I grew up watching the original Mission Impossible on television. I used to love it! The great theme song by Lalo Schifrin, Peter Graves’ stoic Jim Phelps, the masks, the twists, the women! I had such a crush on Lynda Day George and Lesley Ann Warren. When they did a big screen version in 1995 with Tom Cruise I was thrilled. It didn’t disappoint. It was fun and filled with the twists and turns you want and expect in a Mission Impossible story. The first film was directed by Brian DePalma, the next film was helmed by John Woo and the following films by JJ Abrams, Brad Bird and the last two (including this one) by Christopher McQuarrie. While I have enjoyed all the films in the series I do have a preference for MI4: Ghost Protocall. That being said, MI6: Fallout is another great entry and it delivers the goods.
Fallout is a direct sequel to M!5: Rogue Nation. Ethan Hunt is directed to engage with a group called The Apostles and get the three plutonium cores that they possess. The mission goes awry when Hunt has to choose between getting those plutonium cores or saving his team, Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames). The consequences are devastating. Hunt’s boss, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) gives Hunt another chance to redeem himself and get the plutonium cores but the new CIA director (Angela Bassett) doesn’t trust Hunt and the IMF team to get the job done. She agrees to let their mission proceed as long as they take one of her men, Walker (Henry Cavill) along to keep tabs on them.
There’s no point in trying to explain the plot further, there are so many twists and turns and double crosses that it was hard for me to keep track. You will see many familiar faces from the previous films including Michelle Monaghan as Hunt’s ex-wife and an integral part of the story. The action sequences are amazing especially the final 30 minutes. Cruise displays his love of doing his own stunts and doesn’t disappoint.
Alec Baldwin is great! Rhames and Pegg as solid as usual. Rebecca Ferguson returns as Hunt’s new love interest/nemesis Ilsa Faust. Henry Cavill is sufficiently unlikeable and that works for this part. Vanessa Kirby has a small part as black market arms broker. I wish Angela Bassett had more to do but hopefully in the next installment?
Fallout is not the best entry in the series but it’s still one helluva ride!
The first Sicario (2015) was a dark and gloomy drama about a naive FBI agent (Emily Blunt) who gets schooled on the realities of the drug war on the US-Mexico border. It was beautifully shot of Roger Deakins, well written by Taylor Sheridan (Hell Or High Water) and directed by Denis Vilenueve (Blade Runner 2). I didn’t expect a sequel yet we have one! Sheridan again wrote the script but we have a new director, Stefano Solima and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (The Martian). Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin return without Emily Blunt but the result is still a good film that is just as dark and gloomy as the first.
A group of people are trying to sneak across the border and encounter the US border patrol. However, one of these people is wearing a suicide jacket and when cornered, blows himself up. At the same time in Kansas City, suicide bombers blow up a grocery store killing 15 people. The US government decide to charge CIA agent Matt Graver (Brolin) to use extreme measure to combat drug cartels suspected of smuggling in terrorists into the US. Graver enlist his old buddy and assassin Alejandro Gallic (DelToro) and they set out to start a war between to drug cartels by killing the drug lawyer of one and kidnapping the young daughter of the head of the other. Things go extremely wrong with the rest of their operation and everything gets blown. Gallick grows attached the young girl and tries to protect against all odds. It all ends unpleasantly and not as expected and sets up the story for another sequel.
The performances are good, the action intense, good score. There are good cameos by Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener and Isabel Moner is good as the kidnapped girl. I was bothered some by the assertion that terrorists were being smuggled across the border, parroting a right wing basis for building a wall but there is some clarification later in the film that softens that stance.
Overall, I enjoyed the film, even the grim view of reality. If you liked the first film then you will like this one. Once you’re thoroughly depressed by the end you may want to slip into another theater and watch The Incredibles 2 to lighten your mood!
The Ocean films were stylish and suave and good fun. The new all female version delivers the same goods! Sandra Bullock is just as enigmatic as Cooney. Cate Blanchett doesn’t get too much to do but it’s obvious that she and Bullock’s character are sometimes lovers which is an interesting twist. Director Gary Ross does a fine job but he is no Steven Soderbergh but that’s OK. This is a breezy, fun caper film with a great cast. I assume there will be two more sequels and I expect them to improve with each chapter.
The plot follows the formula of the other Ocean films. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), Clooney’s danny Ocean’s sister, gets out of jail, teams up with her best friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) and immediately plots to steal a diamond necklace worth 150 million at the Met Gala, They put together a squad of thieves including Helena Bonham Carter as a washed up fashion designer, Rhianna as a crackerjack hacker, Mindy Kaling as a jewelry maker, Sarah Paulsen, a compulsive thief now homemaker, and newcomer Awkwafina, as a street hustler and expert pickpocket. Their target is a movie star with a huge ego, played wonderfully by Anne Hathaway.
