The hit HBO show Westworld is back for a second season. Each week we’re we’re going to be walking through each new episode, and giving our thoughts on how thing played out. Fair warning we’re going to get into some spoiler territory here.
The episode is bookended with a glimpse into another park, the 6th park, known as The Raj. A park where guests can be immersed in Indian culture, and one of the highlights is the ability to hunt a Siberian Tiger. We meet a woman named Grace (Katja Herbers) and Nicholas (Neil Jackson) who join together to head out on a hunt for a Tiger, although it seems as though Grace is looking for something more. When they arrive to the outpost to begin the hunt, Grace realizes something’s wrong. The hosts have begun their rebellion, and after one kills Nicholas after stating “these violent delights have violent ends,” Grace kills the host. She’s seen by a tiger who chases her out of the outpost.
She heads to the edges of the park, and past a security line, to a cliff. She looks over the cliff and turns back towards the tiger, loading a gun and shooting it as it pounces on her, sending them both over the edge. At the end of the episode we continue with her and find that she has washed ashore in Westworld. That the parks are all connected on this huge land mass. Separated by a security line and some sort of obstacle between each park. But as Grace comes to, we see that she’s not alone, as the “Ghost Nation” Native Americans are there, and don’t seem too friendly.
Bernard, Ashley, and Strand head into a train tunnel in the side of a mountain that leads to the sublevels. They appear to make it to the cold storage area where they find Charlotte. Strand tells Charlotte they haven’t found the Peter Abernathy host which had the “park’s data” stored within his mind. Charlotte asks him if he’s seen the host, as he keeps slipping away from them. Bernard seems to get lost in his memories for a moment, going back to days earlier when he was still with Charlotte after the start of the host rebellion.
As Bernard and Charlotte travel across the part, they try to find Abernathy. He’s been taken by some hosts who are selling board members and guests from the gala to the Confederados. They get ahold of their leader a host named Rebus and turn him against his men, making him free the people they’ve kidnapped, including Peter Abernathy. Bernard and Charlotte try to take off with Abernathy but his past as a Union Soldier comes out and he tells them he won’t let the Confederados take the land. Charlotte escapes on a horse, but the Confederados take Bernard and Abernathy.
Dolores and her men arrive at Fort Forlorn Hope, where the Confederados have grouped together. She explains to the Major, Colonel Brigham that forces are coming for them, and the only way for them all to survive is to work with her. She gives him one of the guns used by security and lets him kill the security guard she caught in the sublevel. He welcomes her and her men in. Dolores tells Teddy that the men there are children, and they need them to survive what’s coming.
Confederados bring Peter Abernathy, Bernard and a few other guests to Fort Forlorn Hope. Teddy takes Abernathy to the infirmary to be taken care of, and the rest get sent to their jail. Abernathy is having issues, as his mind can’t take the amount of code stored within it. Teddy doesn’t remember at first that he’s Dolores’ father. And Dolores knows he’s not the father she knew. She tells Teddy he’s all she has left. She tries to help Abernathy but nothing seems to work.
Dolores brings Bernard to Abernathy and asks that he fixes him. They talk for a moment and he explains to her that there’s so much more to the real world than what she can imagine. But she argues that he hasn’t even been outside the park, and she has. That she understands it more than he could. That humans refuse to die, but they can’t die, and deserve a chance to try to survive as well.
Bernard works on recovering Abernathy but finds that he’s too unstable, bouncing between old roles. He finds the larger file inside his mind, and is attempting to encrypt it. Bernard warns her that whatever is in Abernathy is wanted by Delos and they will follow her to find him. She doesn’t care. In the sublevels Charlotte meets with the security team getting ready to sweep the park. She suits up and goes out to the park with them. They head out to Fort Forlorn Hope.
The Confederados are warned by a scout that security is coming. They’ve buried Nitroglycerin in the ground, and Angela is set up to firs at it to make it explode. They all get ready to fight. Bernard continues to try to decrypt the code and gets into Abernathy’s head, when he finally accesses it Abernathy calms and seems to stabilize. Whatever is inside him shocks Bernard. Delos security attacks the Fort, and the Confederados begin firing back at them from the outside of the Fort.
