“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.
Shogun World is here! So many new revelations, big and small. No Man In Black in this one and that’s ok. This is Maeve’s episode with a couple of significant Delores/Wyatt scenes.
Strand and Hale are doing clean up. Clearing the human bodies from the Mesa control center and dragging the seas for host bodies. They are removing their brains to try and see what happened but a third of them are completely empty, ‘virgin’. They trying to recalibrate them to be under their control again. We see Teddy’s dead body lying on the heap. But who killed him? Per my last blog entry I’m thinking Delores but……..
“This place was never home, Teddy” Delores
Delores and Teddy return to Sweetwater. She wants to get the train working again so they can go after daddy. They go into the bordello and zombie Clem meets the new Clem and even seems to be mouthing her old lines along with new Clem. There’s some hint of ‘life’ in there yet.
“You can’t tell me that somewhere out there in all that beauty there isn’t a spot for us” Teddy tells Delores. “You’re a kind man”, she tells him and then they make love, I believe for the very first time. All seems good until Delores leads him to a place where she has Teddy held against his will as she instructs her human tech turn up the ‘mean’ settings on him. You see where they’re headed she doesn’t need a kind man. She needs one that will be ruthless and do as he’s told. Poor Teddy.
“That’s not supposed to happen” Sizemore
Maeve and her troupe are confronted by some samurai. Maeve tries to control them like she controls all other hosts (except Delores) but it doesn’t work. She used English and they didn’t understand her. But Siemore tells them that they have the ability to understand and speak several languages, they just need to access it which Maeve does.
As they are brought into town it all seems so familiar. Then you get it. This is Shogun World’s version of Sweetwater. Musachi is Shogun Hector, there is a Shogun Armistace complete with snake tattoo. Akane is Shogun Maeve and Sakura is Shogun Clem. They proceed to act out the safe robbery scenario we saw a few times in Season 1. Maeve actually gets upset with Sizemore, complaining that he took THEIR storylines and used them with other hosts. It’s hard to come up with fresh new stories!
“I think I’m finding a new voice.” Maeve
There is a terrific action sequence with attacking ninjas versus both sets of Hectors. Armistaces and Maeves. Maeve keeps trying to use her voice commands but keeps getting her moth covered or being choked! This is when she finds a new trick. Telepathy Command. She uses telepathy to issue commands to the ninjas culminating in getting one ninja to impale his eye onto a knife. The attack did result in the kidnapping of Sakura however who the Shogun had asked for and been refused.
When the Shogun’s army comes back Maeve asks Musashi to buy her some time so that Her, Akane, Sizemore, Sylvester and Felix can get away and go to meet with the Shogun. Maeve has a plan. On the way to see the Shogun, Sizemore runs across a dead Delos security guard and grans his walkie talkie. Let’s see how this comes into play in the future.
Once they meet with the Shogun Maeve’s voice commands do no work on him. We can see “brain juice” leaking from his ear so he’s in full malfunction mode. Akane and Sakura are prepared to dance but all of a sudden, the Shogun kills Sakura! Akane starts her dance and just as you notice what was that hair piece holding up her bun she pulled a knife from it and proceeded to cut off the Shogun’s head!!! Yowza! That even shocked Maeve!
Maeve then was able to use her telepathy to get the Shogun’s army to turn on each other. But once they had all killed each other another army of warriors was rushing the compound! Maeve raise her samurai sword above her head and prepared herself as the episode ended. Awesome finish!
I have been travelling for the last 10 days so I fell behind an episode so no predictions on this recap. I’ll be looking at Episode 6 today! I’m curious to see what Teddy has become after Delores has changed his settings!
Disobedience is based on a novel of the same name by by Naomi Alderman and directed by Sebastian Leilo. It is a tale a taboo and religion and family divisions. All perfect ingredients for a tale of conflict and tension. It doesn’t quite hit the bullseye but it gets close enough that I can say it’s definitely worth your time. I know the big draw for some is the talked about sex scene between the two female leads but the film has more to offer than just that. Although, my friend, Cheriece, who saw the film with me, thought the sex scene was a bit too porno for her taste, I thought it was tastefully and creatively shot. But you can decide for yourself.
An old rabbi falls dead in a synagogue and word is sent to his only daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz) a photographer in New York. She comes to London for the funeral and everyone is surprised to see her. She had been ostracized by her father and she had not been back since she was a young girl. Her father took in David (Alessandro Nivola) when he was young and raised him as his son and protege. Ronit is shocked to find that David has married Esti (Rachel McAdams) her childhood friend and we soon discover, lover and her relationship with her is the reason why her father disowned her.
