Summary: Moira recalls times with he fiancé Odette. She discovers that she was killed in the explosion. Fred has been badly injured by the explosion and is in the hospital. Cushing suspects that Offred ran away and wasn't taken, so Serena teams up with her to remove Cushing. Emily and Janine are brought back from the colonies as handmaids since many were killed in the explosion.
The Good: There were some pretty good parts here. I liked the funeral scene which the episode started with. I thought the black mourning clothes for the handmaids was a really nice detail too. Once more Aunt Lydia impressed me with her genuine love for the handmaids and her sadness after many were killed.
I enjoyed Offred's storyline too. I loved the tension in her scene with Cushing which was a good continuation from season one where we had a scene with an Eye who came to question Offred about Emily. I like that Cushing was smart enough to figure that Offred isn't so innocent, but in his attempt to get information, he made some enemies in Offred and Serena who both want the best for their children. Their team-up was good and made sense. I appreciated Offred subtly threatening Serena to let her know to help her or maybe Serena won't have a child. It's an interesting development which will surely add something fresh to this fascinating relationship.
Samira Wiley was superb in this episode. While I have big issues with Moira's storyline (see: The Bad), I thought that Wiley's performance was so superb that she managed to make me care about something that I really shouldn't have cared at all about.
The reuniting handmaids at the end was a great scene. Janine and Emily have been separated from Offred for so long, so that makes their reunion feel genuinely sweet and powerful, though this story has its flaws too (see: The Bad).
The Bad: This episode was disappointing overall and the weakest of the season. The biggest flaw with this was how cluttered it felt, which in turn made a lot of storylines feel rushed. This episode addressed the Waterfords, Offred and Serena’s conflict, the colonies, Little America and even a little bit for Eden and Nick. That’s too much for a single episode and it affected the quality here.
The colonies in particular felt really disappointing. Several episodes had storylines dedicated to the colonies, and yet it all ended up meaning nothing since the colonies were completely abandoned now with Emily and Janine all returning back to Offred. And the worst part? None of them had any changes in character. Nothing has changed about them since they left to the colonies making their entire journey pointless. I’m fine with splitting characters off to have individual stories, but they must go through some kind of change for it to have a purpose overall. If there is no purpose, then it’s no different from a bottle episode like “The Lost Sister” from Stranger Things which didn’t have much meat to its story at all.
Moira’s story is similarly detached from the main narrative, albeit in a different way. Her story feels totally forced into this episode and completely out of left field, and that is because of Odette. The big problem with the existence of Odette is that she was never hinted at or foreshadowed beforehand. Because of that, it feels awkward that we just assume now that Moira had this fiancé who she cared so much about. Furthermore, we don’t care about her as much as we should either. After all, if Moira didn’t think about Odette for a season and a half, why should we care about her? This entire storyline feels like it’s in the episode to give it a manipulative emotional edge and also to make up for Moira’s weak characterization thus far. Also, there was a really awkward scene where Moira just randomly decided to find pictures of Odette and started crying in response. It was so random and I found it difficult to connect with the emotions Moira was feeling because of that.
I think that this season as a whole has a big problem which I just noticed in this episode. The season has independent storylines which are addressed in a single episode, but are never brought up before or after. It was Odette in this episode, Emily’s past in “Unwomen” and June’s mother in “Baggage”. I understand that these disconnected stories are similar in format to the novel, but that doesn’t translate well in a TV season. It worked in the novel because the novel was written as a story that Offred was reflecting on. But on the show, the story isn’t being told in present tense, so I feel that there needs to be better story structure and flow to make up for this. Choosing to not do that is lazy and ineffective at engaging me.
The soundtrack choices continue to be really poor. Out of place music completely took me out of two scenes in this episode, once during the handmaids saying their names, and once during the funeral. This show needs to El are about subtlety with its music choice.
The scene with the Eyes hanging bodies everywhere felt pretty pointless. We get it, Gilead is an evil place, let’s see something new now.
The Unknown: Why were the Eyes killing people? What were they trying to prove?
How long will this Serena/Offred alliance last? Do they actually have a chance at becoming friends of sorts despite their history?
Will Fred be okay? How long until he is out of the hospital?
Best Moment: I will pick the moment where Serena and Offred chose to work together for mutual gain. It wasn’t the most impactful moment, but all of the other moments had major flaws attached to them, so I think this was the best scene.
