Summary: Carol and Susan decide to get married and Ross is conflicted. Eventually when they get into an argument, Ross ensures that the wedding does happen. Rachel's mother comes to visit and tells Rachel that she wants to divorce her father. Phoebe is possessed by the spirit of an old woman who recently died.
The Good: This was very funny throughout and there were some hilarious moments which helped to make up for some of this episode's flaws. The Phoebe storyline was pretty ridiculous and far-fetched but it featured several great laughs and funny moments to make it feel worth it. The highlight of course being the old man who makes an effort to sleep with Phoebe. That scene was really great. The Rachel storyline was very good here as well. There was some genuine emotion and purpose to it as Rachel's mother is going through a story which ties in a lot with Rachel's personal life. That added on a lot to the good comedy that Rachel's mother provided. The titular wedding was very funny as well with Chandler and Joey getting in a lot of hilarious lines and Ross being his usual funny self through his awkward interactions. I also liked Monica's stressed out anger as she forced everyone to work. It created a few well-timed laughs. Joey's performance on Days of our Lives was a nice little scene to get as well, showing good continuity from last episode. In general, this episode had some of the best laughs in the whole season.
The Bad: Phoebe being possessed was too ridiculous for my liking and it was treated too normally. I understand that this show is a sit-com but to have something unrealistic like that really hurts my immersion to the show. I wish that the Rachel storyline led somewhere as it didn't really get a definitive conclusion. Joey's "smell the fart" acting was a little too on the nose for me (pun intended), as it felt extremely unreal to see acting like that on a soap opera.
Best Moment: The old man scene was fantastic comedy.
Character of the Episode: Chandler, though everyone was good in this episode.
Conclusion: This episode had some big flaws with realism, but it was consistently funny and had a lot of good, meaningful storylines which is a big improvement from the last episode's weaker storylines. This was good fun.
Summary: Joey isn't sure what to do with his acting career, but he then gets a good audition for Days of our Lives. Joey learns that he has to sleep with someone to get the part. Rachel dates a guy who looks and acts just like Ross. Monica gets Fun Bobby to stop drinking and he becomes extremely dull.
The Good: I like that they made the Russ storyline fit the episode thematically with it feeling like a soap opera plot. I thought it was a funny little parody dynamic. Also some of Ross and Russ' conversations had funny moments. Monica's story was okay and had the occasional laugh. Joey's storyline was the best here and his character got a spotlight here. I liked his conflict where sleeping with a girl, something he often does, stands in between him and his job, yet he doesn't want it because he wants a good role because of his own talent. I did laugh when his hesitation ended up working in his favour, getting him an even better role. It was a nice bit of irony.
The Bad: The Russ plot felt very dumb and far too clichéd to be properly enjoyable. It didn't produce enough laughs to feel worth it either. I struggle to believe that Rachel wasn't able to piece together who similar Russ and Ross were. The Fun Bobby storyline felt bland and pointless. It didn't accomplish anything and there were no good laughs throughout. It was a typical sitcom storyline with Fun Bobby suddenly changing, causing Monica to develop his problem for the final laugh which really isn't that funny. It was simply okay and got far too much screen time for such an average story.
Best Moment: I'll go with Chandler joking about being in a soap opera because it fit the episode in a funny way.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: The Joey story was very good, but everything else was typical and extremely average. The laugh count was far below average as well. One of the show's weaker episodes.
Summary: The Man in Black reveals to Dolores that he is William. Dolores finally gains true consciousness like Arnold had hoped. It's revealed that the maze was Arnold's revised idea of how to achieve consciousness for the hosts. It's also revealed that Teddy and Dolores' shootings in Escalante are the same incident as Dolores is actually Wyatt. Maeve, Hector and Armistice make their escape. Only Maeve makes it to the train but she decides not to leave to find her daughter. Ford unveils his new narrative which features Dolores killing him before killing everyone else as all the other hosts arrive to wreak havoc.
The Good: This was a great season finale, and was Westworld's best episode since its pilot. The season has been really hurt by convoluted storylines and unclear characters, so it's no surprise that the show excels when the plot is finally made clear and characters well-defined at last.
This was a very lengthy episode with an absolute ton of stuff which I enjoyed to talk about. I'm going to tackle everything at random because formatting this is going to be a real effort.
The Teddy storyline early on was well done. I really liked that we had a brief pay-off with the man who always bumps into Teddy as he kills him out of reflex after experiencing memory flashes. I also like how it helped to tie into the reveals going on in the Dolores storyline while also establishing that Teddy is approaching true consciousness along with all the other hosts.