You know where this is going and things get complicated especially when David agrees to let Ronit stay with Esti and him. Ronit leaving has as much to do with the fact that she didn’t want to live under Jewish orthodoxy rules as with her found out relationship with another woman, though it amounts to the same thing. Esti chose to stay but was she given much of a choice? The film doesn’t get too deep in the weeds about the religious aspect of orthodox judaism and that’s probably for the best. The focus is kept on the women, their relationship and their choices or lack thereof.
The film felt like a late 70s, early 80s film, one I would have seen on the Z Channel* growing up. The score by Matthew Herbert is very effective, strange and beautiful. It’s refreshing to see a film that doesn’t come with a soundtrack album with all the apropos recent hits on it, though it does make good use of an oldie but goodie by The Cure which fits the story and the scene and isn’t just laid over a montage.
The film doesn’t build up to the conclusion I expected. It was very even handed and understated. Perhaps I’m just so used to over the top histrionics that I am shocked when things don’t combust at the end of every film. Still, I would have liked a little more fireworks.
The performances are terrific. Rachel Weisz (who also produced) handles a lot of conflicted emotions wonderfully, so expressive. Rachel McAdams matches her scene for scene. Alessandro Nivola is so good. I have been an admirer of his work in film (Laurel Canyon) and on stage (A Lie Of The Mind) for a long time. The movie will probably disappear from theaters soon as they make way for all the Summer blockbusters but look for it on Netflix and On Demand, open a bottle of wine and you may find it an enjoyable watch one night.
“You live only as long as the last person who remembers you.” Ghost Nation Indian
The opening of this episode kind of reminded me of the the season two premiere episode of LOST where we see Desmond in the Hatch going through his daily routine. Here we see James Delos doing his daily routine in a lovely apartment while listening to The Rolling Stones Play With Fire on the turntable.
He is visited by younger William so we know this is long past. The scene ends early with William putting a document down on the table for Delos to look at.
We keep coming back to this scene only at different times in the past until the William that comes to visit hm becomes the William of the present. It turns out the main reason Delos invested in the park from the beginning was in the hope of living forever. Since his death they have been trying to transfer his essence, his mind into a host body made from his DNA. The document was the script of their conversation that had been programmed for him. Each time they have tried the Delos Host malfunctions and they burn him and the entire room to a cinder. Why? Why not just shut the Delos Host down and reuse the apartment?
On William’s final visit to the Delos Host he tells him that his wife is dead, Logan overdosed years ago, his daughter, and William’s wife, committed suicide. The latest version represented the 149th time they tried to revive him and has lasted 35 days before malfunctioning and that one day, in a couple more years they might get it right. But they’re not going to keep trying to perfect Delos as no one is around that remembers him anyway and the memory of him is better than he ever was in reality.
“The world is better off without you Jim and possibly without me” William says.
This time, however, William tells he tech not to burn the room and allow the Delos Host decay and study it.
The timeline indicates that this last visit happened just before William returns to Westworld for the last time, in the series premiere.
MAN IN BLACK
“Death is always true.” Man In Black
Meanwhile, back to the past, two weeks in the past, William and Lawrence arrive in Lawrence’s hometown to be greeted by Major Craddock and the other confederados that Teddy allowed to escape. They want the weapons they know are hidden in the town. Lawrence tells MIB where they are and MIB immediately tells Craddock in an attempt to make a deal to be allowed to go. Well Craddock and his men are animals and like to kill people for fun. When Craddock decides to have some fun with Lawrence’s wife it triggers something in MIB. Craddock starts dancing with the wife just like MIB did in Season 1 right before he coldly killed her. This time, MIB seems to have sympathy for her. he flashes to finding his wife dead in the bathtub. He decides to stop Craddock and kills him and his men.
As he prepares to move on, Lawrence and some of his cousins offer to go along as thanks for saving their lives. Lawrence’s daughter, channeling Ford, I assume, speaks to William.
“They may not remember but I know who you are, William. One good deed doesn’t change that. And you still don’t understand the real game we’re playing here. If you’re looking forward then you’re looking in the wrong direction”
“Is this now?” Bernard
Clementine drags Bernard to a cave and leaves him to find a still alive Elsie! Bernard hadn’t killed her but just left her manacled in the cave with some energy bars and a bucket! She’s understandably pissed. But she doesn’t kill him and instead Bernard reveals to her that he is a host.
