Summary: Courtney is the next one to testify in court. She reveals she is a lesbian and that Hannah was innocent. Jessica is threatened to keep quiet. Alex tries to get a copy of the tapes so that he can listen to them again to remember. Skye and Clay have a fight and she leaves Clay's house. Skye is later hospitalized.
The Good: I think that the idea of having these side characters testify in court to close out their storylines is a very good idea. So far it's led to the most satisfying scenes in the seasons as it pays off of what was set up last season. This episode resolved the Courtney storyline which had long since run its course, so I'm thankful that we don't have to suffer through Courtney trying to secretively be lesbian anymore.
The ending scream from Clay was a nice moment to show his frustration. I also thought it was pretty funny.
The Bad: I thought this episode was really bad though. For one, the Clay and Skye storyline was an utter failure. They failed to make me care for their relationship, and as such the ending fell completely flat for me. The set-up to it was incredibly predictable as well and it features all of the lame melodrama that I had hoped would not be there. The specific scenes were pretty terrible as well. The awkward dinner was just ridiculous and it is unbelievable that Skye would feel up Clay at the dinner table in front of his parents. Even worse was the idea that Skye would have sex with Clay and ask about if he loves her afterwards. Why would she have sex first if something bothered her? Also, are we just supposed to forget that Clay's parents exist? They seem to be inept as they don't hear anything that is going on, and the show seems to completely ignore their existence. In general this was just really poorly written, cheesy and not at all powerful. This honestly reminded me of "Riverdale" which is never a good sign.
The narration is already grating on me. I didn't like it last season which is when it actually had a purpose, being that Hannah was narrating for the tapes, and this is even worse. The narration adds nothing, is cheesy, and also manages to be extremely annoying. This show is trying too hard to be meaningful and ends up becoming pretentious instead.
The courtroom scenes once more didn't make much sense. Once more, what the hell is the relevance of if Hannah was actually a lesbian? These courtroom scenes are grounded on pointless arguments which have no relevance to the case, which makes them extremely unsatisfying to watch, compared to actual courtroom drama, which I am a huge fan of. Just go watch "To Kill a Mockingbird" instead of this garbage.
Mr. Porter has been really dull so far. His scenes are repetitive as they all seem to consist of him trying to help students who proceed to talk about how much they hate him and how useless he is. It gets old, and I've seen enough of these scenes for the season.
The characters have gone through transformations off screen, which is disappointing and bad. They were already shallow enough last season, but now we see that they have gone through some interesting developments, but instead of showing them to us to gave it emotional impact, they are kept secret to instead allow for mystery and shock value when the truth will eventually be revealed. Emotion is always far better than mystery and shock value, making this a really disappointing decision.
The Unknown: Who sent that noted to Jess?
What happened to Andy? Where is he now?
What happened to Sheri? Tony? Zach? They all seem to have gone through some petty major stuff which just wasn't shown.
Best Moment: The final scream because it was at least funny to see Clay screaming in Hannah's face.
Character of the Episode: Clay.
Conclusion: This was bad. The writing was awful and it was pretty tough to watch at times. This was a major disappointment as season 2 seems to be a major step down for the show.
Summary: Alex and Jessica return to school after extended absences and discover things aren't like they would have wanted due to rumours and new rules. Tyler testifies for the Hannah Baker case in court and reveals his history with Hannah. Clay and Skye are dating now but Clay is haunted by memories of Hannah. Mr. Porter puts his foot down to ensure Bryce doesn't do anything else.
The Good: Alex and Jessica got some pretty good stories here. I like that they have reconciled due to the both have them having to deal with being outside of school due to unfortunate circumstances. Their discoveries of things that trouble them (the rumours about Jessica and the suicide note) set up the season with intriguing storylines.
I was happy to get more backstory on Tyler and Hannah's relationship. We got some good reasons for Tyler wanting to be closer with Hannah and he seems like much more of a real character instead of just some creepy guy who wouldn't exist in the real world. He also got some much-needed motivations for why he would stalk Hannah which made him more relatable in my eyes. This stuff would have also been welcomed in the last season and would have likely improved my opinion on it, as I often complained that the characters weren't getting the focus they needed.
I really love how Olivia is still clueless about what she did wrong and that she thinks that calling Hannah pretty would have helped, when in reality Hannah just needed somebody to talk to. I love this idea because of how realistic it feels, because usually when we make mistakes we often don't realize what we were supposed to do to prevent them until being told by somebody else.
The Bad: This was a very flawed episode though and it continues to reaffirm my suspicions that a second season won't add much for this show.
