Summary: Otis' funeral is held. Daryl continues to search for Sophia. A walker is found in a well and the crew tries to remove it but it gets cut in half and contaminates the water. Glenn and Maggie go to a pharmacy and have sex. Glenn gets a pregnancy test for Lori and she tests positive. Hershel wants Rick's group off the farm but Rick convinces him to reconsider.
The Good: I liked the follow-up with Shane as he was put on the spot during Otis' funeral. He clearly feels uncomfortable and perhaps a little guilty, so he isn't completely gone as a human. His mannerisms have changed a little bit as he's become more quiet and to himself ever since what happened. His character arc is obviously building to something.
I liked the pharmacy scene a lot. It was a welcome bit of humour and levity as a mistake from Glenn results in sex, in an organic and entertaining way. On a show as dark as this, the lighter moments are invaluable.
I liked the way the episode set up plotlines early on in individual scenes. After just one scene, the pharmacy mission, Hershel's conflicts with the main group and Shane's isolation from everyone except Andrea were introduced as conflicts to be explored in the episode.
The Bad: Unfortunately the episode didn't do a good job exploring these conflicts, as none of them end up accomplishing anything which felt important or meaningful. The character development was very low here as all scenes ended up being two people talking about the story. That isn't character development and it shouldn't be treated as such. It renders the setups moot when there is little to no pay off for anything.
But I want to focus more on the two people conversations which I think really destroyed this episode. The pacing was awful as there were probably something like 10-20 different scenes where just two characters would have a short conversation with each other and then walk away. To make matters worse, these scenes consisted of characters making a point and then leaving, allowing no room for character development or organic dialogue. It was repetitive, jarring and tedious to watch. In the end we were left to follow 5 different storylines through 30 second scenes which have little to no meaning.
There was one terrible storyline in this episode too and that was the well walker. So there is a walker sitting in a water well who has been there for god knows how long. Yet the crew decides that the walker would contaminate the water if its killed so they need to get it out. What? First of all, the water is surely contaminated by now just from the walker being in there, so who would take the risk of drinking that water? It should have been deemed contaminated immediately. Second, why send a living person to get it out? That's risking a life for no real important cause for the sake of crappy drama which feels forced into the episode because otherwise there would be no walkers in this episode. It's a stupid plot line, and it doesn't even go anywhere since there is no character development and the walker ends up contaminating the well anyways. And to rub salt in the wound, Glenn defies physics to get the rope around the walker, which I don't buy in any way.
We need to know more about walkers as a whole. The walker in this episode was apparently able to survive without nourishment in that well, and I don't understand why. We need more information to understand how walkers work so that we are more familiar with the stakes of the show.
So many storylines feel pretty dull. The Daryl/Carol, T-Dog/Dale and SHane/Andrea storylines don't interest me much d they didn't progress much at all in this episode.
The Unknown: Is Lori's baby Shane's? That seems ripe for some drama down the road.
How are these walkers able to survive? Why dot hey need to eat if it's not necessary for their survival? Also, how did that specific walker get so fat? Or was it just a fat human who died?
Best Moment: The pharmacy scene was probably the best part about this.
Character of the Episode: Daryl.
Conclusion: This was a weak episode. Not much happened and it was awkward and tedious to watch. It's okay to slow the pace down and stop plot movement, but there needs to be character development. Unfortunately, this episode has nothing for character or plot, making it genuinely boring.
Summary: In flashbacks, Clay and Hannah go to one of Jeff's parties and get high on ecstasy. Hannah reveals she thinks about suicide sometimes as she comes down. In the present, Clay testifies for Hannah but it doesn't go well. Alex has a birthday party but he gets angry and snaps at everyone. Andy wants a divorce.
The Good: Alex's outburst was somewhat successful. I get what they were going for and it does change up the story in an interesting way. I'm curious to see where his story is going to go.
The Bad: The rest of this sucked. The opening animated sequence was pretty bad and felt needlessly "artsy". The dialogue was bad, it blatantly tried to shove the show's themes down our throat without even a hint of subtlety and it wasn't even pleasing to watch. It was pretty much a total failure. It ties into the drug scene, but even that scene was bad as it served no purpose.
