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Is Takeshi Kovacs Alive or Dead in ‘Altered Carbon’?

February 27, 2020
4 min read

Much like its maiden season, in its second run as well, ‘Altered Carbon’ ties up the story neatly and bids farewell to the audience with a bang. The finale of Season 2 concludes the plot that had been brewing in Harlan’s World, and with Quellcrist Falconer aiming for another planet, we expect the next season to take us to a new world. Every other mystery of the season is cleared up very well, but there is one question that stays with us.

Did ‘Altered Carbon’ really kill off its protagonist? For a few minutes, things do seem final for the hero. But everything changes with the clue that the show teases us with at the end. Let’s find out what that actually means.

Is Takeshi Kovacs Dead or Alive?

From all that we have seen in the two seasons of ‘Altered Carbon’, one thing we can all agree on is that killing Takeshi Kovacs is an impossibility in this futuristic world. One way or another, no matter how adverse the condition, he always finds a way to come back.

He suffered the abuse from his father and killed him, but survived by joining the CTAC. Then, he came back to find his sister and turned against his own unit, but survived. Quellcrist Falconer could have killed him when she found him in her territory, but he survived. And the day that Stronghold fell, when every single person died, or at least, had their sleeves destroyed, he was the only Envoy to make it out alive.

Despite accepting death with Rei, in the finale of Season 1, he found a way to come back. So, if a similar feat is not performed at the end of Season 2, it would not be consistent with his character. Hence, the straight answer to your question is, yes, Takeshi Kovacs is very much alive. In the middle of the season, the old Kovacs is brought into play by Carrera as a tool to defeat present-Kovacs and Falconer. However, old-Kovacs too turns towards Quell and becomes a rebel. At the end, when present-Kovacs sacrifices himself, it looks like we now have only old-Kovacs to deal with.

For a while, I had made peace with the fact that the entire history of the protagonist has been erased and he will start anew with the rebellion in the current state. However, the version of Kovacs that we have grown to like is not this one. The real Kovacs is the one who went through the events like killing his own sister and chasing the love of his life from one end of the universe to another. This is the version that Poe owes his loyalty to, and that’s why ‘Altered Carbon’ is nothing without him. So, yeah, we are getting him back in the next season.

Who saved Kovacs?

Takeshi Kovacs might not know how to appreciate his friends, but they know how to take care of him. Poe might have been on the verge of his own version of death, but he was dedicated to Kovacs with every fibre of his being. In the end, just before he went into the reboot, he saw that Kovacs was about to sacrifice himself to save Harlan’s World as well as Quell. In this moment, Poe transferred Kovacs’ stack to DHF and encrypted the file, so that only he could access it. He left behind the code in a sticky note that Dig (now Annabel) later found.

When Poe comes back, restored and repaired, he has forgotten about everything. It will all come back to him slowly, but for now, everything is unknown to him, even his name. This is when Annabel shows him the note and they realise that it points towards a location. On tracking it, they realise that it leads to the DHF, and the only logical conclusion is that Poe saved Kovacs yet again. If you need any more confirmation, Annabel asks Poe to put out the good whiskey, in the end. Who else could it be for?

Read More: Altered Carbon Season 2 Ending, Explained

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