Character of the Episode: Moira.
Conclusion: This episode was really weak and showed the biggest holes in The Handmaid’s Tale’s storytelling. Let’s see some more cohesion and change in Gilead in future episodes to prevent awkward instalments like this one.
Summary: Monica gets a date with Pete who happens to be a multimillionaire. Rachel gets Chandler a hypnosis tape to help him quit smoking, but it also causes him to behave like a woman. Frank is going to marry somebody who is twice his age and Phoebe tries to convince him not to do it.
The Good: I enjoyed this. The Frank storyline is pretty good and it has a lot of unexpected and genuinely funny moments as Frank tries to marry his English teacher while Phoebe tries to stop him. I especially loved the way that Frank turned things around on Ross and Joey as they went to try to convince him not to marry Alice. Monica's storyline with Pete is pretty good too and they have good chemistry as they hook up. There are also a few good moments which were funny in a similar way that the Richard and Monica were which is a good way to show that the writers understand how to make the show funny. The Chandler storyline added some harmless fluff to conclude a storyline which was started last episode in his smoking.
The Bad: The episode is overall pretty forgettable and there aren't many great moments outside of the Phoebe storyline. Chandler as a woman is a bit to on-the-nose sometimes as the show seems to be annoyingly fond of when he overacts for humour which to me isn't as good as the witty humour from seasons one and two.
Best Moment: Frank turning Joey and Ross's opinions around was pretty hilarious and well written.
Character of the Episode: Frank.
Conclusion: A pretty good and fun episode, though once more it doesn't get anywhere near the best of Friends. The show doesn't appear to be reaching that next level very consistently anymore but at least it's still very good.
Summary: William and Emily talk and Emily reveals she wants him to come home and not die. William leaves her in the night. Maeve leaves Shogun World but Akane and the others choose to stay. She meets her daughter but finds that she has a replacement mother. Teddy has turned into a ruthless killer and Dolores ha regrets. Bernard and Elsie go to the cradle which is where all of the data is kept. Bernard enters it and finds Ford.
The Good: The William and Emily (I don't know if it's Emily or Grace, but for now I'm going with Emily) story was really well done. I have been largely uninterested with William once more being on a lone journey to discover the answers to a mysterious puzzle, but this gave the storyline the shot in the arm it needed. With William's family matters being explored through Emily's return, it adds a fresh new aspect to William, giving his arc more resonance and emotion. After all of the examination that the show has done for William, I genuinely care about what happens to him, so adding an emotional edge is very smart. Furthermore, Emily comes off really well as her desire to live out life with her only remaining family is a very easy to understand motivation. Her character can neatly be built around this relationship with William and I'm excited to see more from them.
The Maeve storyline had some good moments despite it being disappointing overall (see: The Bad). The moment where Maeve saw her daughter again was cathartic and equally tragic when we see that there is another host as her mother. It's heartbreaking and also makes perfect sense, which really highlights how Maeve took everything for granted and assumed that she could just do whatever she wanted. It's a fitting wake-up call which obviously had a huge impact on Maeve who wasn't expecting her daughter to no longer love her. While I wish we spent more time on that (again see: The Bad), the overall story had a good emotional heart to it. I also like the background story of Sizemore wanting to escape his situation while also feeling bad since he has formed something of a bond with Maeve who he now accepts isn't a bad individual and has a human quality about her.
Dolores' story with Teddy had a great emotional core too. After the tragedy at the end of last week's episode, Teddy has changed and Dolores is starting to face the consequences of her decision. Now Teddy is much more efficient as a bodyguard, but he is no longer the man he was and he also seems to be rather spiteful about that. Now Dolores can no longer get the small romantic talk she loved and is stuck feeling guilty and perhaps even regretful about what she has done to Teddy. Now it's abundantly clear that Teddy is gone and this new version of him isn't the real Teddy.
The most intriguing storyline was once more Bernard's. We still don't quite know what he has been up to and there was a lot more intrigue as he has been getting flashes upon entering the cradle. I have theories (see: The Unknown), but so far it has mostly remained mysterious. However, we seem to be on the verge of getting a truckload of answers as the episode provided a massive reveal at the end. And that reveal is the return of Ford, which I'm very excited about. Ford was the standout of the entire last season, and to see Anthony Hopkins reprise his role is an extremely exciting development. Furthermore, Ford has all of the answers about what Bernard has been doing, so I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say to explain all of the weird things that have been happening.
