Westworld Season 2 Mid-Season Recap!

All right, everyone. I’m back! Today, I will be giving you a quick recap of some salient points from each episode of the first half of Season 2 of Westworld. I will also raise a talking point or two for each episode. So far, not a lot of the questions left hanging by Season 1 have been answered, and a lot more questions have been piled on top. I, for one, am enjoying the ride so far and can’t wait to see what comes. Shall we go ahead and dive in?

Episode 1: Journey into Night

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Bernard, Floki, younger Hemsworth, and unnamed mercenary at the inland sea. Image taken from TVInsider.

  • This picks up where season one left off, both immediately after and 11 days in the future. Immediately after the hosts ambush the Delos execs, the main characters break off into several groups: Dolores and Teddy of course go galivanting off together; Maeve forces Lee Sizemore (the park’s storyline author) to guide her to her daughter and picks up Hector along the way; Bernard and Charlotte Hale end up running for their lives together, and Bernard has a nagging head injury that threatens to render him inoperable; and William, the Man in Black, sets off on his own new adventure, ready for blood and the struggle for meaning.
  • 11 days in the future, Delos has finally sent a rescue party headed up by Floki from Vikings (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Stubbs, whose escape from the Ghost Nations is yet to be detailed. They discover Bernard and dozens of dead hosts in a brand new inland sea within the park. Later on, they also discover a dead robot tiger that apparently escaped from Park 6, which as of now is not named.
  • During their flight and discovery of an independent satellite lab full of faceless, half-finished servant hosts, Hale reveals to Bernard the big scheme to use Peter Abernathy (Dolores’s host father) to smuggle out personal, behavioral, and genetic information on the park’s guests. Why is still left hanging at this point.

Episode 2: Reunion

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Arnold and Dolores. Image taken from OverMental.

  • At first glance, this episode feels like filler, and perhaps earns the season the accusation of unevenness that the first season definitely did not have, but there is plenty to be gleaned here.
  • The loveliest scene in the episode has to fall near the beginning and is Arnold’s interactions with the recently completed Dolores in his partially completed home back stateside. His fatherly concern for her well-being is touching and is only magnified by his comparison of her to his son. I feel that some of Arnold’s original motivations are finally surfacing here. In creating the hosts, he wants to create not slaves, not sex robots, but better people, innocent people who will not die. It is a shame that the backdrop for this scene is a pitch to Logan Delos for funding that preys upon his sexual appetites. That said, besides the two spots in the timeline demonstrated in the first episode, this season also has frequent flashbacks to living Arnold and young(er) William.
  • This episode also focuses more strongly on William, both in the past and in the narrative present. In the past, William successfully pitches fully funding Westworld to his father-in-law, Jim Delos, whose importance to the story this season is certainly understated at this point. After, the Man in Black recruits his old sidekick Lawrence for his adventure to Glory, the place everyone seems to be heading this season. A small aside: this episode also reveals Giancarlo Esposito (the guy who played Gus Fring in Breaking Bad) to have replaced Lawrence as the host gang leader El Lazo, though it’s a shame this will likely be his only appearance.
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Giancarlo Esposito as El Lazo.

Episode 3: Virtu e Fortuna

  • Park 6 is finally revealed in the prologue of the episode, and it is a Victorian Indian Raj World apparently set up for hunting robotic game. We are also given a new character, Grace (played by Katja Herbers), who flees the malfunctioning hosts, including a familiar tiger, and dives into the newly finished inland sea shown in the first episode.
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Grace in Raj World. Image taken from Nerdist.

  • This episode is pretty action-packed and doesn’t advance the plotline of journeying to Glory overmuch, but it has some great moments. Dolores’s Wyatt shell slips when she sees her malfunctioning father and her softer side reemerges. Bernard hilariously reprograms one of the vile outlaw hosts to be a virtuous gunfighter with superhuman speed. And Maeve and company finally reconnect with Armistice (Hector’s second-in-command with the snake tattoo of the awesome post-credits scene last season), who has now somehow replaced her severed arm with a flamethrower.

Episode 4: The Riddle of the Sphinx

  • This episode ties together a few of the strings laid out by the season so far, primarily the importance of Jim Delos, Logan’s father. The episode prologue reveals him held in a fairly luxurious, though lonely, apartment. William comes to visit, toting whiskey, and engages in banter with the old man, culminating in the passing of a printout from William to Delos. It is stated that Delos is simply being held in treatment for an unnamed disease, though it is obvious something else is going on. It becomes clear as William visits again and again that this is only a host copy of Jim Delos, the original having died years earlier from a disease he himself defunded research on. William has spent decades attempting to use the park’s resources to resurrect his father-in-law, eventually accepting it may be impossible, and that perhaps some people just shouldn’t be brought back, anyway.
  • In the narrative present of 11 days ago, zombie Clementine drags Bernard away from the big battle at the end of last episode to a cave where he encounters the chained up and suspiciously clean Elsie. She doesn’t trust Bernard, being as he kidnapped her on Ford’s orders, but she comes around once he reveals he’s actually a host. Even now, Elsie trusts machines more than people. They manage to sneak in the secret facility entrance at the back of the cave and discover the area where the Jim Delos copy host has been left imprisoned for an undisclosed amount of time. He has gone utterly insane and even murdered the employee left to watch him.
ep4 image 1 elsie bernard and jim delos from nerdist

Fully-armed Elsie, Bernard, and insane Jim Delos. Image taken from Nerdist.