Next I'll focus on the huge answers we got for the maze and Arnold. I thought the entire sequence when we learned about the maze was beautifully executed and provided us with very easy-to-follow exposition. I thought the actual answer that the maze was Arnold's revised pathway to consciousness was an immensely satisfying answer to the big question and it really fits in with the show thematically. Arnold's scenes with Dolores in the past regarding the maze were excellent as we got to really understand Arnold as a character when we see how he desperately wants Dolores to gain consciousness and to be real. I feel that this episode did an absolute ton to make us understand and care about the struggle Arnold went through, so we could actually understand why he wouldn't want the park to open and why he was so hell-bent on getting the hosts to consciousness.
As for the other big reveal regarding William, I thought it was handled very well. I did predict it, but I still thought it was a great reveal and it definitely helped make me care about William much more now that he is both William and the Man in Black, two characters who I sort of halfway understood. With both characters being one, it gives William much more depth so I can understand him much better than I did before.
Now regarding Dolores, I do like how they gave us a reason to care for her at last. Arnold did explain how suffering is what makes a human, and her suffering here finally awakens her consciousness. It also allows me to finally care about her character who seemed pretty average for the entire season. Evan Rachel Wood has put in a hell of a performance and it felt like a shame for her character to be rather bland. However, things finally came together in this episode for her. The explanation for Dolores' weird flashes was also great as she was apparently going back on the trek she went on with William while tragically imagining that she was back with him again. It's pretty tragic and does a lot to help us care for Dolores. We also got an explanation for the gun we saw her with before, as it apparently was the same gun she used to kill Arnold.
The Maeve storyline was pretty god with some nice twists and turns. The return of Bernard was great and I'm more than happy to see that he is still alive. But more importantly, the reveal that everything Maeve has done so far was programmed is pretty big. Apparently Ford wanted Maeve to escape Westworld herself to get to the real world. However, this twist wasn't just meaningless as it made the big moment where Maeve goes back for her daughter more significant, as this is now officially her first move where she went against her code.
It was great to get more motives for William to get a better idea of his character. Apparently he is looking for a real game to play with real stakes, which is good to know. It makes perfect sense and fits in with the character of William both in the past and present.
The unveiling of the final narrative by Ford was great. He delivered a really dramatic speech and his death scene was picture perfect and fit in completely with his character. I like that we finally understood what his goal was here, as he revealed that he is now correcting his mistake and is now going to finally complete Arnold's wishes for the hosts to achieve true consciousness.
The Bad: Once more, the Westworld staff are hopelessly incompetent. The fact that people can just change core host code with nobody noticing is a critical oversight. Additionally, having the core staff get locked down in the main room with no power is incredibly stupid has no realistic sense to it. And furthermore, nobody is watching any of the workers to make sure they aren't doing anything wrong which is just plain stupid. The stupidity of the Westworld staff is easily the weakest part of this show.
The show still had serious emotional problems here, notably with Maeve. We don't know enough about Maeve's relationship with her daughter, so I really can't buy into her decision to stay for her daughter. Furthermore, I think the entire season lost emotional attachment because of the show's desire to keep everything a surprise. Had we known about Arnold, understood that the MiB and William are one and the same, and also understood Ford's motives, I believe that the show would have been much better and more engaging.
The Unknown: Was Dolores modelled after somebody in Arnold's life?
What was with the dog in Teddy's flash? Does it have importance in the story?
What is the real world? We know that Westworld is in the future, but how is everything outside of it in the future?
Did William kill Logan somehow? Was it the host's bomb when it left the park? How would the Westworld staff just let that happen and how would they not get sued? Or is Logan still alive somehow?
Why did Ford want to send Maeve to the mainland? Also, considering the term mainland, does that mean Westworld is on an artificial island or something?
There were samurai training during Maeve's escape with the logo of SW. Is there a Samurai World which will be explored next season?
Is Ford truly dead? Or was that a fake version of him or something along those lines?
What will Armistice do next now that she escaped the door? Could she leave the park in Maeve's place?
Best Moment: The final speech by Ford followed by Dolores killing all while the host army arrives was the perfect note to end this season.
Character of the Episode: I'll give this one to Ford for once more being amazing, though Dolores is a close second.
Conclusion: This was a very good finale with plenty of great moments and a lot of pay-off. It delivered on all of my expectations and provided us with the most emotion and spectacle since the first episode.