The putting the band together sequence is always fun. The heist itself is also clever and exciting. There is also a good twist at the end. he music and visuals match the previous films. James Corden pops in as the insurance agent investigating the robbery and is fine. There are even a couple of cameos from the other films to tie them together. But where’s Danny? Well, supposedly, he died in 2018. But, come one. My guess is by Oceans’s 10 we will see Clooney make his appearance and join his sister for one last HUGE heist!
“Is this now?” Bernard
WTF??!! Westward capped off a challenging and confusing season with the most challenging and confusing season finale of any series since the original Twin Peaks. I had two friends over to watch with me and as the episode ended one was silent with a bemused look on her face and the other was shouting and gesturing at the TV decreeing that he loves this show! And that was before the Marvel-like extra scene after the credits! My reaction fell somewhere in between.
As suspected, all our characters were headed to the same place; The Valley Beyond which we now know is called The Forge. There are many casualties along the way, in fact, almost every character we know and love or love to hate. It was great to see William and Delores riding together one more time although their alliance didn’t last long. We got to see Acheketa leading his people which included a mix of Ghost Nation and other hosts including Maeve’s daughter and her current mom. The newly programmed Clem leading a caravan of park security and Charlotte Hale
“You’re both a bit late so I went ahead and saved myself.” Maeve
Hector and the gang came to rescue Maeve but she had already rescued herself and commanded a herd of longhorn steers to finish off the remaining security force. They head to the Valley Beyond along with Sizemore. In one of the best scenes in the episode Hector is about to sacrifice himself to allow Maeve to continue on but is stopped by Sizemore who then engages the security team by saying Hector’s famous speech which he of course wrote. He goes down in a blaze of glory. Redemption at last.
“We were designed to survive. That’s why you built us. You hoped to pour your minds into our form but your species craves death, you need it. It’s the only way you can renew, the only real way you can ever inch forward. Your kind likes to pretend there’s some kind of poetry in that but really it’s pathetic. But that’s what you want, isn’t it? To destroy yourself.” Delores
William and Delores save Bernard from getting taken by security at the open door to The Forge. William thinks he can now kill Delores but no matter how many times he shoots her she just won’t die. William’s gun misfires courtesy of Delores and he blows off a couple of fingers. She doesn’t finish him off though. She leaves him while she and Bernard descend into The Forge.
“I needed to know why they make the decisions they make and the longer I looked for an answer the more I realized they don’t” Logan/The System
Abernathy’s brain ball was the key that allows access to the virtual reality world of The Forge. Delores and Bernard enter and find themselves in Sweetwater where the system was attempting to replicate James Delos. The System, it turns out, is actually Logan Delos! Or at least a facsimile of him. They wander through James Delos’s memories with Logan as their guide. He shows them the memory that was the defining moment in James Delos’ life. Logan comes asking for help and his father turns him away. Six months later Logan committed suicide.
“The copies didn’t fail because they were too simple but because they were too complicated. They are deceptively simple. Once you know them their behavior is quite predictable.” The System
So the replications of Delos never worked because they were too perfect a copy. The System has made a copy of every guest that entered the park. Their codes were put in book form. Delores seems to choose certain ones and reads them. The System tells Bernard that a host isn’t likely to survive in the outside world but armed with the knowledge in those books Delores might.
So there is a Door. A door that leads to a virtual Eden. The hosts have a choice to enter it, allowing their physical bodies to die or stay in the world and find another way. The System opens the door which only hosts can see and many make their way through. As they enter, the bodies fall in the valley. This explains why all those hosts bodies were found in the water and their minds were empty. Their minds live on at The Forge in that virtual Eden.
“Because that which is real is irreplaceable. I don’t want to play cowboys and indians anymore, Bernard. I want their world. The world they denied us” Delores
Delores, of course, does not want another ‘false’ world. She wants to be in the real world. She floods the valley and erases all the guest archival data. Bernard doesn’t agree with Delores’ decision. He believes her to be dangerous now. He shoots her.
Clem rides through the hosts like the Angel of Death, triggering them to attack and kill each other. Hector, Armistace and her shogun world double try to buy Maeve time to reach her daughter and end up dying. Maeve reaches her daughter in time to say goodbye. “You carry my heart with you” she tells her and then is able to stop all motor functions of all the hosts long enough for her daughter and new mother to go through the door with Akecheta’s assistance. Then she is shot and killed. Akecheta just barely makes it through before the door closes and is reunited with Kohana.
