Westworld Season 2 Episode 3 “Virtù e Fortuna” Recap

No Man in Black this week as we focus on our other three character-led stories, with two of them coming together in a climactic, large-scale battle between man and machine.

We began this week’s episode with an odd, very long cold open. It looks like we’re in India, but on this show it’s just another park. It’s our first look at a park that’s not Westworld – it’s The Raj, aka Colonial India Park. We see a couple get some romance on before going on a tiger-hunting expedition.

Only something goes terribly wrong. The hosts are missing, and some are found murdered. A malfunctioning host mutters the classic phrase, “These violent delights have violent ends,” before murdering the man. The woman manages to fight back, loading a gun and running away. Until the tiger.

It may be poetic justice for the tiger-hunter to become the tiger-hunted as she escapes past the border of the park only to get tackled by the tiger into a lake just as she fires her gun.

That would explain the washed up dead tiger we saw in the flash-forward bit during the premiere. Apparently that woman survived as well, though she was found by the creepy Ghost Nation hosts, who remain a frustratingly enigmatic piece of the puzzle.

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Bernard

Bernard and Hale are back on the move, trying to locate Abernathy. They come across Rebus and his band of jackasses. They’ve captured some humans and plan to sell them off, with a maybe a bit of rape for himself. Hale and Bernard manage to lure him away, knock him out, and reprogram him, making him a chivalrous gunslinger. Teddy, basically, only with Steven Ogg’s always amazing delivery.

It’s darkly humorous seeing the former bandit turn virtuous. He mows down his former compatriots, and get into a big battle with the army who shows up to buy them. Having a capable hacker like Bernard around can be very useful.

Abernathy is among the freed captives, but he’s malfunctioning thanks to the load of information that Hale attempted to smuggle into him. Hale runs off while Bernard and Abernathy are captured by the army and brought to Camp Forlorn Hope, the army base that Delores has arrived in.

Delores

Delores arrives at Camp Forlorn Hope, and as usual she has quite the entrance, including a zombie-looking Clementine dragging a soldier as her own army approaches. She brokers a deal with the Colonel, handing him a high-powered submachine gun taken from their previous battle with the Delos security team.

When the prisoners arrive, she meets with both Abernathy and Bernard. There’s a sweet scene between her and her father, who definitely represents a soft-spot in her otherwise callous outlook.

She barely has any time for Bernard, and may have even skipped him entirely had her father not needed help.

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Having just been with Hale, Bernard already knows that Abernathy is containing secret information that she desperately wants to get out of the park. But he doesn’t know what it is, and gets to work extracting it, at Delores’ behest.

Delores points out that even Bernard doesn’t know about the outside world like she does, as we saw during last week’s episode.

Hale is on her way to the Fort, having easily met up with the security team (like, really easily) and convinced them to turn around and assault this heavily fortified camp full of rebelling robot cowboys.

The security team attacks, but Delores has a plan. It’s wild event of gunshots and explosions, easily the biggest, most action-packed sequence we’ve had in season two.

The army tires to hold the line but the security team has bullet-proof vests, all-terrain vehicles, and submachine guns. Delores orders the gate shut, trapping most of Colonel’s and Craddock’s men outside. She then orders her own black-masked forces to shoot them all through the door, sealing their fate.

Delores never liked allying with these people. They were a means to an end. Recall an episode or two ago when she told Teddy that not everyone deserved to follow her to freedom.

Delores’ right-hand angel of death Angela blows up the buried bombs, killing everyone outside. Teddy is less-than-enthused at this vicious use of their own people, and Major Craddock is frothing with rage.

She orders Teddy to execute he and the rest of the few surviving soldiers, though he ultimately refuses, and simply lets them escape. That’ll probably come back to bite him in the ass. Delores sees that he’s not quite bought into her ruthless methods.

During the battle Hale launches a stealthy extraction of Abernathy, which almost goes off perfectly until Delores notices them. She goes full Terminator as she approaches Hale and the vehicle, gunshots casually hitting her while she continues forward, murdering people with careless determination as only a machine can. Teddy helps her, but Hale is able to flee with Abernathy.

Bernard is left in the middle of all this chaos. Where before he was a major player in the park, now he’s left scrambling on the ground in the middle of a war. He’s still having his own mental issues when he’s found by creepy Clementine, who knocks him out.