The Bad: I had hoped to get more clarity on what exactly happened to Teddy. Last episode I had assumed he would be completely erased, but that is clearly not the case since Teddy is still conscious and with Dolores' group. I would have appreciated it if the show had actually revealed what would happen to Teddy and what has happened instead of keeping things as a mystery.
I hate that there are apparently some Delos employees still alive and around while Westworld is in chaos. How did they survive? How did the hosts let them survive? I wish we had more answers to this. Speaking of answers I wish we had, hat is Dolores hoping to accomplish with the train? What is it going to do, how does she know to do it and what does it accomplish for her? Without knowing the answers to these questions, the moment loses all significance and value.
Maeve's storyline was very flawed, in particular the closure to Shogun World. While it was a fun detour, the problem is that it was a detour. That means that it had no actual value to the story and is nothing more than filler. The only thing that the story accomplished was that it showed Maeve to have some sympathy, but that seems like something that could have been accomplished in 5-10 minutes, not in an hour-long side story. Without Shogun World having any relevance, it feels like a waste of time and I'm left questioning its inclusion in the story.
Furthermore, the Maeve story is hurt by its need to rush a lot of stuff into a single episode. This episode had a sword duel, the closure for Akane's character, Maeve's group leaving Shogun World, Maeve meeting her daughter, Ghost Nation attacking and Sizemore contemplating calling for help before actually doing it. It's an overwhelming amount of developments, and the sheer number of developments means that the episode isn't able to focus on its more powerful moments like Maeve realizing her daughter has a new life. The arrival of Ghost Nation actually ruins the moment and all of its resonance which is really annoying.
In the end, the flaw in the Maeve story highlights my biggest qualm with this episode. It's too cluttered with far too many storylines and no clear focus. The two best episodes in this season so far have been the ones which focused specifically on a single plot point, and that isn't a coincidence. Without any real focus, episodes like these fail to hit as hard as others, making them feel pretty disappointing overall.
The Unknown: What was that test in the opening scene? Is Bernard the same sort of host that Delos was? Did Ford actually end up perfecting the hosts made from consciousness?
What was the significance of Akane taking Sakura's heart? Also, what was with the heart? Does it have a specific role in hosts or is it just there to add to realism?
Is Emily actually there or is she part of Ford's game? I noticed William messing up a detail about his past regarding the elephants, and while it's possible that was used to develop that William has forgotten his family life, I suspect that it was William testing to see if Emily was a host. I wonder if Emily is the one who is meant to lead William to the door which could perhaps be the door out of Westworld and into the real world.
What is the role of Ghost Nation? Clearly they are important since they are appearing very frequently.
What was the purpose of the train explosion? Was that Dolores breaking out of Westworld? Will it help her find her father? Does it mean she is coming for Charlotte's group?
What will Bernard learn from Ford in the cradle? What else can be found in there?
Best Moment: While I'm tempted to pick Ford's reveal, I'll go with Emily and William's conversation. I bought into the story completely after that and I'm now invested in their relationship which has genuine stakes to it.
Character of the Episode: Ford for returning.
Conclusion: This episode had a lot to it and several things worked, but it was too cluttered and messy to truly succeed, making this one of the least satisfying instalments so far.
Summary: In flashbacks, Zach dated Hannah over the summer and they had sex but they split up after Zach doesn't want to be public with their relationship. In the present, Zach gets in arguments with Clay, Alex, Bryce and his mother about what he revealed in court. Justin and Jessica meet and she rejects him but still cares for him. Clay's parents discover Justin's presence and ultimately let him live with them.
The Good: I thought the overall Zach and Hannah story was really good and I enjoyed watching it. I actually bought into their romance through the few scenes they shared together and it seemed genuine. I thought that the reveal of their relationship was a big moment and it had fitting repercussions for Zach in the present and led to a really interesting change in character for him. The many arguments he got involved in were compelling and I was able to sympathize with him since he is one of the few likeable and properly fleshed out characters on the show. That made his descent into anger at the end of the episode feel very real and genuinely emotive to us. I sympathized with him, I bought into the fact that he did actually care for Hannah and I felt tense due to him having genuine friendships to lose, and that made this one of the most engaging storylines in this season.