As for the season as a whole, I thought it was enjoyable but had an absolute ton of wasted potential. After the great pilot, I would have hoped for a much better series with exciting moments and genuine emotion at seeing the hosts start acting out. Unfortunately, the show was clogged up by an endlessly confusing plot which completely took away from any possible emotional attachment. And yet, the show's biggest weakness was also its biggest strength, as it was very unique fun to try and piece together exactly what was going on in this show. Being unique is one thing this show definitely did, as watching it felt different from every other show on television, which I think is why it is a show that is worth watching, whether you enjoy it or not. It tried something new and while it didn't completely succeed, it was still something different. As for season 2, I'm not sure how to feel about it. It would be a pain to get yet another season of confusion, and I don't see that happening, but I have to wonder how the writers are going to make up for losing the entire confusion aspect of the show and I have to question if they are actually capable of writing a proper story. I do hope they are because we could get something special next season. This entire season almost feels like an extended prologue, and I'm interested to see which direction the main story goes from here.
Summary: Bernard inspects Maeve but Maeve controls him and tells him to find the truth. Maeve finds Hector and recruits him for her escape. Logan exposes that Dolores is a robot to William but Dolores fights back and escapes. William pretends to be back to Logan's side but when Logan sleeps, William kills all of his men. Teddy is killed by the girl host who reveals to be semi-conscious at least. The Man in Black is let go and meets Dolores. Ford is confronted by Bernard who wants the truth. HE learns that he was modelled to be an exact replica of the dead Arnold. Ford takes control of the situation however and has Bernard kill himself.
The Good: The answers continue to flow at a consistent and immensely satisfying place. This episode gave us some really great reveals which helped make the story a little more clear, while edging us closer and closer to having an idea of the complete story of Westworld, which will hopefully be revealed to us in the finale.
One of these great reveals was the reveal that Bernard was created in the image of Arnold. I know a lot of people had theorized about this, but this reveal caught me by surprise which made me appreciate it even more. It answers some big questions about why Bernard was talking to Dolores, as it instead seems that it was Arnold talking to her. This also all but confirms the multiple timeline theory I had thought up a while ago, and I even have some new parts to that theory which I will discuss below (see: The Unknown).
The actual scenes between Ford and Bernard were great as well. It's interesting to see that Maeve had a full effect on Bernard to force him to have a desire for the complete truth from Ford. The confrontation itself was very tense since we were led to believe that Ford was being pressured by Bernard, which made it all the more impactful when Ford turned the tables back around. Of course the performances of Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins were sublime as usual.
The scenes with William, Logan and Dolores were very good as well. William and Logan haven't been particularly likeable thus far, but their stories and characters were clearly defined here, making their conflict make sense throughout. I was decently engaged throughout their story.
Maeve recruiting Hector was a nice scene too which I thought was nicely written and executed. The Maeve storyline has done a good job of making me slowly care for the hosts and almost hope for them to escape or turn the tables on the humans.
The Bad: The trap for the Man in Black seemed ridiculous. Again, how the hell are the hosts allowed to set up a literal death trap without anybody doing anything? Sure, they sent Charlotte to help, but shouldn't it be completely against protocol to have death as a possibility in Westworld? Also shouldn't the staff notice that the hosts under Wyatt's control are conscious in some ways?
The same problems with emotion still exist, but I suppose that can't be helped when the show is two episodes away from the finale. I've accepted it as one of the show's flaws at this point.
The Unknown: How was Dolores able to hurt Logan? How did that happen? What happened to Dolores' wound? Or is there yet another Dolores timeline?
What were with Teddy's memories with Wyatt? They were at the same town as Dolores' flash in the last episode. Could those two stories be linked? Also where is Wyatt? The girl said he was gone. And how does the girl seem to remember things? Also, Wyatt's guys didn't react to Stubbs telling them to freeze motor functions. How does that work? Did Ford program them that way or something?
So Charlotte stills wants to throw out Ford. How does she know the Man in Black? Do they have similar agendas of sorts?
Why was Elsie's signal way out there? Did Stubbs get killed?
So apparently Dolores killed Arnold. How? Why? Why wasn't she deactivated for it?
Okay so here is my big theory about the timelines. I'm thinking that the Man in Black is the same person as William for a number of reasons. For one, we know that the Man in Black is from at least 30 years after Westworld was created and that he basically kept the park going. I believe that William took control of Logan's company and helped keep the park afloat. And there are a number of details pointing towards this. For one, we see William getting more violent and he says he is learning to play the game, a quote that the Man in Black frequently uses. But more damningly, we see William using the exact same knife that the Man in Black carries with him. Additionally, when Dolores is opened up, she has machinery inside of her. Yet we know from Maeve that the hosts in the present day don't have machinery inside of them, proving that the William and Logan story takes place in the past. Also the end of the episode has Dolores wondering if William has arrived at the church, before the Man in Black arrives and says hello. That seems to be some very well done foreshadowing. I'm sure there are other details I'm missing because this show is fantastically written, but I'm 100% confident in this theory.
Best Moment: Nothing in particular stood out, but the reveal of Arnold being Bernard was the most impactful moment for me.
Character of the Episode: Bernard/Arnold.