Maeve

Our Maeve story is wholly disconnected from the crazy fighting at Forlorn Hope. Maeve, Hector, and Lee continue to make their way across the land, coming across more of the creepy Ghost Nation hosts. They give Maeve some brief flashes of PTSD. Hector tries to talk them down, discovering that they want Lee, the human.

Maeve fails at her robo-Jedi Mind Trick and they flee, escaping to a nearby access elevator to descend back down into the depths of the park.

There they find Felix and Sylvester, the comical tech duo from last season, along with Armistice, the bleach-blonde, snake-body tattoo woman. We meet her wielding a flamethrower and torching a poor tech, eliciting the best line of the episode from Hector: “She has a dragon!”

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Maeve’s group has swelled to six, an interesting mix of both humans and hosts. She’s decidedly not a homicidal leader bent on conquering the world of humans, and may ultimately prove that not every self-aware host goes down an evil, Delores-fed path.

Her group makes it to the edges of the park in the North, with snow on the ground and a campfire in the distance. Lee finds the severed head of a samurai and begins to freak out, just as we see a sword-wielding figure emerging from the dark to attack Maeve. Samuraiworld, hell yeah!

With Maeve’s story continuing in a neat direction and both Delores’ and Bernard’s story neatly intersecting in a climactic battle, this was by far my favorite episode of the three we’ve had so far in season two.

Winners

Delores: Delores is merciless but her plans have all worked out as a result. It costs them dearly but she’s able to defeat a much more advanced force, and appears more threatening than ever, though Hale is able to escape with her father, and the secrets he holds.

More parks: The cold open was a bit too long but I really dug seeing some fun glimpses and teases of the other parks. Plus we already get one answer from the premiere – the tiger mystery, teasing that the other parks are breaking down as well.

Team Maeve: I’m really digging the well-balanced RPG party that Maeve has put together. Lots of diverse personalities, abilities, and skills, not to mention a unique mixture of half humans and half awakened hosts.

Losers

Bernard: The scene between he and Delores was delicious, but he was definitely left reeling. Even he didn’t know that Delores had been outside the park, and that she predates the park itself. He’s in a bad place, physically and mentally, and now he’s been captured by zombie Clementine. Poor Bernard.

Teddy: Teddy refusing to execute the men they betrayed is technically a good thing, and he’s able to resist being fully seduced by Delores. Yet letting Craddock simply run away is dangerous as hell and asking for trouble down the road.

Ghost Nation: They didn’t do anything here to deserve the ‘loser’ title, but I’m frustrated with how they’re being used. Right now they’re a weird force we’ve seen several times, always as scary and unknowable, and we’re still not sure where they fit into the bigger narrative. I think we’ll get a reveal at some point this season but for now it’s a bit frustrating.

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Westworld Season 2 Episode 2 “Reunion” Recap

This week’s episode of Westworld was a return to relatively normalcy after the broad-reaching , densely packed premiere. Unfortunately it provided lots of additional backstory that I’m not sure we really needed. Continue reading “Westworld Season 2 Episode 2 “Reunion” Recap”

Westworld Season 2 Episode 1 “Journey Into Night” Recap

It’s been 16 long months since we last visited Westworld, yet for our characters it’s only been mere moments. The season two premiere is a bit jarring as we quickly get re-acclimated. The premiere jumps right into the aftermath of the climactic uprising of the emerging self-aware androids who violently cast off their shackles as entertainers in a Wild West-themed park of the future.

With Dr. Ford dying during the final moments of last season’s finale, our major cast has been reduced (and makes Anthony Hopkins the Sean Bean of this show). The season premiere checks in with each of our remaining major players: Delores, Bernard, Maeve, and the Man in Black (William). All four are separated and have their own agendas during, and immediately following the Westworld rebellion. Continue reading “Westworld Season 2 Episode 1 “Journey Into Night” Recap”

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 7 “The Dragon and the Wolf” Recap

Game of Thrones is about war, death, betrayal, love, loss, dragons, and undead. But mostly it’s about family.

No where was family more pronounced than in season seven’s finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf.” Some families split apart, some hashed out old wounds, some came together (JOKES!).

