"...or gas and a blowtorch." You'll have to watch Force Of Evil to appreciate that quote. This episode could have been named: Torture, Die, Repeat. There's really a lot of killing and burning and torture of rich variety. Oh, and cooking also. And a bit too much talking.
Tahmoh Penikett's Dimitri throws a Tim Burtonesqe glee into his torture. The techs controlling the VR Torture program are impatient with how long it's taking for Kovacs to break because they have dinner plans. It's a bit over the top for the tone of Altered Carbon so far. But, it provides an opportunity for Envoy training flashbacks that illustrate how deeply prepared Envoys are for all scenarios, and to reveal something unexpected about Quell.
For a change, there's not a lot new visually in this chapter, which seems like a bottle episode, shorter on sets and effects than the prior three. The script seems unnecessarily dialogue-heavy and drawn out, much of it unrelated to the central story. The thread involving Ortega's mother coming over to cook and a guest who was also a thug completely lost me. And, it was unclear to me what the torture was about. Dimitri seems convinced that Kovacs was trying to kill him. Yet, Dimitri appeared to be hired to hit Kovacs at the Raven. And, who is Ryker?
The least strong episode so far, Force of Evil may be a budget-balancer. It's too bad the writers couldn't find a way to take the characters deeper with the dialogue. I was going to take 4 stars off for the slowness of this one, but I give one star back for an explosive finish, and the first human moment for Ortega.
"Hello Unicorn." (alright I'll stop)
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