The Biblical Reference You Missed In Altered Carbon

Some of the best science-fiction stories are the ones that highlight an essentially human tale wrapped up in some sort of fantastical setting or premise, like Netflix's "Altered Carbon." The series, which kicked off in 2018, started out as a classic whodunnit murder-mystery series with a futuristic twist, but it its imaginative concept — technology of transferable consciousness — examines the relationship between identity, gender, and the loss of self. While the noir thriller is pretty to look at with its cyber-punk visuals, which are straight out of "Blade Runner," there's a lot to unpack underneath the glossy surface.

"Altered Carbon" also poses a huge question about religion, since Catholics in the series believe that once a person dies, their stack — the machine storing their consciousness — should not be spun up by the authorities to confirm the details of their death. Obviously, it would be a useful tool in murder investigations, but many people use religious coding to forbid their consciousness from being virtually resurrected. However, if someone can fake the religious coding on their victims' stack, it means they could get away with murder. See? There's a deeper layer to the series than just cool sci-fi visuals.

Beyond that, there's another surprising biblical reference in "Altered Carbon" relating to the stacks and how the wealthy elite have achieved a version of immortality. Here's the Bible reference you probably missed in "Altered Carbon."

The name 'Meths' means way more than you think in Altered Carbon

In "Altered Carbon," the wealthier members of society in the series use the stacks' technology to their advantage since cloning technology has become a commonplace commodity for those who can afford it. Takeshi Kovacs, the show's protagonist, even gets a military-grade "sleeve" with physical enhancements of its own in Season 2 — and it just so happens to look like Anthony Mackie. But most people with obscene amounts of money, like James Purefoy's Laurens Bancroft, clone their own bodies and upload a backup of their consciousness online so they can effectively live forever — earning the very specific nickname "Meths."

The term was actually created by author Richard Morgan, who wrote the "Altered Carbon" book that the series is based on. It's short for Methuselah, a person in the Old Testament who supposedly lived to be 969 years old (depending on the interpretation), per In "Altered Carbon," Bancroft is apparently the oldest Meth in existence, yet he's only 365 years old. Still, it's clear that Richard Morgan was weaving plenty of religious subtext into the science-fiction murder-mystery. 

However, as the show clearly demonstrates, living forever isn't as perfect as it sounds; Bancroft sees everyone else as his playthings, leading him down a particularly dark path when he developed a taste for the extreme. All in all, though, it's pretty interesting to learn that the term "Meths" has way more meaning than you think.