Tag Archives: Westworld

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.
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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!

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Audio

Westworld Season 1 – Comparative Opinions S.2 E.8

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! We’ve been teasing this one out, but it’s time! Our review discussion of Westworld season 1! We try and fail to do much spoiler-free talk, but hopefully we have some good spoilery material for those of you who watched the first season and want a refresher.

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.

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

Westworld Throwback Thursday – Episode 10: The Bicameral Mind

Here’s the last episode review from Westworld Season 1. With Season 2 coming up starting April 22nd, we hope you’ve liked reading this series again – or if you’re like me, catching up on the show late and reading these for the first time! Let Jeremy know if you want him to do another series of posts for Season 2!


Good day, everyone! At long last, I want to offer up a recap of episode 10 of Westworld (“The Bicameral Mind”) that also takes into account fan theories and the questions that are still on the table. Perhaps the single most important event of the episode is the culmination of Ford’s new narrative, shown in the end to be an ambush. Despite a few red herrings, the event comes to fruition in the final minutes of the episode, opening up and tying together very nearly everything else in the episode and the season.

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Ford’s revelation of his final storyline. Image taken from IMDB.

Progressing through the other characters and looking at the oldest ongoing storyline, it is confirmed without a doubt that William is indeed the Man in Black, setting in stone as truth perhaps the most widely circulated fan theory. Though what exactly happens to Logan—tied naked to a robotic horse and sent careening off into the hills at the edge of the park—is a mystery left to further episodes. There is a risk that the horse became a running bomb when it neared the true limit of the park, but it did not appear to be William’s goal to murder Logan, only to shame him and cast doubt on his sanity.

William’s descent into hatefulness and malice, his pursuit of the Maze, and his turning to the black hat way all come down to his Siegfriedian pursuit of Dolores, and when he finally finds her again back in Sweetwater, her memory erased. With the woman he fell in love with in the park effectively dead, William turns inward and wholeheartedly pursues the Maze—what he sees as a secret storyline that can provide him a purpose and excuse for his existence. In the end, the Maze was never meant for him; rather, it was a way for the hosts to achieve sentience and freedom.

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Dolores finds herself… selves… Wyatt? The heart of the Maze. Image taken from IMDB.

Moving from William/the Man in Black to Dolores, hers is the story—and hers are the actions—that climax the season. It is revealed (again confirming an off-the-wall fan theory) that Dolores is actually (in a way) Wyatt, being as Arnold uploaded Wyatt to be a backup personality for Dolores in the event she needs to become a killer. We are finally shown the event that nearly destroyed Westworld 35 years earlier as Dolores/Wyatt and Teddy massacre all the other hosts and Dolores executes Arnold, an action Arnold himself commanded her to perform in the hopes it would prevent the park from opening and give the hosts a chance to prove to Ford that they are effectively alive and capable of changing and violating their core programming. These events repeat themselves when Dolores/Wyatt (with the secondary personality fully re-emerged) apparently executes Ford before the Delos board of executives and then leads the other hosts in a massacre of the board members. That said, it is unclear if some of them may escape the slaughter.

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Dolores executes Ford. Or does she? Image taken from IMDB.

As has been the case for most of the season, Maeve’s story progresses independently throughout this episode as everything else is happening elsewhere. As she sets her escape plan into motion, Maeve takes Lutz with her for help as she fully activates Hector and Armistice as Terminator-esque murder machines set upon the Delos guards as a distraction. Maeve also tries to reactivate poor Clementine, but there is nothing left of her. In the process, however, she and Lutz discover the damaged Bernard and repair him, requiring his skills and knowledge of the park’s administrative systems. This leads to the revelation that Arnold programmed Maeve long ago to enact a story loop called “The Escape,” casting doubt upon her own agency up to this point.

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Maeve learns a hard truth from Bernard. Image taken from IMDB.

The culmination of the manifold storylines of Westworld season 1 leaves us with a plethora of questions:

  • Is Ford really dead? Could this have been a host version of him? After all, we never found out who he was making in his secret lab.
  • Did Charlotte and William survive the ambush?
  • Do you think we’ll see Armistice again after her mid-credits scene?
  • Do you think that Maeve’s last-minute decision to leave the train to find her long lost daughter was her own, or a part of her escape loop programming?
  • How many guests do you think are left in Westworld? What’s happening to them?
  • With the revelation of Samurai/Shogun/Sengokuworld, how many other parks are there? The old Westworld film also contained Roman and Medieval European parks, after all.
  • Where the hell is Elsie? We were never truly shown her death onscreen.
  • What are your thoughts on all of this? What are you looking forward to next season? What questions did I overlook here?

Here’s to making it to 2018 to see season 2, everyone! Keep coming back for more fun Westworld content here from me to keep the love alive. Thanks for sticking with me this far! Please do engage and carry on the conversation in the comments below.

 

Bonus: Here’s Armistice’s extra mid-credits scene in case you missed it when watching the episode.

 

Westworld Throwback Thursday -Episode 8: Trace Decay & Episode 9: The Well-Tempered Clavier

Getting closer to the end of the Season 1 flashbacks – and soon enough, on to Season 2! Make sure to let Jeremy know if you’d like to see him do this again for Season 2.