I did like Alex's outburst about how messed up he is now. Considering his situation, his character's rage makes more sense than anybody else's and so it made sense for him to be unreasonable and miserable. I thought the scene was pretty emotive, though the convenient boner was extremely clichéd. It also made Alex's storyline feel like filler since it had no bearing on the overall story. Other than that, I thought it worked.
I like that we got to see Zach apologizing for being petty to Hannah. He was very clearly a good person so to see him be petty last season felt extremely out of character. This episode treated him much better.
The Bad: Unfortunately the Zach/Hannah storyline fell apart at the final hurdle. Their break-up was awful and was treated so nonchalantly that it made me feel that they had hardly even cared for each other at all. They should have worked harder to stay together, especially considering how lonely both were and how happy they were together. With the big pay-off underdelivering, the storyline doesn't end up hitting the heights I wish it could hit. Furthermore, it makes little sense that Hannah wouldn't talk about this on the tapes.
The court case is dragging on now. Nothing significant has happened and I'm pretty annoyed by the pacing. So much information has been given, but nothing has happened and as such I'm quickly getting less and less interested. To add on to that, I would really like to know where he opposing lawyers get their information. All of the witnesses are supporting Olivia, so how did the school lawyers learn about all these personal details? That's been a flaw throughout all of the season.
The Justin storyline isn't good either. The sequence of him returning to school was edited poorly and felt extremely disjointed and overly dramatic. I still don't care about his relationship with Jessica, so everything they do completely fails to interest me. Additionally, Clay's parents discovering Justin's existence was completely anticlimactic, and like everything else involving Clay's parents, had no impact on the story at all. Everything involving Justin in this episode was just way too melodramatic with no resonance or importance.
The last thing is that I really hate what has been done with Hannah this season. We are learning that she apparently had so many more friends than was established last season and that makes her suicide much less impactful. In the end, that means this season is completely ruining the impact of the first season by making Hannah's suicide seem less and less earned, which pretty much destroys her entire character arc. The worst part is that this is only being done to keep Katherine Langford on the show for another season and not to actually further Hannah's story.
The Unknown: Why didn't Hannah and Zach fight harder to stay together? What was their relationship like afterwards?
Who broke into Clay's house?
Best Moment: Zach getting angry and assaulting the lockers with a baseball bat at the end was powerful and earned.
Character of the Episode: Zach.
Conclusion: While this was easily the most powerful storyline thus far, the episode had way too many flaws to be good. In the end I don't even think this was the best episode of the season because of the sheer number of flaws and how major they were. This season continues to disappoint.
Summary: Ryan is asked to testify about Hannah's poems and reveals that she kept in touch with Justin after they broke up. Tony watches over Justin and allows him to go out for a walk. Justin is seen and word goes around that he is back. Mr. Porter confronts Justin's mom and beats up Seth before he is arrested. Alex listens to the tapes and also discovers that he has become impotent.
The Good: The strongest part of this episode in my opinion is the Clay and Justin storyline. Justin's situation is pretty relatable and it's good to see that he isn't happy being clammed in Clay's room all the time. Furthermore I think that the humour with their interactions was easily the funniest the show has been with some nice setpieces. The scenes with Tony and Justin were pretty good too and nicely gave us more about what happened to them in between seasons while not feeling too forced or inorganic. I do wish that there was a more emotional edge to it, but it's perfectly fine the way it is.
I appreciate that the show is examining loneliness so much, it makes the show feel like it has a purpose. Loneliness is an easily relatable feeling and it allows us to connect more with the likes of Ryan and Olivia.
Some of the side stories were decent. I like Clay's quest to find the room and Alex attempting to deal with impotency is an intriguing storyline which feels fresh and will likely lead to some good developments.
The Bad: I hate that the show is seemingly making Hannah less lonely and depressed by revealing more about her. It ruins the effect of her suicide and also reinforces one of my biggest flaws in the first seasons regarding Hannah. I really wish that the show had developed more about her depression and loneliness in the last season.
While I liked that the show is examining loneliness, I think it has been overdone too much. With almost every character affected by it, it loses its power and feels repetitive.
I wasn't a fan of Mr. Porter fighting Seth. It was too forced and I didn't at all buy that Mr. Porter would just suddenly beat him up. Furthermore, why was he the only one arrested? Surely he would protest that Seth hit him first (which he actually did).
