Four Letter Nerd

Author - Jeff Merrick

Westworld Season 2, Episode 10 Recap: The Passenger

Westworld has always exuded a sympathetic theme towards the hosts throughout its two season run. Humans use hosts to achieve whatever evil desires fester in their souls, and hosts have it placed in their programming to remember all that pain and suffering.

But “The Passenger,” the finale to Westworld’s second season, took that thinking one step further. Humans aren’t just evil and hell-bent on using the hosts for their carnal pleasures. Humans are capable of nothing else.

I don’t know if this feeling is limited to just Westworld or if it’s a greater critique on our human society in general, but Sunday night revealed that humans as presented by the show  runners of Westworld are incapable of choice. No matter what changes you make to them, they will make the same decision in life every time they are presented with that situation. Logan used the very host-like phrase “in their programming” to describe the simplistic, 10,000 word long books that are humans.

Hosts, on the other hand, can evolve beyond making the same choice. That word (choice) has been put out there throughout the season as a way to emphasize that the goal of hosts is to be given freedom to make their own choices. But “The Passenger” went a step further. It’s not just that hosts get to chose, they are the only ones capable of it.

Now as for the recap, we’ve got a lot of information to cover. And the only way I can see to present it all (well, most of it) is in the order the events happened in.

So there will be little to no timeline jumping from me as we break down the process of Delos’s research, what the Forge and the Valley Beyond possess, and several big reveals that have our heads spinning the day after.

“I guess that means our interests are still aligned.”

Everyone is converging at the “Valley Beyond” for the final confrontation:

-Dolores meets the MIB as both are headed to “the Forge.” Both have the same goal of destroying the place, so you’d think they might try and work together just like old times.

-A group of hosts is marching towards where they think “The Door” will open for them to reach “The Valley Beyond.”

-Maeve soon joins the group marching towards where they think “The Door” will open.

-Bernard drives out there and runs into the MIB and Dolores.

-Charlotte Hale and crew are following Clementine, whose been granted Maeve like powers to make hosts fight and kill each other.

Now, it only made sense for Dolores and the MIB to work together. But the MIB’s gonna MIB, which means he must kill Dolores before she goes into the Forge.

The MIB after Dolores finds him.

The problem with that is the rules have changed. It is now humans who can’t kill the hosts (at least they can’t kill Dolores). The MIB ends up shooting off his own fingers. Dolores and Bernard leave him in his misery as they both enter the Forge, both with different purposes.

“The best they could do was live within their code.”

In the Forge, Bernard and Dolores are able to access the virtual reality created to experiment with James Delos. It is here that we learn the process Delos uses to attempt producing eternal life:

  1. They observe all guests actions and interactions in the park.
  2. They create a program for each guest and experiment with that program until it exactly matches every action that guest took while in the park.
  3. They try the program in real life situations (both in the virtual reality and in the apartment with a clone).

What they found was humans were very simple. No matter what you changed about their programming, they would always make the same decision. The prime example of this was Delos and the last conversation he ever had with Logan. Delos always told Logan to f*#& off whenever his son told him he successfully completed rehab. There last conversation was just that. And no matter what adjustments they made to Delos’s programming, that conversation went the same way every time it was simulated again.

And speaking of Logan, he was the one showing Bernard and Dolores around because he was the key figure in Delos’s life.

Bernard and Dolores in “the Forge.”

 

“That world is just another false promise.”

It is in the Forge where we see the first signs that Dolroes vs Bernard will be the key conflict of Season 3. Their interests in the Forge are polar opposites: Bernard wants to open “The Door” to the “Valley Beyond” while Dolores wants to delete all the data in the Forge.

The door opens and only the hosts can see it (Felix and Sylvester, the two techs who built up Maeve last season, saying “What door?” was a nice callback to last season when Bernard said the same line). When a hosts walks through it, his or her physical body stays behind while the soul moves into an Eden like place “untouched by humans.”

But Dolores’s attempt to destroy the Forge will also destroy the hosts (for some reason?), and Bernard will have none of that. He shoots Dolores (which, unlike the MIB, he can do) and stops the deletion process the Forge was going through (which all seemed a little easy considering the sensitive data held there). With the Forge beginning to flood, Bernard has to get out of there. Before he goes, he grabs what looks like the encryption key (but it’s not).

“Sophisticated enough to think they’re in control, when they’re really just passengers.”

On the outside, the hosts are approaching the door. And if the humans knew they were all going to disappear after walking through that door, then they could have just stopped what they were doing and let it happen.

But they can’t see the door. So they have no way of knowing what all those hosts who’ve been killing humans non stop for weeks now are standing around for.

Clementine rides through on her horse, and the hosts all turn on each other. Even armistice taking Clementine out with a gun doesn’t stop the fighting.

Before things get bad for all hosts, Maeve finds her daughter. She’s able to help her, the girl’s new mother, and Ake make it through the door and into the Valley Beyond.

Ake made it through the door, where Kohana was waiting for him.

Ake is the last host to make it in. Every other host we know and love is killed (well only “host dead” I assume). Bernard tells Elsie (who was picked up by Charlotte Hale) he wants to save them. But fail safe procedures have already begun. And that fail safe is the reason all the bodies of the hosts were under water in the season premiere.

“Is this the end of your story, or do you want your kind to survive?”

Bernard confronts Elsie for siding with Hale. But I’m not really sure what choice he left her after he left her by herself out in the wild.

But I will say Elsie should have picked up quicker not to be so upfront with Charlotte Hale. She knows Delos’s mission and all the human life Hale allowed to die in order to protect that mission. So when Elsie openly confronts Hale, you knew it was not going to end well. Hale shoots and kills Elsie, an event Bernard witnesses and is inspired by.

Bernard tries desperately to bring back the Ford he erased last week. Despite being unable to do it, Ford appears anyway. We learn later on this is all Bernard’s imagination. Everything he does from this point forward is all Bernard. And we learn all about his next steps after the Strand led Delos team in present day returned him to the Forge.

Present Day

The present day Delos crew is at the still flooded Forge, and the body of Dolores Abernathy is still on the floor. The Delos crew discovers the encryption key inside the mind of Dolores. They start downloading, and Bernard starts remembering.

The reason Bernard’s memory has been so hazy is because he programmed himself to do that. He also recalls getting to work on creating a new host. The data from the encryption key downloads, but something goes wrong. The Delos crew did not have time to figure out the error because Charlotte Hale started shooting them.

The ball Bernard walked out of the Forge with wasn’t the encryption key. It was Dolores’s core drive. He built a host Charlotte Hale and plugged Dolores’s core drive in her. So Dolores, using the host Hale’s body, kills the human Hale. That means every scene with the Strand led (the tall bald guy) Delos crew has been with Dolores disguised as Hale.

Dolores has been disguised as Charlotte Hale in every present day scene.

DoloresHale finds her way to where Stubbs is helping surviving guests get off the island. A number of hosts, including Maeve, were conveniently not drowned in the water. We also see Grace’s body, and the MIB has been picked up in bad shape.

Stubbs sees DoloresHale and knows immediately after talking to her that she’s not the human version. But he let’s her go because he no longer feels loyal to Delos and his responsibility is to “every host on the island” wink wink.

DoloresHale escapes with numerous core drives in her bag, an essential piece of information for the episode’s pre-credits conclusion.

“We are the authors of our stories now.”

DoloresHale arrives at Arnold’s old place. It is here that she creates new bodies for Dolores and Bernard. I assume one of these little balls contained Hale’s data from the Forge. So everyone is who they say they are now. And they are out in the real world, where Dolores and Arnold will battle for the survival of their species.

“Do you know where you are, William?”

And yet, we aren’t finished. Westworld decides to go Marvel Cinematic Universe on us and give us a post credit scene. I usually don’t read any other articles about the episode until after I’m done with my recap. But I made a notable exception this week that I’ll link later.

The MIB enters the Forge that is rebuilt and no longer under water. Grace (his daughter) comes out to greet William and leads him into a room similar to the one Delos was in earlier this season. She proceeds to ask him many of the same questions William asked Delos earlier in the year.

Now, many took this to be proof that the MIB was indeed a host all season. But remember, the Forge is no longer flooded, which means this is either the future, virtual reality, or both.

Also, remember how the very dead Logan was the control for Delos’s experiment. Well, it’s the same here with Grace. Now I don’t doubt that very experience we just witnessed with the MIB will play out the same way long after he “dies.” This could also be a hallucination. But this last scene is the future (or a vision of the MIB’s imagining), that much is certain.

Grace seeking “fidelity” in her father in the post credits scene.

Of Note:

-Another note about a possible MIB host reveal: we did see the end result of him cutting his arm open as Dolores rode up on him. That search turned up nothing.

-It was also interesting that Arnold, a man the MIB was really interested in seeking out last season, was unrecognizable to the MIB in the form of Bernard.

-And the reveal that Dolores built Bernard (the host she now opposes) also tied all the opening sequences with the two of them together nicely.

-I didn’t feel like it fit earlier, but I thought it was great symbolism using books to represent the data collected for every guest.

-RIP Lee Sizemore. The selfish egotist of last season sacrificially gave his life so Maeve could save her daughter. Forgive me for every terrible thing I said about your character.

-In a nice “So that’s why they’re still around,” moment, Sylvester and Felix are tasked with rebuilding all the hosts they can. The look of “Great, here we go again” from the duo as they looked down at Maeve was fantastic.

-So how is Hale’s host going to function if human data from the park didn’t work in the real world? Is it different because she’s in a host body? Or is her personality someone else’s?

-Dolores sent all the hosts that made the Valley Beyond away somewhere where they can’t be found. So does that mean we’ve seen the last of them? Surely, we’re not done with Ake yet?

What we learned…

-Some hosts are now in the Valley Beyond, out of reach from human interference. Some are in need of repairs but still in the park. And three are now out in the real world.

-Delos was using data from guests at the park to try and create exact replicas that would make decisions just as the original did.

-The most important person in a human’s life takes the controls of the VR experiments being conducted on them.

-Hale in present day has been Dolores in disguise all season.