Honestly, the drug story was really bad. Why was it included? How does it affect the story or the characters of Clay and Hannah? The answer is it doesn't. It's there to fill out content in an episode which is aimless and accomplishes nothing. There is no significance to Hannah saying she is suicidal when coming down. It doesn't even feel important since it seems viable that people would just say that when coming down. Furthermore, it does nothing for Clay. His character arc is the same old crap. He feels guilty. That's it and there is nothing interesting about any of it.
The show needs to stop retreading the same storylines over and over. Hannah was depressed. We get it. Clay loved Hannah and feels guilty. We get it. Jessica is upset because she was raped. We get it. Alex is angry because his life sucks. We get it. Nobody likes Tyler. We get it. The show is repetitive and refuses to deepen its characters at all. If you take away everything I mentioned in this paragraph about Hannah, Clay, Jessica, Tyler and Alex, we have no way to characterize them. Who are they aside from that? They are boring and character-less. It's disappointing that after one and a half seasons these characters haven't accomplished anything.
Thankfully Kate Walsh is enjoyable to watch, but I am sick of watching her be sad for Hannah. We see it at least once per episode and it's so repetitive to the point that it pisses me off. Kate Walsh is talented. Give her something else to do.
Aside from repetition, we have very little to actually discuss from this episode. Clay's story is bad. The court scenes aren't even structured around blaming the school, and it instead feels like the whole point of Clay's testimony is to prove that he is responsible for Hannah's suicide. It feels like he is on trial instead. Furthermore, it's implied that only the opposition questioned Clay. Why? What was the purpose of having him if they aren't going to ask him questions? Additionally, Clay says the court went terribly, but that's hard to understand since we hardly saw any of it. Too much focus was on Alex's birthday instead.
Speaking of which, Alex's outburst doesn't feel earned at all. What changed to make him so angry when he was fine a few episodes ago? I have no clue and I couldn't tell you. The plot demands that Alex has to be angry so he's angry. His rage towards Bryce at particular is so out-of-nowhere that it threw me off and actually made me laugh. Miles Heizer isn't good enough of an actor to make the weak dialogue work, making the scenes even worse.
The final twist of Clay sharing the tapes didn't resonate much with me. Furthermore, his conversation with Ghost Hannah was really bad. It felt like the show tried to address the complaints that Hannah sent the tapes out for revenge, but they did a piss-poor job of proving that wrong. They needed to give her another proper motivation and they didn't do that. Her "wanting her story to be heard" is pretty weak and feels like it was hamfisted into the story.
Even the little things were bad in this episode. The show's usual good cinematography wasn't present here, the dialogue was worse than usual and the execution of many scenes was just bad. Take the mystery building. The stupid overdramatic sound effect was used when Clay found the polaroid, ruining that scene. When Tony was talking to his boyfriend, there was no subtlety at all to Tony asking about the one-eyed guy. Anybody would figure out he knows that guy somehow.
The Unknown: Was Tony responsible for the man who lost his eye?
What was that text that Sheri mentioned? It's clear that Clay knows something about it.
Best Moment: Alex's anger probably because at least it felt like that story was going somewhere.
Character of the Episode: Alex.
Conclusion: Repetition. That's one word to describe this episode and most of this show as a whole. This episode accomplished very little and pissed me off every other minute. The execution was unbelievably poor and this is easily the worst episode the show has ever put out. This show has fallen off a cliff.
Summary: Pete offers Monica a new job at a restaurant and reveals he is seeing someone else. However, Phoebe figures out Pete isn't seeing anyone and still loves Monica. Joey and Chandler buy a baby chick and try to take care of it. Ross misses a TV appearance to help Rachel who hurt herself.
The Good: Pete and Monica's story is good until the ending (see: The Bad). Both characters feel very real throughout and Phoebe is fantastic in her role as she tries not to break her word to Pete while also trying to help Monica, her friend. Ross and Rachel's storyline is good too. Ross is fantastic as always, and he does a great job of providing humour to a pretty serious storyline. As a whole, this was a great way to continue the Ross/Rachel storyline by getting them on appropriately good terms. Chandler and Joey make the odd laugh in their storyline.