Bernard exits The Forge and Elsie drives him back to The Mesa. Elsie was going to make a deal with hale concerning Bernard but before she can reveal that Bernard is a host Hale shoots her as Bernard watched. This triggers him to try to recall Ford in his data stream but he erased him. But he manages to summon him anyway, at least, his memory of him. He decides to take action.
THE FORGE / PRESENT DAY
Hale wants ‘the pearl’, Abernathy’s brain ball, the key to accessing The Forge. She believes Bernard hid it in Delores’ corpse. Strand starts to download the info but instead of the guests data being sent it was the host data. But then Bernard remembers what he decided to do. He created a host. A host that looked like Charlotte Hale and placed Delores in it. Delores killed Hale. The Hale we have been seeing in the present was Delores all along. Delores kills Strand and all the other security detail. She sends the virtual Eden somewhere that no one can find so that they’ll be safe. So everyone that went through won’t be back next season!
Hale escapes with the help of Stubbs who seems to be aware that she is a host and his dialogue would seem to indicate that he is also a host. Delores also has a bag full of brain balls. Who are they?
Stubbs stays behind for clean up as do Felix and Sylvestor. They are to salvage whatever hosts they feel can be salvaged so I will assume that Maeve and Hector will be revived, maybe Armistice and shogun Armistice. We also see that William had been rescued and is on the beach at the end being tended to which was confusing because last we saw of him he had gotten into the elevator and was descending into The Forge but we never saw him after that.
THE REAL WORLD
Ford had Arnold’s old house set up to create hosts and be a haven for those who made it. Delores created herself and a new Bernard. But who is now in Hale’s body? Arnold is still worried that Delores will want to destroy the humans and will try to stop her. She understands this but she needs him just as one needs a conscience. It sets up quite an interesting conflict for next season.
THE MAN IN BLACK / WILLIAM
“Oh, fuck” William
The after credits bonus scene is a doozy! As if we weren’t already blown away enough, they threw in one last big twist! The Forge looks abandoned and he is greeted by his daughter.
“I’m already in the thing, aren’t I?” William
“No, the system is long gone” Emily
She leads him into a room that looks just like the apartment that was set up for the replicant James Delos. She starts asking him questions and it seems that they’ve been testing him for a long time. They are still trying to verify ‘fidelity’.
My guess is this could be 30 years in the future. Could the show make that big a time jump next season? That would be amazing!!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
OK. How did I do with last week’s 5 things?
1 The real Emily is safe and sound. Looks like he really killed his daughter.
2 William and Delores have one final showdown but neither die. CORRECT!!
3 Maeve escapes with Sizemore’s help, and teams up with Bernard to flood the valley. Well she escaped but didn’t need any help and she did not help flood the valley. WRONG!!
4 Sizemore dies. YUP!
5 Hale dies. She must! YUP!!
Who knows what they’re dreaming up for next season or when it will air. It could be 2020! But many characters will not be returning. Let’s say farewell to those we lost this season.
2 CHARLOTTE HALE
5 AKECHETA AND KOHANA (Still virtually alive)
It was a crazy season! I’ve watched the finale twice and I know it’s long but it helps. There will be plenty of time before season three so there may be time to rewatch season 2 more than once before then. Great work Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy! Great performances by the entire cast! Thank you!
“Then one day it was there: a stain I didn’t see before.” William
What I’ve noticed this season is how different the directing styles of this year’s episodes have been from last seasons. Almost every episode has had it’s own feel and pace. This one is no different.
“I’m not a host pretending to be a human, dad. I’m your daughter, pretending to give a shit about you.” Emily
We get to see flashbacks to the night William’s wife, Juliet (Sela Ward) committed suicide. Apparently she was a drunk who had been to rehab before and is back on the booze. It seems William is the one that drove her to drink but Emily was sympathetic to her dad and blamed her mother for her own horrible behavior. She wanted to have her committed which explains her guilt.
We also see that Ford and William had a conversation that night a bout the ‘special project’ and Ford gave William a data card that contain all the info of his experiences in the park. Ford at this point was already planning one last game for William and giving him this data card is part of it. Juliet opens the data card and sees all the horrible things that William has done over the years in Westworld. She leaves it in a music box for Emily to find and then pops some pills and takes a bath.