“You rotated out. Where did you go when you rotated out? You have a family. You have a wife. You have a … backstory.” Elsie
Good question. Did Ford just put him in storage? Or is that when he worked on secret projects, secret even to him. This may be the case as Bernard remembers a secret lab within the cave. They did several lab techs dead as well as some drone host. One was still alive but Elsie kills it. Bernard keeps having pieces of memories coming back to him.
“I’ve been here recently.” he says, “They weren’t building host, not exactly”
They hear a noise coming from behind a locked door. When they break in they find the Delos Host and his glass booth apartment. The place is bathed in red light, the lab tech is dead and Delos is on his exercise bike, still running through his program. He’s gone made, though, his face all cut up from self inflicted wounds. Elsie is unable to kill him so Bernard steps in to keep Delos from killing Elsie.
“If you aim to cheat the devil you owe him an offering” James Delos
Elsie executes the termination program that sets the room on fire. Obviously, representing hell. Bernard remembers Ford sent him there to print a control unit for another human. Who? Ford?
He also remembers having the drone hosts kill the techs then snapping their own necks, save for the one Elsie kills. Bernard also finished off one of the techs himself with a nasty ‘curb stomp’. he doesn’t share this info with Elsie, of course.
“Hi dad” Emily
The woman we met last week who had the tussle with the bengal tiger is back. She’s been captured by members of the Ghost Nation who also have Stubbs and several other guests. Stubbs tells her that help is on the way but she is not waiting around. She also tells him she doesn’t want to get out of the park. as I suspected, she has a plan of her own. When they are all brought before ‘the first of their kind” she makes a run for it. It seemed too easy but then the head of the tribe whispers in Stubbs ear, “You live only as long as the last person who remembers you.” and all the indians disappear. It seemed like part of Ford’s game was to allow her to escape.
As MIB, Lawrence and his cousins ride across the prairie they see someone riding towards them, a woman, the woman who just escaped the indian party. And just as I called it! She’s MIB’s daughter!, Emily!
The host that was the head of Ghost Nation is also the host that met with Logan and introduced him to Angela in the season premiere. You also noticed that Major Craddock was at that cocktail party demonstration as well.
The husband and wife prisoners that were shown with Emily as guests from episode one! He actually became a hero by killing Hector during their safe robbery.
Great scene having Major Craddock force fed some nitro and Lawrence shooting him and blowing him up!
Loved James Delos (Peter Mullan) performance in this episode and especially his dancing! Nice one!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 That little ball / control unit Bernard put in his pocket is Ford
2 Emily will not kill ‘dad’
3 We haven’t seen the last of James Delos
4 Bernard will kill Elsie – for real this time
5 Strand and Stubbs will re-activate the hosts found dead in the sea and program them to fight the other hosts
People, are you confused? Are you getting lost? Are you angry because the new episodes are not like the old episodes? Hang in there! As far as I can make out, there was only one scene in this episode that took place in the ‘present’; that was early on when Strand, Stubbs and Bernard reach the Central Control Center and find Charlotte Hale. Charlotte is surprised to see that Bernard made it and confirms that Peter Abernathy is still on the loose. The rest of the episode takes place ‘two weeks ago’. It seems that the season will play out what happened directly after Ford is killed by Delores and culminate with what is happening in the ‘present’.
We are introduced to a new park. India World I call it. I hear that officially it’s called “The Raj”. This is a version of colonial India apparently. A beautiful and insolent young woman is approached by a handsome fellow and soon they are back in her boudoir and engaged in a heavy make out session But then she hits pause and picks up a gun. She needs to know if this guy is human or not. If he is then being shot will not kill him, it will just sting a little. Good news for her that her shot only stung him.
They head out on elephant on safari to hunt Bengals. But when they reach the camp she notices something strange, Where are the hosts that should be there as the cooks and assistants? Where are the other guests? Soon enough she finds some dead guests and their own guide turns on them. Her new paramour is killed and she runs for her life. Once she thinks she’s safe she is confronted by a hungry bengal tiger! She runs and seems to reach the edge of the park. She finds herself on top of a cliff overlooking an ocean. She reloads her gun and as the tiger leaps on her she shoots but the booth go over the edge and fall into the ocean.
We can put together that this is the dead bengal that is found by Strand, Stubbs and Bernard in Episode 1. We see a scene toward the end of the episode that confirms it. Also, the young woman survives and is fond by a band of Indians.
I think this woman is The Man In Black’s daughter, Emily. She seems very confident and cynical and knowledgeable which I’m sure stems from her father’s tutoring. Also she has a moleskin notebook with a map she references. What is she looking for?
