This weeks episode of Westworld delivered a more action packed viewing than it’s predecessors, played with more “free will” among some of the hosts, and even unveiled a park we weren’t expecting to see!
As usual, this article contains spoilers! Don’t read it if you have yet to watch this episode, the previous two episodes, or any of the first season…. Or if your name is Karen. We get it Karen, your coupon should’ve been redeemable, but guess what? It’s fucking not. I know the Karen’s of the world probably “too good” for this show, so like the store they’re always complaining in, they have no place reading this article. Christ Karen, get a life.
The beginning of this episode is rather clever. Everyone has been anticipating Shogun World and everything that could come with it. What viewers weren’t expecting is to see ANOTHER park aside from Shogun World and Westworld. India World! Safari World? Honestly, they didn’t give it a name, but we know that anyone that goes to this park will be immersed in a 20th century, British-ruled India! From what we see, park-goers can fulfil exotic fantasies, partake in exotic hunts, and ride on exotic elephants. This also cleverly ties in to our mysterious Bengal Tiger we saw in the season premiere! I’m sure everyone, myself included, thought that large cat had washed up on Westworld‘s shore from Shogun World, but it seems we were all out smarted. Yes Karen, I’m sure you “called it” during that premiere episode, but like those cashiers you’re always yelling at, no one fucking cares.
We are introduced to a mysterious woman as she, like the Man in Black, is searching for some deeper meaning, or game, beyond what the park has to offer. Sadly, her expedition is cut short thanks to the Host uprising. This subtly indicates that these events are part of the past time line, approximately 2 weeks before Bernard is discovered washed up on a shore much like our Bengal tiger. Basically, she fights off some hosts, runs into our ferocious feline, and takes in into the ocean (lake?) with her. It isn’t until the end of the episode that we see her wash up with the tiger. However, the last we see of her, shes staring up at three Ghost Nation hosts. This leads me to believe that she will probably come in contact with our good friend Ashley Stubbs (aka Baby Hemsworth). While we still don’t know how he escaped from the Ghost Nation, we know he survives his encounter thanks to the “present timeline” showing him alive and well back at HQ. Basically, their timelines must intersect, but to what extent remains to be seen.
A majority of this episode seems to take place “in the past”. We finally get to see Bernard and Charlotte Hale track down Peter Abernathy, who they find a captive of the nefarious bandit Rebus (that guy from Walking Dead that’s always sporting that ridiculous handlebar mustache). After a skirmish, Bernard happens to reprogram Rebus and makes him “the most virtuous, quickest gun in the west.” This answers a long standing question though. Yes, cheat codes are fair game in Westworld.
Rebus delivers some swift justice to the rest of his bandit entourage and that’s the last we see of him, in this episode. This does, however, explain what we see in the premiere episode when Rebus is protecting the female hosts. Well, he tries to, but that swift execution comes anyways, courtesy of Delos security.
Bernard, after reprogramming Rebus, frees Abernathy, but unfortunately the two are taken hostage by the Confederados. Meanwhile, Hale escapes and makes it back to the remaining members of park security. Bernard and Abernathy end up at the Confederados base, conveniently around the same time Dolores and Teddy end up there at the end of the last episode. While Dolores and her father have an emotional reunion, she is less than pleased to see Bernard, obviously. However, Bernard still has a use to her. She enlists his help in an attempt to save Abernathy from what can only be described as Host Alzheimers, and one bad case of it at that. Basically, poor Peter is reliving past lives but all at once, so he jumps around a few personalities and has convulsions. Bernard does his best, but Dolores fails to see he is in just as rough of a shape as her father.
The touching moment is interrupted, sadly, when Hale and the security team track down Abernathy. This results in a shoot out between the security forces and the Confederados, and ends in one savage move from Dolores. She is absolutely a completely different person than she was in season 1. Using the Confederados as a distraction, she uses them to lure in the security team, meanwhile Angela lines up a shot and BOOM goes the fucking dynamite. In seconds the Security team and Confederados are all but wiped out. Major Craddock is shocked by Dolores’ betrayal and she coldly responds by telling him “not everyone deserves to make it.”
Dolores slyly tests Teddy’s loyalty during this time. This is one of the instances we see that whole Host “free will” come into play. Dolores orders Teddy to execute Craddock and the rest of his men, but Teddy ends up being that good guy we all know he is and lets them run off. Unfortunately for him, Dolores witnesses the entire thing. How this plays out, is yet to be determined, but I think it’s safe to say Teddy is going to be in the dog house pretty soon, or worse, maybe she’ll friend-zone his ass?!
It is becoming more and more obvious that Dolores will manipulate and use whomever she feels she needs to if it means reaching “Glory”, or “The Valley Beyond”, or whatever we are calling it. She doesn’t need an army to reach it, just enough malleable minds she can use as stepping stones to get there.
Agent Hale ends up making off with Dolores’ father anyway, but that’s not to say she doesn’t put up a fight to prevent it. A very badass scene involves her charging the vehicle while taking a shot to the shoulder and abdomen without breaking her stride. Fucking Champ. Simultaneously, Hale runs into Bernard, and Strand, back in the “present timeline”, however, Abernathy is no longer with Hale, so something obviously happens between the two that results in him slipping through her fingers yet again. On top of that, she looks genuinely surprised to see Bernard alive? This is probably a reference to the last time we see Bernard in the “Past timeline” being knocked out and dragged off by Clementine.
Probably one the more important, and one of the best scenes in this episode though, come from our favorite love triangle, Maeve, Lee and Hector. After being chased back underground by the Ghost Nation Hosts, the dynamic trio are searching for a way back above ground. The whole “free will” idea is really emphasized between these three when Lee notices a blossoming relationship between Hector and Maeve. To him, this is NOT possible; seeing as how Hector is programmed to only love Isabell, everything happening between him and Maeve goes against every line of code they’ve been given. Lee and Hector begin this philosophical argument about why he should or shouldn’t be able to love and care about who he wants. However, when Hector begins to describe his feelings for Maeve, he does it using a few lines that he was given to describe his love for Isabella. Lee finishes his sentence, to Hector’s dismay, and reminds Hector that perhaps he understands him better than he previously believed. So yes, the Hosts possess “free will”, BUT to what extent??
Back in last weeks episode, the semi-current El Lazo made a bold observation that directly applies to Hector’s current mental state. When something is raised and conditioned to communicate a specific behavior, they will continue to act this way even after they have grown to a point where they can make choices for themselves. So yes, Hector is apparently free to love and fuck whomever he wants, BUT describing those feelings in a way he used to describe his “programmed” lover still makes him a slave to his coding. It’s only when a Host can break out of this coding that they will truly be free. As of right now, Maeve is the only host capable of expressing these kinds of decisions. The showrunners have confirmed that her decision to give up her escape attempt and instead search for her “daughter” in Season 1’s finale was a physical demonstration of her free will. Granted she had some help from the magic tablet that allowed her to become self aware but I suppose thats just semantics at this point.
My point is, all the other Hosts, Dolores included, still seem to be acting out the roles they were programmed with. Granted, they’ve done so with an increasing dramatic flair, but their “roles” bleed through and into their actions or dialogue none the less. The thing is, they don’t even realize they’re doing it, they have this illusion that what they’re saying or how they’re acting is what THEY want to do or say, when in reality they’re still just slaves to their coding. It has yet to be seen whether a Host will be able to break this mold on their own, without Maeve’s magical tablet, or if every Host will just continue to run through their lines like Ford intended, just in a different setting.
Whether we see that question answered sooner rather than later remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. The episode ending with Maeve and her men being attacked by a rogue samurai means Shogun World is rapidly approaching!