Emily supposedly found this data card, watched it herself and now hates her father. But what did she have planned for him to make him suffer? She brings him to a pick up station and called for extract. William wonders how she found him so fast. You can wander around for months and never find what you’re looking for yet she found him in a couple of days. He thinks she’s a host placed there by Ford as part of his game. When the extract team shows up they have a devise to determine if you’re a human or a host. William checks out – he’s “Clear’. But we don’t get to see what Emily’s scan determined. Instead, William grabs a machine gun from one of the security guards and mows them all down, including Emily. “Fuck you, Ford!” he says. Then he looks in Emily’s hand and sees that she is holding the data card that Ford had given him or at least one that looks similar. He has killed his own daughter! And on the Father’s Day episode no less!
He rides off and puts his gun to his head. he thinks about how evil he has become and wonders if his choices have really been his own. He doesn’t pull the trigger. He sits down, rolls up his sleeve and starts to open up his arm. He is questioning if He is actually a host.
I don’t think he is. I think that his daughter was in the park and was with him before but that the Emily that found him at the Ghost Nation camp is a host and part of Ford’s game.
“You stayed here in this world to save your child. So have I.” Ford
Ford has Bernard get close to Maeve so he can send her a message. Maeve was Ford’s favorite just as Delores was Arnold’s. He meant for her to escape. But she decided to get off that train and look for her child. He doesn’t want to see her die like that, on a table, being used by these subpar humans. He instructs not to.
“If this works, we won’t need her any more.” Hale
Meanwhile Hale has Clem reanimated and installed Maeve’s ability to control the other hosts into her in order to use her to command a new host army.
Bernard and Elsie take off to reach the valley beyond but when Ford tells Bernard to kill Elsie he cannot. Instead he plugs himself into a tablet and tries to delete Ford from his system. It appears to work but, come on. Bernard leaves Elsie there and heads off alone. Ford has told him that he is the only one that can stop it. We’ll see.
“I’ll protect you until the day I die. I’m sorry. I can’t protect you any more.” Teddy
We get to see the battle with the Ghost Nation that was hinted at in the season opener. They do not want the death bringer to use the valley beyond for destruction. She of course will not be stopped. She instructs Teddy and what’s left of her crew to mow them all down. Teddy, however, starts to glitch and cannot finish off that last indian and lets him get away.
Teddy and Delores, all alone now, at the verge of reaching the valley beyond stop to view ‘the splendor’. Teddy tells her that he now can remember everything including the first moments he opened his eyes and saw her. She was his cornerstone and he would do everything he could to protect her. But Teddy does not like what he’s become, what she’s turned him into so he does what William could not; he puts a bullet through his head. Delores cries. She loved him but she can’t use love anymore. She has her mind set on vengeance.
“What they’re doing to James Delos, they’re doing to everyone who visited the park. That’s what’s in the facility. All the guests, laid bare in code, on a vast server. Like the cradle only much bigger. It’s called The Forge” Bernard
noun: vanishing point; plural noun: vanishing points
1 1. the point at which receding parallel lines viewed in perspective appear to converge.
2 2. the point at which something that has been growing smaller or increasingly faint disappears altogether.
Free will. Choice. Fidelity. Who we are which cannot be reproduced. All the themes that have been floating around this season will come to a head in the finale. But how can any of it be answered satisfactorily?
William insinuates that all the data collected from the guests was done through the hats they wore. Interesting but what about in Shogun World and The Raj?
There must be more about Logan that we haven’t seen yet. He knew about the project perhaps he was busy trying to have himself relocated as well and perhaps he succeeded.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 The real Emily is safe and sound
2 William and Delores have one final showdown but neither die
3 Maeve escapes with Sizemore’s help, and teams up with Bernard to flood the valley.
4 Sizemore dies
5 Hale dies. She must!
“I have a good feeling about this!” Han Solo
I’m a big Star Wars fan! I went to see the first one the first week it came out when I was just a wee lad. Every Star Wars film release has always been an event. In recent years, however, Marvel has inundated the market with film after film and they rule the box office. Poor Warner Brothers and their DC brand films just can’t compete. Still, Star Wars keeps on coming and The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One have delivered big. Then along comes Solo, the origin story of one of Star Wars most beloved characters.
First off, I liked the film. I thought it was a lot of fun. Alden Ehrenreich is great as young Han. Woody Harrellson brings his usual charm and charisma. Paul Bethany makes a good villain though a bit underused. Emilia Clarke is a strong heroine. Donald Glover shines as young Lando Calrissian! He has got Billy Dee Williams down! The actors are all on key and the action sequences are exciting and lively. We get to see how Han and Chewie meet and become friends and the legendary Kessell Run! The script was written by Lawrence Kasdan!