Most of these family squabbles feel petty in comparison to the army of death that officially crosses over beyond the wall during the finale’s thrilling, yet predictable final moments. In the wise words of Bronn of the Blackwater, “We’re fucked.” Continue reading “Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 7 “The Dragon and the Wolf” Recap”

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6 “Beyond the Wall” Recap

Last week left us with the promise of a Squad of Ultimate Badasses adventuring within the zombie-infested lands north of The Wall. Our squad quickly ran into trouble in “Beyond the Wall,” prompting one of the most exciting yet weirdest, plot-hole-ridden episodes this season.

We had only three POV’s this week, with much of the focus on Snow’s Seven (plus redshirts). Wide, zoomed-out shots of men marching in the mountains evoked some fond memories of Lord of the Rings.

We were treated to more fun dialogue between these fun combinations of characters, such as Jon and Jorah discussing Jon’s sword Longclaw, which was given to him by Jorah’s father.

Tormund was this week’s Davos – the jolly, witty character that made every scene he was in a delight. I was seriously worried Tormund would bite the big one given how many great lines he delivered (his unfamiliarity with the word ‘dick,’ his adorable infatuation with Brienne, etc).

The episode toyed with us further by later putting Tormund in mortal danger. NOT MY BIG BEAUTIFUL MAN HE WAS KISSED BY FIRE AND HE IS DESTINED TO MAKE GIANT BABIES WITH BRIENNE!

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But first our heroes had a mission: secure an undead soldier to bring back to the meeting with Cersei. Continue reading “Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6 “Beyond the Wall” Recap”

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5 “Eastwatch” Recap

We had a far quieter episode this week on Game of Thrones with no dragons burning armies. Well, maybe a little dragon-burning. Despite no real action scenes “Eastwatch” managed to be one of the fastest-paced episodes of the entire series as pieces rapidly moved around, leaders concocted plans, and Jon formed a superhero mash-up team of beyond-the-wall badasses.

At the end of last week I assumed that Jaime and Bronn would become Daenerys’ prisoners. Apparently Bronn’s heroic move not only saved Jaime’s life, but also eluded them from capture. I was incredulous and kept thinking at any moment one of Dany’s forces will simply notice them. How big is that river anyway?

Jaime and Bronn already make it back to King’s Landing to report the loss to Cersei. She actually takes everything in stride, remarking that they can use the gold to hire a mercenary army. He tells her what he learned from Olenna about Joffery’s true murderer, which she also seemingly takes in stride. She’s more than willing to go down fighting, but Jaime is not so sure.

A calm Cersei should worry everyone. A calm Daenerys fucking kills people.

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In a firm but brutal display, Daenerys calls for all the captured soldiers from last week’s battle to bend the knee or die. Most comply after a not-so-stirring speech from the Mother of Dragons – it’s hard to call for peace and prosperity when you just burned their friends alive.

Randyll Tarly, whom I’ve been misspelling this whole time, is too proud to kneel. He’s a complete asshole with zero sympathies, but his son has proven to be the opposite.

It’s an interesting twist when son Dickon refuses as well, joining his father as Dany stands them up before Drogon. The Mother of Dragons doesn’t hang people.

Tyrion is horrified at this display of power. “Eastwatch” touches upon the moral gray area that rests in being a leader. He and Varys have a discussion that reminds us of the cruelty of the Mad King that prompted the civil war before the series started. Later Arya and Sansa have a discussion about ruling, as do Jon and Dany, both admitting to doing what’s necessary – and what’s necessary often isn’t very nice.

The Jon and Dany exchange also teases a scene we all saw coming – the dragons responding positively to Jon Snow. Jon lovingly pets Drogon and Dany becomes even more enamored, though whether it’s love or respect is difficult to say.

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We know that Jon has been confirmed a Targaryen, thanks to Bran’s time-travel abilities. But this episode goes a step further with a seemingly innocuous scene between Samwell and Gilly.

Sam (who’s father and brother were just killed by Dany) remains frustrated with the Maesters, and even more frustrated with his inability to find real information on the Night King. Maybe he’s looking at the wrong information, as Gilly manages to drop a brief but possibly explosive info bomb before Sam waves her away – that Prince Rhaeger Targaryen’s initial marriage to Ellia Martell of Dorne was annulled.