  • Elsewhere, William outsmarts his captors, another band displaced by the battle from last episode, and in an uncharacteristically noble move, rescues Lawrence and his family, thereby recruiting Lawrence and his cousins for the quest for Glory. It is worth referring back to William’s earlier mention that Glory was his one great addition to the park and its narrative, and his greatest shame. It’s fairly clear at this point that Glory is the facility where experiments in creating host copies of existing humans have been taking place, with Jim Delos as the prototype of the effort. There is also some connection here with Peter Abernathy being used a personal data mule, but why he had to be smuggled off the island housing the parks rather than to the Glory facility is still a missing puzzle piece.
  • This episode ends with William and his band running into Grace on horseback while riding off into the sunset, and she is revealed to be William’s daughter.

Episode 5: Akane No Mai

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Akane, the Shogun World Maeve. Image taken from Forbes.

  • We finally get a full glimpse of Shogun World after the big tease at the end of last season, and it is awesome! Through character comment and brilliant musical choices, it is revealed that Shogun World’s narratives (at least the ones immediately apparent) are lifted from Westworld, which is a treat given how much westerns and samurai films actually borrowed from each other in the 1950s and 60s.
  • The additions of Shogun World Hector, Musashi (played by Hiroyuki Sanada of The Last Samurai), Shogun World Armistice, Hanaryo (played by Tao Okamoto of The Wolverine), and Shogun World Maeve, Akane (played by Rinko Kikuchi of Pacific Rim) are fantastic. I honestly hope we get to see much more of all three characters as the season and story progress, despite dire circumstances at the end of this episode.
  • Besides the Edo Era Awesomeness going on in this episode, another major event among another group of characters occurs—Dolores has Teddy reprogrammed to be more vicious and unquestioning, effectively robbing him of the freedoms she now enjoys so much. We will have to see if Dolores continues down the path of hypocritical monster as the series progresses.

Some ideas on the way out:

  • Early in the season, we saw Ford’s dead, maggot-riddled body right where it fell after Dolores shot him. Are we finally convinced Ford is actually dead, despite the fact he seems to speak through his host child self to William, or is some aspect of him still out there? Pre-recorded messages aside, could there be a host copy of Ford out there somewhere in Glory? After all, we never saw who that new host being built in Ford’s secret lab was.
  • How in control of herself do you believe Maeve really is? Or Dolores, for that matter? It was revealed that Maeve’s escape from Westworld was likely a narrative she was following, and that her choice to stay and find her daughter was the first truly free idea she experienced. So, where are those important distinctions in Dolores? Is she free or still running some old narrative possibly left behind by Arnold or Ford?
  • Glory and host copies of the world’s fatcats—is this a setup for future seasons? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!


Thank you all for reading and having me back. Please feel free to discuss any idea I opened up or to bring up anything I overlooked or misunderstood. I look forward to engaging in healthy discussion, and I also look forward to writing more about this more often in the future. Thanks again!


Infinity War – Comparative Opinions S.2 E.10

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! It’s deep spoiler territory time: Avengers: Infinity War! Join hosts David and Holly for about an hour of talk about he film, including disappointments, speculation, and more!

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday, or for our weekly news podcast, Week in Geek. It’s on hiatus until July!



Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros


Week in Geek S.2 E.4

Week in Geek, season 2 episode 4, recorded 4/30/18. News since last episode, including: TV show renewals; Marvel stressing no Infinity War spoilers; Stranger Things and Montauk; Stan Lee’s elder abuse; Amazon’s $1 billion Lord of the Rings; and the world’s highest grossing single piece of media. Then the Nerd Baby interrupted!

Here’s a link to more about the Stranger Things/Montauk lawsuit: http://www.tmz.com/2018/04/03/stranger-things-creators-duffer-brothers-sued-alleged-rip-off/

Our other podcast is Comparative Opinions, find it and old Week in Geek episodes on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes!

Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

Thanos’ Black Order

Hello! With Avengers: Infinity War putting the Black Order onscreen, I thought I could help with a bit of an introduction on these characters. They’re very recent additions in the comics, introduced in Jonathan Hickman’s 2013 Infinity crossover event. They are the generals of Thanos, in the film seemingly fellow “children” of Thanos (like Gamora and Nebula). They’re quite powerful, and quite as mad as their Titan leader.