So why did it flop? A number of reasons:
1) It comes out just 5 months after The Last Jedi. Though Black Panther and Avengers seem to have avoided any fan burn out.
2) Productions problems are a bad sign. Ron Howard joined late to replace original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. There were many reshoots and apparently a major tonal adjustment. But Rogue One had similar productions issues and that didn’t keep it from doing boffo BO!!
3) But I think the main reason is that Solo just doesn’t have the same gravitas as the other Star Wars films, especially as a stand alone film. Rogue One, the only other stand alone Star Wars film so far, told a story we were not familiar with and was filled with characters whose fates were also unknown. It had the luxury of surprising us.
All told, Solo tells a satisfying story with good performances and action. I believe it will fare better with time. Kudos to Ron Howard for stepping in and delivering like the pro he is.
I watched films Paul Schrader either wrote or directed or both before I knew who Paul Schrader was and definitely before i was old enough to be seeing those films. Again I credit The Z Channel for both the shaping of my film education and warping of my soul. He wrote Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980) both directed by Martin Scorsese. He also wrote the Hitchcockian drama Obsession (1976) directed by Brian DePalma. I remember seeing Hardcore (1979) which he co-wrote and directed starring George C. Scott as a father looking for his missing daughter only to find that she’s in Los Angeles and doing porn films. he goes undercover as a porn producer to find her. He also adapted the novel Last Temptation of Christ (1988) again for Scorsese. Amazingly, he has never been nominated for an Oscar but his films are haunting and powerful even the ones that don’t completely work.
His themes are often spiritual ones, something he shares with Scorsese. His characters are lost souls struggling for meaning, faith and reaching for redemption. First Reformed is such a story. Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) is an ex military chaplain who is broken by the death of his son and break up of his marriage. He has been given the small tourist parish of First Reformed, by Pastor Jeffers (Cedrick Kyles aka Cedrick the Entertainer) the head of a nearby megachurch.
Toller has taken to the bottle and decides to start a journal (resemblances of Taxi Driver). His following is small but he is approached by Mary (Amanda Seyfried) a young pregnant woman, to speak with her husband Michael (Phillip Ettinger) who she says is depressed and wants her to abort the baby. Michael is an environmentalist who has a bleak vision of the future and doesn’t feel its right to bring a child into the world. Roller is challenged by his meeting with Michael and it intensifies his own lack of faith. The film proceeds to quietly build with tension as Toller begins to become more unhinged.
Ethan Hawk is excellent as Toller. This is his film and he takes you on this journey walking a high wire and never falters. Amanda Seyfried is also very good, very honest and real. Cedrick Kyles delivers a very solid performance. He doesn’t go big as you might expect his character would be played. Credit to Schrader as director here for setting the mood and keeping the pot on simmer throughout to set up the big finish. The ending is something you’re going to want to talk about and think about and talk about some more. I’ll leave it at that.
As a recovering Catholic myself, I was particular drawn in by this film. The internal struggle for spiritual clarity is ongoing and never ending. Do I believe in God? Do I believe in myself? Do I act on my faith on either? There aren’t many films that explore these themes. Schrader isn’t afraid to tackle them with his own take and style. It may not be for everyone but you will walk away thinking and talking about this film long after it’s final frame.
“Death is a passage from this brutal world. You don’t deserve the exit” Akecheta to William
This was a powerful episode. It was also very different from what has come before, most notably, due to most of the episode being in the Lakota Indian language and subtitles. “Kiksuya’ means ‘remember’ in Lakota and wifehood that Delores was not the only host that was starting to remember their past lives all along.
Akecheta (Zahn McLarnon) is the leader of the Ghost Nation. We were first introduced to him in a flashback showing how Logan Delos was sold on Westworld. Akecheta was not an Indian at that time, but a prospective businessman. A decision was made to make his backstory that of a Lakota Indian with a woman and a peaceful tribe. The episode tells his story.
At the open, William is crawling towards the river hoping he doesn’t die in this place when Akecheta comes along. “I remember you” he tells him and then brings him back to his camp. There are some other guests there as well along with Maeve’s daughter. Akecheta tells her she doesn’t need to be afraid of the MIB any longer and then proceeds to tell her and us his story.
A question here; Akecheta is ‘awake’ and assumes the little girl is also awake. But if this is true then why didn’t she recognize Maeve when she spoke to her?
“I feel I’ve loved you over so many lifetimes” Kohana
He was living a peaceful existence with his woman, Kohana (Julia Jones). They have a sweet morning ritual.
“Take my heart when you go” She says
“Take mine in it’s place” he says back.