First of all, the time-skip was a ridiculous decision. It adds some mystery based off of what we haven't seen in the time-skip, but it completely robs us of payoff from storylines which were set up last season. We don't get to see the tapes become common knowledge or the effects it had on the characters, making literal hours of set-up from the last season entirely meaningless. Furthermore, plotlines like Tyler and his guns, and Alex shooting himself become practically meaningless too as they aren't properly followed up on.
Clay and Skye's relationship is very bad. I don't know enough about Skye to buy into this relationship and I have no clue what Clay would see in her to want to get over Hannah. It's hard to care at all about this relationship which seems destined to result in cheap melodrama with a will-they-won't-they story arc. I also thought that Skye was an idiot for not figuring out that Clay was being bothered by the Hannah trial at the end of the episode. And to add salt to wounds, her acting was intolerably bad during that scene. This show never had great acting to begin with, but that scene was particularly poor.
Mr. Porter seems like an awkward character now that we have skipped his reaction to listening to Hannah's tapes. I don't know how he feels or how he reacted, so that makes his decisions to threaten Bryce and watch him perplexing to me, since I don't know how many other things Mr. Porter has already dealt with. The time-skip has essentially killed all of my interest in his character by skipping his interesting transformation into who he is now.
The courtroom scenes were poorly done and felt very forced with the questions Tyler was being asked. I hope this doesn't become a trend moving forwards. I thought that comparing pictures of Hannah happy to her sadness was an idiotic idea. Anybody could realize that the situations were different and any lawyer would call out the school lawyer on bringing that up. It felt like a forced way to instill drama to the episode and to cut to Tyler's history with Hannah. Additionally I thought the school did a terrible job of recovering from the accusations. Last season the bathroom walls were supposed to be painted, yet in this episode there is once more a ton of writing on the stalls. Is the school seriously too inept to check the bathrooms for more writing? Additionally, the new rule that suicide can't be discussed is ridiculous. Talking is the best way to prevent anybody from committing suicide, so why outlaw that? A ridiculous idea.
The season already feels repetitive. Once more Clay is dealing with being unable to deal with Hannah's guilt. Once more there is a mysterious plan between all of the side characters and secrets being kept. Once more we get scenes of Olivia being sad about Hannah. Once more there are accusations about Hannah lying. We need to tread some new ground here.
The Unknown: Why wasn't Clay called to testify?
Was Hannah really sexting or did Tyler misinterpret something?
What was the meaning behind Alex's suicide note? Was there something else bothering him? Could it have to do with why he called Zach last season?
How does Bryce learn about what happens in court? Does he have a spy of sorts?
Where did the polaroid come from? Who put it in Clay's locker? Who else was raped by Bryce? Was it Chloe, his current girlfriend?
What was the note Ryan gave to Tony?
What is the darkroom?
How is Clay talking to Hannah?
Best Moment: Olivia not being able to comprehend what she did wrong was the most powerful moment for me.
Character of the Episode: Tyler.
Conclusion: This episode had some nice developments but it was overall disappointing with poor and repetitive storytelling. This season looks like it's going to be everything that I wished it wouldn't be.
Summary: Everybody except Nick ignores Offred through her pregnancy. Offred begins to bleed, hinting at her perhaps having a miscarriage. She is taken to the doctor after being found unconscious and her baby is saved. Fred rewards Nick for his service by getting him a child bride. Janine holds a wedding in the colonies for a dying woman to raise spirits despite Emily's protests. Emily eventually apologizes and says it was a beautiful wedding.
The Good: Offred's (yeah I'm calling her Offred again for now) character arc was very good in this episode. Her reclusive silence is tough to watch and allows us to once more sympathize with her and root for her to attempt to get out of Gilead once more. There is also a very uncomfortable feeling stemming from Offred's constant bleeding which she doesn't tell anyone about. The execution of a lot of the scenes portrays Offred's loneliness with some beautiful camera work, including the uncomfortable scene of Offred sitting alone in a tub full of blood without a single other soul knowing what she has gone through.
Nick surprisingly got more depth here which I am all for. I would like or him to keep getting focus like this so that I can invest in him a little more. This is a great first step towards that as Nick has seemingly been given a proper story arc to take him through this season. The writers also allow us to start sympathizing with him (finally) by placing him in a difficult situation which forces him to do something he doesn't want to do, which is get into a relationship with his new bride which he had no choice in getting.
Fred and Serena's relationship is fascinating, and like Fred in general, I want to see more of it so that I can understand exactly how it works.
