Westworld S02E09

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SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.

After the beauty and excellence that was last week’s episode of Westworld, it would have been hard for either of these last two episodes to live up to that…and this one didn’t. At least not for me. Although it was largely a character focused episode like last week’s – “Kiksuya” – it didn’t have the same emotional impact, despite the character deaths that happened. It did, however, reveal quite a bit more about The Man in Black, a character that I would have thought we know well by now.

The Man in Black

Here I was feeling like I was wrong for thinking the worst of Emily in the last episode, when she told Akecheta that she planned to make The Man in Black suffer. The first half of this episode made it seem like she was just lying to get them to hand him over. Her being regretful and wanting to reconnect with her father was all an act, however. She hates him. Profoundly. So much so that she wants to ruin him and have him committed.

Despite both Juliet and Emily saying that The Man in Black is a liar, never loved them and was just pretending, I can’t tell whether or not that’s true. He was so tender, patient, caring and even loving toward Juliet in the flashbacks, particularly when he tucked her into bed. So much so that I find it hard to believe that he felt nothing for her, that all of that was just an act. Plus, he acknowledges that Juliet’s death was his fault and seems quite guilty about it to me and he had a real, human moment with Emily just a few episodes ago. He has to love and/or care for at least her.

Unfortunately, The Man in Black has completely lost his mind. Juliet was right; he pretended for so long that he forgot who he was. I never thought that his thinking that Emily was a host was a delusion. After all, this is Westworld and, furthermore, given how Robert has been screwing with The Man In Black, I wouldn’t put it past him to make a host version of Emily even though I didn’t think that he had. It was reasonable for him to think that that was a possibility.

I didn’t occur to me, however, that he would believe that she was a host so wholeheartedly that he would shoot and kill her. Even if she were a host, which she unfortunately was not, that he could kill something wearing his daughter’s face without hesitation, in pursuit of The Door, is disturbing. As he was walking up to her body, I was really hoping that she was a host and that he didn’t actually just kill his own child.

But for The Man in Black to then go further with his host delusion and think that he may be a host was something that I pretty much missed all of the hints for. When he sat on the bed next to a “sleeping” Juliet, I thought his line about belonging to another world was about him being able to be his true self in Westworld and no longer pretend. Not that he might have been made there. I don’t think that he’s a host, I think that he is very much a real boy and if he is a host I will be very much surprised.

Maeve

One of the unsolved mysteries of season one of this show was why Maeve was given the escape narrative and now we finally have an answer. Robert had given it to her so that she would be out of the park when all of the madness that has been this season happened; he wanted her to be safe. This was an unexpected and surprisingly touching father-daughter moment between Robert and Maeve.

Firstly, because Robert showed some real feelings (he’s still kind of the worst, though) and secondly because he considers Maeve to be like a daughter. The emotion in the moment when he told her that he stayed behind to his child, just like she did, was tangible. Kissing her on the forehead had to be the sweetest thing we’d seen him do for this entire series.

I really thought that Maeve was about to die. Robert’s speech sounded like he was saying goodbye to her…until the very end that is. Just when I was questioning how Maeve could possibly get out of the situation she was in, as Robert was imploring her to do, he unlocked her core permissions. I have no idea what his doing so means, but it’s clear that she had a major power up. And she’s already so overpowered! Robert isn’t letting his little girl go down like that and I’m excited to see what this development leads to.

Bernarnold

Why is it always Clementine? Seriously! The girl can’t catch a break. Like at all. I didn’t expect Charlotte and company to copy, alter and install the code that gave Maeve admin permissions into another host. I thought they would have just restored their control of Maeve and sent her out to issue commands of the hosts, get them under control, take them back to the Mesa and fix them. I in no way considered that they would destroy the hosts (although we did see them shooting and killing them in the premiere).

They picked a rather violent and sadistic way to do that as well. Why do they need to make the hosts attack and kill each other in a chaotic frenzy? That’s not in anyway necessary. The bigger question is: Why wasn’t Bernard affected by the virus? He was right there. Was it because he had Robert piggybacking in his mind? Or is there something fundamentally different about him as a host? Was he too far away from Clementine for it to have any effect on him? I need answers!

I don’t know why Robert has it out for Elsie so much, other than her discovering the corporate espionage that was going on last season. He kept stressing to Bernarnold that she would betray him, which I honestly don’t believe that she would have. She really doesn’t have a reason, that I can see, to betray Bernarnold. Maybe that’s why he left her behind, instead of/apart from looking out for her safety. Robert’s words sunk into him a little, even if he doesn’t want to believe him.

I’m glad he did leave her, because Elsie doesn’t need to be mixed up in any of this mess. The middle of nowhere, out in the open is likely not the safest of places, however. At least now she knows about Delos’ immortality project, although I don’t think that she understood that’s what it is. I think she just thinks that Delos is turning the guests into hosts and hasn’t come to fully understand exactly what it is that they are doing. Which is surprising because Elsie is pretty intelligent. I would have thought she’d make that leap.

Dolores

Dolores’ encounter with Ghost Nation did not go the way that I would have liked. Ghost Nation put up enough of a fight to kill all of Dolores and Teddy’s compatriots, but not a good enough one that they survived it – except for that one guy. It was sad seeing so many of them get slaughtered. I’m not so sure that they were there to stop Dolores, though. Not just because they failed to do so, but because Akecheta said that he has to find the door before she destroys them all. He never said anything about stopping her.

I was surprised that Teddy 2.0 let that one guy live. He’s supposed to be this ruthless killing machine now, murdering people without a second thought – or a first one really. It was quite disarming because it mirrored his letting the Confederados live, something that Teddy 1.0 did and Teddy 2.0 doesn’t  – or rather, isn’t –  supposed to have a conscience. He never disobeys Dolores the way that Teddy 1.0 did. In hindsight, I suppose that that moment was foreshadowing the end of the episode and the fact that Teddy 1.0 was still in there and that he’d finally, fully awakened.

I really, truly thought that Teddy would kill – or at least try to – Dolores at some point. With those snide, shady remarks he made about how she changed him and the disdain in his eyes as he said them, I felt like it was just about guaranteed. So I thought that that was what was about to happen. It was only when it flashed back to when he was first brought online that I realised that he was going to kill himself.

That flashback only made his death hurt so much more! He may have been programmed to love Dolores, but I don’t think that that is where his love for her came from. His love was real and it was born the first moment he laid eyes on her. That he told her that he loved her from then and still loved her after what she had done to him was heart-wrenching. His hatred of what she’d made him was more powerful than his undying love for her. That or this was his way of getting back at her for it. I’d like to believe it’s a little bit of both, but it was really, solely the former. Either way, she’s paid for what she did to him.

Can we talk about James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood’s performances in this scene? Because they were spectacular. They were so enthralling. Marsden beautifully conveyed Teddy’s resolve, regret, love and hate in the moments leading up to his suicide. Wood managed to make Dolores look simultaneously very human and uncannily robotic in her initial reaction to it and deftly portrayed the devastation and horror that she was feeling. That Emmy still belongs to McClarnon though, but seeing these two nominated alongside him would be nice.

Random thoughts:

  1. If Delos’ immortality project had worked, Juliet’s dad really could have been there to see it.
  2. No, seriously. How long was Robert planning this?
  3. That book is a terrible hiding place.
  4. But not all guests wear hats…
  5. If he suffered a psychotic break do you really think that the reasonable thing would be to ask him  if it’s true?

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.