During that time, rising fan-favorite Trepp (Simone Missick) learns her estranged father is dead and Takeshi Kovacs “Prime” (Will Yeun Lee), as the Altered writers have dubbed him, is the culprit. From there, “Broken Angeles” continues a survey of tragedy after tragedy. Fans find out certain characters have been dead from the beginning of the season, witness the fall of multiple villains, and even possibly suffer the death of the series’ central protagonist.
However, everyone who dies in Altered Carbon doesn’t have to stay dead. Thanks to the invention of “stacks,” memory disks created by heroine Quellcrist Falconer (Renée Elise Goldsberry), a character’s “sleeve,” or body, can die and their stack can live on. If a living person acquires a new sleeve for a “dead” person, they can input that individual’s stack into a body and resurrect them. That’s why someone only experiences the “real death” when their stack is destroyed beyond recognition, along with any possible memory backups.
With this many rules about Altered Carbon death at play, you need a guide to who died during “Broken Angels” and who will remain that way. Keep reading for a full guide to the season 2 finale — with helpful explanations from the cast.
How does Danica die?: Murder by The Elder. The ultimate threat of Altered Carbon season 2 is The Elder, a being that lived on Harlan’s World before Danica’s father, Konrad Harlan (Neal McDonough), settled the planet for the Protectorate, an evil intergalactic empire. Konrad murdered The Elder’s children and tried to burn down a tree in the heart of “Harlan’s World.” During that atrocity, The Elder’s consciousness downloaded to the tree and remained there for centuries. When Quellcrist is awakened at the base of that tree in Altered’s present timeline, she is infected by The Elder’s consciousness and attempts to reap vengeance for the being.
Danica is that final piece of revenge. In “Broken Angels” Danica, now governor of Harlan’s World, pretends to partner with Quell, Main Kovacs (Anthony Mackie), and Kovacs Prime to stop The Elder, who is determined to annihilate the entire planet. Danica then double crosses Quell and the Kovacses and tries to kill them. The Elder, in the body of imperial Protectorate colonel Carrera (Torben Liebrecht), kills Danica, infecting her with the same stack-ruining real death virus it used to kill Harlan’s World’s founders.
How does Konrad die?: Danica murdered Konrad in a bid for the governor's chair of Harlan’s World. Konrad has been dead for quite some time when Altered Carbon season 2begins. However, we only learn of Danica’s patricide during the finale, when Danica must tell Quell and the Kovacses why they cannot use Konrad as bait to catch The Elder.
“Conrad Harlan had been ruling for over 300 years. His only child, groomed for leadership, is left sidelined in his shadow without the ability to step into her own potential,” Lela Loren continues in her email, explaining her character’s murderous decision. “The great irony is she’s still her father’s daughter. Just like Konrad slaughtered The Elders to gain his position of power and hid the truth, so his daughter murders him and hides the truth.”
Will Konrad stay dead?: Yes. Danica killed her father by destroying Konrad’s stack, as we learn in “Broken Angels.” Konrad suffered a real death.
How does Carrera/Jaeger die?: Killed by Takeshi Kovacs. After The Elder is severed from Quellcrist’s body, it ends up in the sleeve of Protectorate colonel Carerra, the new identity of Jaeger. Jaeger (Daniel Bernhardt) is a centuries-old Protectorate soldier who acted as a pseudo father figure to Kovacs. However, Jaeger betrayed Kovacs multiple times to keep him under his thumb (see: the time Jaeger allowed Kovacs’ little sister Reileen to be sold to the Yakuza). Years earlier, Kovacs left Jaeger's control to follow Quell.
To eliminate The Elder, Kovacs realizes he must shoot Carrera, killing him and forcing The Elder into his own body. Since Kovacs’ sleeve is unable to kill Carrera himself — due to military coding — he uses Carrera’s hand to pull the trigger.
Will Carrera stay dead?: It is unclear if Carrera’s stack was destroyed when Kovacs kills him. It is also unclear if the Protectorate has ensured there are memory backups for Carrera/Jaeger, one of the empire's most loyal soldiers in history.
Since there is no confirmation that Carrera has been truly killed, don’t be surprised if he pops back up again in a prospective Altered Carbon season 3.
How does The Elder die?: Destroyed by Kovacs by way of Angelfire. Kovacs’ plan to trap The Elder inside of himself and use its powers against the being work. Once The Elder infects Kovacs, he manipulates its ability to control the Orbitals above Harlan’s World — which were created by The Elders before humans ever got to the planet — to unleash Angelfire upon their shared body. Angelfire is a powerful beam that comes out of the Orbitals and incinerates anybody it touches.
Will The Elder stay dead?: Yes. Whatever remained of The Elder’s consciousness was incinerated. Because Elders do not have stacks, it does not possess a memory backup that would allow for resurrection.
How does Kovacs die?: From Angelfire, while killing The Elder. Kovacs sacrifices himself to stop The Elder threat. As we see in the final minutes of “Broken Angels,” Kovacs’ final act of heroism leaves his body a smoking pile of ash. Quell tries to recover Kovacs’ stack, but the Angelfire destroyed it.
Will Kovacs stay dead?: Probably not. In the final scene of the finale, we learn Kovacs’ sidekick Poe (Chris Conner) disappeared after the big “Angels” battle. He explains to his new friend Dig 301 (Dina Shihabi) — now using the name Annabel — that he was decompressing massive amounts of fragmented data for over there months.
Poe hands Annabel the only clue he has about his identity: a piece of paper with a decryption key. If you look closely at the earlier Kovacs-Elder fight scene, you’ll notice Poe scribbles something onto a piece of paper before disappearing. It is the decryption code. When Poe and Anabel download the data, they see blue code slowly coalesce to look a lot like a stack. The screen reads, “Stack reconstruction in progress.” At some point in Altered Carbon, Poe downloaded Kovacs' stack into his memory bank.
Somehow, Takeshi Kovacs lives.