The other half of the episode was even better though. Outside of Offred's story, the episode gave some time back to the colonies so we can explore what Emily and Janine have been up to. Their scenes were outstanding and told a great story as Emily introduced Janine to the bleak new reality of her life. But Janine refuses to be such an animal and brings some positive love and feeling to the colonies, hosting a very sweet wedding for somebody on their deathbed to Emily's disdain. It's a relatable decision for Janine which brings a welcome change to the dreariness of the colonies, and also allows us to relate more with Emily who is resigned to her new life by now.
Speaking of Emily, I'm very happy that her storyline with Janine didn't lead to meaningless melodrama and that we instead got to see her make up with Janine and ultimately accept what she is doing. It was a fitting and powerful conclusion which makes us appreciate the characters of Emily and Janine much more.
The Bad: The baby surviving is a bit perplexing. There was a whole lot of blood lost throughout the episode and I don't think there is any way that the baby could realistically have survived the ordeal. It's confusing and I would have liked more information at the end of the episode about the baby.
Serena was flawed once more. She was the only one checking to make sure Offred was okay, which is odd considering how she is supposed to hate Offred. I guess it could be chalked up as a change to her character, but it hasn't been hinted at in any way, so I find it tough to buy into this character change.
This episode didn't have a whole lot to it ultimately, as evidenced by the short length of this review. I thought it was fine, but it didn't have very many talking points.
The Unknown: So what are the details regarding Nick's marriage? How are the brides created for the men and who are eligible to get a bride? What is the bride's situation in the Waterford household and what will her relationship with Offred be?
Will Janine have to face consequences for all the positive things she is doing in the colonies? I feel that this is setting up for a tragic catharsis.
Best Moment: The death scene of the woman who had just got married was genuinely emotional. I thought the scene was shot superbly to get the most emotion out of the characters, and in turn getting an emotional reaction out of me. I also loved the music, which felt "The Leftovers"-esque in its sound which is always a great thing.
Character of the Episode: Janine.
Conclusion: This was a good episode which had some welcome developments, even if it didn't really feel like there was a whole lot of depth to this, unlike the previous episodes. Thankfully I felt that the writing was more consistent, making this one of the season's better episodes.
Summary: Rachel wants to get back with Ross after Ross sleeps with Chloe, meaning that Ross has to attempt to make sure the truth doesn't get out to Rachel. Rachel finds out and the two of them get in an argument with Monica, Phoebe, Joey and Chandler stuck in the bedroom listening in.
The Good: This was a pretty powerful break-up and both Ross and Rachel played their roles to perfection. I was genuinely sad that their relationship had degraded so much and I was also able to sympathize with both as they attempted to get through it. I thought it was done very well. Thankfully there was humour too, mostly coming from the other 4 friends in the bedroom who were stuck in there. The dialogue was written expertly to provide comic relief without making anybody behave out of character and I thought the timing was always perfect.
The Bad: This is a tough episode to rate as a sitcom. A lot of the drama is too sad and depressing to make this a great episode of comedy, and even the great jokes between the other four can't overcome the melancholy atmosphere.
Best Moment: Joey's "walk" was such a fantastic moment to relieve the tension and make me laugh out loud. The ridiculous idea of him thinking about something like that managed to feel real and it worked very well.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This episode had some great jokes and funny moments, but the overall serious atmosphere prevents this from reaching high heights. I really enjoyed this, but it isn't efficient as a comedy.
Summary: Chandler and Joey visit the copy shop and are invited to a party by hot girl Chloe. Phoebe dates a foreign guy who needs an interpreter to communicate with her. Ross and Rachel have another argument and Rachel suggests that they take a break.
The Good: This was very well done. It was very impressive how the writers kept such a serious storyline feeling light and fun while still capturing the emotional weight of Ross and Rachel's apparent break-up. There were some funny lines and moments in their argument which were expertly inserted into the scenes to feel organic and not forced. I was pleased by that. I also love how both characters motives are clearly understood and that they are both partly responsible for what happened, instead of only one of them being responsible. The side storylines were very funny too. Chandler and Joey were hilarious as always and the over-the-top to draw out comedy from their scenes. Phoebe's storyline was fun as well and the double date with Monica and the interpreter not allowing Phoebe and Sergei to enjoy themselves was really funny and well done.
The Bad: This episode is pretty serious so it will never hit the heights of Friends' best episodes, but I still really enjoyed it. While Chandler and Joey's overacting is fun, it's a bit too much sometimes.
