Wow, Westworld. This season's third episode was good, but then episode four came along and blew it out of the water. Season two just took a very interesting turn, adding a new player and a new mystery.
The episode wisely opens with the most intriguing storyline this week (and in an episode this packed, that is saying something). James Delos (Peter Mullan) is in some kind of apartment, completely isolated. He eats, smokes, works out, and dances. Side note: It's a shame the first song we see him listening to isn't "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Mama Cass — what a fun Lost reference that would have been.
Anyway, William (Jimmi Simpson) comes to visit James, who at first seems like the real James, perhaps being kept here for some reason related to his illness. But by the end of the scene, it's clear that this is not the real James Delos. As the episode goes on, it is revealed that the Delos Corporation is working on the technology to basically put a person's consciousness into a host's body. In Delos' case, it's an exact replica of the real Delos, though theoretically, the body could look like anyone.
Over the years, William keeps visiting the Jim-bot to test how it's coming along. We learn in the first visit that the real James is dying of a disease whose research he defunded 15 years ago, which is some sweet, sweet irony. In the next visit, which seems to be about eight years later, the Jim-bot is doing better but he still isn't working well enough to be taken out into the real world. He does, however, know he's not the real Delos because he asks about what happened to the real Delos. The real James died seven years prior to this meeting and his wife has also passed away, from a stroke.
As William leaves, he tells the technician minding Delos to scrap this version and the whole thing goes up in flames. Now that just seems wasteful.
The third visit is quite a bit later in time because now William is the Man in Black (Ed Harris). Delos doesn't even recognize him at first, but once he realizes what's going on, the two of them start to chat. This is the 149th version of Delos that the park has created, and the Man in Black is starting to think this entire exercise was a mistake because they can't get it right.
"First we thought it was the mind rejecting the new body, like an organ that's not a perfect match," says the Man in Black. "But it's more like your mind rejects reality, rejects itself."
As James insists he go out into the world and see his children, he finds out that Juliet killed herself and that Logan (Ben Barnes) overdosed years ago. Quick note — we haven't actually seen Logan's death on screen. Just pointing that out. This is Westworld, after all.
Anyway, the news of his children's deaths causes James to lose it, trashing his apartment and screaming. The Man in Black leaves, presumably to go begin his last visit to the park, aka what we saw in season one. On the way out, he tells the technician to let Delos continue deteriorating so they can observe his degradation over the next few days.
This whole storyline is super interesting. It is obvious what the park was doing in the secret facilities: recording the actions and DNA samples of the guests. But I'm curious if there's more to it than simply making bots of humans so they can live forever. Was there an endgame here? What good does an immortal Delos do for anyone? There's no pretending that he didn't really die and this isn't a robot, so what's the purpose here?
It may be as simple as charging rich people exorbitant amounts of money so they can "live forever," but I feel like there has to be more to it.
The Most Dangerous Reunion
Running parallel to the William-Delos storyline is Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) finding this secret facility in the immediate aftermath of Dolores and the Confederados taking on the park security team at Ford Forlorn Hope. When Bernard awakens after being dragged off by Clementine (Angela Sarayfan), we see that last season, Ford (Anthony Hopkins) had Bernard drag Elsie (Shannon Woodward) out to a cave and chain her up. It's not entirely clear why he would do that — why not just kill her? Or perhaps Bernard did this on his own accord to save his friend? That doesn't seem likely, given all the other things orders he couldn't disobey while under Ford's control. But why would Ford spare Elsie?
Well, the important thing is she's alive. Elsie was a great character in season one, and I'm delighted that she's back.
When Bernard unchains her, her first instinct is to run away because he's the person who chained her up and left her there in the first place. But he needs her help, so he reveals that he's a host — news that Elsie takes remarkably well — and asks her to help fix him. He's losing cortical fluid (from when he shot himself in season one), and when he takes them into the secret facility, they get him some new fluid and Bernard is as good as new.
Well, not quite — his memories are floating around in his "brain" all willy-nilly, so we experience some weird flashbacks. He remembers coming to this facility and making a host's brain drive, then forcing all the drone hosts to kill the technicians and then themselves. It's pretty brutal and makes it all the more creepy when he tells Elsie that everything's fine.
