What we learn about Elders and angelfire in Altered Carbon season 2


Lots modified from season 1 to season 2 of Altered Carbon. Anthony Mackie performs Takeshi Kovacs now, it’s 30 years later, and we’re on a wholly new planet. That new planet, Harlan’s World, has a historical past and quirks that the present touches on, however doesn’t actually discover.

So let’s speak about Harlan’s World’s angels and their angelfire.

We’ll keep away from main spoilers as a lot as we are able to, however the previous couple of paragraphs comprise main spoilers for season 2. We’ll put an additional warning earlier than these paragraphs.

What’s Harlan’s World?

About 400 years earlier than season 2 takes place (so, 370ish years earlier than season 1), human colonists left earth on a sublight colony ship. They arrived at a planet that will come to be often known as Harlan’s World, named after one of many founders of the planet.

The planet may help human life, but it surely was (very practically) fully surrounded by a hexagonal community of automated orbitals — one thing between a satellite tv for pc and an area station (it’s exhausting to get a way of scale from the present) — that will shoot down something that bought too shut. These orbitals got here to be often known as angels.

Konrad Harlan, performed by Neal McDonough, found (no less than he takes credit score for locating) a gap within the angel community that will enable their ship to land.


The angels weren’t the one artifacts found on Harlan’s World. It quickly turned clear that the planet had beforehand been inhabited by a species that the people named the Elders. We really see an Elder fossil within the mayor’s workplace in episode 1.

Picture: Netflix

Elders constructed the angels, however nobody is aware of why.

Different Elder artifacts have been found everywhere in the planet. Groups of “archaeologues” and AIs researched at dig websites everywhere in the planet. Dig 301, who we meet in season 2, is a type of AIs. We’ve seen proof of the previous emerge from these digs all through each seasons. Finding out a singular alloy in these Elder artifacts is what led Quellcrist Falconer to invent stacks — these interchangeable exhausting drives that retailer a human thoughts as digital human freight (DHF).


The angels surrounding Harlan’s World are nonetheless very a lot energetic. At night time, we see beams of blue-white mild, known as angelfire by the locals, bouncing between the angels like lightning — it’s angular due to the honeycomb-pattern of the angels’ association. It’s unclear what the beams of sunshine are, but it surely’s presumed to be both arcing energy discharges or communication.

Altered Carbon season 2 angelfire in the sky above Harlan’s World

Picture: Netflix

When one thing will get too near the angels’ elevation — just like the firework-bearing rockets we see in episode 4 — the orbitals destroy it with a extra highly effective blast of that very same blue-white vitality. That is most likely why the flying automobiles that we noticed on Earth in season 1 are absent from Harlan’s World.

The necessary factor to notice right here is that angelfire is simply ever seen within the sky. So long as nothing approaches the angels from the floor, they’re fully innocent and seen usually because the planet’s protectors.

A spoiler-filled dialogue of the angels in season 2

Angels, angelfire, and the Elders are all main plot factors in Altered Carbon’s second season. In episode 6, Quellcrist appears to regulate the angels and makes use of them to name down angelfire towards the Protectorate forces searching her.

Altered Carbon season 2 angelfire

Picture: Netflix

In episode 7, we study that it wasn’t Quell controlling the angels, however the Elder that was sharing her stack. We see that once more in episode 8, when Takeshi makes use of angelfire to kill himself and the Elder — although, he appears to have been saved by Poe.

This tells us a pair fascinating issues. The orbiting community of angels appears to be pointed on the planet’s floor as an alternative of out at area, which feels much less prefer it’s for protection and extra prefer it’s for containment. Nevertheless, we additionally see that the Elders can management the angels, in order that they seemingly weren’t put there by another person.

Which raises the query: What have been the Elders hoping to comprise on their very own planet? Cross your fingers for season 3.


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