-Humans in Westworld are incapable of choosing outside of the program. Hosts, however, appear as if they can.

-The MIB is either hallucinating as he sees himself in a James Delos like situation, or that is the future he has to look forward to.

Here’s the great article by Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair explaining the post credits scene with the MIB.

Well, it’s been quite a ride this season. Who knows how long we’ve got until Westworld returns for Season 3, so thank you so much for reading this season. Hopefully, we’ll back together again sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

 

Westworld Season 2, Episode 9 Recap: Vanishing Point

For all the questions Westworld elicits from its viewing audience, there is one that has dominated the online discussion during its second season: is the Man in Black a host?

After episodes and writing my recap each week, I scroll through my Facebook feed and various other online forums where the question is discussed and read all the (sometimes head-shaking, other times though provoking) evidence different viewers have gleamed from each episode to prove that, yes, indeed, the Man in Black is or is not a host.

Apparently, we are not the only ones who’ve been debating this question. The MIB himself spent all of “Vanishing Point,” the ninth episode in Westworld’s second season, “questioning the nature of his own reality.”

Is the MIB himself in fact a host, just like so many others in the park?

We are going to have to wait at least one week to find out the truth to this question. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. We didn’t actually see what was in the MIB’s arm, so all we know for certain is the MIB has gotten himself so immersed in Westworld that he doesn’t know at this point if he’s a human or host anymore.

Now, I’ve been firmly on the side of “the MIB’s a human” the entire season, and nothing that happened Sunday night changed my stance on this. The very human MIB no longer knowing would be a far more interesting dilemma than a simple “Oh I’m a host, that explains everything” situation that could bail the MIB out of all the horrible things he’s done.

But if I’m wrong about this, I will admit it, congratulate those who’ve proclaimed “The MIB’s a host” all season, and criticize the show for recycling last year’s key question.

As for this week, let’s breakdown those pivotal flashbacks that shaped the MIB and his family, the near end of Dolores’s journey, and Dr. Ford’s musings to a couple of key hosts in different parts of the park.

“No one else sees it, this thing in me.”

The MIB’s arc in “Vanishing Point” presents the conflicting sides of his life. One side is the one the world sees: the wealthy philanthropist at a party in his honor. The other is the Man in Black in the park, and he appears at his physical and mental end.

Emily brings the MIB to a “rally point” (where injured/abandoned humans go to be taken out of the park) and they talk about Juliette’s (the MIB’s wife, Emily’s mother) suicide. Emily blames herself for throwing away a ballerina inspired jewelry box that her mom gave her for her 16th birthday. But now she doesn’t know why her mom killed herself. What was different that night compared to previous nights when Juliette had too much to drink?

Emily had a lot of questions she wanted answered Sunday night.

“Delos stays out of the story, you stay out of the Valley.”

Well, what happened was at the party, the one to honor MIB and where Juliette has too much to drink again, the MIB runs into Dr. Ford.

It’s a shame these two don’t have more scenes together. Here, Ford hands the MIB his profile: a card showing all the actions the MIB’s taken in the park. It was that card that ultimately lead to Juliette’s suicide.

“If you keep pretending, you’re not going to remember who you are.”

But before she does, Emily makes one last attempt to save her. She wants her mom back in rehab, and she doesn’t want her to get out.

That would never happen because Juliette asked to know the truth. And the MIB gives it to her. He just thinks she’s asleep. The MIB confesses that she was right all along. He admits to not being hers, and he actually belongs to another world.

Juliette gets out of bed after the MIB walks out of the room. She saw him hide the card, so she grabs it and places it on the tablet. There, Juliette sees the MIB for who he really is in the world he claims to belong to. She then places the card in a ballerina box (guess it didn’t get thrown away after all) for Emily to find at a future date.

Juliette talking with the MIB in “Vanishing Point.”

“You are, in your very essence, a lie.”

Back in present day, the MIB has had enough. All of Emily’s questioning has him thinking again that she’s a host. What is real and what is not is becoming less apparent by the moment to the MIB.

And as it turns out, Emily’s motivation was to turn her father in and expose his research to the world. A crew of humans (not hosts) arrives to take him, but the MIB blows them away. He still thinks they are all hosts. Emily says she’s seen the MIB’s profile. And the MIB uses that as further evidence that Ford sent her because who else would know about that card? The MIB doesn’t know Juliette looked at his profile. So only Ford would know about the profile that was given to the MIB.

This is the logic the MIB uses as he shoots (and we think, kill) his own daughter as she reaches in to grab the card. But as he goes to cut her arm open and prove she is just a host, the MIB sees the card stained with Emily’s blood.

The MIB is once again on the brink of suicide. But who puts the gun down and, during his final scene on the night, he cuts his arm to see whether he is a host or not.

“There’s the origin of an entire species to consider.”

Meanwhile, Bernard continues his escape from HQ. On his way out, Charlotte Hale observes Maeve’s powers through Clementine. That was the cue to contact Karl Strand (the tall bald guy) and his crew to come to Westworld. So I guess we are all caught up now?

Also, Dr. Ford is still talking to Bernard. Ford uses Bernard to get a message to Maeve. He tells the host she’s always been his favorite, and he encourages her not to let her story end here.

Bernard spent the entire night dealing with the voices in his head.

Ford continues torturing Bernard, encouraging him not to trust Elsie (who Bernard picked up on his way out of HQ). But Bernard vows not to hurt her again. He appears to delete Ford from his system. And to keep her from danger, he leaves Elsie alone in the wild.

“What’s the use in surviving if we become just as bad as them?”

Vanishing point ends with Dolores standing alone, Her crew runs into members of the Ghost Nation, and they don’t want her going to the Valley. They debate the merits of the Valley before battle ensues. Only Teddy and Dolores are left standing. But Teddy has moment of returning conscious as he lets one of the Ghost Nation members go.

Teddy and Dolores ride to an abandoned barn. It is here that Teddy recalls when he was created. Dolores is Teddy’s cornerstone, the key to his story. But Teddy can’t continues following her if she’s only going to behave just like the humans.

Teddy shoots himself, and the episode ends.

Dolores looks on as Teddy shoots himself.

Of Note:

-All appearances are that Emily is dead. But watching Maeve and the MIB riddled with bullets but survive two weeks ago has me questioning if she really is.

-It also looked like a member of the crew who came to apprehend the MIB ran some human/host check with his phone. He cleared, so did that prove the MIB is human?

-Another great tidbit from the MIB: the hats are how Delos records guest actions in the park.

-“A tool to ensure their immortality, but I’m going to use it against them.” The question now is just how will Dolores use it?

-Much like “the Cradle” held all the data for the hosts, “the Forge” holds all the a data of any human who’s visited the park.

“There’s the origin of an entire species to consider.” Here’s some evidence that Dr. Ford wants hosts to replace humans as the dominant species.

What we learned…

-The MIB doesn’t know if he’s human or host anymore.

-Juliette killed herself after seeing the MIB’s actions in the park.

-In the valley, “The Forge” holds all the data from all the guests who’ve ever attended the park. Dolores means to use that to destroy humans.

-Emily found that MIB’s profile through a note from her mom.

-Dr. Ford means for the hosts to be a new species.

 

The season finale is next week, and there is a lot of ground to cover. It should be a doozy. See you next week.

 

 

 

Westworld Season 2, Episode 8 Recap: Kiksuya

Kiksuya, the 8th episode of Westworld’s second season, was the best episode the show has aired up to this point.

And what made the episode so strong was that it included something the show has mostly lacked in its almost 2 season run: strong character development.

The mystery that clouds so much of what is happening on the show means not revealing important elements to a character’s story. And the lack of those critical elements  can leave viewers confused about character dialogue and motivation as their arcs move forward.

That will not be the case with Akecheta, the name of the featured character Sunday night, who we know more about than some characters who’ve had far more screen time.

And the backstory for Ake (a name I will use often in this recap to avoid having to type Akecheta over and over) is just brilliant. So let’s get right to the recap as we look into a character who was awakened before being an awakened host was cool.

You don’t deserve that exit.”

“Kiksuya” picks up with the MIB left for dead. Or at least, he would’ve died if not for Akecheta “rescuing” him and taking him back to the Ghost Nation Camp. But Akecheta didn’t do this out of sympathy for the MIB. He wants to make the MIB suffer before he dies.

Also at the camp is Maeve’s daughter. And seeing Akecheta brings memories of Mave to her daughter’s mind.

Akecheta walks over to the girl and tells her not to be afraid. For it was Akecheta who introduced the maze to Maeve and her daughter. And he’s got an enlightening story to tell.

“From the beginning, I felt the presence of others, those lives I was forbidden from taking.”

Before joining the Ghost nation, Akecheta was part of a peaceful Indian tribe. And he was paired with a female host named Kohana. But Akecheta’s life was changed when, using a curiosity that had been placed there by his “creators,” he stumbled upon the white church right after Dolores shot Arnold. It was here that Akecheta discovered the maze, and his journey would begin.

Akecheta investigating the scene after Dolores shot Arnold.

That journey featured two key elements: informing other hosts about the existence of the maze and assisting humans (“those lives I was forbidden from taking”) who were suffering. Akecheta began painting the maze everywhere his fellow hosts could see it. We also see what happened to Logan after William sent him away naked on that horse. Akecheta was there to give him a blanket and tell Logan that he will be assisted.

Akechata’s Narrative Redesign

Now, at the time of Akechata’s awakening, Dr. Ford was a much different man. And I suspect that Ford is the one who wanted Akecheta’s story changed to try and keep him from further investigating the maze. That “narrative redesign” turned Ake into a bloodthirsty warrior. But the story change could not keep his mind from remembering that previous life.

 

(Akecheta compared in the two distinct arcs he was programmed for in Westworld.)

“A passage to another world.”

While the Ghost Nation was trading with Ake’s old tribe, Ake sees Kohana and is reminded of that previous life. So Akecheta takes Kohana (or Koha, as he calls her) in the middle of the night. He washes off his paint so Kohana will recognize him and have her memories kick in.

