Westworld‘s newest episode involved a big return and some big losses for the series… Obviously, before continuing; SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Hopkins has returned!!

It was so refreshing to see one of the greatest characters return in full force this week. Due to this, the majority of this episode revolved around Bernard and Ford and just what exactly the park’s true purpose is. There were some other crazy happenings but we shall get to those in a moment.

For starters, in the “present” timeline Bernard has finally been revealed to be a host “living among the humans.” Hale has a field day with this news and decides to use him in hopes of finding Abernathy’s mind ball… thing. Whats interesting is in the middle timeline, during the host invasion of the facility Ford ends up in Bernard’s head. However, in the present timeline Bernard seems to be without him, or he’s just hiding himself by preventing Bernard from letting Hale and company know he’s there?

Obviously, it remains to be seen but there could be one hell of a twist coming when they get to the “Valley Beyond”. Perhaps Ford is still in there but using Bernard like a puppet and leading Hale and her team to their doom. Or again, something happens between the two timelines and Ford has been uploaded elsewhere.

The truth comes out in this episode of Westworld though. It is now confirmed that the park is just a front, basically. A means of collecting user data and utilizing that in hopes of creating the perfect AI, a flawless human-like copy. While this has been teased and touched on here and there in this season, the show has taken the time to spell it out for us. It’s a nice change of pace while simultaneously being a minor waste of time.

Unlike the mysticism surrounding the first season, things are much more black and white in Westworld Season 2. Maybe the showrunners hoped to have a more “accessible” show for viewers by spelling every twist and turn out for them, because that’s basically what’s been going on. In some ways it’s nice because we no longer have to think nearly as hard to put the pieces together, but it’s also not as fun now, because we don’t have to really think to understand what’s going on.

One of the greatest reveals this week is that all the scenes we saw with Dolores and Bernard were in the past. Like the very distant past. It turns out no one knew Bernard better than Dolores. Due to this, Bernard was put through rigorous testing for years with Dolores until they got him just right, just “human” enough to pass for the person he was built to impersonate. With the past and middle timelines being pretty much connected, all we are left with now is how the rest of the present timeline will play out.

One of the greatest elements of Westworld is its theme behind humans striving to live forever. Going to extraordinary lengths to map the human mind just so we can leave our organic bodies and live eternally in a fabricated one. As nice as that all sounds, Delos, I’m sure, has other plans for the technology; assuming they get the key from Abernathy and figure out how to crack it. As we saw from poor Jim Delos, the tech isn’t quite there yet, which is also why Ford has been hiding in the Cradle since his staged death at the end of season 1. However, it’s scary to think that a doppelgänger, cyborg president or NATO official could be out there being controlled by a company seeking to change the world from behind the curtain.

As nice as it would be to continue to hypothesize what Ford’s end game is, we also need to talk about the shit that went down in this episode.

William and Maeve unintentionally crossing paths was one hell of a scene. It was a cleverly done one as well. We got to see Maeve face one of her demons, since she’s achieved a sense of freedom or consciousness. She still views William as this dark, ominous presence that’s haunted her for far too long. Seeing Lawrence defy her initial attempt to mind control him was very intriguing.

Sadly, she was able to trick him into turning on William regardless, thanks to her ability to remind host’s of their past storylines. Lawrence turns on William and almost finishes the job, but unfortunately he’s gunned down by the Delos goons. The last we see of William he’s in pretty bad shape, bleeding out behind a wagon. Obviously, he’s too big a character to be killed off by a few bullet wounds (we hope), but for the time being he’s got some healing to do.

Maeve is also gunned down but Lee comes to her rescue, kind of. Dolores and Maeve’s paths cross later as well. Maeve is in pretty bad shape and chooses to not have Dolores end her misery. Thankfully Lee is still the spineless bastard we all know he is so he finds a nice hiding spot to wait out Dolores. Hopefully Lee can save Maeve before it’s too late, but with Dolores and company back on the road and out of the facility he has the chance to do the right thing by her.

Speaking of Dolores, that bitch is ruthless. While it would’ve been interesting to see her saw off Hale’s skull, the scene between those two was more a showcase of just how cold Dolores can be. Humans are a disease in her mind. We played God for too long and now she’s here for the reckoning. With the Cradle destroyed, RIP Angela, Dolores has freed all the hosts of their backups. What Hale thought was their Kryptonite, Dolores thought was their chains and now those chains are broken, essentially freeing all hosts.

It still remains to be seen how all the hosts end up floating in the lake like we saw at the beginning of this season but things are moving rapidly towards that climax I believe. With the past and middle timelines mostly wrapped up, the race towards the Valley Beyond is underway. This episode made clear that each group is now heading for the same goal. Whatever lies at the Valley Beyond is sure to be a game changer, and I’m willing to bet Ford will have a few more tricks up his sleeve and a few more revelations to drop on us before that time comes.

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