binge watch - I need to break it up, because it would otherwise overwhelm me. But I really enjoyed the episode, if 'enjoy' is the right word.

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I loved the pilot exactly what i thought it would be/ what ive been waiting for since i heard about it. It hit all the scifi notes for me. To describe it i would just list all the great ones. So if the quality stays the same throughout, It looks like its gonna be one of my favorites. My favorite part was was the slow motion gun stuff looked sooo good! Also like others have said him being all high tripping out wandering the streets and the banter between him and the cop

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I made a vow to myself, that any hotel I stay in must have "full guest amenities."

I thought it was ok, am a huge JK fan, so willing to keep watching.  Thanks for the Tahmoh Penikett reference- I knew he looked familiar.  Hope he recurs, which I guess is always a possibility here, short of stack death.

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10 hours ago, 2727 said:

I generally have limited patience for flashbacks, unexplained time jumps, and non-linear storytelling.

I bet you loved WestWorld!

3 hours ago, mjc570 said:

I made a vow to myself, that any hotel I stay in must have "full guest amenities."

IK,R?

I've read the trilogy, but (thankfully) long enough ago that I can't remember enough to spoil the show for me.  I was waiting for those miniguns to drop out of the ceiling, though.  And got a real kick out of the scene, despite my prior knowledge.  Actually, I had no idea this series was being made until it dropped!

Kristin Lehman did a great job of portraying a much older woman who has spared no expense to hide the fact that she is no longer young.  At least that's the vibe I got from her.

This episode wasn't perfect, but for the pilot of a show with a complicated premise, I thought it went well, and intend to keep watching.  Here is hoping they don't drop the ball in subsequent episodes.

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What is happening?! I'm utterly confused.

But this show is so beautiful I want to keep on looking at it.

I expect everything will make more sense later.

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On 2/2/2018 at 6:12 PM, ramble said:

 The biggest drawback for me is Dichen Lachman. She’s one of a handful of actors who I have an irrational dislike for, to the point that when I saw her I audibly groaned. Other than that, once I got the who is who and whose memories are whose, I enjoyed the futuristic ideas and the lead worked for me. It did make me giggle that the ultra wealthy are called Meths. I get the reference but my first thought was meth head which doesn’t bring to mind unending wealth. 

That tends to be my response to Dichen as well, but I was surprisingly okay with her playing Tak's sister.

On 2/3/2018 at 8:13 AM, Triskan said:

Kinda surprised to see that kind of backlast from you guys above.

This is definitly the type of show I love. I enjoyed every single drop of that first episode, from the aesthetics to the narrative, encompassing the actors, the rythme, the sets, the dialogue...
Definitly in for the long haul myself ! 

I was hesitant about the show, but it pretty much has all the things I like (despite the fact that I hate Blade Runner...go figure). I like odd narrative structures, (F.ex, loved Sense8) and like the flashbacks to Tak in his true skin. I've never seen JK, nor have I read the books. But I'm on board. There are a lot of sci-fi concepts I enjoy, and the AI hotel was a lot of fun (even if it was bloody). 

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8 minutes ago, Clanstarling said:

I've never seen JK,

Joel Kinnaman is the only reason I watched 1½ seasons of The Killing, and pretty much why I watched the second episode of this show, after which I decided to stick around for the interesting glimpses of today's socioeconomic-political issues spun into the future.

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Mistaken choice in narrative structure. When introducing us to a far-future world, the learning curve is steep enough without throwing in flashbacks and non-linear storytelling.

First let us get to know and care about the protagonist and his situation, especially when, like here, it's really intriguing. A rebel super-soldier from a long-lost civil war is awakened from a stasis prison, given a new body, and assigned a mystery to solve. Along with the viewer, he also has to figure out how this brave new future world works.

Then, only after we are invested, should we get to see his backstory. As it is, this 1st episode can be a bit of a chore to get through. Who are these characters, what is happening to them, and why should we care?

Edited by clack
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1 hour ago, shapeshifter said:

Joel Kinnaman is the only reason I watched 1½ seasons of The Killing, and pretty much why I watched the second episode of this show, after which I decided to stick around for the interesting glimpses of today's socioeconomic-political issues spun into the future.