We have to dig a bit into Game of Thrones‘ history to know why this is important. We know that long-time theory R+L=J was confirmed last season, with the L being Lyanna Stark, Ned’s sister. It’s said that Rhaeger abducted her, leading to Robert and Ned to start the civil war against the Targaryens, though it’s possible (and increasingly likely) that the two simply ran away together.

Now, if they actually got married that means that their child, Jon Targaryen, is not a bastard but a true-born son and heir to the Iron Throne. Jon would have just as much claim as Daenerys. I think he may actually have a stronger claim being the son of the prince (whereas Dany is Rhaegar’s younger sister). I’m not up on my succession rules.

I think it likely that we’ll never know the whole truth, and this was just a tease for the audience to help confirm yet another theory. Just having Targaryen blood would make Jon respected by the dragons (as we saw) – how the hell would they care if his parents were married?

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It’s a fun reveal made even more enjoyable given the way neither character realized what they were looking at. Sam’s frustration reaches its peak during an epic rant, and he and Gilly pack up their things and leave. Poor Sam. I enjoyed his surprisingly compelling antics at Oldtown and hopefully now he can get back to the action.

The bulk of the action surrounds Team Targaryen’s new plan. Jon receives a raven from Bran. Oh hey, Bran and Arya are alive. So much for an emotional reunion. The dead are coming – which I thought we already knew. They decide on a plan: convince Cersei (and everyone else) that the undead army is real. To do that they’ll need to capture one “alive” and bring it to her.

Now who the hell thinks Cersei gives two shits about an army of the dead? Every character in that room is being extremely naive to think she would rally around this common cause, Tyrion especially.

Regardless they decide that going north of the wall, running into the giant army of the dead, capturing an undead zombie, and bringing it back to the very hostile territory of King’s Landing is their best plan for generating an armistice so everyone can fight the dead.

Ser Jorah reunites with Daenerys just in time to volunteer, but Jon insists it has to be him. Jon may be an admirable leader but his insistence on being the first one at the head of every plan and battle usually makes for a short-lived career.

Tyrion knows that actually trying to talk with Cersei isn’t going to work. Instead, they worth through Jaime. Davos and Tyrion travel to King’s Landing to set up a meeting through Bronn, and the Lannister brothers are briefly reuinted.

This was a fantastic scene that I wish had lasted much longer. Tyrion balking at Jaime for being mad at him for killing their father was heartbreaking. Peter Dinklage got to flex his superior acting muscles more than he’s had to all season.

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But alas we’re moving at lighting speed. Jaime agrees to a proposed armistice. Cersei again takes it in stride, putting the bulk of this “betrayal” on Bronn. She decides that a meeting puts her in the best position to deal with Daenerys. If Jaime was starting to get cold feet they’re immediately snuffed by Cersei’s admission of a pregnancy – and he’s the father.

Now, is she really pregnant or just saying that to keep Jaime on board for a bit longer? I would not at all put it past Cersei. One interesting note: Cersei’s fateful childhood prophecy has so far rang true (all her kids have died), but the prophecy also said she’d only have three. Her time will be coming to an end, and I still think it’ll be at the end of Jaime’s sword.

Meanwhile Davos surprises everyone by going to the blacksmith and finding Gendry, last bastard son of Robert Baratheon. Gendry! We last saw the poor bastard rowing away from Dragonstone after Davos freed him from Melisandre, in season three. Davos delightfully jokes that he expected to find him still rowing, a snarky comment frequently made by Game of Thrones fans.

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A special shout-out to Ser Davos Seaworth needs to be made. I make notes to myself to help write these recaps, and a solid 25% of them this week were just quotes of everything Davos said. Nothing fucks you harder than time.

Gendry grabs a warhammer – Robert’s signature weapon, and immediately signs up to join Davos, and later Jon. The group runs into a brief encounter when leaving King’s Landing, and once again Davos gets to flex his wit in a rare humorous scene involving fermented crab Viagra.

In true Game of Thrones fashion, it ends in violence.

Jon leaves Dragonstone to embark on their crazy mission, taking Jorah and Gendry. Dany could have forced him to stay but her opinions have definitely softened – not every man can pet a dragon and Jon ain’t bad to look at either.

In another egregious example of fast-travel, Jon and company make it all the way up to Eastwatch-by-the-sea, one of the few manned castles of the Night’s Watch. It’s currently manned by Tormund, who’s disappointed that Jon didn’t bring Brienne (me too).

