Westworld S3, episode 2: Back in the recreation, breaking parks again
This piece accommodates heavy spoilers for Westworld season three, episodes one and two. You most likely will not wish to learn it until you are caught up.
Every premiere episode of Westworld has needed to introduce (and re-introduce) viewers to the guidelines of the world, and final week’s episode was no exception—the present needed to cram loads of info into an hour of runtime to verify all of us begin the season on the identical web page. This week’s episode, in contrast, spends loads of time in outdated acquainted locations—and with outdated acquainted faces, too.
More than anything, it is a workmanlike episode—it would not wash us down with a firehose of revelations, but it surely covers its floor effectively. There are symbolism and neat visuals to dissect right here, too, however that stuff wants to attend a pair extra weeks—we want a couple of extra reveals to occur first. (As a quick apart, discussing single episodes of a foreshadowing-heavy present like Westworld after I’ve already seen half the season is a hell of so much more durable than I believed it will be. I’ve obtained a brand new respect for people who do this type of writing on the common, because it entails a hell of loads of compartmentalization!)
“The Winter Line” begins us off again in the park, in War World, persevering with from the post-credits tease in the premiere. Maeve is now a resistance fighter in WW2-era Italy (immediately tying into the episode title). Maeve is straight away reunited with Hector—and that is the place the oddness begins.
Is Hector awake, or not? Is Maeve? The scene unfolds in basic Westworld fashion, and my spouse and I spent most of it in a spirited dialogue about whether or not Hector and/or Maeve had been conscious of the nature of their actuality or caught in programmed loops.
The reply, we ultimately be taught, is difficult (no shock there)—Maeve’s caught in a simulation inside a simulation, a state of affairs hinted at in the premiere by Incite CEO Liam Dempsey’s cannabis-influenced feast good friend. And, sadly, poor Hector is asleep again.
But that is leaping forward—earlier than we get into that, let’s speak about the episode’s large on-screen affirmation of a season two finale thriller.
Bernard annoys a buddy
We catch the tail-end of Bernard’s boat journey to Westworld, with the ship’s captain noting that he remembers when the waters “were red with blood.” I would take this to be a touch about naval battles having occurred in the space earlier than the park’s founding, possible between the US and China.
Bernard’s journey concludes with him making landfall on the park, which is confirmed by a Rehoboam data-circle-graph-thingy to be precisely the place the Internet figured it was, in the South China Sea at 9°55’N, 115°32’E. He treks to Escalante, web site of the Delos feast bloodbath, but it surely’s a burned-out wreck.
He then heads to Ford’s outdated nation home with its basement lab—and encounters park QA lead Ashely Stubbs, who’s very clearly a number, clearing up any ambiguity about his nature. (Though S2 finale Director Fred Toye roughly confirmed Stubbs’ nature in a Vanity Fair interview again in 2018, it is nonetheless good to see it on display.)
Stubbs is rightly irritated at Bernard’s returning to the one place in the world the place he should not be, particularly after Stubbs expended a lot effort defending Bernard and getting him off the island. But Bernard is again for a really particular cause: he wants to seek out the one one that he thinks can cease Dolores.
He wants to seek out Maeve. And Stubbs says he is aware of the place she is—so off to chilly storage they go, wandering by lonely darkish corridors staffed solely with faceless Delos drones. The park, it appears, continues to be on lockdown after the “incident.”
I had a good friend named Lee
While Bernard is reunited with Stubbs, Maeve finds herself dealing with a few of her outdated acquaintances—although they react oddly. She encounters Sylvester and Felix in the Mesa’s physique store, however they do not appear to know her. Trapped, with no allies and no approach out, she opts to flee by way of a quick self-lobotomy solely to be saved when Lee Sizemore unexpectedly reveals up (nicely, I say “unexpectedly,” however the actor’s identify is seen in the opening credit in the event you’re paying consideration, in order that does form of spoil issues a bit.)
Lee presents a somewhat tender clarification for being alive that mainly quantities to “Yeah, I got shot a lot and I should be dead, but I’m not!” and means that Maeve would possibly have the ability to escape in any case: he is put her in War World as a result of it is near the Forge, and he or she may rejoin her daughter.
Unfortunately, on arriving at the Forge, Maeve begins to understand that Lee is not fairly proper, both—he asks questions he ought to already know the reply to, then begins placing the strikes on Maeve as a distraction. She presses X to doubt, and that is when issues go, as Al used to say on Quantum Leap, “a little kaka.”
Lee’s confusion causes the simulation to fritz, and we’re handled to a neat side ratio shift as the world grows letterbox bars. And after season two we all know precisely what being letterboxed means: this ain’t actual, yo.
The Ashley & Bernard Show
While this goes on, Stubbs and Bernard present up in chilly storage to seize Maeve. Her physique’s there—however somebody’s sawed an enormous gap in her head and made off together with her management unit.