Exactly the same for me - I like Kinnaman which is why I tuned in, and the show touches on many themes that are relevant to today's world. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be exploring them much in the episodes I've watched. Instead the focus seems to be on tedious fight scenes and baffling flashbacks. The main thing I've been feeling while watching this is how much I miss Kinnaman's portrayal of Stephen Holder in The Killing -  a not-so-great show with some great acting.

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I didn’t realize that was Joel Kinnaman. I heard him talk and knew it was his voice, it’s very distinctive, but he looks soooo different from The Killing that I was super confused. Not just the muscles. His face looks very different to me. I came here about half-way through the episode and saw you all state his name and then I felt better. Not so crazy. But, still confused by a lot of the stuff going on. I’ll try a couple more episodes, but not sure I’ll make it through the series yet or not. Loved the mini Dollhouse reunion though (even though the actors didn’t share a scene). 

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Once you take away all the holograms, the streets and stripmalls of... what?.. maybe 400 years into the future?... look way too much like ours.

Which makes all the special effects they layer over it in the name of "world building" look kind of half-assed.

Oh, it works fine in something that takes place in the near future. And it also works well in a comedy, like "Futurama."

But this show seems to mostly take itself way too seriously to get away with that. Unless maybe he continues to stay in the funny robot hotel.

And, as usual, Netflix proves that they know how to provide 20 or 30 minutes of quality entertainment.

Regardless of whatever the show in question's actual runtime is.

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On 2/3/2018 at 10:13 AM, Triskan said:

Kinda surprised to see that kind of backlast from you guys above.

This is definitly the type of show I love. I enjoyed every single drop of that first episode, from the aesthetics to the narrative, encompassing the actors, the rythme, the sets, the dialogue...


Definitly in for the long haul myself ! 

My wife and I just started watching this weekend. We are absolutely hooked - and were from the very first episode. We've gotten through seven episodes so far, mostly binge-watching yesterday. I admit that I was terribly disappointed to have to turn it off and go to bed last night. If I could've swung a day off today, I would've stayed up last night and finished the first season.

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Well, it looks stunning. The dystopian cityscapes, the apparent utopia of the Eyrie, the hi-tech gear, the abundance of absurdly good looking people. It all fits the feel of the book. This pilot was lit and shot extremely well

I always found the cortical stack and interchangeable 'sleeves' idea to be so interesting. At once a solution for long distance travel, for overcoming physical shortcomings, and for escaping death. And it brings with it that loss of mortality that transhumanism is always looking for. Killing that stack is the only thing that can really destroy a person's existence. The loss of self, due to changing bodies, seems impossible to comprehend.

Not sold on Joel Kinnaman as the lead. While the hero of a show like this should be dour and serious, he just doesn't seem to have a massive amount of personality. In the few minutes we got with Will Yun Lee as Kovacs, I liked him more. Kinnaman also seems to be a monotone mumbler, which was frustrating at times.

Also not sure about the actress playing Ortega. She just seems overly aggressive and strident, not a lot of nuance there.

I always love James Purefoy, and he was convincing as the ageless billionaire, feeling he's completely above 'normal' people. Not so convinced by Kristin Lehman, as Miriam Bancroft. The most jarring first impression of her in the book was that she was this cool, predatory woman, in the body of a young 20something.

I don't mind difficult narrative structures, because it means I have to pay attention instead of doing other things at the same time. I find it more rewarding. I didn't mind being introduced to a previous version of Kovacs, because it set up his taciturn, closed off nature in this episode. He's in shock, grieving the woman who was killed, has no clue what is going on. All of that, as far as I can tell, felt like it had just happened to him. But I'm fully aware this will turn a lot of people off. Television has become all about giving us all the answers now.

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1 hour ago, MrSmith said:

My wife and I just started watching this weekend. We are absolutely hooked - and were from the very first episode. We've gotten through seven episodes so far, mostly binge-watching yesterday. I admit that I was terribly disappointed to have to turn it off and go to bed last night. If I could've swung a day off today, I would've stayed up last night and finished the first season.

Me too!  I must've started it a little earlier than you guys because I got through episode 8.  I really wanted to just finish it yesterday!

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On 2/4/2018 at 1:17 PM, shapeshifter said:

Joel Kinnaman is the only reason I watched 1½ seasons of The Killing, and pretty much why I watched the second episode of this show, after which I decided to stick around for the interesting glimpses of today's socioeconomic-political issues spun into the future.