Best Moment: Chandler and Joey discussing what the threesome would be like was great.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This was a very serious and dramatic episode but it did a very good job of maintaining the humour and keeping me entertained.
Summary: In the past, Delos works towards making an eternal-living host for Jim Delos and William is in charge, but the process isn't going smoothly as Delos' mind is rejecting his new body. The process goes on for several decades without success and William eventually abandons the project. In the present, William and Lawrence run into a group of hosts who capture them. William kills everyone and breaks free before running into his daughter. Bernard is taken to Elsie and they find a facility. Inside the facility they find what remains of Delos and put him out of his misery.
The Good: This was a very good episode, one of the best in the whole series. It shouldn't be a surprise that when you take away pointless confusion and mystery and provide an easy-to-follow narrative with legitimate resonance it improves the quality of the story begin told. That is exactly what happened here, as the episode focused on 3 stories with actual relevance and focus which were easy to follow and understand.
The first story is the one in flashbacks and I think it is the most powerful and thought-provoking one. In this storyline we get to see Mr. Delos on his quest for immortality, which is surely what William had tempted him with back in "Reunion". Delos has become a host and William is the one who is working to turn him into a fully-working and immortal being. I really love the way that these scenes were executed. At first there is no background on the story whatsoever as we get a Lost-esque sequence of Delos staying in his chamber until he is visited by William. We learn a few things here and there are several clues of things not being what they seem with Delos exhibiting some strange ticks. Clearly he is either sick in some way or is a host. The scene is executed wonderfully, highlighting some important clues and bits of information and the following two scenes do a terrific job of explaining everything and bringing very real emotional stakes to the episode.
The emotion was brought on by our perception of Delos' situation. It is especially poignant with William's final visit as we understand just how long Delos has been waiting to go free. Even though he seems to be a bad person, our natural instinct wants to see him be free from confinement and to overcome his shackles and bugs. But that never happens and we instead bear witness as William, obviously turned cold, tears him apart metaphorically and reveals to him that his entire family has died while he awaits his return to the world. It's a sad scene and a fantastic examination of men's fears of death and their ability to overcome it; a prevalent theme in this episode. Furthermore, the storyline is aided by some terrific acting by Peter Mullan, who brings Delos' personality to life and delivers an absolute cracker of a performance to make us sympathize with this "piece of shit" as William describes him.
Speaking of William, I love what has been done with his character. Last season his transformation was very abrupt, but this season is thankfully allowing us to understand him more. Instead of being a murderous psycho, we can now understand him a little more as we see his goals and relationship with Delos. This aids his current storyline as William doesn't seem quite so empty anymore, and we can now understand his aspirations to discover more about himself and the world, something which has always fueled his character that we can now understand more than ever. While his storyline has flaws (see: The Bad), it is fairly entertaining and has a nice twist at the end.
The final storyline is with Bernard and Elsie and I think that works very nicely. I'm enjoying the dynamic of their relationship and I think that the show should keep focus on them to add some development. Their relationship has a neat and fresh feeling as we get to follow Elsie getting used to the fact that Bernard is a host, completely changing how their relationship was in the last season. I really enjoyed seeing them work their way through the facility as the mystery continued to expand about what was really happening. Bernard's flashbacks are also very interesting and were shot superbly with glorious transitions and angles. The cinematography in this episode was truly special and I believe that this is by far the best-looking episode of Westworld yet.
The climax of the episode where we got to see current-day Delos was fantastic. The scene was shot like an exciting high-budget horror film and had genuine tension to it, while also serving as a sad reveal of what Delos' fate was. I was impressed with the final monologue from Delos as well. I'm not yet sure what to make of his final lines, but they will surely be fascinating to try to analyze to decipher what point Delos is trying to make.
The Bad: The present-William storyline is still tough to get into because it feels too familiar and generic. There hasn't been much change to how his storyline works with some fun action, but there is hardly anything fascinating with these scenes anymore. While there is thankfully more tension since William can actually die and get hurt now, it's still hard to care much for these scenes with many more interesting storylines going on around the park.
The Unknown: What disease killed Mr. Delos? Could it be returning soon? Also has Delos, the company, tried to make any other people immortal? Could Mr. Delos have just been a prototype? The lab he was in had a 12 on the door. Does that mean there are many more of these? Could Mr. Delos not have been he first attempt at doing this?
What are the memories that Bernard had? Why did he kill everything in the facility? What was his role in what was being done to Delos? Was he aware? How can he control the drone hosts? What was he creating in that facility?