Conclusion: This was another strong episode which featured some great answers, though the show still remains mostly incapable of providing true emotions. Still, I enjoyed this episode as the show's convoluted narrative does become clearer with every episode. And I must give some credit to the show for making such a complex story make sense while we watch the show.
Summary: Monica starts tipping people with cookies instead of cash and gets negative results. Monica and Rachel host a Christmas party but their radiator breaks and the room gets really hot. Phoebe learns that her grandma has been hiding her true dad from her. She gets the location of her true dad and goes to meet him, but is scared that he won't be what she hopes.
The Good: This was a really solid episode of comedy. The storylines for each character were solid enough and there was some great comedy. Ross in particular was fantastic and he really shone as he continued to fret about all the things Rachel hilariously said about him. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but David Schwimmer brings some real life into Ross to make his character much funnier than it should be. It's really something quite brilliant. As for the other storylines, I thought they also were quite good. Phoebe's story had some good laughs in it and the concept of her grandma pretending her father was the picture frame guy is very clever and leads to a bunch of great jokes. Phoebe ultimately being scared to meet her father was a great storyline too which was easily relatable and also had Chandler and Joey around to provide some funny lines throughout.
The Bad: Nothing was truly bad, but this episode just didn't stand out enough. There were some good chuckles, but no huge laughs and the story wasn't quite as good as some of the recent episodes. I also feel that Rachel and Ross should have been a little more aggressive towards each other in this episode.
Best Moment: Ross asking Monica over and over if he is obsessive was hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This was a very good episode with some nice laughs and it is easily an above average comedy episode, though it is a bit of a step down from the sheer quality of the last 5 episodes.
Summary: Ross has to pick between Julie and Rachel and makes a list of cons for Rachel and Julie with Chandler and Joey. Ross chooses Rachel who is overjoyed, but she sees the list and doesn't want to be with Ross anymore. Ross tries to get Rachel on his side again. Monica gets a job making food products for a new brand called mockolate.
The Good: The story in this episode was tremendous. It flowed so logically and realistically throughout, and every development came naturally from the characters saying things that they would normally say, and doing things that they would normally do. Of course Chandler and Joey would suggest the list to Ross since they don't think about what would happen if Rachel found out. That fits their characters. Of course Ross would be really confused and lost, being in such an awkward situation. Of course Rachel would want to see what the guys were writing about her, not expecting to find something negative like she did. The list of great organic moments go on and on, making this a really satisfying chapter in the story, providing a very logical split for Ross and Rachel to further complicate their story. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this story unfold, as the writing was actually better than most dramas. But of course story isn't a priority in comedy episodes. The real question is, was this episode funny? And thankfully, yes it was. The characters still provided an absolute ton of great jokes throughout these serious situations and I got some of the best laughs this season from this episode. All the characters shined here, and Michael McKean was fantastic in his subplot, helping to add some much needed levity throughout the serious story points.
The Bad: Phoebe singing about the love triangle was funny, but it doesn't really make much sense and it seemed like a pretty cruel thing for her to do to Ross, who clearly just wanted to get off the topic.
Best Moment: The entire scene when Rachel tried to grab the list after it was accidentally printed by Chandler. All three guys were hilarious as they desperately tried to keep the list from Rachel, especially Joey who had the bright idea of Chandler reading to Rachel, which felt like a real thought he would have in his head to save them.
Character of the Episode: Rachel for this one, but it's close.
Conclusion: This was an awesome episode, the best of the season so far. Comedies are always at their best when a great story is combined with lots of funny jokes. This season has delivered a lot for the jokes in recent episodes, but this one went above and beyond for the story, making the episode hit that next level. Excellent stuff.
Summary: Rick and the group return to the camp at the quarry. Rick reunites with Lori and Carl. Lori is mad at Shane for lying about Rick being dead. Merle's brother Daryl is mad that Merle was left behind. Rick goes with him, along with Glenn and T-Dog to get Merle and the guns in Rick's bag he left behind. They go to the rooftop but find that Merle has escaped by severing his own hand with a buzzsaw.
The Good: This was more solid stuff. I appreciate that the show slowed down the pacing a bit, which helps preserve the walker drama for use later on. This also allows for the show to start developing its characters to help us appreciate them a little more. It's good to get an instalment where all the characters just get a chance to breathe without the threat of walkers lurking around every corner.
Surprisingly, the best part about this episode was the existence of a bit of a love triangle, though thankfully the focus of the storyline doesn't appear to actually be on the love triangle part of it. The drama between Rick, Shane and Lori was very good and I am interested to see where it goes (see: The Unknown). I think it could make for some good conflict between Rick and Shane, and Rick and Lori which can be really enjoyable content if handled in a smart, non-melodramatic way. Before the love conflict though, was the reunion which I thought was well done and provided a good moment of emotion for the characters.
