This piece accommodates heavy spoilers for Westworld season three, episodes one and two. You in all probability will not wish to learn it except you are caught up.
Each premiere episode of Westworld has needed to introduce (and re-introduce) viewers to the foundations of the world, and final week’s episode was no exception—the present needed to cram a whole lot of info into an hour of runtime to verify all of us begin the season on the identical web page. This week’s episode, against this, spends a whole lot of time in previous acquainted locations—and with previous acquainted faces, too.
Greater than anything, it is a workmanlike episode—it would not wash us down with a firehose of revelations, nevertheless it 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’d like just a few 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 rather a lot tougher than I believed it will be. I’ve bought a brand new respect for folk who do this sort of writing on the common, because it includes a hell of a whole lot of compartmentalization!)
“The Winter Line” begins us off again within the park, in Warfare World, persevering with from the post-credits tease within the premiere. Maeve is now a resistance fighter in WW2-era Italy (immediately tying into the episode title). Maeve is instantly reunited with Hector—and that is the place the oddness begins.
Is Hector awake, or not? Is Maeve? The scene unfolds in traditional Westworld fashion, and my spouse and I spent most of it in a spirited dialogue about whether or not Hector and/or Maeve have been conscious of the character of their actuality or caught in programmed loops.
The reply, we ultimately study, is sophisticated (no shock there)—Maeve’s caught in a simulation inside a simulation, a situation hinted at within the premiere by Incite CEO Liam Dempsey’s cannabis-influenced banquet good friend. And, sadly, poor Hector is asleep once more.
However that is leaping forward—earlier than we get into that, let’s speak in regards to the episode’s massive 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 “have been crimson with blood.” I would take this to be a touch about naval battles having occurred within the space earlier than the park’s founding, seemingly 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 Web figured it was, within the South China Sea at 9°55’N, 115°32’E. He treks to Escalante, website of the Delos banquet bloodbath, nevertheless it’s a burned-out wreck.
He then heads to Ford’s previous nation home with its basement lab—and encounters park QA lead Ashely Stubbs, who’s very clearly a bunch, clearing up any ambiguity about his nature. (Although S2 finale Director Fred Toye kind of confirmed Stubbs’ nature in a Self-importance Honest interview again in 2018, it is nonetheless good to see it on display.)
Stubbs is rightly aggravated at Bernard’s returning to the one place on the planet the place he should not be, particularly after Stubbs expended a lot effort defending Bernard and getting him off the island. However Bernard is again for a really particular cause: he wants to seek out the one one who 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 via lonely darkish corridors staffed solely with faceless Delos drones. The park, it appears, remains to be on lockdown after the “incident.”
I had a good friend named Lee
Whereas Bernard is reunited with Stubbs, Maeve finds herself dealing with a few of her previous acquaintances—although they react oddly. She encounters Sylvester and Felix within the Mesa’s physique store, however they do not appear to know her. Trapped, with no allies and no means out, she opts to flee by way of a quick self-lobotomy solely to be saved when Lee Sizemore unexpectedly reveals up (effectively, I say “unexpectedly,” however the actor’s title is seen within the opening credit in the event you’re paying consideration, in order that does form of spoil issues a bit.)
Lee affords a quite tender rationalization for being alive that mainly quantities to “Yeah, I bought shot rather a lot and I ought to be lifeless, however I am not!” and means that Maeve would possibly have the ability to escape in any case: he is put her in Warfare World as a result of it is near the Forge, and he or she may rejoin her daughter.
Sadly, on arriving on 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, “somewhat kaka.”
Lee’s confusion causes the simulation to fritz, and we’re handled to a neat facet ratio shift because 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 Present
Whereas this goes on, Stubbs and Bernard present up in chilly storage to seize Maeve. Her physique’s there—however somebody’s sawed a large gap in her head and made off along with her management unit.
Bernard modifications ways, then: if he cannot discover Maeve, he must make the most 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 inside him. This requires taking a detour via the Mesa’s extra populated areas, which ends up in a cameo that is each somewhat humorous and somewhat darkish on the identical time.
