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Altered Carbon Season 2 Ending, Explained

February 27, 2020
6 min read

With its second season, ‘Altered Carbon’ takes us back to the future where death is just an illusion. The show adds to the mythology of the world and gives us more insights into the history of the characters as well as the planet that is an important part of their stories.

It starts out with a murder mystery that Takeshi Kovacs is, once again, hired to solve. Soon, a connection from Kovacs’ past comes to light and he discovers a dangerous enemy on the horizon. In the finale, everything comes to an end, and it leaves us with the questions that won’t leave our heads so easily. Here we have broken down the ending of Season 2. But before that, if you haven’t yet caught up with the show, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD

Plot Summary

After the events of the previous season, Kovacs embarks on the quest of reuniting with Quellcrist Falconer. In her dying moments, Rei had told him that she had backed up Quell on the DHF, and she was the only one who knew where Quell was being held. However, he never got her to tell where exactly that was. But now that he knew Quell was out there somewhere, he spent all his time trying to find her.

Finally, a clue comes around, but it is not what Kovacs had expected. A Meth comes looking for him, asking for his help. He promises Kovacs the true location of Quell, but in return, he has to protect him against a formidable enemy. Kovacs is unable to protect the Meth, but he realises that if he finds the Meth’s killer, he’ll find Quell.

The Elder and Quell

The Elder had been latching on to Quell’s stack all this while. It wanted revenge for what Konrad Harlan and the rest of the founders had done to its people. When they arrived on the planet, they found the Songspire and used its tech to make stacks for themselves. The one thing they didn’t tell anyone was that they had also found some Elder species alive.

On the order of Harlan, they killed all of the remaining aliens, however, the DNA of one of them got coded in the Songspire, which protected it until it could find a host for itself. When Amir and his friends stumbled upon the place and tried to blow it up, they accidentally let loose the Elder, which then jumped from one stack to another, until it landed on Quell, the only one capable of holding it in.

A pact was made between them. The Elder wanted to reign down Angelfire on the entire planet, killing each and every human present there. Quell demanded mercy for them, asking it to focus just on the founders. In exchange for it, she would continue to host it and even find a way to get to all of the founders.

This is the reason why she said “I’m not here for you” to Kovacs the first time they met. This also accounted for the personality disorder that had been manifesting in her and what suppressed her memories. When Kovacs separated them, the pact was broken.

The Ending, Explained

The Elder would have been imprisoned in the virtual created by Dig. However, Carrera happened to be there, so the Elder used his stack to get back into the world. Now that there was nothing holding it back, it decided to go with the original plan- wiping out the entire planet. Summoning Angelfire on its own would prove fatal to the sleeve and would not do any lasting damage. So, it built a device that would act like an on and off switch, controlling the Angelfire on the entire planet. This is what they needed to stop it from using.

Quell and both Kovacs end up at the tower where Carrera has found the perfect location to get the signal. Quell’s first plan is to give Konrad Harlan to the Elder and ask it to stay true to the pact. If it agrees, great; if not, then plan B. This time, she would kill Carrera, which would force the Elder to find the next closest stack, which would technically be her. Once the Elder is back in her stack, she will call the Angelfire upon herself, committing suicide while also killing the Elder inside of her. Everything goes as expected, but the sacrifice is made by Kovacs, not her.

He had already lost her once and he was not ready to let it happen again. He also knew that she was much more important than him. She was the face of the revolution and she was the only one who could change the world, which is why she needed to live. So, with the help of old-Kovacs, he gets Quell out of the way and executes Plan B himself.

What will Quellcrist Falconer do now?

With the deadly threat out of the way, the populace of Harlan’s World is safe now. Danica Harlan is killed by the Elder, but the death of one politician doesn’t mean the end of the reign of the Protectorate. They will put someone else in her place and the cycle will go on. After the truth about Danica’s ploy to keep the Protectorate under her thumb comes to light, it becomes clear to everyone that there is no revolution, and hence, no state of war on the planet.

Old-Kovacs is presented in front of the Protectorate who can’t find him guilty of double-sleeving because it happened without his consent, and they let him go because he saved the world. In fact, they keep him around to keep the peace intact until the next leader takes over. He is back in the enemy camp now, but not as their soldier. He tells the Protectorate that Quellcrist Falconer died in the fight, and they have no other choice but to believe him. This allows Quell to leave the planet easily, and also, now that she is back, she will stir the uprising in some other place. One way or another, the Protectorate is going down.

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