I was very happy with the opening scene of Merle trying to escape his handcuffs. Michael Rooker was just brilliant in that scene and brought real life and conflict to Merle in that brief scene as he struggles to deal with his fate, slowly going crazy through everything that's happening. It was very well done.
Rick going back for Merle was a very welcome development. Not only did it give this episode some drive later on, but it has also given us a chance to help understand some of our main characters (Glenn, Daryl & T-Dog) presumably in the next episode. I loved that Rick had deeper motivations to going back than just to save Merle. That would have been the clichéd "good guy" thing to do, but instead with the added depth of Rick wanting to get the walkies to help Morgan who he feels he owes a debt to, Rick feels like a deeper and more realistic character. It just so happens that Merle is also in the place where he left the bag.
I enjoyed the ending scene too. Shane destroying Ed was nice as it allowed him to take out some frustration, hinting at how he may be a little bit of a danger to the group, which is a good continuation of how he seemingly got far too caught up in playing leader in the previous episode and this one. In contrast to that though was the fantastic twist when we see that Merle has severed his own hand to escape the handcuffs. That was a great cliff-hanger to end off on and it promises a much better tension-based episode coming up as a follow-up to this one.
The Bad: This was a slower episode with limited plot movement, but it didn't do anything to make any characters not named Rick, Merle or Shane stand out. Everyone just kept to their single character trait they were given which didn't make me care for anybody any more than I did last episode. All the new characters were bland as well with very little to them. Ed is just a generic asshole, which is made especially worse since we already have Merle and Daryl playing that role. It gets annoying when like 33% of the male characters are assholes. And while on the topic of sexism, the whole women doing laundry thing did bother me a little bit, though not as much as it probably bothered some others. And of course I thought Daryl was a pretty lazy character as a younger and slightly more tolerable version of Merle.
There were a couple of weirdly written moments too. T-Dog mentioning the lock only when the group finally got back to their campsite was ridiculous in my eyes. He must have been horribly conflicted about what happened to Merle, so why not at least tell the others that he may have saved Merle's life. But perplexingly, T-Dog keeps it to himself, prolonging the amount of time Merle would be suffering alone on the rooftop. There was also Lori's decision-making process when it came to Rick leaving. She is mildly against it at first, but then suggests Rick going to save Merle anyways as if she has accepted it, but then walks away upset as if Rick said this without consulting her and then confronts him later, this time very upset. It all felt very sloppily written and just makes Lori out to be even more annoying than she already was. Also did Rick and Lori seriously have sex like 3 feet away from a sleeping Car? Seriously?
The Unknown: How will Shane deal with the Lori situation? What will that conflict come to? How will Rick get involved? Did Shane just say Rick died to start getting it on with Lori? Or was it just to get them out of the hospital? Or did Shane really think Rick died?
Where has Merle gone now? I expect he is heading back to camp to extract some vengeance.
Best Moment: I'll pick the opening scene, as it stood out more than anything else this episode.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode, but the poor character work and occasionally weak writing does hurt the score quite a bit.
Summary: Ford has Bernard stage Theresa's death to look like an accident. Ford uses this to expose Theresa as a traitor of sorts and has Bernard reinstated. Charlotte talks to Lee to formulate a new plan. Teddy remembers the Man in Black and turns on him. The Man in Black reveals his past. Dolores and William are found by Logan. Maeve modifies herself to gain control over other hosts but has a flashback and accidentally kills the new Clementine. She is brought in for examination.
The Good: Ford cleaning up after Theresa's death was great. His scene explaining what happened was fantastic as it was him sending a very subtle threat to Charlotte who has every reason to suspect him. This wasn't about Ford not being suspicious though, but rather it was him taunting Charlotte and letting her know to not get in his way. The scene was really fascinating in the way all the Ford scenes have been. Just as good as that scene though, were the 2 scenes between Ford and Bernard. Their dynamic is extremely entertaining and unique since Ford treats him as a real person and almost like a subordinate of his until it is convenient for him to calm Bernard down. Their scenes are fun and the acting is fantastic from both men.
It was fantastic to see the Man in Black's history so we can understand him more as a character. It was a great scene where he laid out his backstory while Maeve experienced her flashbacks and I thought the editing and cinematography was excellent in that scene. The Man in Black has been one of the biggest things early in the season that has just provided confusion without much explanation. To finally get his backstory is immensely satisfying and helps me care a little bit more about him as a character.
