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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
-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.