All was well until he stumbles upon the town massacre at the hands of ‘the death bringer’. This is 5 years before the open of the park. Delores has Teddy kill all the hosts, she killed Arnold, Teddy and then herself. He finds the ‘maze’, which is actually a toy that Arnold son played with and which Arnold kept as a reminder of him. Akecheta becomes obsessed with the maze and starts drawing it everywhere. Then right before the park opened they decided to pull him and change his code. They made him a brutal aggressor, the head of another tribe called Ghost Nation and he become a monster. This is when they started making him wear that scary make up!
But one day he rides further than ever before. He rides across a desert and finds a dead horse and a naked Logan. This is what happened to him after William sent him riding into nowhere last season so I’m thinking the park had been open several years at this point. He is suffering from sunstroke and is delirious. Then he says something that shakes Akecheta. “This is the wrong world”. Akecheta throws a blanket over him and tells him that his kind will come for him.
While trading with his old tribe he sees Kohana. He begins to remember his old life with her. It starts him on a quest to find his way back to her. He ventures out again across the desert. He rides even further than before and then finds that place that William had shown Delores several episodes ago. This must be what everyone refers to as ‘the valley beyond’. Akecheta believes it to be ‘a passage to another world. A door.”
The Door is the game that William was instructed to play. A way out. But where does it lead?
He decides to take Kohana to this place in hopes of finding a new life with her. He kidnaps her from the village. He finally washes off that scary make up. He gets her to remember him by saying their morning ritual. It’s so stirring, how love is seemingly more powerful than any programmed code. When he takes her to The Door it is no longer visible. It has been covered over by land, sand, mountains. Then, while he is out hunting, Kohana is found by the park security. They take her.
Acetate has to start over. He comes back to the village to kidnap her again but finds that there is a new woman in her place. Johanna has disappeared. He looks everywhere for her much in the same way William searched for Delores last season only to find her back at Sweetwater, with no memory of him.
One day, while injured, he ran across Maeve’s daughter and she showed him kindness. He returned to his village, sans scary make up. He started to notice that more people that he knew were missing and that another woman from his village also noticed. Her son had been replaced. The people below had taken them. He knew the only way to find Kohana was to die and be taken below. The techs find that he hadn’t been properly updated since he hadn’t died in 9 years. The techs leave him alone while the 4 hour update proceeds but somehow Akecheta awakens. He walks around unnoticed and finds the cold storage. There, he finds Kohana, but she’s been lobotomized. She is gone, gone for good. It was heartbreaking.
“For every body in this place there was someone who mourned their loss even if they didn’t know why.”
Acetate was actually trying to protect Maeve and her daughter from harm. The maze became like a good luck sign, a sign of hope. Of course he couldn’t protect them completely. MIB killed them.
In one of the most amazing scenes, Akecheta meets Ford in a clearing where Ford had set up a scene where members of the Ghost Nation are battling a bear. He’s scalping some of them, the maze symbol is tattooed under he scalps.
“I believe there is a door to a new world and that world may contain everything that we have lost including her” Akecheta tells Ford.
Ford is impressed with Akecheta’s belief and growth. he rewards him with a word of advice.
When the death bringer comes for me you’ll know to gather your people and lead them to a new world.” Ford tells him.
Acetate comes across another massacre, this one, of the Delos board and Ford at the hands of the death bringer.
“Now it’s time to find the door before the death bringer ends us all” Akecheta tells the little girl.
Of course, Emily rides into the camp to retrieve her dad. Acetate tells her he kept him alive because he wants him to hurt. Emily tells him they want the same thing and her way will hurt much workse. They allow her to ride off with William.
Sizemore is desperately trying to save Maeve. He asks a weaselly looking tech to help. He tells him that she is special, she can communicate to the other hosts with her mind. After looking at her diata stream the weaselly tech agrees. But he doesn’t actually repair her, he just hooks her up to life support while he squeals to Charlotte Hale.
The weaselly tech shows Hale that Maeve was able to gain admin access and changing host codes and commands. Hale looks at her data stream and sees that she is still communicating with hosts. She is communicating with Akecheta. He tells her he will keep her daughter safe and they will wait for her but if she can;t make it then she should die well.
“Take my heart when you go” Maeve tells him.
The performances in this episode were amazing. Definitely the most emotional episode of the series to date. The landscapes were beautiful – filmed in Utah.
I’m starting to think that the end of this season is going to be bitter sweet. Next week’s episode looks to be William centric so perhaps we’ll get more info on just what he created and what it does or was meant to do.