The Bad: The ending of the Pete story is very bad. Monica suddenly loves Pete after a kiss. What? That makes absolutely no sense and I feel like it exists because the writers had no clue how to make Monica fall in love with Pete. The episode as a whole also isn't very funny. There are good moments and the Ross/Rachel story is strong, but the rest leaves something to be desired. Joey and Chandler disappoint in jokes and feel content to just parody being parents. "Friends" has always been weakest when it tries to parody and that remains consistent here.
Best Moment: Not much stands out really. I'll go with Ross being ridiculous while helping Rachel out in her room.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This episode was fine overall but did nothing special and disappointed me with a weaker level of comedy.
Summary: Offred is left alone and she ventures around the property. The Waterfords show up, looking for her and Offred debates killing them. She chooses not to and they leave. Offred gies birth alone in the house.
The Good: As the summary demonstrates, this was a really basic episode which fixated purely around Offred's birth. That's not a bad thing though as it did allow her birth to feel important and powerful, while also fitting the show and the character of Offred. The focus on Offred benefitted the episode for sure. It allowed Elisabeth Moss to put in a killer performance, carrying the episode to higher qualities than it would have otherwise reached. Moss is extremely talented and breathed life into this episode.
The episode was really tense at times, especially when the Waterfords arrived. There was the initial tension of wondering if Offred was going to get caught, but that was one-upped by the much better tension regarding if Offred was going to go to extreme lengths to get her revenge by killing both of the Waterfords. The tension was very significant and added a lot to the episode.
The Waterfords were stellar in this episode though. They finally blew up at each other and the scene was absolutely tremendous as the both of them blamed each other for all of the awful things they did to Offred. I particularly loved how Serena openly admitted to building Gilead for the sole selfish purpose of getting herself a child, showing how selfish, narrow-sighted and downright awful she is. It honestly makes me wonder why the show tries to garner sympathy for her. I am very fascinated by the relationship between Serena and Fred, so I hope that this episode is a sign for things to come in their relationship.
The Bad: Unfortunately it seems that Fred actually wanted to give Offred something nice bysending her to see her daughter, which is stupid. Why would he do that? We get no satisfying explanation here. It's a really forced decision which makes no sense in any context, proving that Fred's decisions aren't based on character, but rather what the plot demands.
I don't like how repetitive the show appears to have become Once more we see Offred feeling alone because the world is cruel and she has to go through something tough because she is tough, while there are also teases of escape. While this episode was enjoyable overall, the show's inability to change and adapt is hurting it and is preventing it from achieving its potential.
Offred was holding a shotgun. No chance she does any major damage to either Waterford from that distance.
The Unknown: So America still exists. What is the significance of that? Will it come into play ever?
So what actually happened to Nick? Why are the Mackenzies not at the house? Did they betray the Waterfords? Will there be consequences coming for every character in the final two episodes? That could set up the major change which I've been waiting for to freshen up the show.
How will Serena take the fact that Offred already had her baby? I'm sure she will be less than pleased, and it should be interesting to see who she blames for it.
What was the significance of the wolf and why did it have to appear three times? I thought it was a bit too ont he nose with how many times it showed up.
Best Moment: The actual birth of Holly was a spectacular moment. Moss' screams felt so real, and I thought that the flashback sequence did a great job of demonstrating how Offred had to draw into the past to get the willpower and grit to push through the birth. It was artful, powerful and satisfying to watch and delivered a great climax for the episode.
Character of the Episode: Offred.
Conclusion: This was a fine episode, but there really wasn't a whole lot to it, barring the Waterfords. This review is shorter because of that. While I did enjoy myself watching the episode, it does feel like a lot of wasted time as similar themes were retreaded and there was a ton of downtime here. In the end this is a middling episode.
Summary: Emily is moved to a different house after her Commander dies during a ceremony. Offred has a false labour which angers Serena. Offred goes to Fred in hopes that he will help her get repositioned near her daughter. Fred refuses and Offred reveals the baby isn't his. Fred and Serena force a ceremony and Offred is raped. Eden finally snaps at Nick. Fred lets Offred see Hannah and Nick takes her. Hannah has been renamed as Agnes. Offred emotionally meets with her but she leaves. Soldiers arrive and capture Nick while Offred hides.