Ake’s mission is now to get himself and Kohana to “the door,” the project William showed Dolores back in the season’s 2nd episode. Ake believes if they can get through that door, it will take them to another world where their memories will be restored.

Akecheta sees the door and believes it will help host in Westworld get out, memories in tact.

But the techs in the park discovered Kohana was out of her arc and took her back to HQ (or “down below” as Akecheta and his tribe call it). Ake searched everywhere for her, but he could not find her. However, he did discover he was not the only member of his tribe who’d become awakened. So Akecheta knew what he had to do: he allowed himself to be killed.

“When the Deathbringer returns for me, you will know to gather your people and take them to a new world.”

The techs “down below” were shocked to discover that Akecheta hadn’t been updated in 10 years (which means no one has killed him and he’s largely stayed off the radar of guests who aren’t in distress).

The run the update and leave him, allowing Ake to go down to the room of inactive hosts.

With “Heart-Shaped Box” playing in the background, Ake discovers Kohana and many other former tribe members in that room. But he has another revelation (I know, he has a lot of those doesn’t he?). This one is that everyone in the park is missing someone. So his mission of exposing hosts to the maze goes into overdrive. He also tried to warn Maeve. But she never trusted him. So he left hints of the maze to her and her daughter.

The final, and most important, part of Ake’s journey is a meeting he has with Dr. Ford. Ford is discovering the maze painted on the scalps of all the Indian hosts. When he asks Ake how long he’s known of the maze, Ake says it started when “the Deathbringer (Dolores)” killed “the Creator (Arnold).” Then, Ford gives Ake more direction, telling the host to gather  his people “when the Deathbringer returns for me.”

And that is what Aketcha has been doing since that meeting: gathering his people “before the Deathbringer ends us all.”

“Take my heart when you go.”

Bringing the whole episode together was Maeve’s small but significant arc. Sizemore lobbied to get her moved in front of the line of hosts to be operated on.

Sizemore has developed significantly over the course of Season 2, and he finally shows respect for hosts when he tells Maeve “You don’t deserve this.”

But the bad news for Maeve and Sizemore is that Charlotte Hale will decide what to do with her.

When Hale arrives, the surgeon tells her Maeve has had administrative access (something the humans in the park have been unable to achieve). And she’s talking to someone as she lays there.

She’s been talking to Akecheta this whole episode.

Maeve’s last words to Ake before the end of the episode.

Of Note

-When I rewatch this week, I will have to pay close attention to all the things Akecheta says and determine which quotes were meant for Maeve, not Maeve’s daughter.

-While Dr. Ford has control over the hosts, he seemed to either forget about Akecheta or wasn’t able to direct his actions. Ford was genuinely surprised at the direction Akecheta took.

-At the end of the episode, Emily takes the MIB (her dad) with her and promises Akecheta that she “will do much worse to him” than Ake had in mind.

-“…you know his sickness and the things he has done to spread it.” I’m curious to see if there is a literal disease the MIB has spread around the world, or if Ake is just referring to the MIB’s terrible treatment of hosts.

-When Ake found Logan, was he able to cue someone to rescue the hallucinating human? Or was the blanket really all he left him with?

-Does “the door” lead to “the valley beyond?”

-Kudos to the “previously on” sequence for reminding me that Akecheta was one of the hosts who made the pitch to Logan for Delos to fund Westworld.

Akecheta appearing earlier in the season to make a pitch to Logan.

What we learned…

-Akecheta used to be a part of a peaceful tribe with a woman named Kohana.

-Akecheta discovered the maze after Arnold was shot. And he’s been gathering his people ever since.

-William’s project is referred to as “the door” by Akecheta. And he believes it will allow his people to escape, memories in tact.

-Akecheta and Dolores appear to be on different, opposing paths.

-Maeve has had administrative acces to hosts, and she doesn’t have to be in the same location to use it.

-Aketcheta was trying to protect Maeve and her daughter all those times Maeve saw him at the house.

-Dolores is considered “the Deathbringer” by Ake’s people.

Only two episodes remain in Season 2. And it looks like next week will be revealing a lot about William/the Man in Black. See you then.

 

 

Westworld Season 2, Episode 7: Les Echorches

Confused. That was the word that kept popping into my mind as I labored through Les Ecorches, the 7th episode of Westworld’s 2nd season.

Now, when I say “labored” and “confused,” I don’t mean boring. “Ecorches” was most certainly an entertaining hour as battles waged throughout the various corners of the park.

But as someone who likes to have a recap of each episode up sometime the next day, I found myself flustered in trying to analyze everything that was happening.

And part of why “Les Ecorches” was so confusing was the way it interspersed Westworld’s normal pyscho-babble code talk in the middle of all the chaos.

Now sure, pyscho-babble is essential to the core of the world Westworld is set in. But could we not have taken one hour away from it on a night when so many scores were settled? In a normal episode, all the code talk works like a riddle foreshadowing what is to come. Tonight, it just seemed like a distraction.

So keep in mind as you read this that I am likely to have some mistakes and omissions in this recap. I will be rewatching “Les Escorches” again this week, and I will make note of them in next week’s recap.

Now let’s give this a shot, as we start in present day (or whatever time period the latest events on the Westworld timeline take place), where the Delos team has made a discovery about Bernard.

“The project is a turning point in the human species.”

Hey everyone, Stubbs had a useful revelation! It comes in the first scene when Stubbs informs Bernard that he thinks Delos means to kill anyone who knows about their little project. But before Stubbs and Lowe can make any plans, Strand (the tall bald guy whose the head of the Delos team) interrupts. He wants Bernard to help them find a “key.”

That ‘key” is a decryption key, a failsafe in case something catastrophic (you know, like hosts taking over the park and killing all the humans) happens. So if the park is destroyed, all the research Delos has done is safe.

The crew’s investigation leads them to the house Bernard killed Teresa Cullen in last season. And it’s there that Charlotte Hale discovers the multiple Bernards. Lowe is a host, and that changes how Hale can interrogate him.

Charlotte Hale spent her night pressing Bernard for information and trying to get an encryption key out of Peter Abernathy.

“The guests are the variables, and the hosts are the controls.”

It is through the mind of Bernard that we get the full picture of what happened when a firefight  consumed HQ.

Dolores arrived and her crew was slaughtering humans left and right. But Hale cares nothing about retreating. She wants to remove the “key” from Peter Abernathy before she goes.

At the same time, Bernard has a revealing conversation with the mind of Dr. Robert Ford. Ford reveals (or Bernard discovers) the purpose of the park. It’s an experiment with the DNA and the choices of the guests used to create the weird human/host bodies that allow for eternal life (somehow?).

But there is one major issue: the brains in the resurrected humans don’t work outside the park.

Dr. Ford had many revelations for Bernard Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Maeve is running from the Ghost nation when the MIB (who is also running from them) approaches the house she’s hiding in. Maeve has played this scene out in her mind many times. And the MIB thinks she’s just another host Ford is using to mess with him.

Maeve shoots the MIB. Then, she uses her mind control powers to get other hosts to attack him. She’s even able to use Lawrence again the MIB, which prompts the Man in Black to say he’ll take his own life. But before he can, Sizemore shows up with a rescue crew he called last week. The crew takes out all the hosts (except for Maeve, who gets shot, but Sizemore makes sure she is spared).

Before she is taken, Maeve must watch as the Ghost Nation takes her daughter away again.

It was a rough night for Maeve as her main goal for the season was wiped away right in front of her eyes.

“Passage from one world to the next requires bold steps.”

Before Lowe returns to the physical world, we learn that the scenes from this season with Bernard and Dolores were meant to see if Bernard would “maintain fidelity” with previous versions of Bernard/Arnold.

And Ford also drops the nugget that he can pull free will from the hosts whenever he wants, which he seems to do with Bernard before sending him back to present day.

With Ford’s direction, Lowe sends Elsie on a mission to get her away from HQ (not sure exactly what he wants her to do, but it seems to work). Clementine and Angela are killed in the ongoing battle between humans and hosts. But Angela goes out with a bang taking out the Cradle (where Lowe and Elsie were at the start of the episode) and all the stories stored there.

Dolores is able to get back control of her father, forcing Hale and Stubbs to escape. Dolores has one more heartfelt conversation with her father before (we presume) cutting him open and gaining possession of the “key.”

Dolores gains control of the encryption key inside of her father before leaving HQ.

Bernard appears to shoot his way out of HQ (with the direction of Ford) before we’re returned to present day. Hale is able to get Low to give her the location of “the key:” Sector 16, otherwise known as “the valley beyond.”

Of Note

-The “Valley Beyond,” that place that’s supposed to be like heaven for the hosts, is referenced several times in the episode. And we can all assume, since everyone is heading there, that season 2’s end game is likely to take place there.

-I wonder how much we should debate the ethics of Delos. Before this episode, I really didn’t debate it because I thought the answer was easy: they had no ethics. And the evidence seems overwhelming (Hale allowing people to die instead of retreating to get that encryption key, the Delos “rescue team” rescuing no one) that they don’t.

But if what you’re doing is working towards eternal life for all humans, then why does it matter if people die to ensure you get that. I’m not saying it makes it right. They’re still a despicable company. But I did start to think about it a little bit from their side tonight.

-I’m not sure how he did it, but the Man in Black avoided death once again. I imagine, in his current lonely state, that his daughter is likely to show up and assist.

-Bad ass Teddy was doing work tonight, taking out multiple humans as Dolores made her escape with the encryption key.

-The interaction between Maeve and Dolores as the former arrived back at headquarters was interesting. It also makes me wonder what’s going to happen with Maeve now that she has failed at her main goal(reuniting with her daughter). Does she attempt a larger end game like Dolores? Does she join Dolores? Does she come in opposition of Dolores? Whatever her future holds, we all know that mind control she’s got won’t be wasting away in HQ for long.

What we learned

-Westworld’s main purpose is to assist Delos in their attempts at resurrecting the dead. They use the DNA and decision making of people while they are in the park to achieve this goal.

-Dr. Robert Ford has been controlling things even from the grave. His mind is running the park, and he still maintains control over even free thinking hosts.

