‘Altered Carbon’ Season 2 Ending Explained: Theories About the DHF


If you’ve been binging the latest season of Altered Carbon and already watched the Season 2 finale, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about this phenomenal series. Here’s a look at what happened in the finale, along with theories about that DHF scene.

This article will have major spoilers for the Altered Carbon Season 2 finale. 

The Season 2 Finale Was Phenomenal

The Season 2 finale of Altered Carbon really left me wanting more and anxious for news about a Season 3 renewal.

We learned the fate of Conrad Harlan, the last of the founders supposedly alive. No, he’s not hiding in the construct or somewhere else on the planet. Instead, it turns out that his daughter killed him. She made up the story about his joining the “renouncer” cult so that she could ascend to his place as Governor without controversy or debate. Danica, as it turns out, is not to be trusted and is really only looking out for herself.

The revelation that the Elders were not entirely extinct but one escaped into Quellcrist Falconer’s stack was a great twist. Now that same Elder has taken over Carrera’s stack.

I wished there was a way to communicate with the Elder and learn from it, but not surprisingly, the Elder is only bent on revenge after Harlan murdered its entire species. Kovacs OG thwarted Quell’s plan to take the Elder back onto her stack and destroy herself and the Elder in order to save the planet. Instead, Kovacs took on that role himself. So we were left wondering: Did Kovacs really just die, leaving behind only the second Kovacs in his place?

After Kovacs’ sacrifice, the orbitals all exploded, indicating that he sent some kind of feedback loop back through that took out the entire system.

We also see Quell talking to an imaginary Kovacs at the end. No, Kovacs’ mind isn’t now somehow in Quell’s. It just appears to be a coping mechanism kind of like Kovacs had.

Poe’s Return & the DHF Question


In the final scene of the Season 2 finale, Poe returned after his reboot. But despite Dig’s attempt at archiving his memories, Poe did not remember his past. She was surprised by this, but guessed that it might take some time for Poe to retrieve all his memories and maybe all was not lost.

But then they make an unexpected discovery. Poe appears to have stored a raw human DHF before he rebooted.

This leaves us with a few possibilities about the identity of this mysterious human DHF. Some people think it might be Lizzie — perhaps she died in real life and he found a way to store her DHF. This isn’t likely, however.

Fans have also brought up the possibility that it will be Carrera, perhaps stored by accident while Poe was rebooting.

The most likely theory, however, is that Poe stored the original Kovacs’ raw DHF before he rebooted and before Kovacs died sacrificing himself. The line “get the good whiskey read” also seems to indicate that this is going to be Kovacs.

A leading theory among viewers is that Poe used Dig’s archiver to host Kovacs’ raw DHF, sacrificing his own uncorrupted memories to make room. This would explain why Poe’s memories and sense of self were not restored with his reboot. He took most of that space and gave it to Kovacs instead. Thus, we see both Kovacs and Poe sacrificing themselves for the greater good in the final episode of Season 2.

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