If you like Joel Kinnaman, you'll like this show I think (my god, that guy has a really hot body)

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I liked it. Have only seen the first two episodes, but I'm in. I've read the books, but it's been quite a while since I read the first one.

I forgot JK was in The Killing. I stopped after the first season. It took me a while to get that he was the GOP candidate last season on House of Cards.

Although this isn't a complete Bladerunner homage, the scenes of Vancouv ... er Bay City at night definitely owe a lot to the movie.

Fun seeing a couple of Dollhouse actors. As for Ortega, I feel bad for the actress. She's got the typical female thankless role. If you're not a fantastic actor, it's hard to deliver on that dialog. I did enjoy her crashing the car onto the tycoon's property. That's a nice fuck you to deliver. Not necessary, but fun.

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I read the book years ago so I'm already familiar with the story and I'm curious to see how they do it as a show. I also like "noir Sci-fi" stuff like Bladerunner and I really like Joel Kinnaman. So I'm in.

I agree that the first episode should have focused more on world-building and intro to characters and plot, and not so much on confusing flashbacks.

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So he is a specially trained special forces who can beam into any culture and setting and work perfectly right off.

So in this new world he gets high and douches out for no reason....

I think I know why his side lost the war

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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 6:37 PM, Happywatcher said:

So in this new world he gets high and douches out for no reason....

I suspect that's just who he is.  Remember the flashback when his partner asks him "Are you always an asshole?' and he replies "Every sleeve, every time".

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On 06.02.2018 at 3:37 AM, Happywatcher said:

So he is a specially trained special forces who can beam into any culture and setting and work perfectly right off.

So in this new world he gets high and douches out for no reason....

I think I know why his side lost the war

I've no idea how he adapted to new dangerous worlds when ordinary Red Light District had him completely disoriented. Like, if I travelled with this guy to hectic city like Jakarta, Beijing or even Istanbul I wouldn't let go of his hand or god knows where he'd end up. He's probably one of those tourists who end up jumping into cannals in Amsterdam. 

Edited by Cruella
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I don't understand how the AI hotels exist given the economics of this world. There's hyper-capitalism with immortal multi-billionaires but also these immensely complex hotels are (1) single occupant and (2) have not been used in decades? Who pays the rent? Who pays the electricity? Why haven't they been shut down and razed in favor of hotels that people actually want to stay at?

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28 minutes ago, arc said:

Why haven't they been shut down and razed in favor of hotels that people actually want to stay at?

Because the AIs hold legal citizenship, are also the legal owners of the hotels in question, and are physically part of the hotels. 

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59 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Because the AIs hold legal citizenship, are also the legal owners of the hotels in question, and are physically part of the hotels. 

Okay, they may have a right to exist as sapient entities, but how do they pay their rent and/or property taxes?

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8 hours ago, arc said:

but how do they pay their rent and/or property taxes?

They own the hotels of which they are part, so no rent is due.  As for taxes, I'll ask Richard Morgan and get back to you.

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They might own the hotels but in real businesses, esp in downtown cores, the underlying property isn’t necessarily owned by the business. Even for some actual hotels, I think they lease from some owner. Certainly several hostels I’ve been to operate with that kind of structure.

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They won the legal right to be considered citizens, to earn an income, and to eventually purchase their own hardware.  The hardware is integrated into the structure of the hotel.  (Not all AIs are hoteliers, BTW.)

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6 hours ago, Netfoot said:

They won the legal right to be considered citizens, to earn an income, and to eventually purchase their own hardware.  The hardware is integrated into the structure of the hotel.  (Not all AIs are hoteliers, BTW.)

Yes, ultimately my quibble is with the income part. The right to earn an income isn't the same as a guaranteed income. These hotels have been unused for decades. These AI hotels have the right to earn an income but they literally haven't, for decades. Any business either leases its property and thus has to pay rent, or owns it, and thus has to pay property tax.

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Hooray, because that was clearly my goal from the start!!!

edit: in all seriousness though, I think considering the economics of a world in a story about the haves and haves-not should hardly be out of bounds.

Edited by arc
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How about this compromise (haven't read the book, don't know if it explains anything). When the AI hotels were popular, they made a shit ton of money, and Poe invested his wisely, so his income doesn't depend on guests, while other AI's have had to diversify.

Edited by Clanstarling
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It's easy enough to contrive ways in which the AIs can have sources of revenue other than the structure of which they are a part.  (The hotel, in Poe's case.)  I just don't see that the failure to specify these sources spoils the show.

