First off, we’re only 3 episodes into this new season — which is kind of blowing my mind. Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been watching Westworld forever? Like all that time we spent NOT watching it, in the interminable gap between seasons 1 and 2, just ceased to exist — a reality overwritten as soon as the show came back. Each episode is an eternity, until the next episode piles on top of it, which somehow makes it even more of an eternity. WHICH ISN’T EVEN HOW ETERNITY WORKS!
I blame all those damn timelines.
Anyway, episode three did a couple of major things. It began to fill in the 2 week gap between the “present” (what’s happened since Bernard washed up on the shore) and the immediate aftermath of the Big Shooting Party. It explored the nuance of the programming vs. free will issue for the hosts, and the first cracks started to show in partnership between Dolores and Teddy.
Oh, and we finally got a glimpse of a park that isn’t Westworld. And then we got to see ANOTHER one. That’s right — last night not one but two new parks were introduced.
The New Parks
The episode opened in a new park themed on, well, big game hunting colonialists? According to Entertainment Weekly, it’s called “The Raj” (and not, as my friends and I guessed, “Safari World”). They ride on elephants there, and the hosts wear turbans, and a sitar plays “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. It’s… a lot. A guest named Grace gets picked up by another guest, because apparently when you’re rich and hedonistic enough to spend a lot of time in a Delos attraction, hooking up with non-robots becomes a bit of a novelty. Grace is totally into it, except for one thing: the dude could just be a host that’s programmed to know about hosts and pretend it isn’t one. So she proposes a test, one that will prove whether either of them are actually hosts. The test? Shooting.
It makes sense. She attempts to shoot the dude. If she hits him, he’s a host (since guests can’t be harmed). If she finds herself unable to fire the gun, the dude will know that SHE is a host. Long story short — they’re both human, and they do it on the floor. Ah, romance.
Honestly, there was no real need for that scene other than, I presume, to remind viewers about the rules around hosts, guests, and gun violence. And maybe to establish Grace as a badass? Sometime after their, uh, tryst, the pair sets off on elephants to join a fancy hunting party. Only the camp they come to has been slaughtered… by hosts that are part of the robot revolution, and able to kill. Grace manages to escape into the jungle, which is where she comes across a big damn tiger.
And here’s where it gets interesting. The tiger chases Grace, who somehow makes it beyond the border of The Raj and into the Delos operational space, then over the border into Westworld. She gets trapped on a cliff overlooking the giant lake when the tiger attacks and they both fall over into the water below.
As we see later in the episode, this tiger is THAT tiger — the one that had washed up on the shore. So we’ve sort of come full circle, except that Grace, it turns out, also washed up… ALIVE. She drags herself out of the water, and crawls straight into Ghost Nation hosts.
That poor woman really outta ask for her money back.
So that’s one new park identified! The other park is the one we’ve all been waiting for: Shogun World. Lee is still trying to lead Maeve and Hector (who have joined up with Armistice and Maeve’s two pet lab techs) to the Homestead to find Maeve’s daughter. But apparently, he got lost along the way, because the episode ends with them getting attacked by a samurai. SQUEE!
Storylines & Timelines Converge
In the present, Karl Strand takes Bernard back into the headquarters where the robots have rampaged and killed the personnel. And Charlotte is there! Yay, she’s alive! Honestly, I would not be surprised if this show lasts 6 seasons and ends with Charlotte personally defeating Dolores, the hosts, the Delos board, and everyone else. The robot revolution is for naught. Charlotte IS the end game.
Anyway, right now Charlotte still wants to find Peter Abernathy, her personal Trojan Horse full of important data that didn’t make it out of the park. Which leads to a flashback to the past, when Bernard and Charlotte were initially tracking Peter’s whereabouts after the Robert Ford’s death. They found him kidnapped by bandits and almost successfully freed him (thanks to Bernard reprogramming one bandit to be a virtuous savior), but in the end Bernard AND Peter got captured and taken to the Fort where Dolores is holed up, while Charlotte escapes.
Dolores has brought her host army to the fort to join forces with the Confederados. Using her Wyatt persona, she convinces them that a threat is coming (Delos) and together they may be able to succeed against them. When Bernard and Peter are brought to the fort, Dolores is happy to see her father. She’s less stoked about Bernard, until she realizes that she needs him to help heal Peter, who is glitching like crazy. His personality is a threadbare pastiche of his previous roles, hiding the fact that the majority of his memory taken up by a one-time encryption key. Bernard unlocks it, and it sure looks like he may have downloaded the data into himself. At least, it may explain why he seemed to be shaking harder after his examination than before.
Charlotte leads the assault team to the fort to recover Peter, while Dolores leads the soldiers and her hosts in the standoff against them. Charlotte achieves her goal and makes off with Peter, but the fight isn’t over. Dolores uses the soldiers as bait to lure the Delos folks close enough to BLOW THEM THE FUCK UP. But this ruthlessness makes sense, given what Dolores told Bernard about what her ultimate goal is: to dominate the world. The REAL world, where humans struggle for survival. If they have the right to survive, why shouldn’t the hosts? After all, “There is beauty in what we are.”
When the fighting is done, Dolores orders Teddy to execute the remaining soldiers (including the Roxana-approved Major Craddock). And Teddy can’t bring himself to do it. He lets them all escape. Too bad Dolores was watching the whole time.
I think we know how Teddy ended up dead, floating in the lake, don’t we?
So Bernard is twitching and still stuck with the renegade hosts, while Charlotte has Peter. And yet, we know from the scene in “present” that she is still trying track him down, so she is going to lose Peter at some point in the near future. Or near past? Fuck, this is convoluted.
Maeve, Hector, And Lee
We know where they end up (FUCKING SHOGUN WORLD), but before they get there they have their own behind the scenes journey. They start out in Westworld, where they encounter the Ghost Nation hosts. Maeve remembers how they attacked her homestead in her previous storyline, and almost freezes, but in the end she gets her wits about her enough to try and order them around. And they don’t listen to her. So somehow their programming is beyond the reach of her administrative privileges.
Side note: Hector’s leather jacket is hot as hell and deserves it’s own Emmy.
Maeve & co. are chased to an elevator and end up back in the underground labs. And while they stroll, Lee starts to really take note of the interactions between Maeve and Hector — specifically, the way they hold hands. He realizes that somehow they have broken free of their design and forged a real relationship, despite the fact that they were both written as “loners.” But when Hector tries to explain how much he’s changed, Lee starts reciting Hector’s words along with him. It seems that even though the hosts may break free of their storylines, they aren’t always free of everything that has been written for them.
Line of the night: Maeve, ever astute, realizes that Lee wrote Hector as a sort of idealized version of himself. “That’s ridiculous,” Lee says. “So is holding hands, come to think of it,” responds Maeve.
DAAAMNNNNNNN. Ok, maybe Maeve and Charlotte can join forces for the end game. And finally…
Elsie update: No Elsie. There’s only so much they can drop in a single episode, after all!