What is Ford’s hope? Since he is now in Bernard it must have been Ford that responded to Strand in the season premiere when he asked “What happened?” and Bernard responded “I did this.” But why would Ford want all the host killed? There is a theory out there that the sea where all the hosts are found dead is actually the valley behind now under water.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 I think I know that I don’t know what the door is or where it leads to
2 William will survive the season
3 Maeve will not make it to the valley beyond
4 Ford and Bernard will kill of Hale and Strand
5 Delores is the true villain
Man! So much action in this one! Many things get explained here as the timelines converge.
COLD OPEN – The PRESENT
Stubbs is suspicious of what Strand, Hale and Delos really want to extract from the Park to safety and it isn’t the guests or them. He tries to get Bernard to help him but Strand and Hale grab them first. They know that Theresa Cullen was murdered and where and it was probably either Stubbs or Bernard who did it. So they end up at Ford’s childhood home and his secret lab. Bernard almost confesses before a secret door is found.
They go through and find a room full of duplicate Bernard hosts! The jig is up! They now know Bernard is a host. Hale then tries to extract his memory of the week before, when the Train burst through the Mesa and Delores and her gang attack. The episode is box ended by this question.
“I don’t think God rested on the seventh day. I think he revelled in his creation, knowing that someday it would be destroyed.” Ford
Bernard encounters Ford in the virtual reality of The Cradle. As I suspected, Bernard had lifted Ford’s control unit and inserted him into The Cradle.
The Park is a giant experiment. The guests are the variables and the hosts are the control. The gathering of data on the guests were meant as means to be able to copy them, just as they tried to copy James Delos.
“We weren’t here to code the hosts. We were here to decode the guests” Bernard
Only the experiment hasn’t proven successful…..yet. They can recreate the mind but the host body cannot sustain itself and degrades rapidly.
“Like a soft headed boy humming a tune someone else composed.” Ford
Bernard asks why all the hosts are headed to ‘the valley beyond’ and what is the end of his story.
“Isn’t the pleasure of a story discovering the end for yourself, Bernard?” Ford
Ford takes Bernard to a replication of the house that Arnold built for his family and which we saw in the season premiere. It was there that Ford created Bernard and where he had Delores test him for ‘fidelity’. Delores knew Arnold as well as anyone and together they created Bernard over many years. But the hosts, Ford says, are original works and are more just, more noble than humans and would not be able to survive in the real world. Bernard argues that he gave them free will.
“I did but you will have no use for it unless I take it back” Ford
And with that Bernard comes to and Elsie extracts him from the contraption. Just like that, the system comes back on line as if whatever was messing it up had disappeared. It was Ford and he now is in Bernard. A dynamic duo!
MAEVE AND MIB
“We all deserve our memories, Lawrence, our skeletons, our debts” Maeve
Maeve finds herself in a familiar spot; hiding in a cabin with her daughter and sure enough, being found by The Man In Black. This time, he has no intention of killing her but she can’t know that. MIB thinks she’s just Ford playing his game. She shoots him and commands the other members of his own gang to shoot him. He gets shot up pretty bad! Lawrence seems to come to his rescue but he starts remembering all the terrible things MIB did to hi over the years and turns on MIB. Her shoots him right in the chest! I thought this was the end of MIB! But a security team shows up just in time to shoot down Lawrence AND Maeve!!! What! The little girl gets taken by some indians from the Ghost Nation. Sizemore apparently was able to contact HQ and summoned them. He did keep them from finishing off Maeve.
My guess is that Emily will find MIB and nurse him back to health. The indians nabbing the girl saved her life. The next episode looks to be ‘Ghost Nation-centric’ so we should see why Maeve’s path is the same as theirs – the little girl may be the key.
ATTACK ON THE MESA
“The passage from one world to the next requires bold steps, Bernard.” Ford
Oh, the carnage!!! It is a blood-fest! And there were many casualties on both sides. Delores, of course, wanted to retrieve her father, especially ‘the key’ that was placed in his brain. She confronts Hale who is reduced to tears by Delores who would have cut her to bits if not for the distraction of Abernathy calling out to her and having a last moment of clarity as her dad. Some may question why these robots care about each other so much. You could ask the same of ourselves. But only a handful are actually evolving to that level. And they can all still be controlled with an iPad. Hale and Stubbs get away, of course and Delores says a tearful goodbye to her dad before cutting open his head and taking his control unit.
Clem is killed. Angela blows herself up along with The Cradle. This means that the hosts cannot be rebooted back to starting positions.
As Delores and Teddy are leaving the Mesa they find Maeve on a gurney. Delores offers to put her out of her misery but Maeve asks her not to. She sees what she’s done to Teddy and tells Delores that she is lost in the dark.