Bernard adjustments techniques, then: if he cannot discover Maeve, he must reap the benefits of the Mesa’s tools and audit his code actual fast to seek out out if Dolores left any form of worm or hidden directions within him. This requires taking a detour by the Mesa’s extra populated areas, which results in a cameo that is each a little bit humorous and a little bit darkish at the identical time.
While Bernard checks his code, poor Stubbs has to defend him from QA and winds up overwhelmed and shot. And then Bernard steals his selections away from him by importing a “protect Bernard Lowe at all costs” core directive into Stubbs’ mind earlier than setting off in their little boat again to seek out Liam Dempsey Jr, the CEO of Incite and Dolores’ current ex-boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Maeve orchestrates her escape, enlisting Lee’s assist to overload the simulation’s CPU in true basic sci-fi fashion. Using a simulated pill, she duties a upkeep drone to seize her host management unit and guide it out of wherever she really is being held—which seems to be an exquisite Italian villa.
The escape would not fairly work in that her stolen upkeep drone is gunned down earlier than it finds a approach off the property. However, it does succeed in getting her out of the fake-Mesa. She awakens in heels and a cocktail costume, like Clarice Starling at the finish of Hannibal, and that is by no means an excellent factor. (Worth noting that she’s been dressed in white, the hosts’ main coloration. It additionally distinguishes her from Dolores, who has been carrying an terrible lot of black these days.)
After a little bit of strolling round the villa, she finds the man in cost—a person who identifies himself as Engerraund Serac.
Serac, in fact, is the identify of the one that actually designed the pseudo-prescient Rehoboam system that Incite makes use of to “strategize” about stuff. It seems we have lastly met our man.
The final moments of the episode give us the total route of the season. Dissatisfied with the haphazard course of human historical past, Serac got down to chart humanity a greater course—to present historical past an creator.
“And up until recently,” he explains to Maeve, “that system was working. We were creating a better world. And then it stopped. I thought I had discovered the reason: the emergence of someone very dangerous. Someone we couldn’t predict.”
Serac thought that particular person was Maeve, however her confusion when confronted by the Forge confirmed him that his idea was fallacious. The actual hazard is Dolores—and Serac desires Maeve to trace Dolores down and kill her.
Maeve objects. After all, Dolores has made her selections, and considered one of the large issues season two taught us is that the capability to make selections and redefine core drives is what makes the hosts really sentient. More to the level, what objection does she should the wholesale erasure of humanity?
Serac proves her level for her by freezing her with the storage door opener-looking factor in his pocket. It’s a a lot cruder type of management than the long-dead Ford exhibited over his creations, however Serac is not in subtlety. His simulations present that humanity is doomed until he convinces Maeve to assist. He’s in survival.
Maeve’s face as the episode fades to black tells all. In spite of how far she has come, she’s nonetheless not free. Not but.
Quick hits and questions: What have we discovered?
For people desperate to map out the boundaries of the synthetic island the place Westworld is about, we now know for sure that it is an island in the South China Sea. We additionally know the names (or at the very least the nature) of 5 of the six parks on the island—they’re Westworld for park one, Shogun World for park two, War World for park three, “Medieval World” or one thing related for park 4 (“Westeros World,” perhaps?), and The Raj for park six. Park 5 stays unrevealed.
In addition to Maeve’s management unit, Serac may need snatched others from chilly storage. The lab the place Maeve’s simulation is being run seems to have plenty of different host management items plugged in to the “Christmas tree” receptacles.
Stubbs is a number. The season two finale closely hinted at it, however now we now have on-screen affirmation. (This additionally probably clears up some season one scenes—like again in “Dissonance Theory,” when Stubbs dispatches a sheriff-host to select up Dolores in an deliberately complicated little bit of timeline-crossing. Maybe Stubbs was in cost of QA thirty years in the past and it is not timeline-crossing in any respect.)
Three months after the bloodbath, the island continues to be closed to guests. Hosts are nonetheless working alongside in their loops and employees continues to be engaged on each day upkeep to maintain the park working. (This is considerably speculative, since the solely place we see hosts in lively loops is within Maeve’s simulation, but it surely appears possible.)
Lee Sizemore is certainly useless for actual—but it surely was nonetheless rattling good to see him one final time.
Incite is utilizing Rehoboam not simply to supply perception and make strategies, however to truly creator the future.
Bernard and Serac appear to be aligned in their want to cease Dolores—but it surely would not appear possible that they’re going to wind up as allies, given Serac’s acknowledged purpose of getting issues again to “normal” the place his system controls the world. The present holds true to considered one of its central messages: people, it appears, can’t escape their nature.
So, in closing, this was a pleasant little utility episode. It moved the items round the board, and it units us up for subsequent week—and that is after we’ll discuss subsequent.