DELORES, TEDDY AND THE CONFERADOS
“There is beauty in what we are; shouldn’t we too try to survive?” Delores
Bernard and Hale find Abernathy and try to snag him before the Confederates capture him but no luck. Hale escapes with her life but Bernard gets captured as well.
They’re brought back to Fort Forlorn Hope where Delores has struck a deal with the Colonel to join forces in order to survive the oncoming assault from Hale and her security team.
Delores tries to talk to Abernathy who she still sees as her father but he is all messed up. It’s a very moving scene. He recognizes her for awhile and slips back into his She asks Bernard to help and he discovers that the company has installed a complex encryption in his system. Whatever it is is what they were trying to sneak out. Abernathy keeps saying he needs to get to the train which was what he was programmed to to. While Bernard tries to sort out Abernathy, Hale and her security team attack the fort. Delores is in charge and that turns out to be bad news for the colonel and his men. She uses them as fodder her actual plan which was to lure the security team to the fort’s gates and then blow them up with the nitro that was buried beneath them.
Hale also had a good plan. She and a few men infiltrate the fort from the back and grab Abernathy. Delores and Teddy try to stop them but they get away with Abernathy.
Delores asks/orders Teddy to kill the remaining Confederados including Major Craddock but Teddy could not do it and instead lets them all escape. This really disappoints Delores.
MAEVE, HECTOR AND SIZEMORE
“She has a dragon!” Hector
Our odd trio run into trouble with some Indians. (Lots of Indians in this episode!) Luckily, Sizemore knows where the underground facilities are and they find one. While down there Sizemore and Hector get in a tiff. Sizemore can’t understand why Hector and Maeve are together, that is now what was programmed. Hector is supposed to be heartsick over the love of his life. It turns out that Sizemore wrote in his own real life heartache into Hector’s storyline. Maeve intuitively sees that Hector is who Sizemore wishes he was. They’re trying to humanize Sizemore and make him more likable. We’ll see,
We also see more reunions! Armistice is back and with a wicked awesome cyborg arm! And Felix and Sylvester! Maeve’s motley crew is
The episode ends with Maeve and company entering a forest when a light snow begins to fall. Sizemore at first thinks they’ve entered the Klondike narrative but after digging into a pile of snow and finding the head of an asian man with a helmet he realizes he was wrong. All of a sudden your hear a scream and the gang is confronted by a samurai!!!!
Bernard is still glutting pretty badly. He needs some more brain juice.
Why are some guns able to kill real people and some aren’t? Is there a button you can push that activate bullets to be real?
I’ve seen that the woman’s name in the opening sequence is ‘Grace’ but I still think it’s William’s daughter Emily.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Maeve will lead an army of samurai to aid Delores
2 What’s in Abernathy has something to do with Man In Black’s secret place. Delores called it a ‘weapon”
3 Logan Delos is still alive.
4 Sizemore will become a good fighter!
5 More sure now that Delores will kill Teddy.
“A strange new light can be just as frightening as the dark.” Delores
I know a lot of people were confused by the season premiere. It did present a lot of know information as well as two different time lines. Well, Episode Two puts the pedal to the metal and it’s full stream ahead with additional timelines and incredible new information about the real intention of the Delos Corporation investing in the park. And much, much more.
Timeline 1 – Before the opening of The Park – Estimate 35+ years Ago
Arnold and Ford made a presentation to Logan Delos in order to get the Delos Corporation to make an investment. They bring Angela and Delores to the mainland for this. So Delores has seen the outside world! Arnold shows her the house he’s building for his family so his son Charlie is still alive. Arnold mentions that he’s building the house to have his family closer to the park so this place most be Hong Kong or Thailand?
“It looks like the stars have been scattered across the ground. Have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?” Delores
Delores is astounded about this world and you can see she’s very evolved already at this point but her improvisational skills are not yet developed. Arnold is very protective of Delores, obviously his favorite and tells Ford she’s not ready to be the main attraction in the demo for Logan so they use Angela instead. Logan, of course, is very impressed and sleeps with Angela as part of the ‘demo’. Arnold did not want to use Delores in this way.
Timeline 2 – After the opening of The Park – Estimate 30 Years Ago
We see another glimpse of the past. William and James Delos are in the park. Teddy and Delores are frozen in front of them on the streets of Sweetwater. William makes his pitch to Delos on why investing in Westworld is good business. William sells the idea that the guests are the most important thing to consider. They will make them believe that they can do what they please there and no one will know but in fact, they will keep tabs on all the guests actions in the park to be used for other purposes.