This episode felt particularly bland. There wasn't much of anything in terms of big developments and the show's slow pacing is really beginning to drag on me. Without many talking points, this episode feels mostly like a waste of time which was just there to fill in the time. It's blatantly clear that the writers have nothing for Ryan in terms of overall story so that makes most of this episode feel like filler.
The Unknown: Where is the room? Is it really in the school?
What was the significance of Hannah's poems about intruders and the clubhouse?
Best Moment: I'll go with the Clay and Justin humour setpiece because it was the only part that stood out.
Character of the Episode: Ryan.
Conclusion: There was nothing particularly good nor was it particularly bad. But what it was, was bland and fillerish. I really hope there is more substance in the next episode.
Summary: In flashbacks Serena is shot while making a speech to an angry audience. Fred kills the wife of the man responsible. In the present, Offred and Serena try to be kind to each other but the charade falls away when Offred asks to see Hannah again. Serena and Offred become enemies again. Nick has sex with Eden despite not wanting to. Eden is worried that Nick doesn't like her and Offred tells her he will come around. Fred has built a new Red Centre and he performs a speech to all of the commanders. However, Ofglen interrupts it and detonates a bomb, killing herself in the process.
The Good: Once more, an episode focused around Serena delivers and provides one of the best episodes of the season. Serena was excellent here and her character was explored really nicely. We understand that she genuinely thinks that she is in the right here, like any good villain. She believes that what she is doing is the right thing, and so when she treats Offred nicely, she expects that Offred can just forget about how unfair everything is and just become her friend, just like how Eden is doing. It's so deluded and crazy, but she believes in it, and that's the key to creating a hateable and compelling villain.
The flashbacks were well done too. Serena is established as being somebody who isn't appreciated by the public (to say the least) which helps put her in a more sympathetic light. Her efforts to support Gilead despite its massive unpopularity is almost admirable and it makes you feel a small bit of sympathy for her since Gilead hasn't seemed to turn into the kind of world she had hoped for. Clearly she was hoping for a world which allowed her to do what she wanted, sort of like that final scene with Offred and Eden where she could just command people. But things haven't gone as she wanted.
Additionally, her conflict with Offred was fascinating. I really enjoyed seeing them interact nicely in the early parts of the episode. They were both trying to be nice and were sort of feeling each other out, wondering if they had actually turned a new leaf. But that all came crumbling down when Offred asked to see her daughter once more. Serena had believed that Offred could be happy in her new life, but was suitably disappointed when she couldn't let go of her daughter. But on the other hand, Offred thought that Serena could actually be a decent human being but was disappointed when she proved to be cruel and spiteful once more. The storytelling was superb and it was enthralling to watch these two have a sort of cold war in the household.
The one scene where Serena organized a group meeting with the handmaids was superbly done. I loved her interactions with Ofglen. At first she was annoyed that Ofglen wasn't talking, but was suitably horrified in a quiet fashion when she realized she had been talking to somebody who no longer had a tongue.
Nick's conflict has been really good too. It's by far the most interesting he has been and I'm starting to buy into his love for Offred a little more now that he has a relationship to compare it to. I definitely sympathized with Nick as he had to have sex with an underage girl who he is being forced to love. While he still has a long way to go, the story is certainly moving Nick in the right direction now.
Eden was fantastic in this episode. Unlike Offred, Eden has accepted her role in the world and seems unable to comprehend how unfair everything is. Her character is another scary reality for the world of Gilead, and her scene with Offred was pretty horrifying in a subtle and realistic way. Her character feels like a fresh new way to display the horrors of Gilead.
I also enjoyed that Nick finally decided to get some vengeance on Fred by giving away what he's been doing. It's a fitting move for Nick who is not happy with the fact that Fred got him a child wife.
The Bad: The Red Centre storyline didn't feel very natural. It was an afterthought until the ending where it was used for a great cliffhanger. Unfortunately, it wasn't particularly well executed. Ofglen had no time to make her decision to kamikaze feel relatable. All we know is that she lost her tongue and apparently that has now led to her wanting to die. I wish that we had seen more of Ofglen before this scene.
The Unknown: How did Ofglen get a bomb? Is she connected with Mayday?
What is in store for Fred now that Nick has given him away?
How many people died at the ending scene? What consequences will there be? Who will pay for it now that Ofglen is dead?
Best Moment: The nursery scene between Offred and Serena was superb storytelling.
Character of the Episode: Serena.