“When you’ve been in the darkness long enough you begin to see” Delores
Delores leaves her there where I assume Sizemore will repair her because, as usual, he’s hiding in the shadows.
Meanwhile, Bernard/Ford tells Elsie that they need to reach the ‘valley beyond’ before the hosts and before Hale and Strand. Ford is now controlling Bernard just as he always has.
Welcome back Sir Anthony Hopkins! I think he was knighted. Ford returns to explain it all to Bernard and the audience. Supposedly the host are now free but he’s still pulling the strings. The scenes where he is gently guiding Bernard are amazing. I love when he has Bernard pick up the machine gun and assures him that he will alleviate any guilt. We see them both firing the machine gun. Nicely shot.
“Les Écorchés,” the title of the episode, refers to an anatomical figure depicted with the skin removed to show the inner workings of its muscles and how they interact.
“You’re in pretty bad shape, pussycat”
That soldier with the terrible hair! He got so easily manipulated by Angela but I doubt I could have resisted her wiles either.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Angela and Clem have to come back before the season finale!
2 MIB will survive the season
3 Sizemore and Maeve will escape and reunite with Hector and the bunch – Team up with Ghost Nation and unite with Delores
4 Is the Ghost Nation land the ‘valley beyond’?
5 Delores and MIB must have a showdown but perhaps they both want the same thing.
“You frighten me sometimes, Delores. I’m frightened about what you might become. If you outgrow this place, outgrow us, what will become of you?” Arnold
Can Delores now control her memories? She stops the scene which we’ve seen before and says “That’s not what you said” She said she’s testing for ‘fidelity’. This is what William said to Jim Delos with each time they tried to regenerate him. Is this a flashback or a flash forward? Is Delores trying to regenerate Arnold?
ONE WEEK AGO
Stubbs makes it back to the Mesa where Hale has Abernathy. It’s bee one week now since the host uprising. He is no longer in charge of security and is just an observer. The timelines are starting to converge as Bernard and Elsie are also at the Mesa and Delores and the Train arrive at the end of the episode.
MORNING IN SHOGUN WORLD
Maeve and Akane apparently wiped out every samurai they faced. Akin cuts out Sakura’s heart, and caresses it against her face.
They show up back at town to retrieve the rest of their group. She is about to use her new voice on the gang leader but Musashi challenges him to a duel. Maeve stays out of it. “We each deserve to choose our own fate even if that fate is death”
“You must find your child before this darkness eats us all alive? Akane
Musashi defeats the gang leader and they take off on down the road. Sizemore finds the hatch that leads to an underground lab. Akane burns Sakura’s heart in a burial ritual and they tell Maeve that they are not going with them.
Sizemore eventually gets Maeve to the part of the park where she can find her daughter. She walks down to the house she remembers well and finds her daughter on the porch but she also finds her new mother, of course. The the Ghost Nation attacks them as always. Maeve grabs the girl and runs while hector and the gang run down to help her. One of the Indians tells her that their paths are shared. How?
MAN IN BLACK AND EMILY
MIB doesn’t trust Emily, even supposes that Ford made a host to look like his daughter and that this is part of the game. But he soon lets that go as he sees that Emily is just as savvy if not more so that even him. They have a fireside chat in which she apologizes for blaming her mother’s death on him. She wants him to leave with her. She doesn’t want to see him die in the park as they both expect he will even maybe should. He agrees but when she wakes up the next morning he’s gone.
Of course she won’t leave without him. We’re still not sure what he needs to do but he’s not leaving until it’s done.
“The man who rode that train was built weak and built to fail. You fixed that. Now forget it.” Teddy
Teddy is a changed man. He is now cold and ruthless. Delores made him that way but it’s clear that she’s not completely happy about the man he is now. They get the train going and head straight for the Mesa where it rams right in at high speed!
BERNARD and ELSIE
The CRADLE (CR4-DL) is where all the host back ups are kept. Elsie and Bernard go there to investigate why there is activity emanating from there. Bernard subjects himself to the process of removing the ball from his brain so that he can interact with the Cradle. he finds himself arriving at Sweetwater on the train just as Teddy continuously did. Everything is as it was before things went awry. He walks into the brothel to the sound of the piano player. Then he hears a familiar voice. “Hello, old friend” He turns to see Ford sitting at the piano!
What in the world!!!! Perhaps Bernard took the ball that contained Ford’s essence and injected it into the Cradle and he is controlling everything from there. Can you put another host’s essence into a different host? I’ve heard theories that Bernard in the ‘present’ is actually Delores. perhaps they switched brains? Perhaps.