The Brotherhood Without Banners is also there, rotting in a jail cell. Seems their vision in the flames didn’t go over well with the wildlings.

A tense but funny meeting occurs when these characters meet. Gendry has good reason to hate Thoros and Beric based on his experience with Melisandre, while Tormund is none too please at having a Mormont (Jorah) in the party.

As Jon eloquently says, they’re all on the same side because they’re still breathing. He tells them the plan and lets them out of jail. Snow’s Seven is officially born! It’ll be our first look beyond the wall since Bran fled during the epic Hold the Door sequence, and looks like the primary focus of next week’s adventure.

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Before we end this recap let’s predict the fate of Snow’s Seven:

game of thronesJon Snow – Come on, he’s fine. Besides, he already died once. At least one person will sacrifice themselves for him.

game of thronesGendry – It would be pretty lame to kill him off after we only just met him again after being MIA for years. He’s strong but the most untested of the lot. I could see him getting injured, and/or turning into a loyal sidekick for Jon.

game of thronesSer Jorah Mormont – Jorah only just now got back to fighting strength. Like Gendry it would be lame for him to die after all that. But he was given a plot coin by Tyrion and told to come back, so his death would be heart-breaking. He’s either going to live, or die saving Jon (and put in a final good word for Dany).

game of thronesTormund Giantsbane – Tormund has turned into a fun character, despite not having a whole lot to do this season. He’s been a loyal friend and ally to Jon, and is the most experienced member of the party for this mission. His death would be very emotional for both Jon and us. I think he’s a gonner.

game of thronesSandor Clegane – The sardonic Hound has gone through a rollercoaster of events since his appearance in the very first episode. It’s a very strange journey that’s lead him here. He’s probably the best fighter of any of them, but also the least reliable and loyal. His hatred of his brother still needs a conclusion with zombie-Mountain still by Cersei’s side, so he’s going to make it to King’s Landing.

game of thronesSer Beric Dondarrion – His flaming sword will come in very handy against the zombies, but otherwise Baric doesn’t have much going on, and we don’t really care one way or the other.

game of thronesThoros of Myr – As one of the least effective fighters the red priest may be able to call upon his god to smite the undead armies. Or more likely he’ll just die ignominiously.

And how’s this for a bold final prediction: One of these men will die and become the zombie warrior they’ll bring to King’s Landing, and in the final episode the Night King will cross (or destroy) the wall.

Winners

Jon Snow – It’s not every day you get to pet a dragon and assemble a superhero squad of ultimate badasses. We likely learned he’s a full-blooded Targaryen as well, but Jon doesn’t exactly have his eyes set on the Iron Throne.

Davos – Davos, like Bronn, is always a delightfully snarky presence in every scene. His dry wit and candor were on full display this episode, whether it was recruiting Gendry, bribing guards, or admitting he’s not much of a fighter. Davos has easily become one of my favorite characters in the entire series.

Gendry – When we first saw him I thought this was going to be a quick one-off scene to remind us that he was there (like Arya and Nymeria). I was pleased that not only does Gendry join up with Davos, but then pledges himself to Jon based on the friendship of their fathers (ironically Robert Baratheon killed Jon’s actual father Rhaegar Targaryen). PROTECT GENDRY!

Losers

The Spies of Winterfell – Despite holding a large number of prominent cast members Winterfell continues to be boring. Now it appears that we’re manufacturing drama for the sake of drama. According to Polygon the note that Arya finds (which Baelish planted) is the one Sansa wrote under duress years ago, urging Robb to bend the knee to Joffery. This could create further division between Arya and Sansa, or make Arya finally get rid of Baelish. Either way it’s hard to care compared to what’s going on everywhere else.

Ghost – Um, has anyone seen Jon’s direwolf? He didn’t go to Dragonstone, he didn’t accompany Snow’s Seven. Have we seen him all season? Is Ghost the new Gendry?

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 “The Spoils of War” Recap

Daenerys has suffered several losses since arriving in Westeros, and the Mother of Dragons isn’t exactly a gracious loser. This week Team Targaryen fights back in one of the most spectacular battle sequences ever put on television.
Continue reading “Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 “The Spoils of War” Recap”