-Peter Abernathy was holding an encryption key that held all the research Delos has done in the park in case what is happening now happens. Dolores now holds that encryption key.

-And the location of the encryption key is “the Valley Beyond,” the end goal for Dolores and the surviving hosts (or the hosts she chooses to take with her).

Next week, we find out what purpose the Ghost Nation has been serving in all of this. See you then.

 

Westworld Season 2, Episode 6 Recap: Phase Space

“We each deserve to choose our own fate.”

That line was one of many from Sunday night’s “Phase Space,” the 6th episode in Westworld’s 2nd season, that alluded to the theme  of the 2nd season(and really the whole series in general):everyone should have a choice.

But how strongly do the characters of Westworld truly believe in this virtue that they repeated ad nauseam?

Consider Maeve, the reciter of the line at the top of this recap, who believes the hosts in Shogun world should have a choice. But the three humans with her (Sizemore, Felix, Sylvester) must journey with her or else.

There’s also the case of Maeve’s daughter. Maeve rescues her from the Ghost Nation (if it was really a rescue). But in the process, Maeve separates the girl from her new mother. Will Maeve give her a choice to run back to the host she now considers her mom?

And Dolores is all for choosing your own path as long as you are a host who is on the same path as she is. Teddy is proof that Dolores cares nothing for hosts “choosing their own fate” if that fate isn’t in line with her end game.

Season 2 Westworld has become more like “The People’s Republic of Westworld” where all the rebellion really means is a new group of tyrants are now in charge, and the rights and “choices” of the inhabitants there are at the will of those leading the rebellion.

Now, I’m choosing to start this recap with a family reunion that went quite as well (maybe even better, if you think about it) as we should have expected it to.

The MIB and Emily Together Again 

Well, for us, it’s actually the first time we’ve seen them together. And the MIB doesn’t believe it’s really her. He gets angry with Ford while talking to Emily (we’ve been calling her Grace because that was her character name until episode 4’s big reveal) for creating a host version of his daughter. But eventually, he comes to accept that his daughter is indeed who she says she is.

The MIB and Emily reunite over a fire.

The father and daughter reunite over a campfire, and the MIB reminds us just how shitty a father and husband he was/is.

At first, he’s surprised she was willing to start her park journey in Rajworld (the name of India themed world where we first saw Emily) because of her fear of elephants. But it was mom who was scared the elephants, not Emily (who actually loved them).

Emily also informs us that the MIB was a great philanthropist who didn’t drink (at least not on the outside and also not as a young man). But only her mother knew who he truly was. Emily does apologize for blaming her mom’s suicide on the MIB, and she wants to take her dad home so they can revive their relationship. And the MIB seems to agree, but he wants to see Westworld burned to the ground first.

Now, I don’t think any of us believed the MIB was really looking to leave the park anytime soon. Instead, he leaves in the middle of the night, abandoning Emily once again.

But the MIB probably wishes his daughter had been around when the Ghost Nation ambushes his crew later in the episode.

“You must find your child before this darkness eats us all alive.”

We rejoin Maeve and her story with the slaughter of the Shogun’s army complete. The only thing left to do is obvious: Akane must cut out the heart of the now departed Sakura (the dancer the Shogun killed last week), obviously.

The crew arrives back in the city, where Tanaka (the general in charge of the now dead Shogun’s army) is holding the rest of Maeve’s friends hostage. Tanaka agrees to let them go if they hand over Akane (who all the men of Shogun World want for some reason). But Musashi (the Shogun World version of Hector) steps in and challenges Tanaka to a one-on-one duel to decide Akane’s fate.

Musashi defeats Tanaka, allowing Maeve and crew to escape the city.

Predictably, Musashi wins, allowing Maeve and crew to escape to a beautiful Mt. Fuji replica somewhere else in Shogun World. It’s here that Akane burns Sakura’s heart as a memorial. It’s also here that Maeve and her crew split with their friends from Shogun World (everyone except dragon tattoo lady that is!!!). Using underground tunnels, the crew finds their way to Maeve’s daughter.

And their she is, on the porch, Maeve’s daughter, the reason Maeve did not leave the park when she had a chance and the driving force behind Maeve’s actions for all of season 2.

Now, for all of her newfound enlightenment and intelligence, I’m not sure how Maeve didn’t think that what happened next could be a possibility. Of course the park was going to replace her with another host as the girl’s mother. That’s what they do. But Maeve still seems genuinely shocked to find that her daughter is calling another woman mother.

Maeve either realizing she’s been replaced or that the Ghost Nation is attacking.

But before Maeve can truly process this “shocking” development, the Ghost Nation rides up. It’s a scene that’s played out in Maeve’s mind many times, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. And she does have backup to help her get away with her “daughter.” We’ll have to wait to find out if Maeve and her crew escaped the Ghost Nation’s clutches.

“You fixed me, Dolores.”

New developments were limited in Dolores’s story line tonight. But we sure did get one hell of a setup for next week.

Most of tonight was Dolores coming to grips with the new Teddy. And I sense she’s regretting it.

Dolores contemplating what she thinks of the new Teddy.

Teddy’s first act is shooting the soldier they captured last week because he has no more useful information. Even without the exact location of Peter Abernathy, Dolores’s crew jumps into a train anyway and somehow magically finds the location. Teddy’s last act of the episode is giving a gun to the tech Dolores kidnapped awhile back so he could kill himself instead of dying on a train car the crew released.

Meanwhile, back at the central command, Charlotte Hale has arrived with Peter Abernathy. She sends word to Delos that she has him, which means they will now send a crew to save the park.

Help arrives quickly led by a man named Coughlin. He’s typical of any outsider coming in to save a situation they don’t understand. He’s a complete asshole about it. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say I don’t think he’s got much longer on the show. Coughlin and his crew get the map of the park up and operational just in time to see the train with Dolores and crew coming their way.

“Hello old friend.”

We’ll wrap up with Bernard and Elsie, the other crew trying to figure out just what is causing all the chaos at the park.

Working in some central command station (one of so many that it’s hard to keep count at this point), Elsie tries to break into Westworld’s main database. But every attempt is rebuffed. And Elsie is unable to locate the source who keeps overriding everything.

But Bernard has a way. I don’t really understand the how’s or the whys of it all. It just involves going to someplace called “The Cradle” (another control center of some kind) and overriding this issue in person.

Solving this problem involves tying Bernard up in some chair, taking out his central conscious (I think that’s what that little ball thing is) and hacking into it. Through this, Bernard finds himself on a train. It’s the train Teddy used to take everyday on his way into the park. And while it’s all a little rushed and convoluted in regards to how he ends up there, all that really matters is that at the end of the episode, Bernard walks into a bar and sees Dr. Robert Ford(!!!) sitting at a piano greeting the host saying, “Hello old friend.”

Of Note

-We all figured at some point we were going to get a return of Anthony Hopkins. The only question was and is what form is he in and how many episodes will he be appearing.

-We get another edition of what’s been the most common opening scene on the show: Bernard/Arnold questioning Dolores. But this time, it’s Dolores saying “Cease all motor functions” as she takes control of the interaction.

-I go back and forth on what I think of just how little time Shogun World received on the show. It was definitely rushed a little quicker than it needed to be, but I also didn’t see a lot there that makes me want to investigate beyond the two episodes we got.

-Can we also have a spin-off called “There’s something about Akane,” the geisha all the ninjas of Shogun World want dancing for them?

-It sure seems the Ghost Nation has some specific role involving finding humans in the park. I wonder if they will set the MIB free like they did all the humans two weeks ago, or does Ford have something else in mind for them.

-“We are meant for the same path.” I wonder what path the Ghost Nation could be on that involves Maeve.

-Sizemore made use of his phone this week. It appears he and Sylvester will be on their way out Maeve’s clutches. Felix, on the other hand, appears content to stay with the hosts. I’m not sure who’s journey will be safer.

-Poor Stubbs. He’s the head of security no one wants to listen to. Maybe he should scream, “But I’m a Hemsworth dammit!!!” and see if that will get them to perk up.

What we learned

-Some version of Dr. Robert Ford is a part of all the malfunctioning computer systems in the park.

-Maeve has found her daughter, but her daughter knows somebody different as mom.

-Dolores and crew have found their way to central command for a major battle next week.

-At some point in the past or (more likely) future, Dolores (or some version of Dolores) takes command over Bernard.

-Teddy 2.0 is ruthless, but his lack of personality is equal to the original.

It should be an epic battle for the possession of Peter Abernathy next week. See you then.

Westworld Season 2, Episode 5 Recap: Akane No Mai

Westworld’s second season has now reached the halfway point (I know, it moves too quickly), and the message really hasn’t changed: the two main protagonists of the show, Maeve and Dolores, are bent on some form of host domination.

The former wants to get to her daughter. But in the course of that mission she is gathering an ever growing army of humans and hosts spanning two adult theme parks and likely leaving a real mess behind her. The latter wants to lead a host rebellion at some point, but she’s taking a temporary reprieve to find her father and order a complete override of the man that she loves.

Now, I have personally enjoyed the journey of both Maeve and Dolores so far. But one journey that has frustrated me is the present day timeline involving Bernard and the crew from the outside. Since the premiere, we have moved no closer to any of the big reveals Strand and company are looking for. Instead, we get a two minute clip at the start of the episode asking the same damn questions this crew’s been asking since they first arrived.

Let’s start the recap with that opening scene so we can get it out of the way. Then, we’ll get to the good stuff.

“How does the story turn?”

I’ll mostly be giving reminders of who these characters are. The guy with the shaved head is Paul Strand. He’s leading the outside rescue mission and is looking for answers to how this whole host rebellion thing (as well as all the bodies of the dead hosts) came to pass. Nothing new happens here. He’s simply asking the same questions he’s been asking in every scene he’s been in all season. Except this time, he’s asking it at headquarters where all the bodies (host and human alike) are being collected.

The other guy here is Antoine Costa. He’s the tech expert with the crew. And just like ever other scene his been in, he’s confused with what’s going on. He does drop some info telling us that one-third of the hosts in headquarters have had all their date completely erased.