Is Ford's influence still controlling everything? Did Ford have Clementine bring Bernard to Elsie? What is his end goal for William? What does he mean by saying that forward is the wrong direction?
How is Emily in the park? How long has se gone there? What is her relationship with William like?
W are the Ghost Nation's motives? Do they protect humans? They seem to capture them and let them go. Are they under Ford's orders? Or somebody else's?
Best Moment: William revealing to Delos that his old life is gone and that he is better off dead is a very sad and powerful moment. Quite possibly my favourite Westworld scene so far.
Character of the Episode: Delos.
Conclusion: This was a great episode which was much more organized than most episodes. There were satisfying answers and powerful storytelling, making this one of the show's best instalments.
Summary: Phoebe is reunited with a former partner who she has had a falling out with in the past and they start singing together again. Ross is upset with Rachel's long work hours but is happy that Mark is leaving Bloomingdale's. He tries to prevent Rachel and Mark from continuing to be friends. Chandler dates a woman with a prosthetic leg who Joey has horrific memories about.
The Good: I'm very glad that Phoebe got something major to do after what feels like forever. Her storyline is pretty good and has some fun lighthearted moments throughout. Ross' character continues to shine as he continues to be jealous and paranoid of losing Rachel while also wanting to spend more time with her. I think the writers have done a terrific job of making this very serious relationship storyline still have a lot of comedic value through the use of Ross and Rachel's quirky personalities. Chandler and Joey's storyline is excellent for a side story. The acting from both is fitting for the characters and they do a terrific job of getting the most laughs from everything they are given. Joey's story about what happened with Ginger is very funny and so is the conclusion with Chandler getting past the leg only for Ginger to be creeped out by his nubbin. That ending was a great use of irony to provide humour.
The Bad: Nothing really stands out as bad. I suppose the final moment with Phoebe angry with her friend is a bit much for Phoebe's character but it isn't major.
Best Moment: I'll go with Joey talking with Chandler about the leg. Both characters were very funny in this episode.
Character of the Episode: Chandler but Joey is a close second.
Conclusion: This was a very strong episode which had some great laughs in it.
Summary: In flashbacks, June is confronted by Luke's wife Annie who is upset that Luke is in love with her. In the present, June is under confinement from Aunt Lydia. June is returned to the Waterford residence and Lydia stays with her to ensure she doesn't escape again. June acts aggressively and infuriates Serena. Lydia takes June for a walk and shows her Omar's dead body and reveals the family's fate. June complies to become Offred again and accepts life as a handmaid once more.
The Good: This episode was another great examination of June's character. This season is doing a superb job of making June into a well-rounded character by exploring her flaws as well as her strengths. This episode is all about conveying how selfish June is and how her selfishness has caused damage to other people's happiness. The flashback scene in this episode demonstrates this with Annie being hurt by June's selfish desires to be with Luke, not even thinking about how his wife must feel. This is brought over into the present as well as Omar's dead body is revealed. June's selfishness and carelessness in the previous episode has come back to bite her as she once more feels guilty for not thinking about others and instead fixating on herself. In the end it's this guilt that leads to her reprising her role as Offred the handmaid, unwilling to fight back as June because she deserves her fate. The storytelling in this plotline was excellent in pretty much every way and is one of the reasons that "The Handmaid's Tale" is one of my favourite TV shows right now even if it hasn't quite reached greatness.
Aunt Lydia was a highlight in this episode. Ann Dowd plays the character ridiculously well and does a great job of conveying Lydia's conflicting feelings about Offred. Lydia does love Offred like she does with all of the handmaids, but also wants to and has to punish her for her mistakes and everything she has done. These conflicting emotions create a killer performance, allowing Lydia to steal any scene she is in, even outperforming Elisabeth Moss at times which is very impressive. While Lydia had seemed a bit 2-dimensional in the first season, she has improved a lot in the past 4 episodes.
I really liked how this episode set apart June and Offred as two different characters. This allows us to understand the different pieces of June's life better, as we have who she really is (June) and who other people want her to be (Offred) and this episode toys the line separating both characters and has June shift from one side of the line to the other. As mentioned above, the execution of June's transformation was great, but what I want to commend here is the decision to bring attention to the fact that there are basically two different versions of June in the series. Simply addressing this fact allowed the episode to take a more thoughtful and memorable approach and I'm glad that the show went with that instead of something basic which you will often see from lesser shows.
Serena and June's rivalry continues to be fairly enjoyable. I'm glad that their storyline hasn't been dropped and that their falling out from last season has impacted their relationship will has soured a ton. I thought their conflict in this episode had good build-up and on very uncomfortable moment as Serena talked to her baby in the middle of the night without even acknowledging June. There wasn't anything particularly great here, but it was enjoyable enough.