Conclusion: Once more an episode focused around Serena Joy delivered some of the show's best storytelling. This episode was really great and gripping to watch and would be in contention as one of the very best episodes if it wasn't for the out of place ending scene. Still, this was really great.
Summary: Ross and Rachel are on bad terms now and refuse to be in the same room as each other so the other friends have to book specific times to be with each of them. Rachel invites the group on a ski trip and Ross is upset. Ross goes to Carol's to talk about things. The group gets stuck on a rest stop when Phoebe's car runs out of gas.
The Good: This was really well done. I like that the show continues to address Ross and Rachel's relationship while leaving both in a sympathetic light. Ross and Rachel both play their roles very well and continue to get the most humour out of their situation. I really enjoyed Ross going over to Carol's to talk about what happened and accidentally interrupt Carol's anniversary with Susan. The rest stop predicament was predictable but it was nevertheless funny and led to some great moments, like Joey's "PLEH" sign. The story of the friends being forced to pick sides almost leading to the group's destruction is a good one to tell and I think they did a pretty solid job with it.
The Bad: I don't think the episode told its story as well as it could have and it could have used some more big laughs. That's pretty much nit-picking though.
Best Moment: Joey's "PLEH" sign was really funny and a clever joke which led to some good lines from Chandler.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This was another good episode which continued Ross and Rachel's story with some nice moments.
Summary: Marcus has to testify but he lies and says that Hannah wanted to date Bryce. Tyler pranks Marcus for lying in court. Andy returns and gets in an argument with Olivia. Clay discovers that Justin has heroine and Tony sends Sheri to take care of him to get him out of the addiction. Alex gets Clay to send him the tapes so he can listen to them.
The Good: There was some good drama created from Marcus lying in court. I think it's a welcome development that opens up the possibilities for what could happen in these court scenes to affect the case. With the idea being planted in our heads that some of these kids can lie, it raises a lot more intrigue for other characters like Mr. Porter and Bryce for when they choose to testify. Furthermore, the lies added a lot to the high school storyline with people wanting to attack Marcus for lying, which is a realistic follow-up that raised the stakes of the story. I'm excited to see more about how he reacts, if he will redeem himself and just what he does next in general.
I love that this episode added some depth to why Marcus did what he did to Hannah. I really wish we had gotten this last season as Marcus' character came off as wildly inconsistent in the last season. I appreciate that the writers gave him proper motives and a character arc to be explored. This is well set-up for some powerful storytelling down the lien as Marcus will likely have to do a lot to redeem himself for lying and trying to be somebody he's not, in an arc which should be similar to Sheri's from last season.
I really like the Alex and Jessica relationship, much more than the Jessica and Justin relationship. While I don't really care for them as lovers, I think they have a strong friendship and it's easy to understand the bond that they have developed.
I'm also pleased with Mr. Porter's story arc. While I really wish that we could see the immediate aftermath to him listening to the tapes and choosing what to do, I am fine with what we got. We can see that Mr. Porter has chosen to try to make a difference in whatever time he has left which is easy to sympathize with.
No Skye in this episode. Good.
The Bad: The problem with Marcus is that we don't know the hard-working and likable guy that he is supposed to be. The only part of him which has been explored is the person he isn't supposed to be, leading us to only being familiar with the bad parts of his character. This makes it so we have no chance of liking him, making his storyline not as interesting or emotional as it should be.
I also don't like the idea that Marcus was called up as a witness without giving any idea of what he was going to say. Surely if Dennis wanted to bring him up, he would have made sure that Marcus would say something beneficial to his case.
Andy inexplicably showing up was random and unsatisfying. His arrival felt forced and unnecessary, making me question why he was brought in anyways, other than just creating some cheap drama. Speaking of unsatisfying, the gun shooting also fell into that category. After all that build up last season with Tyler and the gun, this was the least interesting direction to go.
There were some big issues here that have plagued this entire season which I haven't had a chance to talk about yet, so I'll discuss them now. For one, this vision of Hannah that Clay is seeing is terrible. She offers nothing to the plot and doesn't even make Clay any more interesting. She just feels forced into the story and I really don't like it.
A few character arcs have been repetitive and poor. Alex's story hasn't gone anywhere in the past four episodes and I'm just thankful that he's finally listening to the tapes. Zach's story arc is also completely stagnant with nothing interesting happening with his duelling friendships with Bryce and Alex. These storylines haven't lived up to their potential at all.
