Westworld Season 2 Episode 7 “Les Écorchés” Recap

All our story lines come together in a violently explosive episode.

Last week’s episode of Westworld was building toward a major confrontation. This week we witness the startling violence that occurs when our various story lines intersect.

Every single one of our main plot threads is involved in a major event in what was the most action-packed episode of the season. Continue reading “Westworld Season 2 Episode 7 “Les Écorchés” Recap”

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”

Westworld Season 2 Episode 4 “The Riddle of the Sphinx” Recap

Bernard and William are haunted by the past.

Last week’s action-packed shootout was a difficult act to follow. By leaning heavily on the creepy sci-fi underpinnings the fourth episode of season two comes off just as strong, and at the same time gives Westworld‘s weakest character an awesome new twist. Continue reading “Westworld Season 2 Episode 4 “The Riddle of the Sphinx” Recap”

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.

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”

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 16 “Wrath” Recap

The season eight finale of The Walking Dead finally gives us the proper conclusion to the all our war with the Saviors that has dominated the plot for the last two years, including enough epilogues to give The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King a run for its money. Continue reading “The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 16 “Wrath” Recap”

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 15 “Worth” Recap

The penultimate episode of season eight was almost completely devoid of our main cast, focusing instead on the drama and near Civil War erupting among the Saviors when Negan returns. Continue reading “The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 15 “Worth” Recap”

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 14 “Still Gotta Mean Something” Recap

This week on The Walking Dead every possible emotion was wrung out of the escaped prisoners subplot from last week, leading to an episode brimming with emotional guilt and depicting our heroes brutally murdering people.

But hey, we got to see Rick and Morgan team up again.

Last week’s zombie fiasco allowed some of the captured prisoners at the Hilltop to make a break for it, led by professional long-haired asshole Jared. Henry, the kid who had foolishly opened their pen, was also missing, so Carol and Morgan set out to find them.

We’ve had a lot of Carol and Morgan scenes together, ever since they both ended up at the Kingdom last season. Their mutual respect and trust has been well-developed, which makes Morgan’s descent back into dementia all the more troubling.

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Morgan’s character development has been incredibly frustrating. I love how Lennie James portrays the character, but I’m mostly confused as to what Morgan’s state of mind is at any time. Over the years he’s gone from dependable, to completely insane, to zen-like pacifist monk, to murderous rampage. His latest stint is another bout of madness that at this point just feels tiresome. Even Carol can’t snap him out of it, and she continues on to search for Henry, while Morgan tracks down the escaped prisoners in different direction.

Rick is going a bit crazy as well, still suffering from Carl’s untimely death. He goes to Alden, the one seemingly decent dude from the Savior PoWs, to ask where his buddies might’ve gone, seeing as how Simon basically disavowed them in the earlier fight.

Alden grudgingly reveals a diner location, and then gently suggests that Rick not murder them all. Rick basically replies with, “whatever dude,” and trots off. He meets up with Morgan, and the two instantly get captured. Come on, these are two of the biggest badasses of the zombie apocalypse!

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They awaken tied up to some drama unfolding in the prisoner group. One of their members is heavily injured, and they know a herd is headed this way. Jared wants to first bring them back to Negan, then just kill them. Rick and Morgan play a little good cop, bad cop, with Morgan threatening to kill them all while Rick suggests they can all head back to Hilltop and let bygones be bygones (kudos to Andrew Lincoln for not literally winking at the camera).

Our plot herd shows up right on schedule, and some of the prisoners decide to free Morgan and Rick to help them fend off the herd.

I’ll admit what happened next caused me to actually blurt out the line, “holy crap!” The pair do help defend against the herd, but then they slowly make their way behind the other Saviors, who are likwise firing into the oncoming zombies. They give each other a look, then completely turn on the Saviors, murdering about half a dozen men in cold blood. Again, holy crap.

Jared escapes, of course, and Morgan hunts him down. After a brief fight Morgan holds him in place while some zombies chow down, leading to one of their more brutal, nasty murders we’ve seen outside Lucille. Morgan gets his vengeance for Henry, and this whole loose end is bloody well tied up.

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Henry is actually alive, the little scamp. He’s in a bit of trouble in a swamp, and Carol is able to easily save him, and bring him back to the Hilltop, followed by Rick and Morgan’s return. A single glance from Alden knows that Rick has no more fucks to give when it comes to dealing with Saviors, further proving that he should absolutely not be in charge of diplomacy. Or anything, really.

Meanwhile we get to check in with the big cliffhanger from two weeks ago: Jadis capturing Negan.  This was a bizarre sequence of events that involves Jadis sort-0f torturing a tied-up Negan, Negan emotionally confessing that his bat is named after his loving wife, and the two of them seeing a helicopter (!) fly over head, which Jadis fails to signal with a lit flare in time.

Not only does Jadis not actually hurt Negan, she can’t even bring herself to destroy his beloved bat. Instead she simply lets him go, and Negan walks away, which makes most of this a colossal waste of time, even with that WTF helicopter.

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One of our final scenes checked in with Daryl and Rosita. The pair are spying on the bullet-making outpost that currently houses Eugene and Father Gabriel. They’ve deduced that the Saviors attacked with zombie-coated weapons and arrows because they’re low on ammo, and confirmed that Eugene has started making bullets.

Time is against them. Leave it to Daryl to go off half-cocked on a dangerous, reckless plan to assault the entire outpost to sabotage their efforts. At least they’re giving these two something to do other than piss and moan.

Winners

Rick and Morgan: Seeing Rick and Morgan kicking ass together is a lot of fun, even if them getting jumped and captured together is some major BS. I do wish we’d slow down and let them work out some serious issues with their now common history of losing their sons.

Carol: Once again it’s up to Carol to do the right thing. She prioritizes saving Henry, and does just that. But I’m putting her here for being the only one able to really get through to Morgan (though ultimately she fails to sway him). Her scene with Lennie James was one of the most emotional of the entire season, and that includes the whole Carl-dying thing.

Losers

Rick, Morgan: These two dudes are really losing it, and it’s getting harder and harder to cheer for them. Rick is evolving into a straight-up evil character while Morgan tends toward being a sociopath.

Jadis Capturing Negan: Seriously what was the point of this, other than to let Simon carry out the attack on Hilltop? Thus far all of Jadis’ antics have felt like big globs of filler in a slow-moving half-season. The helicopter was a fun tease but for right now doesn’t change the situation.