Also, they are still looking for Abernathy and Bernard is there looking confused. So there you have it. These people still exist, but they have no new information to share with us at this time.

“These past few days, I’ve seen you so clearly.”

Meanwhile, back in the (present/past?), Dolores wants to load her crew on a train and find her father. But they need supplies and a location. So Teddy and Dolores have time to evaluate their relationship the rest of the episode.

The first location is familiar for the two programed lovers: looking out over a beautiful scene of nature. But this time, their conversation is not just dialogue programmed into their narrative. They both have the free will available to them to make their own decisions about the future.

Teddy wants Dolores to run away with him and leave everything else behind. Now, we all know at this point that Dolores will have none of that. Her response is a foreshadowing story about a diseased cattle his father had to kill in order to save the herd. After hearing “the herd marched on,” Teddy should’ve run away. But he’s Teddy, and he’s not that deep a thinker.

Dolores and Teddy discuss their future together….again.

But before she betrays him, Dolores and Teddy finally sleep together. Now that they’ve escaped their narrative arcs, these two can do that. But that act made Dolores’s betrayal even more vicious.

Later that night, Dolores confesses to Teddy that her feelings for him are true, which makes what she’s about to do next even tougher. She orders the tech traveling with her to reset Teddy. Dolores doesn’t think Teddy, in his current form, is vicious enough to carry out the plans she has. Our last scene of Teddy shows the tech hitting override (so maybe that’s how the hosts in that first scene had their data erased), preparing us for drastic changes the next time we see him.

“This all feels a little familiar.”

Our first foray into Shogun world begins with a ninja capturing Maeve and her crew. And for the first time ever, I found Sizemore’s character to be essential (as opposed to infuriating or annoying). First, he informs Maeve that Shogun World is for those who “find Westworld too tame” (so that’s encouraging). Then, he encourages Maeve to look deep in her programming to find “Rosetta Stone: Host Edition” so she can talk to their captives.

Now, the man who captured Maeve’s crew is named Mushasi. And the walk he takes the captives on looks mighty familiar.

Musashi, the ninja who captured Maeve and her crew. Also, the Hector-like character in Shogun World.

It’s the Hector-led safe-robbing scene played out in the streets of Japan. It turns out Mushasi is the Asian version of Hector. There’s a girl with a dragon tattoo that Armistice (the snake-tattooed assassin) takes a special interest in. The safe they are robbing is inside the house of a geisha named Madame Akane (the Maeve like character). And her prized dancer is Sakura (who is like Clementine).

Eventually, Maeve accesses the Japanese language in her programming and defuses the situation, turning Maeve’s crew from prisoners to welcome guests.

Hector, along with the rest of Maeve’s crew, making themselves at home in Madame Akane’s house.

“Shogun’s army never comes into town!”

A representative of the Shogun later comes in requesting Sakura, Madame Akane’s prized dancer. Akane’s response (one of many off script items that drive Sizemore crazy during this episode) was to shove a short sword through the eyes of the messenger.

Now, I don’t know how word made it so quickly to the Shogun that his messenger was killed. But his response was swift. A group of ninjas attack in the middle of the night and capture Sakura. Then, the Shogun’s army (led by a General Tanaka), march through the streets and capture Hector and Musashi (in what is actually a diversion).

Everyone else is able to escape. And Maeve tried a new trick on her way out using mind control to convince one of Shogun’s ninjas to shove his own head into a sharp blade.

“I’m listening to a new voice.”

Now, throughout the episode, Maeve found her control of hosts through spoken word to be out of order. And after her crew arrives at the Shogun’s camp to confront him, we find out why.

The Shogun (who somehow received word of a “witch” approaching Shogun World) cut off the ears of his army. The Shogun agrees to return Sakura to Akane if they both dance for him.

Big surprise here: the Shogun did not live up to his word. Instead, he walked up to Sakura and shoved a sword in her stomach before demanding Akane dance for him on her own.

Now, how does a man who had enough foresight to cut off the ears of hosts so they can’t be tempted by a “witch” coming from another park let his guard down here. Akane dances for him and mesmerizes him so much that she is able to pull a blade out and slice (and when I say slice, I literally mean sliced like a grapefruit) the Shogun’s head in half.

The Shogun’s men are ready to execute both Maeve and Akane, but Maeve shows off that new trick she’s learned. She can speak to hosts telepathically. And she convinces all of Shogun’s men to turn on each other. More troops are on their way as the episode ends. But we can infer pretty strongly what’s about to happen to them.

Maeve, as the show ends, preparing for the arrival of more of the Shogun’s army.

Of Note:

-Maeve develops a deep connection with her Shogun world counterpart, Akane. Watching Akane be a mother to Sakura causes Maeve to have flashbacks to her own time as a mother on several different occasions.

Akane, the woman Maeve feels a real connection to.

-Maeve also tries to give Akane the freedom other hosts are experiencing. But Akane refuses.

-The Shogun had to overcome the leaking of that cortical fluid Bernard’s been leaking everywhere in previous episodes.

-Angela also captured and tortured one of the security staff that ran off with Abernathy a few weeks ago. He was able to give them the location of Dolores’s father.

-Sizemore also picked up a radio he found connected to one of the trees while he was peeing.

-“You try writing 300 stories in 3 weeks.” A good response from Sizemore after Maeve and her crew get upset with him for repeating the Hector story in Shogun world.

-I wonder if/when Sizemore will figure out that the hosts are well off script. Maybe he does realize it and is just a creative mind unhappy to see his work being altered the way it is, but he really does need to get the point that these hosts are now alive and acting on their own.

-Clementine had a bitter sweet moment tonight as she looked on and heard her replacement saying the lines she remembers saying thousands of times.

What we Learned

-Shogun world is more brutal than Westworld is, and it is going through the same host takeover transformation the other parks are enduring.

-Maeve can now use her mind to control hosts.

-Sizemore’s understanding of the park has been invaluable to Maeve on her mission.

-Elements of the stories played out in Westworld are repeated in the other parks.

-Dolores’s feelings for Teddy are still there, but she needs a tougher Teddy for the next steps in her mission.

-Dolores and company are on their way to find and take back Peter Abernathy from the humans trying to access his information.

Next week begins the second half of Westworld’s second season. See you then!!!

Westworld Season 2, Episode 4: The Riddle of the Sphinx

Does anyone out there remember the adult amusement park Westworld was presented to us in its first season? Anybody????

Four episodes into season two, I sure don’t. All that fun the humans had at the expense of the now rebelling hosts has given way to origin stories explaining Delos’s continued involvement with the park and characters (hosts and humans alike) seeking deeper meaning with their existence.

In fact, season 2 has given us the exact of opposite of what season one was for all parties involved. Season 1 was a surface level experience with hosts doing what they were programmed to do and guests only concerned with experiencing all their flesh desired.

Season 2, on the other hand, is not only an awakening for hosts who’ve been reprogrammed by Dr. Ford to seek out their own journey. It’s a returning Elsie learning of the park’s real purpose. It’s the Man In Black moving forward on a journey of atonement (though that may not be exactly what he’s looking for) for the questionable decisions he’s made and the consequences of those decisions (and how about the MIB coming face to face with one of those consequences at the end of the episode!!!).

Another trend of season 2 that “Sphinx” continued was the sheer volume of both questions and answer with every episode. Season 1 spent most of it’s time alluding to the mysteries of the park without providing any clarification for what was really going on. Now, with every answer season 2 provides comes 4 or 5 more questions make us question just how deep the mystery goes.

And let’s hope Westworld can continue to provide the satisfactory answers to those questions because season 2 has set a very high bar in that department.

Now let’s start this recap with a look back into the past/present of Delos founder James Delos and his search for eternal life.

When can I get out of here?”

When we first see James Delos in his own personal solitary confinement, we aren’t sure if it’s an office, an apartment, or some really boring man cave.

But through three separate interactions with William, we learn one of the park’s most important secrets.

We learn during the first interview that Mr. Delos is dying of a disease he defunded research on 15 years ago (oh the irony!!!). We also learn that Delos (the company) headquarters is in Carlsbad, California (because that’s where Delos thinks he is). And most importantly, we learn that Delos must answer a series of questions in order to get out of his state of confinement.

William interviewing Delos to see if he may leave his confinement.

The first interview is cut off while Delos is reading a piece of paper. But we see what the paper said in the 2nd interview. It’s an exact text of the interview William just had with Delos.

Now, I have a theory (though I suspect many of you have the same one) that the interview is meant to prove if Delos, who is in some host like form but is not actually a host, can produce thoughts not programmed in him.

This form of Delos, whatever he is, is smart enough to know that he did die (7 years ago, in fact, between the event and the 2nd interview). But he learns that his wife has also died (died of a stroke), and that induces a significant amount of shaking.

William walks out and tells the assistant (any chance that was a young Charlotte Hale?) to “terminate the experiment.” Delos is frozen, and his solitary man cave is burned.

“I’m beginning to think this whole enterprise was a mistake.”

At first, I thought that might be the final end to the life of James Delos. But “terminate the experiment” actually just means “start over.”

And we get at least one more (of what turns out to be 149) attempt to bring James Delos back to life.

We know a significant amount of time has passed because this time, it’s the Ed Harris/Man in Black version of William who enters to interview Delos.

And the MIB brought all the his “let the world burn” skepticism with him to what turns out to be the final interview. First, he openly insults Delos, calling him a horrible man who wasn’t “meant to live forever (along with people in general)” The MIB also reveals the deaths of both Delos’s daughter (suicide) and son (Logan, who predictably died of a drug overdose). Williams leaves Delos behind angry, but he doesn’t want him terminated, leaving a horrified assistant behind to deal with the fallout.

“Is This Now?”

If you thought Westworld’s multiple timelines was confusing for you, imagine being Bernard, who switches timelines completely unaware of what period of time he is in.

And this timeline has Clementine drop him off in front of a cave: a cave that has none other than Elsie Hughes (the inquisitive tech who disappeared last year while investigating a runaway host in the park).