By far the best thing about this episode in my opinion is that it provided a ton of answers, while leaving things vague enough to leave room for a ton of speculation heading into the final 2 episodes of the season. We learned a ton about Maeve's past, the Man in Black, Ford's motives, Dolores' strange flashes and Arnold's role in everything. We also got a truckload of information regarding Dolores and Ford's new narrative (see: The Unknown) which answered a lot and tied together a bunch of plot lines in expert fashion. It was tremendously satisfying, but we still haven't received complete answers for everything. Things are left vague enough for me to anticipate the final 2 episodes which will hopefully fill in the holes.
The Bad: I still have massive problems with the Westworld staff. It is incredibly hard to believe that Sylvester and Felix have the skillset to give Maeve what she wants and it's even harder to believe that nobody is noticing or questioning what they are doing. This entire storyline feels incredibly unrealistic because of these constant inconsistencies. I have praised Westworld's writing, but it seems the one thing the writing was shockingly sloppy on was the staff of Westworld and how organized they are. They really just come off as irresponsible and disorganized buffoons that should have no business running a high maintenance park like this one.
This also tied in to ruin Maeve's big scene when she manipulates everyone. It was certainly cool to see, but how does nobody notice that she is making hosts go against their script? Are there no staff members watching? And how do they only notice her disturbance when she kills Clementine and nothing else? The Westworld staff problem is severely detracting from my enjoyment of a lot of these scenes.
I enjoyed the Man in Black's story but it feels like it came way too late. The show was too concerned with being mysterious and confusing early on, which detracted from my enjoyment. Had we received this information early on, it would have given us a drive to follow the Man in Black's journey and be interested and I think it would have made his scenes much more interesting with better drama. But instead the show waited to tell us this information, and I think if it hadn't, I may have enjoyed some of the earlier episodes much more.
The Unknown: Why is it so tough to kill Wyatt's men? Are they hosts created by Ford to be even stronger?
A really interesting line comes when Ford reveals that he is aware of other hosts experiencing troubles with memories. Does this mean he orchestrated them? Is he in control of that too? Just how much does Ford have control over? Staying on Ford, what is his new narrative exactly? What does Wyatt have to do with the narrative? And also why did Ford dig up a town for it?
Tying into the dug up town is Dolores' storyline. I'm positive that the town she was in is the one Ford unearthed. Why? Because we see that church steeple, which Ford did find several episodes ago. More interestingly though is how this plays into my multiple timelines theory. Apparently Ford has already unearthed the town, yet when Dolores and William find it, it is still buried. Could the William and Dolores storyline take place in the past? And even more interestingly, it seems that there is yet another timeline since the Dolores that was talking to William was also experiencing flashbacks to something else. What is that event? I have no clue, but I'm very excited to find out what it was since apparently Dolores was killing a lot of hosts in that town. And more intriguingly, why was that town buried? Was it because of that incident? Could that incident have something to do with the incident that happened in Westworld before it opened? The answers feel so close yet there are just a couple elusive plot points that are preventing the answers from being clear.
So is that Arnold's voice we have heard in Dolores' head? What does Arnold want from her?
Stubbs talked to Bernard and got some strange responses about Theresa. Could he potentially figure out that Bernard is a host?
Best Moment: The Man in Black revealing his history was a great moment.
Character of the Episode: Man in Black.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode that answered a lot of questions and provided some welcome backstory, though it is hampered down by the disappointing handling of the Westworld staff.
Summary: Charlotte and Theresa work together to expose the hosts as dangerous in an attempt to get rid of Ford. Bernard is fired for his inadequacies. William becomes even more attached to Dolores on the train. They escape from a shootout and start travelling together. Clementine is taken and Maeve discovers that she is being experimented on after Felix shows her where Clementine is. Maeve decides that she needs to leave. Bernard takes Theresa to show her something in Ford's office. Ford reveals that Bernard is a host and that this was a trap orchestrated by Ford. Bernard kills Theresa.
The Good: This was a much better episode. This episode allowed a single storyline to become the primary focus, creating a less messy episode which is notably easier to follow. Furthermore, there was less dependence on mystery and confusion in this episode. The Unknown is notably smaller in this episode and I think that's a very good thing. The mystery was becoming a real chore to follow as it just kept adding on, so to get an instalment focused on giving us some plot movement and answers is a very refreshing change. Hopefully the remaining 3 episodes follow this format, as this is something I would enjoy much more.
The standout part of this episode for me was the Bernard twist. I had expected the reveal of somebody to be a host since the first episode, but I was really surprised it was Bernard. I had thought his memories and the call to his wife would have confirmed him to be human, but that all seems to just have been host backstory, which is really interesting. The reveal was brilliantly executed with many moments provided for fans who really pay attention to realize that Bernard is a host. The line of "what door" is a total giveaway that Bernard is a host, since he has been programmed to see some things hidden in plain sight. This also explains how when Bernard went to meet with Ford, Ford seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He simply entered the room through a door Bernard couldn't see. That's really good writing which was so hidden that I didn't even notice it for about 30 seconds or so. And of course, they add confirmation later on in the scene for everyone who may not have picked up on it and it's an equally great reveal as we hear Bernard say the scripted "that doesn't look like anything to me" when facing his own blueprints. The writing was something really special with this reveal and it does raise a lot of questions.
