May 20, 2018

Westworld S2E04 - The Riddle of the Sphinx

This was another great episode of Westworld. I was really happy to see Grace come back this episode. I was pretty sure we would see her again, but I still had my doubts. The last episode I described her as the “Man-in-black of Raj world”, and that turned out to be way more accurate than I expected by the end of this episode.

I am excited to see what happens with her and her daddy for the rest of the season. I am not sure if they will get along. I have a feeling they will not be on the same page about what is happening in the park. We will find out.

The beginning of this episode in “the hatch” (LOST reference) was pretty awesome. As soon as we started panning around the room I was reminded of Desmond from season 2 of lost. I also immediately had the sense that we were with Jim Delos, and he had been turned into a robot. That was immediately confirmed for me when I saw his hand shaking as he tried to pour his coffee. It was a great sequence. I loved almost everything about it.

I think there is some question about exactly what is going on here. I believe they did a series of interviews with Jim the person after they made his red ball of consciousness but before they created the robot version. When William showed up he was re-enacting one of those interviews to see how robot Delos would react.

He said the same thing every time, which I suspect is what he said as a person. Which makes me wonder how much free-will the robot Delos actually has. Is this scripted in his programming, or are they just making sure the artificial brain acts the same way as the real brain once did. I thought when we saw the sequence repeat over and over there would be some slight changes to the script as Delos was ad-libbbing. However, that didn’t appear to be the case. Maybe this was a test script that they created in order to have Delos be introduced to the concept that he was now a robot. However, when that fact was given to him his new brain could not make it work and he would start to glitch out.

I am not sure I understand the rationale behind the program. I thought maybe they would just let the robot version believe he was the actual person. Why did they need to go to the trouble of making sure he knew he wasn’t actually human anymore. However, when he doesn’t age for several years I guess he would catch onto it anyway, so maybe better to address it now instead of letting it come up down the road.

I am not exactly sure what the criteria was for him to be able to get out of the hatch… but I guess that really doesn’t matter. I can’t believe they burned the whole thing down every time it failed. That seemed a bit excessive and overly costly. Burn the robot, but leave the sweet furniture. And that fish didn’t do anything wrong.

The rest of the episode was centered around Bernard and the long lost Elsie. We all assumed she was still alive somewhere, and we were proven right. Bernard had her stashed away in a cave because she was a risk to Ford’s plan. “She knew too much.”

Her and Bernard go into a secret drone lab where we get just ask confused as Bernard is. It was an effective sequence, but it was one that I feel like I should watch a few times to make sure I understand what (and when) this stuff is going on.

The main takeaways is that Bernard was a cold-blooded killer and curb-stoped a dude. He also saved the red ball of some human consciousness. I have a feeling that is going to come into play later. I don’t know who’s consciousness that is, but if I had to guess I would say Arnold. No real reason why that would be the case…. it is just my feeling.

We also find out that this lab is the exact same one where Daddy Delos has been re-created time and time again only to be burnt in the hellfires of his circular prison. For some reason this time he has been left alive and he has clawed his face off. He is looking very scary and demonic and he is coming after Elsie until Bernard steps in and shows his ninja skills. Ultimately they burn Delos one last time.

So what did we learn?

They were trying to figure out a way to make humans immortal by taking a snapshot of their consciousness and implanting it into a host body. They store these snapshots in little red balls. They haven’t been able to make the human-to-host transfer work, despite years of trying.

That tells us that any host walking around (even Bernard) is operating via a computer program and not a human consciousness. Even though Bernard looks like Arnold, presumably there is not a red Arnold ball inside of his head.

That is all I have for now. I don’t know what to expect in the next episode. It could go anywhere. I’m sure we will get back to Delores and the sack-head gang, as well as Maeve in Samuri World.

The storylines I am most looking forward to are finding out how William and Grace (Emily?) are going to combine forces? What is her end game? Is it the same as daddy’s?

I want to find out what is up with the Ghost Nation. Why are they capturing humans and keeping them?

This has been a great season so far. It is setting up for a solid ending.

May 12, 2018

Westworld S2E03 - VirtĂș e Fortuna

At this point in the season I think we have three main storylines…

  • Delores takes over the world
  • Maeve looks for her robot kid
  • WIlliam burns it all down

We also have the “future” timeline where Bernard is laying on the beach and all the hosts are dead in the water. It appears that we will continue to get snippets of story from that timeline as well.

This episode doesn’t visit William at all, but introduces us to a potential new storyline that we will start following with a brand new character, Grace.

I did not enjoy the scene where Grace shot the dude to make sure he wasn’t a host. It felt awkward. I think it does anchor us in time. When she shoots him and they get it on it is probably the night when Delores killed Ford. The next day when Grace and her beau go for an elephant ride the robot rebellion has begun.