I think the way that Scott has been portrayed is really bad. He's being so obviously framed as a suspect that it's clear he isn't a suspect.
I also don't like how Olivia's story for the past two seasons has only consisted of her being sad/angry about what happened to Hannah, and they continue to show this over and over again. It's powerful the first few times and Kate Walsh does a good job, but after a while it really drags on.
This narration needs to go away now. It only just occurred to me that the narration is supposed to be what the witnesses are saying at court which is just really bad writing. It's pointlessly pretentious stuff.
The Unknown: What was that memory that Alex had with the blood? Very interesting.
Best Moment: I'll pick the actual moment that Marcus lied in court as it was dramatic and tense.
Character of the Episode: Marcus.
Conclusion: This episode had some good aspects and moments but it was another overall disappointing episode because of lots of familiar and some new flaws.
Summary: Teddy and Dolores talk and Dolores realizes that Teddy is too soft to survive so she has him wiped. Maeve's group is captured by hosts from Shogun World who have the same characters as them since Sizemore was a lazy programmer. The Shogun wants to take Sakura, a geisha but Akane doesn't let her go and kills the messenger. Maeve offers to help the group escape while also hoping to escape herself. Sakura is kidnapped by the Shogun so they take a detour to save her. The Shogun kills Sakura so Akane kills him. Maeve discovers that she can command hosts using just her mind and has all of the samurai kill each other.
The Good: The introduction to Shogun World was awesome, and recaptured the wonderful feeling that was present in "The Original" when we first saw Westworld. It was a lovely adventure to see the style, characters and locations in the world, and the modified soundtrack beautifully suited this new world and added a lot through some lovely melodies. I thought that the setting and atmosphere was impressive as always and I really enjoyed getting to see this new world.
I love how certain characters were copied for Shogun World. It allowed for some interesting interactions and also let the characters have some very unique bonds as they realized that they were essentially making friends with themselves. Maeve and Akane's relationship in particular felt very fresh and well-developed, also allowing Maeve to develop more of a sympathetic heart for Akane as she displayed that same motherly love that Maeve has for her own daughter. Also the simple concept that Sizemore would be lazy enough to rehash entire storylines feels really corporate and real, and it also provides a really good laugh.
Speaking of laughs, this was the funniest episode of Westworld yet with a lot of nice humorous moments amidst all the violence. Most of that is thanks to Sizemore who is doing a tremendous job of comic relief. I also really appreciate that the show is taking the time to develop relationships and have comic relief characters. Conventions aren't always bad, and in this case it actually aids the show since it's no longer spending time being mysterious and confusing. The straight-forward nature of this episode also helped with that.
I really enjoyed the action scenes too. With the action scenes being very clear on who the good and bad guys are, they are much more exciting than previous ones, and are aided even more by the fact that characters we care about are involved in them. This was the most I've been entertained by Westworld action scenes.
I also love that the show continues to explore the idea of if these hosts finding consciousness makes them any more real than before. Sizemore believes them to still be just code while Maeve tries to convince him against that. The conversation as fascinating and did a great job of continuing to get us to think about the realities of this world and how real the hosts actually are.
The climax of the episode was fantastic too. Sakura's death was surprising but it also built up nicely to the satisfying moment of Akane killing the Shogun, which mirrored all of the moments that Maeve had where she finally stood up for herself and killed her enemies. The Shogun's death was a really satisfying moment too and was fittingly gruesome and violent. Of course the conclusion with Maeve getting a hold of her new powers was executed well too and makes me eager to see what happens next.
Finally we go to Dolores and Teddy's storyline which was surprisingly touching The one thing which the show has been consistent with is the romance between Dolores and Teddy, which makes their "break-up" all the more impactful and genuinely meaningful. It's sad that Teddy had to go through this, especially since we know his ultimate fate is in the ocean full of dead hosts.
The Bad: Sizemore saying something along the lines of "that's not supposed to happen" has become a cliché because of this episode alone. It got really old as he said it over and over again.
Unfortunately the Maeve storyline doesn't feel very important. The show has a much bigger scope than just Maeve and her group, so it's disappointing to not get any focus on the bigger scheme of things and instead spend an entire episode with Maeve. While I did enjoy it, it just didn't feel like as big of a deal as it should have so I wasn't hooked as much as I could have been.