The Bad: Serena is a bit of a double-edged sword at this point though. While she has compelling aspects about her, she also seems very inconsistent. In "A Woman's Place" back in season 1, we learned about how Serena sacrificed everything for her current life. Yet that has had no impact on Serena's story at all and instead her storyline consists of her being an annoying and angry character who is apparently being easily manipulated by Fred. That doesn't add up nicely and makes her character as much of a mystery to me as she is compelling which isn't good. Furthermore, this new addition of her surprisingly motherly instincts leans things more to the bad side as it is yet another aspect of her character we didn't know before which we have to just accept now. We aren't told why she is motherly, just that he is which is much less satisfying.
If Serena is a double-edged sword, then Fred is a blunt blade. His character intrigued me so much last season because I was interested to find out the deeper layers to his character and what drove him from a good person into the monster he is now. But instead we got nothing and I've had to realize that the show is happy to leave him as a 2-dimensional and boring villain. This is a huge waste which I feel wastes the potential of giving this show one of the all-time great villains. The best way to put it is that the show could have had a Ben Linus but has instead settled for a Negan. A great performance, but a one-note character who isn't as interesting as the show thinks he is.
I think this show is going a bit too heavily on the misery. In the first season it was important to establish the harsh reality of this world, but now I think there needs to be more change and that the show should start gravitating away from the horrors it loves to explore. In time these horrors will grow weary and I think the show should be smart enough to move away from them before that happens. Let's hope for something a little less bleak in the future, or at least something that's bleak for a different reason.
The Unknown: Will June escape/rebel again? She seems to be stuck as Offred for now, so what will make her go back to being June? Will anything make her go back to being June?
After seeing Annie in the past, I wonder if she will make an appearance in the present. Could she be in the colonies too? Perhaps the colonies will become more central to the story in the second half of the season since there has been little focus on them.
I want more insight on Serena and her motherly instincts. Why does she have them? Was it something in her childhood or something she gained whilst living in Gilead?
Best Moment: Omar's death reveal was the most powerful scene for sure. It was tough watching June fall to her knees and have so much guilt washing over her. A very "The Handmaid's Tale" scene in every right with how much misery was conveyed. Aunt Lydia's cold speech was the icing on the cake though, taking a disheartening and powerful scene and turning it into something special.
Character of the Episode: Lydia.
Conclusion: This was a very strong episode of storytelling, but it is hurt by familiar inconsistencies with the Waterfords who haven't been as compelling as they should be. I still enjoyed this, but I feel like there needs to be better characterization going on for the Waterfords in order for the show to be excellent again.
Summary: In flashforwards, Strand takes Bernard to meet Charlotte who is impressed that he made it out alive. In the present, Bernard and Charlotte locate Abernathy but he's captured by Dolores along with Bernard. Dolores assigns Bernard to fix Abernathy. Dolores camp is attacked by Delos as they are led by Charlotte and they capture Abernathy. Bernard is taken away by Clementine. Maeve's group enters the underground of Westworld and reunite with Armistice, Felix and Sylvester before heading towards Shogun World. A girl meets a guy in a colonial India theme park but the guy is killed when the hosts turn on the guests. The girl is chased to Westworld by a tiger.
The Good: This episode was carried by the fact that it introduced two new parks at the beginning and end. The opening sequence in particular which introduced us to a sort of Colonial Indian world was fantastic and immediately got me invested in the new park as well as the characters introduced. I like the exploration of the idea that both of the guests we see are bored of getting something pre-determined with hosts and are now longing for something real after spending so much time in the park. It's a really cool idea and I really hope that it gets explored more in future episodes. I believe that "The Dorr" which Ford mentioned to William may actually allow William to realize the value of the real world around him instead and free him from the park. That would be a great story to watch unfold and would continue to explore this powerful new theme.
The rest of the opening sequence was great too. It was great to see some different scenery for once and the cinematography was top-notch as usual, making the world seem unique and real. I also loved that we got a proper look at the park boundaries between Westworld and the Indian world, and interestingly the bomb didn't seem to trigger when the tiger escaped the park (see: The Unknown). I still do appreciate that we have been given some clarity on how the multiple parks will operate as that will definitely help me stay more in touch with the storylines which involve multiple parks.
I did like seeing Dolores gear up for war as it made me feel like I was watching something like "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones" for a moment which is a very good thing. While I did have some big problems (see: The Bad), I thought the actual battle was fun and it was shot well to encapsulate the struggle without using up too much of a budget.
