Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Takeshi Kovacs Moment That Still Confuses Altered Carbon Fans

In Netflix's science-fiction series Altered Carbonbased on the book series by Richard Morganthe advanced world of the show's setting revolves around a technology that allows people to live forever by changing bodies — their beings stored in a small piece of material called a "stack." Joel Kinnaman introduces audiences to the character of Takeshi Kovacs, a highly-skilled fighter hired to solve a murder. On season 2, actor Anthony Mackie takes over the role — going deeper into the character's backstory as an "Envoy," or super-soldier, led by the powerful and enigmatic Quellcrist Falconer (Renée Elise Goldsberry).

Beyond immortality, the show features plenty of other advanced technology, ranging from artificial intelligence to virtual reality torture — something that Takeshi experiences on both seasons of the show. On season 1, episode 4, "Force of Evil," Takeshi is tortured by a man named Dimi (Matt Biedel), who thinks Takeshi is someone he isn't. Via flashbacks to his time training under Quell, Altered Carbon reveals that Takeshi knows how to break out of the virtual simulation. He goes through quite a bit of torture before finally using his past experience and training to escape the simulation and kill his captors. But this brings up an important question: If he knew how to get out of the virtual world the whole time, why didn't he?

Why didn't Takeshi free himself from the virtual torture simulation earlier?

One Altered Carbon fan created a Reddit thread to ask others why they think it takes so long for Takeshi to break out of the virtual simulation. User u/madmax727 proposed the question — weighing up whether it's simply a plot device used to include flashbacks of Takeshi's time as an Envoy, a choice to show he has to slowly work up to the escape, or a combination of a few different things. Thankfully, the Reddit responders brought a lot of great analyses.

Redditor u/TheLaughingWolf highlighted the fact that Takeshi only has a little training in virtual reality, and never before has he had to use this knowledge in a real situation. Practice only helps you so much, and Quell warns Takeshi that while being tortured, "there will seem to be no end." Knowing this, it's likely that it takes a lot of strength and control for Takeshi to overcome the pain and use what he learned from Quell to his advantage. 

Another argument is that Takeshi is waiting for the right moment to escape, getting information from Dimi in the interim, as he's trying to find out why Dimi kidnapped him in the first place. 

This sequence has caused a lot of confusion for fans, spawning plenty of theories. Ultimately, it's not clear exactly why Takeshi takes so long to escape the torture in Altered Carbon, but it's safe to say that there are quite a few plausible reasons, each more interesting than the last.