The Unknown: How were the hosts wiped in the future? Who did that? Was it Bernard who did that? Why?
How did Maeve get this new power? Did she always have it? How does it work? Does it have any limits?
What will Sizemore do with his walkie? I feel like the walkie may be the kind of risk which will lead to his death.
How is Shogun World non-fatal? I understand that in Westworld the guns can't hurt guests, but how does that work with swords and arrows?
Best Moment: The conversation between Sizemore and Maeve was excellent.
Character of the Episode: Maeve.
Conclusion: This was a really fun episode which was easier to follow and enjoy than pretty much every other episode of Westworld. Though it only focused on one storyline and didn't advance the overall story, I enjoyed this.
Summary: Tyler and Cyrus become closer as friends. Clay visits Skye at the hospital but she doesn't want him there. She is moved to another facility. Jessica testifies at court and doesn't speak of Bryce's rape. Clay finds Justin homeless in the city and brings him to his house so he can live there until he can testify for Bryce's rape.
The Good: I enjoyed this much more than the last episode. Because of Jessica's emotions after all that has happened to her, this became much more resonant and memorable, even if it wasn't perfect (see: The Bad). Jessica's fear to talk to other people because of her problems as well as her guilt at not being strong enough to help Hannah are all very relatable and it makes her courtroom dilemma of choosing whether or not to tell the truth easy to understand and relate with.
The episode also had a lot of really good tension in it. There was a lot of drama regarding whether Jessica would tell the truth about Bryce or not, and because of that, the episode was tense almost the entire time and had me engaged much more than the previous two episodes.
The court scenes themselves also felt a lot more relevant. Discussing how Hannah chose not to inform the school because she couldn't trust them is an important topic, and it allows the courtroom scenes to feel much more realistic.
The transition from Clay saying he will keep no more secrets into him hiding Justin in his house was genuinely funny and made me laugh. The humour in this episode was the best in the series overall which was good.
The Bad: I wish that Jessica's character was explored in a more meaningful way. Too much time was spent producing tension and having a bunch of pretentious monologues of narration which didn't add much. I would have preferred a better look at her mental state and how her emotions are. The ending did a decent job and seeing a scene of her breaking down after the court was great, but I would have liked some more.
The follow-up to Clay's storyline in this episode wasn't good. I still don't care at all about his relationship with Skye even if I can buy into the fact that he cares for her. They had no chemistry and I haven't seen enough of them to care. And what I have seen, I haven't liked. I thought that the follow-up was poor with Clay talking to Skye immediately only to be cut off afterwards. The storyline with his parents had bad follow-up too. Clay just tells them everything in a throwaway scene and everything he tells them is never mentioned again with the exception of him wanting a car. That's very poor and once more makes it so that Clay's relationship with his parents is explored in the same way with Clay keeping secrets and then talking to them about the secrets off screen. It's not satisfying.
I also hated that the fallout of Clay getting Bryce's confession as shown off screen. A lot of time was spent on that storyline in the last season and to have it resolved off screen is stupid and once more kills all of the momentum the show had after the first season.
I thought the search for Justin had some really contrived moments. The bribery that Clay had to do felt ridiculously forced and out of place in that scene. Moreover the cops arriving to catch Justin and Clay for "doing drugs" was stupid. They clearly weren't doing drugs for one, and also how did the cops show up so quickly. And why did the cops just give up without chasing them? The scene felt just forced in there for some pointless tension which they didn't even succeed in creating. Just overall bad filmmaking there.
There were a few things I didn't like. I'm so sick of Olivia trying to talk to somebody only for them saying "I have to go". The show has relied on this way too much and it I just frustrating at this point. Also I don't like how Jessica just happened to bring in the pictures at the courtroom. Like where was she keeping them to grab them so easily and how were they not confiscated earlier?
The Unknown: Who attacked Clay when he was biking? Was it the same person who has been sending all of the messages?
Will Justin testify then? I'm sure he will, but the main question is when and what he will say.
Why did Mr. Porter visit Bryce's mom? What does he have to say?
Best Moment: My favourite moment was a scene which I haven't talked about at all yet. It was when Courtney returned to school and there was a very artful scene which focused on Courtney's paranoia that everyone is judging her even though nobody has addressed her. It was a great scene.
Character of the Episode: Jessica.
Conclusion: This was a better episode which had some great moments though it was still marred by flaws. Still much better than what the season has given us so far.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.