I also really enjoyed Ford one-upping Theresa here. Theresa remained confident but Ford calmly and coldly asserted his dominance in a terrific scene, giving Theresa the slow realization that she wasn't long for this world. Anthony Hopkins just brings some wonderful life to Ford and plays his calm evil in such a captivating way that makes him a real joy to watch. Ford seems to be the man behind the curtain for everything in this show and it makes for such a lovely dynamic. Following his speech, Bernard's cold and straightforward murder of Theresa was really well done. Jeffrey Wright played the change in Bernard's demeanor so well to make him feel truly terrifying as he tragically murders the women he loved. Or at least thought he loved, though I'm sure Ford can just as easily erase Bernard's memory of Theresa.
I also really liked the early scene with Charlotte proving Ford's hosts to be dangerous after the reverie update. It does help us understand what the exact problem is with the hosts. We have seen the hosts get aggressive and malfunction and now we learn that it's because they remember things. It was great to get confirmation for this and I was happy to see that we got answers during a tense scene that progressed the storyline. It was a relaxingly easy scene to watch where each character's motives were mostly clear. It was established that Charlotte was working with Theresa to attempt to shut down Ford, meanwhile Bernard was caught in the middle of everything and got stuck taking the blame. It was nice and easy to follow and gave more stakes to Ford's killing of Theresa at the end as he was simply taking care of her when she got in his way, just like he said he would back in "Dissonance Theory".
Lastly, I am enjoying William's overall story arc. His attachment to Dolores is very uncomfortable and the show is doing a good job of establishing how William got himself in such an awkward situation where he fell in love with a host.
The Bad: The dramatic wild west scenes continue to fall flat. They just exist to provide some basic action with zero tension to fill up some time in the episode. The train attack scene in this episode served literally no purpose and I found myself getting quite bored watching the scene, while waiting for more interesting things to happen.
Charlotte is an astonishingly boring character. She just got introduced and has done nothing to make me get interested in her or care for her in any way. I really don't care to see more of her and I would be satisfied enough if Ford was to just take care of her as well.
We need more explanation on how the employees of Westworld are able to just take Maeve around everywhere. Apparently the higher ups do pay attention so why don't they do anything? Do they just not notice Maeve walking around when she clearly shouldn't be? It's really annoying to have no explanation about who everything works behind the scenes. This has been a problem for several episodes now and it seems that we will never get a concrete answer for this.
The biggest problem with this show is that it is completely devoid of emotion. I don't care about any of the characters much for the show to get an emotional reaction for me. All this show is capable of is shock, and that is all I felt during the ending scene with the Bernard twist and his murder of Theresa. Granted the writing was exceptional for this scene, but I didn't feel sympathy for Bernard with the host reveal and I didn't feel much for Theresa as she got killed by her lover. The show is alarmingly low on emotional engagement and that is a big problem which prevents this show from being anything more than very good.
The Unknown: Is Elsie just written out of the show now? Is she dead? Did Ford have something to do with it because clearly he has the ability to manipulate things like having Elsie take a leave of absence. Did Ford make Bernard take out Elsie like he did with Theresa?
What will William and Dolores find in the outskirts?
Will Maeve actually escape Westworld? How does she plan to do that? How will Felix and Sylvester help her with it?
How is Ford going to disguise Theresa's death? Might he possibly have her take a leave of absence and replace her with a host? How is he going to deal with Charlotte? Will he kill her next? I wouldn't put it past him to set up more hosts in his employment.
Best Moment: The final scene was chilling and very tense. Anthony Hopkins continues to impress me as Ford.
Character of the Episode: Ford.
Conclusion: A much better episode with greater focus and less emphasis on mystery, though the show is still being hampered down with a lack of emotional engagement in its characters.
Summary: Glenn helps Rick get out of the tank. Rick shoots some zombies but that draws a horde towards them. Glenn takes Rick to his group who are trapped in a building with zombies right outside. The group looks for a way out and ultimately decide to rub guts on Rick and Glenn so that they can go through the horde and get a truck. The plan works and Rick brings the trucks so everyone can escape. One of the members, Merle, is handcuffed though and is left on the roof of the building when the key is dropped.