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2 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

It's easy enough to contrive ways in which the AIs can have sources of revenue other than the structure of which they are a part.  (The hotel, in Poe's case.)  I just don't see that the failure to specify these sources spoils the show.

I don't either (and I came up with the income source easily, as you say).  I'm more a "let it wash all over me until I understand it" viewer and am very comfortable being a little confused in the beginning of  a show or book. I personally don't find economic details of interest in a science fiction show - at least not in the first episode.

But others like a little more concrete world building, and it is a valid point that given the society this show is depicting, money matters. 

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On 2/7/2018 at 8:22 PM, Cruella said:

I've no idea how he adapted to new dangerous worlds when ordinary Red Light District had him completely disoriented

He was disoriented in the red light district because he was high. He took a drop of whatever it was in his eye after buying a backpack full of drugs from a dealer (which for me explains the pink bag he was carrying around - LOL). Once the drugs were in his system I'm assuming they made the advertisements in the red light district more intense and thus caused him to get disoriented. 

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43 minutes ago, Enero said:

He was disoriented in the red light district because he was high. He took a drop of whatever it was in his eye after buying a backpack full of drugs from a dealer (which for me explains the pink bag he was carrying around - LOL). Once the drugs were in his system I'm assuming they made the advertisements in the red light district more intense and thus caused him to get disoriented. 

Yes, but this is a very stupid thing to do. I remember having too strong reaction to space cake in Amsterdam, but at least I had presense of mind to take them near my hotel and to get back as soon as I started feeling the effects. I would expect better from a super spy-agent-whatever who's most important characteristic is precisely being able to adapt very fast to both new body and whatever new world he's getting dropped into. With this guy, if I sent him on spy mission to different planet, I'd expect to find him in an alley somewhere wriggling, overdosed on local equivalent of coke and robbed by pickpockets. And with tracking equipment installed on him by local authorities, too. 

Definitely no missions to Holland, Belgium or Cali for this one! 

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1 hour ago, Cruella said:

Yes, but this is a very stupid thing to do. I remember having too strong reaction to space cake in Amsterdam, but at least I had presense of mind to take them near my hotel and to get back as soon as I started feeling the effects. I would expect better from a super spy-agent-whatever who's most important characteristic is precisely being able to adapt very fast to both new body and whatever new world he's getting dropped into. With this guy, if I sent him on spy mission to different planet, I'd expect to find him in an alley somewhere wriggling, overdosed on local equivalent of coke and robbed by pickpockets. And with tracking equipment installed on him by local authorities, too. 

Definitely no missions to Holland, Belgium or Cali for this one! 

I didn’t think it was stupid because at that point he didn’t give a f*ck. He’d turned down Bancroft and decided to “get high, get laid,” then go back on ice or commit suicide. It was only after his hallucination of Quell and her convincing him to take the chance that Bancroft was giving him that he decided to investigate the murder. 

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Watched the first episode. It has potential enough to keep me watching. I'm ok with some world-building not being explained in detail (AI hotel economics) or not being explained quite yet (where exactly are they getting all these sleeves?). But I felt like we were shown enough of how the prison worked for it to actively NOT make sense. They were given a speech about how they had successfully served their prison sentences - but then it turned out one of them was a 7 year old who had been killed in a hit and run? So why was she being given a speech about having successfully served her prison sentence? Why was she in a prison at all? My guess is that's where they get the sleeves - if you commit a crime, your body is taken away from you and becomes available to give to someone else - but that still doesn't explain why that 7 year old was being given that speech and treated like a prisoner. And I'm not sure that would provide enough sleeves for all the uses they seem to have, let alone enough good-quality sleeves. They'll need to explain that at some point. Seems like if no one is dying unless their stack is destroyed, there would be a major shortage of sleeves, rather than extra ones lying around. 

I also thought the part where he went and got high didn't ring true. I think highly trained mercenaries who are always hyper aware of details around them would not be ones to go get high in a strange city. I guess it was supposed to show he'd given up and had no interest in life, but it didn't really work for me.

Joel Kinnamen looks SO different than in The Killing. I guess he must have had a serious personal trainer for this role? I was also wondering if they used digital tricks to beef up the muscles in that one nude scene. 

Edited by LeGrandElephant
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