Estimate 25 or so Years Ago
We see a retirement party at the Delos mansion a few years later. Delos is obviously sick and William is poised to take over. Delores has been brought in as the entertainment, to play the piano at the party. Delores runs into Logan by the pool and we see that he has become a junkie. But he insinuates to Delores that William and his father have made a mistake with The Park and that it will all come down around them. We also see William’s wife and young daughter, Emily. Emily approaches Delores and says she’s beautiful. Who does Emily grow up to be?
“You really are just a thing. I can’t believe I fell in love with you” William
The last scene we see from the past is so sad. William has Delores in what seems to be the main control center we’re all familiar with. He can now see that she is not real and just a ’thing’. But his adventure with her has focused him on himself and he shows her a part of the park that is under construction that represents his master plan.
The things is that Present Day Delores remembers ALL of this now. Everything that was said in front of her and shown to her that they thought would be wiped clean from her memory she has retained.
Timeline 3 – The Aftermath of Ford being shot – Estimate Two Weeks Ago
Delores, Teddy, Angela and their cohorts arrive at the Control Center. Teddy finally faces what they are and what has been done with them. He is shown is past which is many pictures of the many times he’s been killed. Delores enlist one of the few remaining technicians to join them on their quest for the ‘valley beyond”. She has the tech bring back to life a confederate soldier.
“Revenge is just a different prayer and altar, darling and I’m well off my knees. “ Maeve
They run into Maeve, Hector and Sizemore. Is this the reunion of the title? They remember each other though both are very different these days. Delores wants Maeve to come with them but Maeve has her own plans and since they are both free she asks Delores to let her pass. Delores does so, reluctantly.
Delores uses the reanimated Confederate soldier to make contact with a small band of soldiers in order have them lead her to the entire army. The army she needs to get to wherever she’s going. These guys, of course, have no use for a woman and so Delores, Teddy and Angela have to kill them all then she has the tech bring them back to life. Point made. God is dead. Now they have Delores.
“Glory, the valley beyond. Seems like everyone’s got a different name for it, but they’re all bound for the same destination.” Teddy
Meanwhile William needs allies of his own and he finds his old friend Lawrence, hanging upside down above an ant hill. William shoots the three fellas that were planning on torturing Lawrence. But one of them isn’t dead and attacks William. Lawrence manages to swing his way over to a gun and save William who just has to laugh out loud. “Death isn’t what it used to be, Lawrence.” he says.
They head to a little cantina where William punches a hole in the wall and pulls out a modern first aid kit to heal his wounds. Sure its breaking the rules but since Ford has changed all the rules it doesn’t matter. He tells Lawrence that they are all free but that the ‘whole enterprise is going up in flames and they’ll all be dead soon, real life dead.” William tells Lawrence:
“They wanted a place hidden from God. A place they could sin in peace. But we were watching them. We were tallying up all their sins, all their choices. Of course judgement wasn’t the point. We had something else in mind entirely.”
“We’re headed to the pearly gates, don’t we need to die to get there?” Lawrence asks.
“Nope, three days due West” William says. But they will have to go through Pariah and hundreds of Federales. So they go to pariah and William tries to enlist the character Lawrence used to play long ago – El Lazo. And what a surprise to see Gus Fring himself or should I say Giancarlo Esposito is now El Lazo. William tries to convince him and his men to join him but it was not to be.
“This game was meant for you, William but you must play it alone.”
And all his men point their guns to their own heads and shoot, including El Lazo. What a great cameo! Ford is still pulling the strings, it seems.
William tells Lawrence that “This place we’re going is my mistake”
But he showed Delores things place all those years ago and so she is headed there as well. She tells Teddy that the place their headed to is a weapon and that she is going to use it to destroy them.
Well, hell. What did William build and how can Delores use it to destroy the humans. Did William and Delos set up a place that was cloning real people?
Is William looking to destroy this facility? It must be more because whatever he plans to do it will bring down the whole park. All the parks?
I loved seeing the helicopter arrive above Sweetwater. The more the show lets you see of the inner workings the more mysteries it creates.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 I think there are more timelines being presented than we understand.
2 I think we’re going to see Bernard’s son Charlie meet Delores
3 The Valley Beyond / Glory / The Pearly Gates – all elude to Heaven. Could it just be Shogun World?
4 Felix is with Armistice somewhere!
5 Delores will kill Teddy