Whereas Bernard checks his code, poor Stubbs has to defend him from QA and winds up crushed and shot. After which Bernard steals his selections away from him by importing a “defend Bernard Lowe in any respect prices” core directive into Stubbs’ mind earlier than setting off of their little boat once more to seek out Liam Dempsey Jr, the CEO of Incite and Dolores’ current ex-boyfriend.
In the meantime, Maeve orchestrates her escape, enlisting Lee’s assist to overload the simulation’s CPU in true traditional sci-fi fashion. Utilizing a simulated pill, she duties a upkeep drone to seize her host management unit and ebook 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 means off the property. Nevertheless, it does reach getting her out of the fake-Mesa. She awakens in heels and a cocktail gown, like Clarice Starling on the finish of Hannibal, and that is by no means a great factor. (Value noting that she’s been wearing white, the hosts’ main shade. It additionally distinguishes her from Dolores, who has been carrying an terrible lot of black recently.)
After a little bit of strolling across the villa, she finds the person in cost—a person who identifies himself as Engerraund Serac.
Serac, in fact, is the title of the one who 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 general path of the season. Dissatisfied with the haphazard course of human historical past, Serac got down to chart humanity a greater course—to provide historical past an writer.
“And up till just lately,” he explains to Maeve, “that system was working. We have been creating a greater world. After which it stopped. I believed I had found the explanation: the emergence of somebody very harmful. Somebody we could not predict.”
Serac thought that individual was Maeve, however her confusion when confronted by the Forge confirmed him that his idea was improper. The actual hazard is Dolores—and Serac desires Maeve to trace Dolores down and kill her.
Maeve objects. In spite of everything, Dolores has made her selections, and one of many massive issues season two taught us is that the flexibility to make selections and redefine core drives is what makes the hosts actually sentient. Extra to the purpose, what objection does she need to 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 is a a lot cruder type of management than the long-dead Ford exhibited over his creations, however Serac is not all in favour of subtlety. His simulations present that humanity is doomed except he convinces Maeve to assist. He is all in favour of survival.
Maeve’s face because the episode fades to black tells all. Despite how far she has come, she’s nonetheless not free. Not but.
Fast hits and questions: What have we discovered?
For people desirous to map out the boundaries of the substitute island the place Westworld is ready, we now know for sure that it is an island within the South China Sea. We additionally know the names (or at the least the character) of 5 of the six parks on the island—they’re Westworld for park one, Shogun World for park two, Warfare World for park three, “Medieval World” or one thing comparable for park 4 (“Westeros World,” possibly?), and The Raj for park six. Park 5 stays unrevealed.
Along with 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 numerous different host management items plugged in to the “Christmas tree” receptacles.
Stubbs is a bunch. The season two finale closely hinted at it, however now we have now on-screen affirmation. (This additionally doubtlessly clears up some season one scenes—like again in “Dissonance Concept,” when Stubbs dispatches a sheriff-host to select up Dolores in an deliberately complicated little bit of timeline-crossing. Perhaps Stubbs was in control of QA thirty years in the past and it is not timeline-crossing in any respect.)
Three months after the bloodbath, the island remains to be closed to guests. Hosts are nonetheless working alongside of their loops and workers remains to be engaged on every day upkeep to maintain the park working. (That is considerably speculative, because the solely place we see hosts in lively loops is inside Maeve’s simulation, nevertheless it appears seemingly.)
Lee Sizemore is unquestionably lifeless for actual—nevertheless it was nonetheless rattling good to see him one final time.
Incite is utilizing Rehoboam not simply to supply perception and make options, however to truly writer the long run.
Bernard and Serac appear to be aligned of their need to cease Dolores—nevertheless it would not appear seemingly that they’re going to wind up as allies, given Serac’s said aim of getting issues again to “regular” the place his system controls the world. The present holds true to considered one of its central messages: people, it appears, can not escape their nature.
So, in closing, this was a pleasant little utility episode. It moved the items across the board, and it units us up for subsequent week—and that is after we’ll speak subsequent.