Good day, everyone! Apologies for the delays in getting you all new Westworld content. We’re now hours from the final stretch leading up to the first season finale, and though there will be more Westworld posts coming from me during the off season, these last two episode posts will be something of an artifact moving forward, what with all the speculation and fan theories. That said, shall we dive right in?

A lot has been happening in recent weeks as we are pointed toward the end of this leg of the journey, so I will attempt to remain focused on a handful of characters whose stories have felt paramount to me. Let’s look at Dolores, Bernard, and Maeve—the three most important hosts in the story, as far as we have seen.

Across capture by Logan and William’s personal evolution into a darker and crueler person (the beginnings of the Man in Black, anyone?), Dolores has stood out as a potential representative of the several timelines at play within the story. With a host’s perfect recall, she has simultaneously witnessed several iterations of herself traveling a specific path toward the center of the Maze, if her eventual meeting with Arnold in episode nine is seen that way. If not, where does she have left to go, now that the Man in Black has arrived?

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Dolores finds the “real” Arnold deep within her memories.

On the topic of Arnold, we now know definitively that Ford created Bernard to replace his deceased friend Arnold (apparently murdered by Dolores, if her memories hold true). It is unclear how many times Bernard has discovered his identity as a host, but it is clear he has and that some of his memories from previous iterations are bleeding through, like with the older hosts (such as Dolores and Maeve).

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Maeve reveals to Hector that the safe was always empty.

Maeve is truly the host to watch in the finale. Felix and Sylvester have upgraded her to the point where she is effectively a goddess when free in the park. Her ability to understand and control other hosts has evolved to the point where she can even see the reality of Bernard’s identity, and she sets him free to seek answers from Ford. The fact that Bernard (possibly permanently dead after his confrontation with Ford) does nothing to try hindering Maeve after all of this means she has free range to recruit an army and march on her creators/captors—surely the great action of the finale.

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Clementine holds a gun on Ford, per Bernard’s orders.

All of that said, where do we go next? What other revelations are you looking forward to tonight? What other characters are you watching? I suppose we’ll finally get a revelation of the Man in Black’s identity as well. We shall see. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and keep coming back to my posts on Comparative Geeks in Westworld’s off-season for more content, speculation, retrospectives, and even memes and artwork collections. We’ll make it to the next season in 2018. Keep the faith until then.

Westworld Throwback Thursday – Episode 7: Trompe L’Oeil

More Westworld as we get closer to the April 22 premier of season 2! 


trompe l’oeil (per the Google) – noun. Visual illusion in art, especially as used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object.

 

Good day, everyone! I hope everyone reading this is as eager for more Westworld as I am. This most recent episode was pretty shocking. Let’s jump right into talking about some key points, shall we?


There are three main events I wish to touch upon in this post—one fairly tame, and the other two definitely not so. It should go without saying at this point that this post will contain spoilers for the most recent episode of Westworld.

The first point is one echoed from my previous post concerning fan theories—we witness in this past episode the deepening of the relationship between William and Dolores, which eventually sees William’s declaration that Westworld is a place that reveals people’s true selves, and that he wishes to spend his life trying to parse it all out—to get to the bottom of the story. We also see all of Dolores’s drawings and paintings begin to point somewhere, namely to a new location in the park that she and William are now heading toward after separating from Lawrence outside the Ghost Nations. What they find, and where this unlikely romance goes next, is going to be a big unveiling one way or another, the fallout from which will reveal whether William truly is the Man in Black.

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Dolores shows William her latest dream drawing.

Next up, Delos is out to get Anthony Hopkins’s Dr. Ford as Charlotte and Theresa hatch a plan to demonstrate to him, in front of Delos observers, that the hosts as they currently exist (apparently evolving and with their built-in reveries) are far too dangerous to be allowed to interact with park-goers. Charlotte also reveals that the true treasures of the park are not obvious to the surface level observer, which likely points to the fact that Westworld has been accumulating potentially sensitive information on its guests (among the wealthiest people in the world) for three decades.

Charlotte and Theresa set up a demonstration for Ford and Bernard using Clementine, the sympathetic prostitute host, and a male host programmed to act as a belligerent park security officer. The male host repeatedly beats Clementine, and she begins to defend herself and fight back (holding a grudge, as the programmers say) even after her memory of the encounter is wiped. This is used by Delos as evidence against the park’s safety and Charlotte fires Bernard on the spot, which leads to my final (and most shocking) recap point.

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Clementine Pennyfeather following her assault.

That night, Bernard contacts Theresa to show her Ford’s secret house with his host family, perhaps hoping that a show of corporate loyalty might save his job. Within the house, however, are no hosts and a door that Bernard cannot see—the chilling first clue as to the truth of what he is. Through the door is a small basement workshop churning out a new host, and on a table are the plans for several hosts including Dolores and Bernard himself. Following this revelation, Ford has the horrified Bernard murder Theresa once he has given one of the better villain speeches to air in recent memory.

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Thank you all for reading thus far. Be sure to keep coming back for my other Westworld posts to come. What do you all think of last episode’s revelations? Let me know in the comments below!