But before that comes one of the creepiest sequences this show has ever done. The two of them find Delos' holding facility (i.e. the apartment from the flashbacks), where Delos is still "alive," having killed the technician, and is now slowly riding his exercise bike backward while slicing up his own face. He attacks Elsie before Bernard takes him down, then they incinerate the whole facility.
Elsie muses that they must have printed Delos' body and then copied his consciousness into a control unit. Bernard then remembers that Ford had him print a control unit for someone else, another human. So here's our big mystery for the back half of the season — which "human" is actually a host running around with someone's consciousness inside? Is it someone we already know? Is it someone we haven't met yet? Is a character we think is dead going to come back?
Whatever it is, I'm sure we're in for some shocking reveals.
The Road to Redemption
Back out in the park, the Man in Black and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) ride into Las Mudas, the town where Lawrence's wife and daughter live. But make note of something that happens on the way: the Man in Black spies some railroad tracks being built by hosts and remarks, "These tracks are supposed to head north, not west. Seems Ford's game has multiple contenders."
That feels like more than a throwaway line, so I'm keeping it in mind as the story moves forward.
Anyway, in Las Mudas, Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) has set up shop with his men, terrorizing the townspeople into giving him supplies and weapons.
The Man in Black offers to help Craddock find Glory, and Craddock just kind of scoffs at him. It's some great work between the actors, with a couple outstanding exchanges:
Craddock: "Double-crossed by some b*tch name of Wyatt."
Man in Black: "Good for her."
Man in Black: "You think you know death, but you don't."
Craddock: "Is that so?"
Man in Black: "You didn't recognize him sittin' across from you this whole time."
When Craddock continues to beat the tar out of Lawrence and threaten Lawrence's wife, the Man in Black snaps. He thinks about finding his wife dead in the bathtub (which I'll talk about in a minute) and decides to help Lawrence's family. It's some great work by Ed Harris, both acting-wise and also getting to be a total badass and take out a bunch of hosts.
He lets Lawrence do the honors of shooting Craddock (after making him swallow some nitroglycerin), so the major goes out with a bang. Bonus — the Man in Black now has Lawrence's cousins to ride around with him. And before he leaves town, Lawrence's daughter tells the Man in Black that one good deed doesn't change who he is and that he still doesn't understand the real game. She then says if he's looking forward, he's looking in the wrong direction. Which makes a lot of sense after the very end of the episode.
Back to Juliet's suicide — certain camera choices made it look as though she had slit her wrists, which goes against what the Man in Black told Teddy (James Marsden) in season one about what happened to her. He told Teddy that his wife "fell asleep in the bath" after taking "the wrong pills" and he only later learned that it was suicide when his daughter Emily told him that at the funeral.
This sequence where the Man in Black flashes back to when he found his wife doesn't exactly jibe with that story. Even if she didn't slit her wrists, having him be the one who found her and not realize it's suicide seems a little weird. But it's not that important to the thrust of the story, so we'll just go with it.
Because a very exciting moment happens in the episode's last few frames.
The Mystery Woman
The mysterious woman from park six, The Raj, is led to a Ghost Nation camp. Head of Security Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) is there too, and he tells her that the Ghost Nation hosts are killing hosts, not humans. That's interesting.
He talks about getting her out of there, but she says she's not looking to get out. Then the show immediately cuts to the Man in Black, which was when I figured out that she's the Man in Black's daughter Emily (Katja Herbers). I was really proud of myself for seeing a twist like that so early — until the show confirmed it at the end of the episode. They weren't exactly trying to hide this twist, which made me feel a bit less excited about my detective skills.
Anyway, there's a brief interaction between Stubbs and Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon), who is one of the oldest hosts in the park. He tells Stubbs, "You live only as long as the last person who remembers you," but we don't really get to dig into what Akecheta is up to because Emily breaks free and runs for it.
Later, she rides up to the Man in Black and his men and says, "Hi, dad." And that's how the episode leaves it. I am beyond excited that they introduced his daughter into the park. This episode sets up a kind of crazy latter half of the season.
Miss the previous episode recap? Catch up here.
TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her work can be found at The A.V. Club, Entertainment Weekly, PopSugar, Variety and more. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."