For the first time since the season two premiere we were treated to a packed episode of Westworld featuring all four – nay five – of our ongoing story threads. There’s a lot to unpack here, so once again I’ll break it down by our primary cast of characters.
Man in Black
The Man in Black had the smallest screen time in “Phase Space.” It centered almost entirely around a single scene: the emotional confrontation with his daughter, Grace.
It was humorous, and well within character for MIB to initially assume that his daughter was actually a host. The fact that he didn’t just immediately kill her means he’s not quite certain, however.
It could be construed that his comment about her not liking the elephants in The Raj as a child, and her correcting him, was a form of trying to determine if she’s human or not (or maybe Ford just really did his homework).
As we expected she wants to bring him home, and get him to give up on his obsession with the park. While he does appear emotionally distraught (a first for the borderline psychopathic MIB), he appears to give in to her request. But we know that was way too easy.
Sure enough the next morning Grace awakens to find daddy already gone, continuing on his mission (and seemingly attacked on the way).
We unfortunately wave goodbye to Shogun World this week. Mave and company emerge from the devastation she wrough on the Shogun’s camp with one last piece of business – rescuing her outlaw allies who provided the initial distraction.
She begins to weave her code-magic again only for Musashi to stop her. Instead he formally challenges Tanaka to a duel for their freedom.
What follows is a badass samurai swordfight that ends in the ronin cutting off the sword arm of his foe, and allowing him to commit seppuku. Bloody stuff.
Maeve’s fully reinstated party travels to the lake, where Akane puts to rest the heart of her adopted daughter. Maeve entreats them to officially join with her, but fails her CHA check. Both Akane and Musasahi decide to stay behind to help their homeland. The archer Hanaryo, who hasn’t had much dialogue nor screen presence, does join up, however.
At the lake they find the corpse chute, which leads to an underground tunnel. From there we fast-forward to our team emerging from a graveyard conveniently just over the hill from Maeve’s old farm land, where she hopes to reunite with her long lost daughter.
The meeting is less than joyful. There’s a poignant scene where Maeve does find her, but almost immediately suffers from two devastating moments. The first is that the teenager has a different mother (another host who looks similar to Maeve). The second is that the whole thing is interrupted when a small army of Ghost Nation attacks the farmstead, forcing them all to flee.
It’s at this point that Lee takes out the phone he had swiped from before, dialing for help. Felix looks on with disgust, rushing to help Maeve along with the rest of her allies. Oddly we cut away during the middle of this action sequence. We’ll have to wait until our next Maeve episode to see how everyone ends up.
Charlotte Hale has officially spun off into her own thread now that she separated from Bernard. With this point of view we get a look at her and Ashley Stubbs, chief of park security, as they reach the underground research facility with a captured Abernathy.
Here at least humans are still in control. Hale gets a message out to Delos confirming that she has Abernathy, which signals them to send Tough Irish Asshole Security Guy, who chewed up scenery with delightful abandon. Poor emasculated Ashley.
The team is back in Westworld HQ in the primary map room. They can’t seem to get the network back under control (more on that later) but they are able to turn that big, nifty holographic map of the park back on. They see a red dot speeding toward the edge of the map – the train.
Our first look at post-lobotomy Teddy isn’t quite as zombified or robotic as I expected. Instead it’s like he’s suddenly been given weeks of Testosterone boosters and read a self-help book.
New Teddy is cool, calm, and all swagger. He’s still loyal to Delores despite being fully aware of what she did to him; in fact just about praising her for killing the old, weaker him. She may have gone a bit too far, as evidenced by his casual execution of a human prisoner she was trying to interrogate (old Teddy wouldn’t harm a prisoner).
Delores and her team get on the train at Sweetwater and take off. We’re not sure where the train leads but we do know that the show has been using the train to bring people to and from the park, so presumably they are headed for either the park entrance, or a central unit. Perhaps the Cradle?
Bernard’s story continues to be one to one of the trippiest, most intriguing of the bunch. He and Elsie make it to the Mesa, and Elsie discovers why the remaining park staff and security haven’t been able to shut anything down – the CR4DL won’t let them.
The Cradle is the park’s backup hive-mind of all the hosts’ AI programs. It can’t be accessed remotely, so Bernard offers to jack himself in, literally letting a machine extract his brain-thing so he can jump inside the virtual Matrix world. I told you it was trippy!
The craziness doesn’t end there. We see Bernard go through what looks like the familiar opening moments of Season 1 era Westworld, getting off the train at Sweetwater and even brushing past Teddy as he walks into the bar.
There he grounds to a halt as he recognizes the piano player: Robert Ford, who welcomes him as a friend. More Anthony Hopkins, huzzah!
Ford Returns!: As I casually predicted in the episode 4 recap, that human imprint/brain that Bernard secretly had crafted (under Ford’s control) was Ford’s all along! This would allow him to upload himself into the Cradle network, and let him pull the strings even after his death. Having him play such a major role in the second season even after his death during the season one finale is perfect.
Father and daughter: MIB hasn’t had much going for him this season, despite a nice semi-redemptive action sequence. The emotional scene between he and his estranged daughter was exactly what he needed. It also provided further context for Grace as well. Hopefully she hunts him down quickly as they’re both better together.
Samurai Showdown: This whole scene was freaking awesome. I’m so sad to see Shogun World go but I’m stoked we got as much of it as we did.
Felix: How fucking cool is Felix? Dude has long been a dorky champion, and one of the few decently normal human folks on the show who’s just trying to survive all of this. The fact that he races toward Maeve, gun-in-hand, when she’s in danger speaks volumes of how far he’s come.
Ashely: Ouch. Our poor security chief hasn’t exactly had a great couple of days (as eloquently pointed out by Hale). Then he gets verbally dressed down by a bigger security dude who could probably crush with him just his mustache. Ashley isn’t quite as callous and cold-hearted as his compatriots, however, and could prove the Teddy to Hale’s Delores.
Maeve: I adore Maeve but she has two glaring weaknesses: her daughter, and the Ghost Nation tribe that attacked them. She faced both this week and her instincts were to flee, despite taking down a whole army of Samurai last week. Hopefully Maeve can resolve her fears and her connection to her host-daughter and be the robo-heroine that Westworld definitely needs.
- What was up with that cold open between Delores and Bernard/Arnold? We’re lead to believe from the premiere that it was a scene from the past, between Arnold and Delores, foreshadowing Delores’ rise to prominence and power. But in this week’s episode she turns the tables, freezing his motor functions and forcing him to sit down. Is this a dream of Delores’? Is it a scene yet to come between her and Bernard? Hmmmm.