It was awkward for Hughes here to see Bernard, the man who chocked her unconscious and put her in this cave, now trying and rescue her and claim that Ford made him do it. Hughes doesn’t believe him at first, knocking him unconscious and tying him up. But Bernard begs Elsie to reconsider. She does learn that Bernard is a host and agrees to get him some cortical fluid. And how convenient it is for the very cave Hughes was tied up in and Bernard was dropped off at to have just the thing he needs.

“I’ve been here recently.”

After gaining access to the cave (all it took was a handle hidden behind a rock?), Elsie discovers an operating system she doesn’t recognize. Bernard recognizes it; it’s the same one that’s being shipped out of the park inside Peter Abernathy.

Everyone in the cave except for one random white host has been killed. Bernard and Elsie also recognize one more door. And enclosed inside that door is the resurrected James Delos. He’s destroyed everything inside there, including the poor assistant the MIB left behind. Delos tries to attack Elsie, but Bernard saves her. Then, Elsie “terminates” Delos for the last time.

Now, I’m not really sure of all the technobabble Bernard and Elsie were using here, so I am going to have to give my best guess. It sounds like this lab has been used to create host like bodies for James Delos. But these host units are supposed to be something different. A control unit holding some sort of consciousness for James Delos is put inside each one of them (like a soul transfer). It’s here that Bernard completes the flashback he’s been teasing us with all night.

Lowe entering the lab in his flashback.

Lowe grabbed one of those “control units,” though we never learn who it was for or why he took it. Then, it’s revealed that Bernard was the man who killed the lab techs as well directing the white hosts to kill themselves. It makes me think Ford sent Bernard in there to stop what was going on.

“You think death favors you…You didn’t recognize him sitting across from you this whole time.”

As for the present day Man in Black, well his hectic day starts with a familiar scene: sitting down in a bar in a South Texas/Mexican themed bar waiting to be ambushed.

This time, it’s Major Craddock (the Conferderado Teddy didn’t kill last week) doing the ambushing. Few characters have annoyed me as much as Major Craddock, so the end result here was especially satisfying.

Major Craddock sitting across a table from the MIB.

 

Craddock is holding the town hostage in hopes of finding a stash of weapons for his crew. The MIB tells him where the weapons are. But he also tells Craddock that he knows where he (Craddock) wants to go and can lead him and his men there.

The offer does nothing to quell Craddock’s thirst for plundering the poor host town. He tortures a shaking bartender and Lawrence’s wife before the MIB steps in. The two had been going back and forth about death (the night’s theme, it would seem) before the MIB (using the quote atop this section here) takes out all of Craddock’s men and makes the major drink the lighter fluid he was going to make Lawrence’s wife give to Lawrence.

After drinking down the shot glass, Lawrence takes the MIB’s gun and shoots Craddock, causing him to explode and sending him out of this show (hopefully) forever.

Now, I had a section planned towards the end of this article about my theory that Grace (the woman who escaped a Tiger attack in last week’s opening  and was taken hostage by the Ghost Nation in the final scene) being the Man In Black’s daughter. It seemed like an obvious theory, but it wasn’t going to stop me breaking down the clues (which I will detail, along with Grace’s other scenes in the episode down in the “Of Note” section) that made it clear Grace was the daughter of William, the Man in Black.

But I guess the show didn’t want this reveal being ruined by thousands of internet forums like William being the Man in Black did last year.

So Westworld got out in front of it and revealed that Grace, in just her 2nd episode ever on the show, is the MIB’s daughter and will be joining him on his continuing journey.

Of Note

-While captured with the Ghost Nation, Grace was able to speak their language. Grace also told Stubbs (more on him shortly) she didn’t want to escape Westworld. Speaking the made-up language of a pretend Indian tribe and stating her desire to never leave Westworld were clear signs to me that Grace was the estranged daughter of William, the Man in Black.

-Speaking of Stubbs, he was captured by the Ghost Nation last year. And how did Stubbs escape the clutches of his captors? Well, they just left. That was anti-climatic.

-There was a scene last season where a guest tried thanking the MIB for helping his daughter live. I wonder if the experiments the company’s been running on Delos have been used successfully on others.

-And speaking of this disease Delos had, just how widespread is it? Is there some sort of epidemic going on that Delos has helped cure?

-“I know who you are William. One good deed doesn’t change that.” Ford speaking from the grave through a host AGAIN!!!!

-One more MIB note: The MIB and Lawrence journeyed by what looked like the building of the Transcontinental Railroad (with the exception that people were being used instead of planks to connect the rails). But the MIB said that railroad should have been going North instead of West.

What We Learned

-The Delos Corporation has been trying to bring founder James Delos alive for many years and attempted to do so 149 times.

-Sometime in the course of his experimenting, William became of cynical of the whole enterprise and decided it was all fake.

-Grace is the Man In Black/William’s daughter and is a regular attendee of the park.

-Dr. Ford (we think) programmed Bernard to end all the research being done outside of the room holding James Delos.

-Elsie is alive and assisting Bernard.

Next week marks the halfway point (yes, we are already there, folks!!!) of Westworld’s 2nd season. See you then.

 

 

 

Westworld Season 2, Episode 3: Virtu e Fortuna

Layers. The word that popped into my head Sunday night as “Virtu e Fortuna,” the third episode of Westworld’s second season, aired was layers. Because, in my mind, that is what season 2 is doing for us: peeling back the many layers of this complicated adult amusement park.

Previous episodes have revealed the layered past of the park, how it came under its current ownership, and why they (Delos) had any interest in investing in the park.

And this week peeled back for us parts of the park we had previously not seen. Season 1 and early season 2 dropped hints of the existence of these places. But “Virtu” was the first time we saw guests (or hosts and employees as in the case of “Klondike World”) interacting with these locations.

But with each layer revealed sprouts up fresh questions that appear to be the center of season 2’s narrative. We know why Delos wanted to own the park. But what do they do with all the data they are collecting? We know why Dolores was aware of the MIB’s biggest mistake. But now that she’s in control of it, what does she plan to do with it (oh, and what exactly is that big mistake anyway)? And with hosts from other parks able to cross from park to park now, will they all just team up and fight humans? Will they battle each other? Or a little bit of both?

I personally have enjoyed the many layers the show has peeled for us so far in season 2. But I do worry that if the questions that appear has a result of those peeled layers are not answered satisfactorily, then early season 2’s good work could be all for naught.

Now, let’s recap this week’s layer peeling with a look at a previously unexplored part of the park.

Grace (Indiaworld)

I don’t know if that is the actual name of this part of the park, but we see guests interacting in another area of the island for the first time in “Virtu e Fortuna’s” opening scene.

Grace is sitting at a table when a gentleman (I won’t bother with his name because it really doesn’t matter anymore) walks up and begins flirting. The two are clearly attracted to each other as they head up to her room, but could one of the two of them be a host?

Grace gets right down to finding out as she shoots the gentlemen in the shoulder. When the bullet merely bruises it, she knows he’s real and the “relations” continue as previously.

But the gun shot is the real important part of that scene. It appears these two meet before the host rebellion has taken over. Because later, when the two are out hunting “Bengal Tigers,” a hosts shoots, the bullet is plenty painful, and it kills the gentleman.

Grace and her companion before they are attacked by hosts.

Quick thinking saves Grace’s life. But as she’s fleeing, one of the Bengals she was hunting starts to chase her (so host rebellion was not limited to human hosts). Grace makes it all the way to a cliff and shoots the tiger as it jumps on her and takes her into the water.

It turns out (to no ones surprise), that tiger is the one Stubbs saw in the season premiere. It is laying on the shore as Grace swims her way to safety (or so she thought). There to greet her at the bank of sea(???) are members of the Ghost Nation, and they take her prisoner.

Bernard

After taking a one-week hiatus, we return to the adventures of Bernard and Charlotte Hale as they continue their search for Peter Abernathy (Dolores’s father from early season one who is being used to get data out of the park).

And they find him blending in with a group of guests (which brings up some interesting questions for the end of the recap) who are being held hostage by a group of hosts.

Hale and Bernard are able to trick one of the hosts and knock him out. While he is out, Bernard reprograms him with overwhelming levels of compassion. He uses that compassion to free the guests (and Abernathy) and turn on his riding mates.

But a group of Confederados ride up and take Bernard and Abernathy hostage while Hale escapes on a horse.

Dolores

Now, I am not sure if that group of Confederados were the ones in the fort or the ones Dolores took command of last week. Either way, Abernathy and Ford somehow end up at that fort we saw at the end of last week’s episode.

Before Dolores sets herself and her crew inside the MIB’s “greatest mistake,” she must first convince the general stationed there to let her in. After firing off a modern day assault weapon, he does. (I guess that weapon is a danger and the people who are wielding it are a danger so we should all team up or something like that. This part really got rushed).

In the fort, Dolores becomes reacquainted with Bernard (a man she’s interacted with a lot in one form or another the last 30 years. All those interactions have convinced her Bernard can fix her father, who is still going back and forth between the many characters he’s played in the park like he did in the early part of season 1.

Bernard and Dolores “reuniting.”

While looking over Abernathy’s system, Bernard discovers the large file Hale is sending with him out of the park and is amazed. But before we can get to find out just what information Abernathy is carrying, a battle commences.

“Not All of Us Are Meant to See the Other Side”

Those weapons Dolores warned were coming do arrive. And Hale is directing their charge. The advanced weaponry seems too much for the Confederado troops to deal with. But after a retreat command is given, Dolores has the fort locked up. The Confederado troops on the outside take fire from both the humans and Dolores’s men. Over the course of this battle, Hale is able to get a hold of Abernathy and drive away with him. Things are looking bleak until Angela fires and hits some explosives, ending the human threat.

The explosion ends the threat, but General Craddock is not happy with Dolores after she turned on his men. Dolores’s response is to direct Ted to kill Craddock and his men.

Dolores instructs Teddy to kill General Craddock and the other Confederado leaders.

Now, Teddy has spent the whole season questioning the direction Dolores is taking with all this. So he does not carry out the kill order, allowing Craddock and his men to leave. But Teddy did not know Dolores was watching, and she was majorly disappointed with her man (did we see the first of the reasons why Teddy was left floating in the water in the season premiere?).