Corvus Glaive, the leader and Herald of Thanos. Proxima Midnight, his wife. Black Dwarf, the bruiser. Ebony Maw, the talker. And Supergiant, the omnipath. So here’s some info about them from Infinity.

On the one hand, I’m sad that they’re only adapting 4 of the characters – but the 5th, Supergiant, has incredible mental powers and the MCU is simply not prepared for that. In the comics, most of the telepaths are mutants. Just look at how devastating Kilgrave was. Also, they changed Black Dwarf’s name to Cull Obsidian (in the comics, another name for the Black Order). They’re named for stars, but it’s fine.

When the Black Order first arrive on Earth, they split up. Most of the Avengers are off in space fighting a war on a second front (sounds familiar…), so the Black Order hits where there are heroes left – the X-Men, attacked by Corvus Glaive and Supergiant, Atlantis & Namor attacked by Proxima Midnight, Wakanda attacked by Black Dwarf, and Doctor Strange taken over by Ebony Maw.

We see, in the trailers, two of these four playing out: Black Dwarf (Cull Obsidian) is easily visible attacking in Wakanda (he’s huge), and Ebony Maw definitely brings Doctor Strange low. Let’s take another look at both.

Here’s from a later fight… it takes a lot to bring Black Dwarf down. Granted, Black Panther and Shuri are able to beat him, but he’s a tough one. But he’s also just a simple bruiser. He is the one hardest pressed to get Thanos’ respect. This may all play out pretty similarly.

This is not from the core Infinity comics, but from New Avengers… Ebony Maw is the most frightening of them. Unlike Black Dwarf, who is all punches, Ebony Maw doesn’t throw a single punch. He’s ideas. Words. Lies. Secrets. Thanos puts up with him – because he gets results. Looks like this will play out similarly as well!

Corvus Glaive meanwhile we have seen very little of – but in the comics, he’s the one we see the most of. Thanos’ right-hand man. His Herald.

He has supreme confidence, and speaks from a place of supreme power – not his own, but his master’s. There’s more to it than that, though. So let’s look at he and Proxima Midnight together – both with their super-powerful weapons. Very comic book. We’ll see to what extent either of these weapons get translated into the film – might be a good idea for them to be downplayed.

Okay… Glaive that cuts atoms, check. Spear that holds within it the power and density of a star, check. The latter in particular sounds quite a bit like Mjolnir. However, we also see it thrown in a trailer – and Captain America catches it. So maybe it’s just a spear in the movie.

Oh, and reverting Hulk to Banner… huh. Who knows!

But there’s one more power in Corvus’… glaive… and that is that, as long as it is still whole, he regrows from it. So later in the comics, he’s back, because Proxima grabbed it up and brought it along here. Will we see anything like that in the film? There’s not a whole lot of time for him to die and come back. Maybe between this film and the next?

Alright, that has been a bit of an introduction to these characters. Powerful, effective, but all still fairly new and only so much to them – Infinity War is going to add quite a bit to their characterization. But it looks like it will also be borrowing from some of their establishing elements from early on here. I’ll be interested to see their similarities and differences!

Oh, and one more image, just for fun. Hope you enjoy Infinity War! And remember, #ThanosDemandsYourSilence!

The Mad Titan, Thanos – A Throwback Thursday

With Infinity War on the heels of this post, it seemed appropriate to reflect back on some of my Thanos writing! This post is from late 2013, and I did a pretty good job of predicting where the MCU was going, if not the comics. My links at the end are also probably somewhat spoilers, in that they are clearly basing at least some of Infinity War on Hickman’s Infinity event! Enjoy, and remember, #ThanosDemandsYourSilence!

From The Infinity Gauntlet

From The Infinity Gauntlet

Marvel’s recent crossover event Infinity recently ended, and with all the events with “Infinity” in the title, this was a crossover that included the Mad Titan, Thanos, as the villain. In Infinity, he had to share the stage with the Builders, and was only one front of a two-front war. Nonetheless, his parts in Infinity tied in heavily to who he is as a villain, and what motivates him.

Of course, other Thanos events like the Infinity Gauntlet help inform us as to who Thanos is and what he’s up to, but Infinity drew from more than that. They did a limited-run, 5-issue series called Thanos Rising which explored the origin story of Thanos. It’s interesting, because with this story, it’s hard to tell where the previous Thanos events fit in. Nonetheless, the psychological underpinnings of the character are explored and revealed in Thanos Rising.

And what they lay out is that this is a mentally unbalanced, overly powerful character, willing – and wanting – to kill anyone and anything. Conquering or razing worlds because he can. So I’ve read the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos Rising, and Infinity, so let’s take a look at who this villain is! Spoilers to follow!

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