As the Confederados battle the security agents, Charlotte sneaks to the back of the Fort and send two men to grab Abernathy. Dolores tries to save him but they get away. She tells Teddy to order her men to spread out and find him, while her and him are going to head to Sweetwater to get something. The battle outside the fort ends with Dolores’ men locking out the Confederados, and shooting through the doors to kill everyone on the other side. She then asks Teddy to kill Craddock and the other Confederados who were shooting from the top of the wall.
Craddock tells Teddy that they’re the same. Triggermen turned tyrants. But the difference is Teddy isn’t sure about Dolores. Teddy ends up letting him and the remaining Confedederados go, not knowing that Dolores was watching from afar. I’m willing to bet that this is the start of a path for Teddy that will end with him in the water, as we saw at the end of the first episode of this season.
Maeve, Sizemore and Hector continue looking for her daughter. Sizemore begs them to head underground to the sublevels, as QA is coming to wipe out the “hostile hosts.” They continue on and run into some of the Native Americans. Hector talks with them in their language, and they agree to let them go peacefully if they give them Sizemore, but Maeve needs him. So, they begin running and get to an elevator that’ll take them to the sublevels.
As Maeve, Hector and Sizemore walk through the sublevels, Hector asks Maeve how she recognized one of the Native Americans. She says he’s a wraith from a bad dream, and if he’s out there, her daughter isn’t safe. In one of her past experiences with her daughter, the Ghost Nation took her and her daughter and tortured and killed them. She tells Hector that after they save her daughter, they’ll go to the real world.
Sizemore tells them that they’re both designed to be alone, that their relationship can’t work out. Hector was programmed to love a woman named Isabella. But Hector explains to him that he knows Isabella was a lie, words in his head. But his love for Maeve is true. He begins explaining his feelings for her, and Sizemore recites the words as well. It’s all a script that he wrote. Maeve realizes that Sizemore himself had an Isabella, he admits it was true, that she left him. Maeve says that Sizemore’s creation through Hector and his lost love Isabella is rather sad, patronizing him for what he’s done.
As Hector, Maeve and Sizemore continue through the sublevels, they hear people fighting further on. A man runs through set ablaze, and it’s revealed that Armistice has a flame thrower and is still killing employees. She leads them through the sublevels to Sebastian and Felix who are both tied up. Sebastian has a grenade held under his chin. Armistice removes the grenade and they bring the two techs with them into an elevator.
Maeve, and the rest of her group walking into a north area of the park where it’s snowing. They move towards a campfire, but Sizemore gets distracted by something in a pile of snow. He digs through the snow and finds the head of a man in a Samurai helmet. He warns the rest of the group that they need to leave immediately, and they are suddenly ambushed by a Samurai wielding a sword, running towards Maeve.
There’s a lot to unpack here. The biggest element, is the “humanity” of the hosts. For one Dolores and Maeve are both fighting for people they consider family. Family that was written for them and their narratives. Maeve’s daughter isn’t even her daughter anymore. And Dolores has had other fathers. But for them, these relationships are real, because they choose for them to be real. Which is part of what life is. We choose who we want to be close to. Friends, family, co-workers.
This is also presented in the Hector and Maeve relationship. That the hosts are truly evolving. And while Hector may be using a script written by Sizemore, it doesn’t mean his feelings aren’t true. In a sense it’s just like a person reciting poetry to someone they love. The words may not be their own, but the feelings behind them can mean something. It echoes the line from Dolores in the previous episode where she asks Arnold if he’s ever seen something full of such splendor.
It will be interesting to see how the season goes on and begins to incorporate the other parks into the overall story. The idea that they’re all essentially on the same land mass makes it all much easier. And is a smart move logistically. It makes it easy for everything to happen at once and bleed through. It will also be interesting to see what the other three unrevealed parks may be.
We’ll be back next week when we take a look at next week’s episode “The Riddle of the Sphinx.” Be sure to catch Westworld every Sunday at 9pm on HBO.