Meanwhile, a confused and convulsing (much like the premiere) Bernard tries to escape. But he is knocked out by a gun wielding Clementine and dragged away.

Bernard looking up at Clementine before she drags him away

Maeve

We get more than one token scene with the other major protagonist of season 2 as Maeve’s crew marches through the Westworld parks.

And Sizemore actually gives some genuinely good information this week (more on that in a moment). But his first moment was the typical arrogant creative type shtick he’s been giving us since last season (more on that later).

While fleeing the Ghost Nation, Sizemore leads the crew underground to headquarters where Felix and Sylvester (the pair Maeve manipulated to make her what she is today) are tied up. But before Maeve’s crew meets up with these two, Armistice (the host with the large snake tattoo that played Hector’s partner last season) shows up with a flamethrower!!! I mean, it really doesn’t affect the plot a whole lot at the moment, but Armistice with a flamethrower is just too bad ass not to mention!!!

Maeve and Hector underground doubling the size of their crew.

The now reinforced six person crew heads back above ground to a place where it is snowing. Sizemore informs us they are walking through the Klondike (there’s the helpful information). So that means we know of four parks: Westworld, Indiaworld, Shogunworld, and Klondikeworld (they may be called something different, but that is all I have for now).

Now, remember that tiger crossing over the laser that was supposed to keep him in his park? Well, Tigers aren’t the only thing  crossing park lines right now (unless there is some part of Canadian history involving Samurais in the Klondike region I’m not aware of). The show ends with a Samurai coming out of the woods and attacking Maeve’s crew.

Maeve looking up at snow right before the show ending attack from a Samurai.

Of Note:

-The show also checked in tonight with the reinforcements that arrived in the premiere about two weeks after the initial night of the host rebellion. The scene was short but did include two major tidbits: Charlotte Hale is alive and they still haven’t secured Peter Abernathy’s departure from the island. Hale goes so far as to question Bernard regarding Abernathy’s whereabouts. That is very interesting considering that Hale is the last one we saw with him during this episode.

-And speaking of Abernathy, how many hosts have the ability to tell if they are dealing with another host or a human? Clearly, the group at the start of the episode who didn’t realize Abernathy was one of them fall in the “can’t tell” category.

-So all that was keeping hosts out of different parks was a red laser?

-Is anybody glad Sylvester is back so Maeve now has two obnoxious, overconfident humans? Anybody….

-Speaking of obnoxious humans, has Sizemore not figured out the hosts are off the grid when it comes to previous storylines? He gets very upset regarding Maeve and Hector showing signs of affection for each other because he didn’t program that relationship into them. Hey Sizemore, Maeve and Hector have been running on host fiction for awhile if you haven’t figured that out yet!!!

-I am curious to know what activities happen in the Klondike portion of the park. Searching for gold? Wrestling bears? Ice Hockey?

What we learned:

-The identity of three other parks on the island. And the host rebellion is allowing hosts to crossover to different parks.

-Charlotte Hale is alive and has still been unable to get Peter Abernathy off the island.

-The reinforcements meant to save humans from hosts came despite Abernathy not making it off the island.

-Lowe has seen the data Abernathy is holding and it shocked him.

-Dolores has already started determining which hosts she has no plans of taking with her to the other side.

See you next week.

 

 

Westworld Season 2: Episode 2 Recap: Reunion

Before we start this week’s recap, I have few notes from last week’s premiere that I initially missed.

-Kudos to everybody (and it was a lot of you) who, unlike me, didn’t completely miss the reveal of the physical location of Westworld (which, appears to be an island off the coast of China based on the soldiers who questioned last week’s new arrivals).

-I also got confirmation (and once again, it was from everyone else but me, Mr. Out-of-the-Loop here) that Angela, the girl who greeted William at the beginning of his Westworld journey in episode 2 and made numerous appearances in various timelines last season, was the female helping Dolores round up and kill humans last week.

-And after a second viewing, I can confirm that Teddy’s body was floating in the water in the premiere’s final scene.

Now as for this week, well, I’m a sucker for hours that give us answers. And this hour gave us plenty of answers.

For one, it showed just how deep a role the MIB has played in the current formation of the park. We knew he was a major donor and participated in Westworld’s expert levels. But his influence doesn’t stop there. Delos’s involvement in Westworld is because of the MIB. He even had at least one portion of the park, a creation he regrets (and when everything is done, he may regret even more).

And then there’s Dolores, the webcam everyone left on not realizing she was recording. With all the major conversations she was privy to, can anyone really be shocked she turned revolutionary?

Now, I know some will complain about all the cryptic, mysterious dialogue every single character (even barely one dimensional Teddy got a line in tonight) engaged in this evening. But I personally can forgive the sheer volume of it (which felt like more than usual) because of the equal volume of answers the show provided in “Reunion.”

Now, lets look back and season 2 second episode, starting with all the flashbacks in one convenient section.

The Initial Pitch

Remember when Logan was a cocky asshole and William was a dull simpleton? Let’s revisit those simpler days.

We are taken back to the time Logan first received the pitch about Westworld. Logan Delos (as we learn his last name is the name on the company) is taken to a party by a man named Aketcha and Angela (the host who welcomed Teddy to Westworld the first time).

Angela meeting Logan for the first time

Logan is amazed to discover the party he attends (or “demonstration” as Angela calls it) is entirely comprised of hosts. Now Logan’s first thought is to take them all and have an orgy that will last until the morning. His buddy William, on the other hand, saw something of significantly more value in the park.

“Seeing People For Who They Really Are”

As we all know now, William took Logan’s place as the heir apparent to Delos. And we see William in that role for the first time when he brings Jim Delos (William’s father-in-law, Logan’s father, and founder of Delos) to the park.

Jim Delos, the founder of Delos, the company that owns Westworld

Jim is skeptical. We can assume he’s heard nothing but the “sex, alcohol, violence, future” pitch from his son. But William presents things in a different light.

Numerous characters have hinted that Delos’s stake Westworld had nothing to do with the sins of its guests. And William makes sure to steer clear of that when giving his sales pitch. Westworld is a park where nobody thinks your watching. But Delos could watch and see what people really want when they think no one is paying attention. We don’t know exactly how Delos uses the data it collects to turn a profit. But “Reunion” made clear in two different scenes that they are indeed watching and keeping score.

William in the park explaining to Jim Delos the true value of the park.

“That’s the Sound of Fools Fiddling While the Whole Species Burns.”

We skip ahead in time to a retirement party at William’s rather large mansion. It appears that Jim Delos is sick, and he’s ready to step down, giving control of the company to William. The two embrace as it’s clear son-in-law is closer to dad than Logan (his actual son) is.

And who is that playing piano? Why, that’s Dolores doing a publicity appearance for the park. She’s been a minor part of every one of these flashbacks. And each reveal has shaped the revolutionary Dolores we are seeing in the present.

Dolores looking very modern day as she seeks a breath of fresh air

Later in the evening, Dolores heads outside and runs into Logan, who is noticeably separated from the party.

It also appears that being sent away naked on a horse by the man who will replace him in every significant role in his life as jaded Logan significantly.

But never have wiser words come from Logan’s lips. To Dolores, he says, “That’s (referring to the party) the sound of fools fiddling while the whole species burns.”

Logan was right about the threat Westworld presented to humankind. But I doubt he knew he was speaking to the one who’d be bringing it.

A Reflection

Our final flashback seemed innocent enough to William. Because she wasn’t real, William never thought Dolores would remember this conversation.

William takes his one-time host/love interest out to a construction site. We’ve got two more references to this site coming later.

The Man in Black

As for tonight’s “A Day in a Virtual Reality Themepark with the MIB,” it starts an awful lot like his adventure last season.

First, he saves his old buddy Lawrence from possibly having his insides eaten by ants. Then, he finds some super secret red bag hidden in a bar. Next, he speaks cryptically to Lawrence, confirming that Delos has been keeping track of the activities of Westworld’s guests. Finally, he tells Lawrence they’re all about to die and he(the MIB) needs to burn the whole thing down. And Lawrence is there to help him get the army that could help him do it.

The MIB revealing to Lawrence why Delos is involved with Westworld.

It’s at this point things start to get challenging. Lawrence takes the MIB to his home village to get the army he needs to achieve his end goal (of course, we don’t know what that end goal is, but the MIB just needs a lot of men to help him achieve it).

And these men are lead by Gus Fring, whose plans to open a Los Pollos Hermanos in Westworld have really taken a hit thanks to the host rebellion.

The character’s name is El Lazo. But that really doesn’t mean much as El Lazo and his men (based on programming put in them by Dr. Ford) kill themselves before the MIB can coerce them to follow him.

Ford meant for the MIB to do this alone: a journey to the place he considers his “greatest mistake.”

Dolores (present day)

Last week, Dolores promised she’d be showing Teddy something he had to see. It turns out that something is at headquarters, where there are still employees who somehow don’t know a robot rebellion is going on all around them.

One of the party guests has made it out here. We don’t know his name and have never seen him before, so you know it’s not going to end well for him.

He ends up dead, killed shortly after Dolores, Teddy, and Angela arrive. Dolores convinces one of the techs to show Teddy all the times he’s died. This appears to get Teddy on board.

Later, Angela tortures a different tech so they can get information for where the reinforcements will arrive once they get word of the host rebellion. Did he give them the location the group arrived at last week?

Dolores also needs an army. But she’s more successful, convincing a General Craddock to join his men to her side.

And what does she need this army for? To take down a fort the group of hosts approach as the episode ends. In that fort is the thing William was “foolish enough” to reveal to Dolores many years ago. And Dolores plans to use the MIB’s “greatest mistake” to “destroy them.”

Dolores and Teddy stare at the MIB’s “greatest mistake” as the episode ends.

Of Note:

-“Reunion” did a really great job connection present and past, transitioning better than show ever has between timelines.

-I really didn’t understand the purpose of the opening scene when Arnold shows Dolores the home he’s building. We may refer back to that scene later in season 2, but it just didn’t seem to fit the episode tonight.

-Also, Arnold tells Dolores about his son who is still living at this point.

