Westworld Season 2 Episode 6 “Phase Space” Recap

All of our ongoing story lines play out in a jam-packed episode, with a bombshell ending.

Advertisements

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).

westworld

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).

Maeve

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.

westworld

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.

westworld

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.

Hale

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.

westworld

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.

Delores

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.

westworld

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

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!

westworld

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!

Winners

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.

Losers

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.

Musings

  • 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.

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – The Last of Us Remastered

How does one of the most beloved PlayStation 3 games hold up?

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: July 2014 (Originally June 2013 on PS3)
Played On: PlayStation 4

backlog gamingWhen playing through my backlog I occasionally reach a game whose reputation is impossible to ignore. It becomes an interesting exercise to see whether a beloved classic still holds up, particularly if I lack the nostalgia factor.

My experiences with such games have been all over the place. I’ve gone back and played classics like Half-Life 2, The Longest Journey, Baldur’s Gate 2, and both Portal games, and come away with just as much respect and admiration as their ardent supporters.

Yet a few beloved cult classics, such as Psychonauts, The Witcher 2, and Beyond Good and Evil mostly fell flat for me. Their aging graphics and clunky gameplay not quite able to keep their memorable qualities on a high enough pedestal.

Despite not being all that old, The Last of Us Remastered falls somewhere in the middle. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – The Last of Us Remastered”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 55 Recap

We stealthily infiltrate The Weevil’s urban fortress, aiming to take him out once and for all.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

I let my Mask of Many Faces wash over me, transforming me into a haggard, decrepit man. The kind whom people tend to avoid while walking around a city.

I completed the disguise with some quality under-the-breath mutterings as I wandered near The Leaky Barrel Inn, the last known location of The Weevil here in Everlund.

A hired guard kept me from wandering too close down an adjoining alley, but through the window I could spot the sellsword Bryseis had told us about. As the guard escorted me away I reached out with my mind, informing the well-groomed man that there was more coin in it for him if he came outside and had a little chat a few blocks away.

It was risky, but it worked. As I shuffled away I could hear the man give out a loud laugh and open the door, slapping the guard on the back as he stumbled, presumably on the noble quest of booze-hunting.

He followed me around the corner, leaned against the wall, and crossed his arms. I turned, and a smile crept along his face. “Standard rate my friend. You double his cost, I turn on my employer.”

Back in Everlund we had one very important loose thread dangling in front of us: The Weevil. Krowen informed us that, thanks in large part to Bryseis’ clandestine networking, we knew not only that The Weevil was in town, but also that he was staying at a specific abandoned inn in a rough part of town. And this time we weren’t aiming to capture him. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 55 Recap”

Roll20 Review: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (Rrakkma)

Mordenkainen adds a host of exotic, alien, and demonic creatures, while Rrakkma provides a sample dungeon crawl in the Plane of Madness.

A press review copy of the module was provided. Find more Roll20 Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is the third official bestiary released for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, following the original Monster Manual (2014) and Volo’s Guide to Monsters (2016). At this point we’ve cataloged all of the creatures we’d find in a typical fantasy setting. The Tome of Foes provides much more exotic fare. If you love your cosmic horror and demons, Mordenkainen is here for you.

In the interest of reviewing a bestiary for Roll20, I’ll be focusing this review on the free Adventurer’s League tie-in adventure, “Rrakkma.”

Note that “Rrakkma” is only available to Roll20 Pro subscribers.

Continue reading “Roll20 Review: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (Rrakkma)”

1,000 YouTube Subscribers!

A thank you to fans.

I’m proud to announce that I have hit quadruple digits on my YouTube channel this month!

I’m incredibly thankful and humbled by all the fans. YouTube has a dubious reputation when it comes to community but for the most part the comments and live stream chats have been nothing but positive and fun.

I’ve been uploading videos to YouTube for years, beginning with poorly streamed Let’s Plays of video games with cheap mics, bad audio, and choppy video quality. It wasn’t until 2015 when I began recording and streaming our Roll20 RPG sessions that we really began to find an audience.

Some of you have been with us since Storm King’s Thunder began, others with Lost Mine of Phandelver and even a few of you still make reference to our Shadowrun campaign. The in-universe jokes, from the Graham Cracker Crew to zombie Tims to Jake from State Farm always put a smile on my face.

A few of you have been asking how you can support the channel and my work. I’ve been looking into some options and researching what methods work best, whether its Amazon affiliate links, Patreon, Ko-fi, or a YouTube partnership.

Rest assured that I will never gate our primary RPG streams behind any kind of paywall. Any monetary support would be purely optional, and help me produce more higher quality videos at a steady pace, particularly extra content like my DMs Guild Reviews, Roll20 Reviews, and board game reviews.

This whole venture began as a labor of love and an effective creative outlet. It warms my heart to see so many of you enjoying it along with us. We have more exciting things planned for the future, including our next D&D campaign where I return to the DM’s chair.

Thank you so much for subscribing to my humble channel, for leaving positive (or constructive!) comments, and for chatting during our weekly live streams. Here’s to the next 1,000 fans!

Westworld Season 2 Episode 5 “Akane No Mai” Recap

Maeve levels up her abilities in Shogunworld, while Delores makes a final decision on Teddy.

No more fun teases – Shogunworld is finally here! In this week’s episode of Westworld Team Maeve has been captured by a mysterious group of Japanese outlaws who are not-so-coincidentally familiar to her own posse, while Delores makes her final decision on what to do with Teddy. Continue reading “Westworld Season 2 Episode 5 “Akane No Mai” Recap”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 54 Recap

We meet Countess Sansuri of the Cloud Giants and attempt to bargain for the magical shell.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

The 30-ft tall queen of the cloud giants strode into the room, carrying all the haughty annoyance that I had expected. She stopped, her mouth practically hanging open as she surveyed us standing there, our hippogriffs nervously pawing at the ground behind us. 

I took a deep breath and bowed deeply with all the respectful flourish I could muster.

“Your majesty,” I began. My mind was spinning. We were conch inspectors – no – we were hunting that foul group who just made off with her dragon. And stole all the treasure from her study! Those rascals. We’d catch them for sure. 

But we still needed that shell, and only she could summon it. Behind us Cressaro spoke up in a monotone that made me smile: “It is of the utmost importance that we retrieve the shell.” He was still under my influence.

I then offered to give her what she wanted – the location of some ancient dragon magic. The Countess began to slowly lower her guard. 

I was on a roll as she retrieved the magical chest, spoke the words, and brought forth the shell. “Tell it to me now,” she demanded, while holding the shell.

Before I could speak I felt my spell dissipate from Cressaro, its command full-filled. I instantly reached out with my mind to warn the others around me, starting with nearby T.I.M. <GRAB THE SHELL> I screamed into his mind.

Somehow the enlarged construct gracefully leapt forward and gingerly snatched the shell from her hand. Then the room exploded.

Storm King’s Thunder has been mostly bereft of large-scale dungeons, making it almost the complete opposite of our previous campaign. It’s ironic that when we finally reach a big dungeon, we skip almost all of the content.

Yet Lyn Armaal still took us a solid four sessions to get through, thanks to complex planning and strategy. We turned it into a heist mission, a rescue mission, and finally some hilarious diplomacy as we meet with Countess Sansuri, acquire the magical conch shell of teleportation, and get the hell out of dodge. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 54 Recap”