The star of this episode was undoubtedly Peter Abernathy who returned with some great acting from Louis Herthum. I thought that his scene with Dolores were great and were surprisingly touching. The thought of Dolores still loving Abernathy despite knowing he is fake because he is all she knows is touching and it allows me to buy into their relationship. Because of this, their scenes had some genuine impact and I could properly buy into Dolores wanting Bernard to fix Abernathy no matter what so that she could have her father back.
I thought the Maeve scenes were pretty good too for the most part. I'm very happy tat Maeve and Hector are being given a developing relationship and Sizemore's reaction to it was very well done and properly conveyed the confusion he would feel once he realizes that these hosts are actually becoming conscious. I do like the twist that Hector is still using his built-in lines to describe his love as it continues to blur the lines between a host being fully-conscious and semi-conscious. I'm intrigued to see if there are any other paths in the maze that Westworld has yet to explore.
Lastly, I was glad to see Felix and Sylvester return to the show. There needs to be more humans in this show for us to bounce off of. I thought the final reveal of Shogun World was great and it gets me excited to see what comes next.
The Bad: I didn't like the scene in the future with Bernard and Strand. It was inoffensive as a scene and gave some interesting tidbits, but I think it's ultimately unnecessary. The story would be better off without these flashes to the future and I would prefer if we just see how things play out and resume with future Bernard once the story catches up.
I enjoyed the action sequences but they really lacked any semblance of logic. We just learned that Delos isn't going to interfere until Abernathy is given to them. Yet Charlotte just talks to them quickly and all of a sudden they send all of their guys out which is really contradictory. I also didn't like how they seemed to know exactly where Abernathy was to the room, and just casually walked in to get him. If they can track him, why didn't they pick him up way earlier?
Dolores is already beginning to seem inconsistent as a character. I thought her goal was domination with a host army, yet here she just sends hosts to their deaths because apparently not all of them are good enough? What? That makes no sense. How cans he choose which hosts are good enough? Why does it matter anyways? This development feels really forced and contrived, as it would make much more sense for Dolores to recruit and value her host army instead of sending them to their deaths. Additionally I find it hard to really buy into Teddy's merciful nature as something significant as it feels forced into every scene he is in.
The Unknown: How was Colonial world affected by the uprising? Was it the same across all of the parks?
What happened to the bomb inside the tiger? Why didn't it go off? Did Ford disable them before he died or something like that?
Who is the new character from the Indian world? What will she do in the story? How is she going to get away from the Ghost Nation people?
Where has Abernathy been taken? How did he end up getting away between now and the future we have seen? What is Bernard's role in this? What did he see when he explored Abernathy? Did he download whatever it was that Charlotte had inside of him? Does he have it now?
What does Dolores want in Sweetwater? What does Clementine want from Bernard? Some interesting motives here.
Best Moment: Dolores and Abernathy speaking to each other was genuinely touching and I think it was the most powerful this show has gotten so far.
Character of the Episode: Abernathy.
Conclusion: This episode had an outstanding opening scene and one really powerful moment, making it one of the better episodes so far. Unfortunately there were some large flaws in the writing here, but this certainly did more good than it did bad.
Summary: In flashbacks, June's mother judges her for not doing more with her life. Later, June discovers her mother was taken into the colonies. In Little America, Luke, Erin and Moira live together but Moira is having troubles overcoming her past. June is taken by a man named Omar to save her. Omar and his family don't return from church so June leaves on her own. She gets on a plane to escape but the plane is shot down and June is captured.
The Good: It was nice to see what Moira and Luke are up to. Though their scenes were brief, they were pretty solid and painted a good picture. Moira should be content but she is unable to escape her traumas in Gilead which is a development I really love.
Moira's story was really short though and was never the focal point of the episode. The bulk of the episode focused on June's attempted escape from Gilead and it was fun for the most part. We are introduced to Omar who is the man assigned to help out June and it is fascinating to learn more about him. His family introduces that not all fertile women are handmaids and that the lower-class women are downgraded to econowives, which is a very welcome bit of world-building. I am really enjoying the increased world-building this season now that we aren't enclosed in the Waterford residence. It's still not as fleshed out as I would like, but it's getting there with every new piece of information.