I do really like Grace. She seems like a badass. As evidenced by her hand-drawn maps with hexagons, and her insistence of not depositing DNA on a host, she seems to be up to some covert shit. I’m thinking of her as the man-in-black from Raj World. I can’t wait to find out what she was up to. What’s going to happen to her now that she has met up with the ghost nation from Westworld?

Speaking of the ghost nation, that plot line from season 1 was really intriguing, but nothing ever came of it. I am excited to find out more. This has quickly become my favorite element of season two.

We found out why Rebus went from shooting a woman in the head to sticking up for women just as he was being executed on the beach. It was Bernard.

Right after the massacre we see Bernard and Charlotte teaming up to try to find Abernathy and get help to the park. In this episode we see a continuation of their efforts, during which they get separated from each other. We jump back to the two weeks forward time where Charlotte meets Bernard again on the beach. I don’t know about you, but it really seems like Charlotte knows he is a robot at that point. I guess we will see if they crossed paths again between then and now. I’m guessing we will get to see how Charlotte finally realized that Bernard was a host sometime in the rest of the season. It really seems like the jig is up for him.

One of the things about the show that I haven’t quite figured out is Delores & Maeve’s connection to people from their host storylines. It doesn’t make sense to me that they are aware that they are robots have been forced to play out false narratives created by humans yet they still feel a connection to their pseudo family members. We’ve seen terminator Delores all season, yet when she sees her father the steps right back into her rancher’s daughter persona. Abernathy himself is seeming switching between a few different roles that he has played during his time in Westworld. Why are they still controlled by these false identities if they have awakened to their situation?

We also see that Teddy isn’t able to overcome his nice guy programming and Delores looks none too happy about that. I don’t think things look good for Teddy… and not just because we see him dead in the water in episode one.

This episode wasn’t great. It was exciting to see the reality of the other parks, however much of the rest of the episode was table setting for what is coming next. Even though this episode wasn’t my favorite I can’t complain.

We are only three episodes into season two and I feel like we have come so far and gotten so much great story that builds upon what happened in season one in a satisfying way. My expectations have been surpassed with this season so far and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next seven episodes. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I feel like this is shaping up to be a great season of television.

May 4, 2018

Westworld S2E02 - Reunion

The 2nd episode of season 2 is up there among my favorite episodes of the entire series. In a show that presents us with so many mysteries it is nice to get some of the back story. I actually felt like I knew what was going on in most of the scenes.

There is a lot to process here. We go all the way back to the beginning of Argos, the company that Arnold and Ford created. We see Delores is among the first hosts ever created, which we probably already knew. It was so neat to see the hosts in the “real” world, which appears to be somewhere in China.[1] Delores looks completely different in the tight white dress, but she still has that farmer’s daughter demeanor, unlike the Delores in current time (which has a pretty serious God complex).

We were introduced to a few knew hosts that I am sure we will see more of later. We got to see the cool sequence where they initially convinced Logan (Delos) to invest in their technology and start the Westworld experience. We got to see the fallout from William & Logan’s trip into the park in season 1, and how William came out with confidence and a purpose. It is still unclear exactly what that purpose is, but I think it has something to do with figuring out a way to make peoples’ consciousness live forever.

I really enjoyed the callbacks to last season. It reminded me to why I love the show so much. The sequence with Lawrence and El Lazo was pretty neat. I loved seeing Giancarlo Esposito in Westworld. That scene was a lot of fun.

Overall we didn’t move the plot forward a ton. We got a good view into some of the backstory of our main characters as well as setting them all up to be heading for “the weapon”. I don’t think it is a literal weapon, but I really don’t have a good theory of what it is. I think it is a place, and it is one of William’s biggest mistakes, but it’s not clear what that means.

I think the most powerful thing from this episode was to see just how connected William & Delores are. It wasn’t clear last season how deep their relationship was or how far it went back.

The worst thing about this episode is seeing Delores in badass cowgirl mode, telling everybody she is the Messiah, and the only way out of this place. I’m not sure how long this Delores is going to last, but it will get old really quickly.

Did we get any answers to our questions?

  • Delores is taking Teddy to the host repair facility so he can see his history of deaths. Another nice callback to Teddy dying nearly every episode in season 1.
  • It isn’t an answer, but I really believe that all the hosts floating in the water (that Bernard said he killed) are going to come back alive. Delores showed how easy it was in this episode.

What questions are we left with?

  • What is “the weapon”? Where are they all heading?
  • Is Maeve ever going to find her daughter. Will her daughter remember her?
  • Why exactly is everybody recruiting an army?
  • What was Delos’s real end-game with the host technology? What did William pitch to Jim Delos that worked so well?
  • Why is Logan so pissed off about whatever they are doing?
  • How many more times is the Man in Black going to get shot before this is over?

  1. There is plenty of evidence now to suggest that Westworld is somewhere in the South China Sea.  ↩