The Good: This was a great follow up to the series' fantastic pilot. The most impressive thing about this episode to me is how it kept the tension levels really high all the way throughout. It was a joy to sit back and watch the episode as we get introduced to the characters while they try to get themselves out of a real pickle. The actual problem of the walker horde was well done and it adds a great new sense of drama to the show, as we know that using guns will only attract more walkers. And of course one walker is threatening enough, but a horde is practically unbeatable.
The way the show handled the escape from the building was very smart. Of course Rick and Glenn's tense walk through the street was fantastic television and had some awesome moments of tension, especially as the rain started coming down. But more importantly, I really enjoyed seeing the group plot out the different phases of the escape as well, as it really shows why these radically different people need to band together to have any hopes of survival. This also explains why somebody like Merle may be allowed in the group, as they need everyone they can get. But now back to the escape for a second, I do like how there were different phases to the escape, featuring plans that failed like the sewer system. This allowed for the walker threat to slowly escalate throughout the episode before climaxing in the group's final sprint to make it to the truck. The last thing I liked regarding the escape is how we essentially had a mini-escape at the beginning to set the tone with Rick escaping from the tank, another fun scene to watch.
The character work was solid in this episode as well. I got a good idea of who most of the characters in the story are, and I'm excited to learn more about them as the show goes on. Glenn was a particularly likeable character and I think he was the standout character that was introduced, though I also got the sense of Andrea, Amy, Dale, Shane and T-Dog's characters. There wasn't any fantastic characterization here, but it was good enough, and so long as the show develops the characters more in future episodes (and I suspect that it will), I think everything will be fine.
One of the easiest traps to fall into for a show like this is to get caught up in the depressing nature of the world and to forget that these characters are human, and instead just make them killing machines which do things mindlessly. Thankfully, this show dodges the trap by providing an absolute ton of human moments. The standout to me was Rick hesitating to rip open the zombie Wayne for his guts, instead opting to learn who he is and to make a little speech to honour Wayne. It was a perfect human moment to anchor the weight of the show in its characters. Other moments were great too, like Shane deciding not to go after Rick's group to protect those that are alive. This clearly demonstrates the differing point of views that these characters will have, while also showing that hard decision will need to be made in this world. We had a great moment seeing somebody making a hard decision later in the episode (see: Best Moment), but more on that later.
I liked that the show had some humorous moments as well to keep things from being too depressing. Little things like Glenn enjoying the hell out of his sweet car go a long way to make this show easier to watch despite its gore and depressing overall theme.
The Bad: Merle was a little bit too on the nose for me. I do like the idea behind him and Michael Rooker played him very well, but I thought that some of the things he did were too excessive.
Lori is the first character in this show to piss me off. I wasn't happy with her decision making in the previous episode, but I didn't put it in my review because it was a small thing. This episode continued Lori's trend of being annoying though so I had to mention it. Lori is a crap parent to Carl, leaving him alone in this episode, and also trying to go to put up signs, which would again leave Carl alone in the previous episode. She is also extremely detestable with her sarcastic comments to Dale who is only trying to make sure she doesn't get herself killed.
There were a few small things I didn't like here. I wasn't happy with everybody dismissing the helicopter as Rick's imagination. Wouldn't everyone want to latch on to anything hopeful they could get? Also, would the rain really clear away the walker smell so quickly? I understood what the threat was with the rain, but I don't think it would work like that.
The Unknown: What are the backstories of these characters? I really want to know.
So Glenn calls the walkers "geeks". What other names do people have for them? Does the word "zombie" even exist in this world?
So now Rick is on his way to meet Lori and Shane again. How will they react to his return? What will happen with their little affair?
What is Merle's fate? Are we going to assume he died? I noticed that T-Dog knocked over a box of tools as he made his escape, so could Merle have used those to get out? Also, did Rick leave his bag? Does that mean Morgan won't be getting any messages and may end up going to Atlanta with Duane only to find the walker hordes?
Best Moment: The group runs to make their escape but Merle is left in handcuffs. T-Dog goes to let him out, unable to leave him to die, but on the way he drops the key, leaving no way to save Merle. This was a really good moment and Merle's reaction really helped put over how bad everything was. Better than that though, was T-Dog who had to make a split-second decision and leave, apologizing to Merle. But his humanity persisted and T-Dog ensured to lock the door to the roof, perhaps giving Merle something of a chance to survive, before T-Dog dashes out calling everyone not to leave him the way he just left Merle. This was such a powerful scene and put over how having humanity could very well cost you in this world, while also highlighting how terrifying it would be to have your friends all run away while leaving you for dead. Powerful stuff.
Character of the Episode: Glenn.
Conclusion: This was a really great follow up to the pilot episode. The tension kept up throughout and there were some really great moments here. There were some small flaws too, but other than that I think this episode did a great job of continuing to establish the post-apocalyptic world.
Just a high school student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.