“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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
-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.