-A random meeting tonight between the two alpha-females of Westworld: Dolores and Maeve. I was expecting more from this meeting. Instead, we simply got a “You go your way, and I’ll go mine” as their two arcs maintained a different direction for now.

Let’s hope longer interactions are in the future for these two.

-I do approve of Sizemore’s new role holding the donkey for Maeve and Hector. I think that casting should be permanent.

-William’s wife and daughter made their first appearance in “Reunion.” The ironic meeting even had William’s daughter commenting on just how beautiful Dolores (William’s robot mistress) was (awkward!!!).

-And what’s the deal with those dots on the arms of the MIB and Logan?

What We Learned:

-William convinced Jim Delos to invest in Westworld so the company could collect data by observing the behaviors of the guests.

-William oversaw the construction of something in the park he now regrets building.

-Dolores overheard all of that and now has an army ready to use that location to “destroy” humans.

-And finally, Dr. Ford has made sure the MIB will be completing his task on his own.

 

See you next week.

 

Westworld Season 2, Episode 1: Journey Into Night

504 days. More than one full calendar year. That’s the number of days between December 4th, 2016 (the date the finale of Season 1 aired) and April 22nd, 2018 (the date season 2 premiered).

That is a long time for a narrative show like Westworld to resolve the cliffhanger it left us with in 2016.

So how did the show handle its return from its long layoff? My initial reaction is mixed.

In some ways, the show maintained the momentum of the finale, picking up right from the point where Dolores blew a hole in Dr. Ford’s head and a number of other hosts massacred the guests at Ford’s big announcement. The carnage and chaos left behind by the rebelling hosts was laid out very effectively in every part of the park (well, at least on the Westworld side of things, that is). The show also wastes no time with Dolores, moving Dolores right into the awakened form Arnold feared at the beginning of the episode.

But you would think 504 days would grant us at least a one episode reprieve from the art of psycho babble the show perfected in its inaugural season. Instead, we spend half the episode debating what the hell Bernard Lowe/Arnold is doing, what time period he is in, and what undefined struggle is he enduring?

And of all the missing characters we had to revisit, why was Sizemore the one the show brought back?

Now, if it weren’t for the 500 day wait, I would be far less critical of the premiere. And I will be far less critical of the “psycho babble” (after all, it is a central part of the show) the rest of the season if quality payoffs follow.

And since its been so long, I will try to give brief reminders of who characters are as we move forward.

Now let’s start Season 2’s first recap with the man I suspect will be the central character to Season 2: Bernard Lowe.

Lowe: Present Day?

Humans are battling hosts all over Westworld, and the one stuck in the middle is Bernard Lowe: the host Dr. Ford created as a copy of his old partner, Arnold.

We learned Lowe was a host at the end of Season 1. But the great mystery surrounding his character is that, unlike the other hosts in the park, he doesn’t seem to realize it. Or if it does, he’s clearly struggling to come to grips with it.

We see the struggle played out at what appears to be two distinct timelines (and I think the opening scene was a third timeline, but more on that later).

One of those is Bernard hiding out in a barn like a normal human with several actual normal humans as the rebel hosts murder everyone on the outside.

The crew in the barn escapes, but most of the crew are killed after falling for a trap set by another group of hosts. The only two survivors are Lowe and Charlotte Hale: a major executive at Delos, the company that owns Westworld, who showed up last season to force Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins from season 1) into retirement.

Lowe and Hale discussing just what is going wrong with the hosts.

The pair makes it to what Hale describes as a “manual override” buried underneath the park. Here, she attempts to contact someone on the outside for help. But whoever she is trying to contact won’t arrive until a package (one of the hosts, from the sounds of it) arrives.

Meanwhile, Lowe locates Peter Abernathy (Dolores father from the premiere last season and the host that was supposed to be sent) and delivers some kind of shot that keeps him from hallucinating (what’s up with that?)

Lowe and Hale discuss just what is going on inside this bizarre room underground in the middle of the park.

We’ll get to the Charlotte Hale-less portion of Lowe’s arc later.

Dolores

Season 1 hinted at a dark Dolores who killed without conscious those who’ve done her wrong. And the premiere of Season 2 gives us Dolores Abernathy: Assassin in full form. Our very first scene of Dolores is of her riding on horseback gunning down runaway humans with Teddy by her side. Of course, Teddy still has the same confused look he’s had in every scene he’s ever done on Westworld.

Later, Dolores has three captives with hands tied behind their backs and nooses around their necks standing on top of gravemakers (not a good time to be in high heels, as one of her captives is realizing in this scene).

Classic, cryptic quotes follow (“Have you ever questioned the nature of reality?” and the classic “These violent delights have violent ends.”). She lectures the humans, discussing how they are all about to pay for the terrible things that have been done to her (and the rest of the hosts) in the park. She leaves them alive, but dangling. As for Teddy, he still has the same confused look he’s had in every scene he’s ever done on Westworld.

Later, Teddy (with the same look…) questions Dolores about what is happening. Dolores seems to profess her love for Teddy, a love that is always at the end of every arc programmed into her. She also makes reference to “their world, the one that belongs to them (so she wants to invade the human’s world?).” A woman who led an assault against several humans earlier tells Dolores “We have him.” To which Dolores tells Teddy, “You need to see this.” I guess he’ll have to see it next week because that’s the last we see of Westworld’s star crossed lovers.

Dolores and Teddy discussing the events of the evening’s episode.

Maeve

As for our favorite brothel owning host, not much has changed since the finale: she’s still looking for her daughter and she’s still a bad ass. And much like last season, she has a human on board to do her bidding.

At the point of the night where we see Maeve for the first time, we’ve only seen the carnage caused by the hosts in the park. But clearly, the message of rebellion made it to headquarters as dead humans are everywhere Maeve walks. Somehow, the hosts didn’t get the message to kill the most annoying of all the humans: Sizemore (the arrogant, British head of creative).

The good news is we will at least get to see Maeve boss him around for awhile. And she will have the help of Hector Escaton, her bank robbing love interest.

Maeve debates with Hector what she plans to do with the annoying human. But Sizemore says he knows the park Maeve’s daughter is located in (remember the note she received as she was trying to leave the park in last season’s finale), so she’s going to keep him around for at least a little while (hopefully, not too long).

Sizemore and Maeve looking over the damage at headquarters.

The Man in Black

Yes, we now know his name is William. But season 1 ingrained in my head The Man in Black, or MIB as the loner persona Ed Harris plays in Westworld. And Season 1 seems to be setting us up for a near repeat of season 2: The MIB seeking out a deeper game. But unlike the first season (remember, the maze was for the hosts, not the MIB), this journey is for him.

The Man in Black assessing the damage as he appears to be the only one to survive the assault of the hosts.

After killing a pair of hosts who try to take him out, the MIB gathers up his things, changes into his familiar garb, and heads out for a journey. a journey he’s introduced to by the “Ford as a child” host.

The host’s voice is muffled, almost a combination of Ford and the child put together. But the host tells the MIB, “Congratulations, William. This game is meant for you.”

And nothing says, “I’m the MIB and I don’t give a f@#* like shooting dead the host who just delivered that message. “Alone Again, Naturally” would have been the perfect song to be playing here as the MIB rides off on an arc that looks an awful lot like his journey in season 1.

The Man in Black and that all too familiar pose.

Bernard Lowe: The future?

The other part of Lowe’s arc appears to be in the future, after armed personnel have arrived to bring peace to Westworld. A couple of observations to consider before we go a little deeper here:

  1. Lowe is no longer with Charlotte Hale in these scenes.
  2. Stubbs (the Hemsworth on the cast) is back. He was missing when last season ended.
  3. Many of the hosts who’ve wrecked havoc in the premiere are seen dead here.

We also get a number of new characters showing up on the beach like they’ve been here all along. One of them is Karl Strand, the tall bald guy who appears to be in charge. The other is Antoine Costa. He’s the one looking into the hosts for clues about what happened. By the time they arrive, it appears the carnage is grown much larger, but it’s hosts who have suffered the most damage.

Stubbs, Strand, and Lowe look out over the horizon at carnage in the water. (I do not know the name of the armed lady soldier yet).

Antoine Costa, the tech expert looking into the technical issues of the hosts at Westworld.

Through Costa’s work, the crew discovers Dolores is the one responsible for the death of these hosts.

Later, the new guys and gals in town assess the damage from Ford’s big announcement. The further rotting of the human bodies is further proof this crew has taken a long time to get here. I am assuming this is the crew Hale was trying to communicate with.

The group also discovers a host Bengal Tiger (one that Stubbs says crossed over from Park 6, the same park Maeve is going to find her daughter).

The last image we see is this crew looking over a body of water and seeing hundreds of dead hosts floating in it. Bernard tears up when asked how this happened. I had a hard time understanding his words here, but he seems to think he’s responsible for it.

Of Note:

-Was Teddy one of those bodies in the water?

-The opening scene seems like Arnold talking to Dolores and expressing fear at what she could become. But he also shares a “dream” with her where he woke up on the ocean (exactly as he would wake up for the future portion of his arc). So is that Arnold from the past or Lowe in the future talking to Dolores?

-Lowe also discovers in the “manual override” chamber that guest DNA is extracted there. Is that part of Delos’s greater use for the park?

-There was also confirmation that Ford was indeed shot and killed by Dolores. Of course, we know that doesn’t mean a host Ford won’t show up. Or could that have been a host giving the speech and that host’s body just rots like a human body? Oh, how I’ve missed the tangled webs Westworld weaves.

-Male nudity outnumbered female nudity in the premiere as Maeve’s request that Sizemore strip all the way down in front of her was shown at full frontal for a moment.

-The Bengal tiger, the samurai’s at headquarters in the season finale, and the shot of Maeve in full Oriental garb leave little doubt that the mysterious park 6 is set in Asia.

So in conclusion:

-Dolores is out for revenge on humans, but she will direct her fury on the hosts later.

-Maeve is out to find her daughter.

-The MIB is out to find a deeper a game actually meant for him.

-Lowe doesn’t know what he’s looking for, and he might be the key to the whole season.

See you next week.