But let's focus more on Omar's family itself for a moment and what it meant for June. Omar's son was the first child June has interacted with in a very, very long time so the moment was much more powerful than it ad any right to be, with Elisabeth Moss once again delivering. The rest of June's time in the apartment was just as good too. I like that June was curious and looked around the apartment a little bit. After all she has been living in a single building for a long time so any new location would be exciting for her. Furthermore, I thought the discovery of the Quran was a lovely moment. This show hasn't touched on its more religious side very much, so this was a refreshing new theme to explore. The idea of having to be a closet Muslim in a Christian society is pretty scary and because of that I hope that we see this family again to get more exploration on the topic.
The ending of the episode was quite powerful too as June is ultimately caught after coming so close to escape. The show did a great job of making me believe that June may actually get away and that the show would take a different approach this season because it had spent so much time on June's escape. But it was all a red herring as the show once more doubled down on its misery as June was captured at the very end.
Another new development is the introduction of June's mother. I thought this was a nice addition for the show as it gives more depth to June and allows us to understand her more by hinting at how her childhood was. I appreciate that the show didn't use flashbacks to blatantly show us June's childhood and instead let June's interactions with her mother as an adult tell us the story of their relationship. I like that it tied into the present storyline as well with June feeling some guilt over not listening to her mother and doing more as a woman to prevent the world from going to hell. I presume that this plot thread will continue through the season which will hopefully pay off with some powerful moments. I also hope that June's mother does appear in the colonies at some point as Cherry Jones is too good of an actress to only have for a single episode.
The Bad: This episode was too dependent on coincidences. One of the more frustrating ones was the way that June's mother was revealed to be in the colonies. For one, how unlikely is it for her to still be alive? After all, this is the same government that murders all rebels as evidenced in "The Other Side", so why would they keep her alive? Worse though is the sheer coincidence that she would be shown on that presentation. Of the presumably hundreds or even thousands of women in the colonies, it just happened to be June's mother who was in the picture? That's too coincidental.
But that wouldn't be a problem if there were only one or two coincidences. The problem is that this episode is literally built on coincidences. Literally everyone June needs to help her are conveniently caught exactly when she tries to escape. This happened last season too during the flashbacks of Luke and June's attempted escape. But this episode has the coincidence of Omar getting a text exactly when he was talking to June, the coincidence of Omar's family conveniently getting caught for something the day that June is there and also the coincidence of the pilot getting busted the time that June is escaping. All of this is way too much and doesn't make for satisfying storytelling, instead feeling cheap and manipulative.
There were some other issues with this episode too. For one, June is pretty annoying as she listens to nobody and seems to just ride on the fact that she is a handmaid as an excuse for not listening which is frustrating. She shows no regard for Omar's family and doesn't come off as the least bit grateful. Omar tells her not to speak and she immediately talks to his wife and then later goes to talk with his child. Seriously? Furthermore, she is told to touch nothing and immediately touches everything. And then after that when the family goes to church, June pokes around with everything, moving things around and getting fingerprints everywhere. And then to cap it all off, she leaves her clothes in their apartment which would further incriminate them for anything if they were actually caught. All of this is ridiculously selfish and really made me annoyed with June which is the complete opposite of what the show is trying to make me feel.
Another issue is how rushed the stories in Little America are. Apparently Erin talks now but all of that development happened off screen. I still don't care at all about her so this does absolutely nothing for me. Additionally, Moira's unhappiness in Little America felt glossed over. Sure we got one great scene, but we had no information given to us about anything. Is this Moira's job still? Why? Did she choose to do this or was she forced to do it for some reason? I have no clue why any of this is happening and because of that the scene falls flat for me. With a little more information given, the scene could have hit me with the intended effects. But instead it felt forced and rushed.
Speaking of rushed, there's also June' decision to leave Hannah. This would have been powerful if June had actually thought about Hannah more than twice this season. Honestly the moment felt like a "oh crap I forgot about Hannah, oh well I'll just leave her" moment instead of something genuine and heartfelt.
The Unknown: What text this Omar receive and why did it make him want to leave June? Did it have something to do with what happened to him and his family? Speaking of which, what actually did happen to his family? And who was that man who came to the door?
So what determines if you become an econowife or a handmaid? What is the class standing for that? I have a hard time believing that June was a high-class citizen who was selected as a handmaid considering what her job was. Perhaps I'm just missing something.
Best Moment: The twist ending with the plane being stopped was the most powerful moment for me and it was also one of the very few scenes which wasn't hampered by dumb writing.
Character of the Episode: June.
Conclusion: This episode had some good developments but it was poorly written. The over-reliance on coincidence as well as the unlikable portrayal of June hurt this a lot and made this a notable downgrade from the first 2 episodes.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.