The Good: This was a much better episode with a better emotional focus, even if the show still feels a bit disjointed (see: The Bad). Emily's storyline is one of the very disjointed aspects of the show due to how little screen-time she gets, but I did like her few scenes in this episode. I enjoyed the opening scene where a Commander died doing the ceremony and Emily coldly refusing to call for help was a pretty nice touch.
The main storyline was what made this episode so strong. The episode started with Offred having a false labour, which was a great way to raise conflict between Offred and Serena again. While I have been critical of the way their relationship has been handled recently, I still do enjoy seeing them having a permanent cold war against each other. Additionally, it was easy to buy this moment as a breaking point for Serena as Offred was a bit too antagonizing towards Serena, making it easier to buy Serena and Fred's decision to rape Offred, which seems a little extreme (see: The Bad).
I really enjoyed the scene between Offred and Fred. Fred learning the child wasn't his was a long time coming, and the moment was suitably powerful and shocking. Elisabeth Moss was terrific at showing the anger and rage inside of Offred, which allowed for a bit of June to come out and ruin Fred's world. I also loved how subtly the moment was handled, without any needless drama and over-the-top lines. It was just a subtle jab from Offred which revealed a lot to Fred bout the reality of his baby, which isn't actually even his.
Of course having Offred antagonize both Fred and Serena in the same episode can't possibly end well for her. This led into the most violent, uncomfortable and depressing rape scene in the series thus far. If you didn't hate Fred or Serena before, you certainly must now as they completely disregard the health of their child just to let out their frustrations at Offred in a scene which was bordering on taking it too far, but thanks to some clever cinematography and directing, it served its purpose of having the Waterfords get back at Offred without feeling needlessly violent (take notes Game of Thrones).
Surprisingly, this leads to Fred allowing Offred to actually visit Hannah, which is a very intriguing development (see: The Unknown). His motives are unclear which adds a lot of tension to he rest of the episode as we are unsure what to expect once Nick and Offred arrive. However, the episode actually commits and provides one of the most long-awaited reunions in the show as Offred gets to see her daughter once more. The scene completely delivered on the emotions, as Offred showed the necessary love, excitement, gratefulness and desperation that a parent would feel after seeing their daughter for the first time in years.
Just as good as that storyline however, was the ending which saw Offred go from a state of blissful happiness to total despair as she was suddenly thrust back into the real world, lonelier and more miserable than ever before. If she wants to see her daughter again, it looks like she will have to do it herself. The ending sequence was stellar with Offred in tears after having her daughter wrenched from her grasp, and she immediately turns to Nick for comfort. But then mere moments later she has to watch as Nick is taken away from her, leaving her completely on her lonesome with all of the grief she is feeling. It's very powerful stuff which engages the emotions appropriately.
Nick's storyline thankfully had a major progression here as Eden finally snapped at Nick and had to face the reality that Nick loves Offred and not her. It's tragic for her character, and the scene of Eden crying in Nick's room while he does nothing was pretty intense. It was an appropriate payoff and I do wonder if Nick is now facing the consequences of not loving Eden.
The Bad: Honestly Nick is an idiot. I want to root for him and the show has done a much better job with him this season, but seeing him stupidly do nothing to show some kind of love for Eden makes it really tough. He is practically digging his own grave, and it is really annoying to see that he seemingly doesn't even care about the fact that Eden could get him in really serious trouble.
While I really loved Hannah and Offred's reunion, I thought that the dialogue for Hannah wasn't good. She felt way too cold and angry for a child, and I never bought into the idea that she would be so detached after living in Gilead. Surely she wouldn't hate Offred in the way it is conveyed, and it feels even more awkward when Hannah comes around to Offred in just a few minutes.
I don't like the idea of Serena agreeing to rape Offred. Her priority is always the baby, so surely she would be worried about the baby. But she shows no regard for the baby just to get some revenge on Offred, which is really inconsistent with her character.
The show still feels extremely disjointed. It feels like we have completely different stories in each episode with no rhythm or flow between episodes. Last episode seemingly set up a huge uprising against Gilead, but that plot line has been dropped. It's annoying to see that these episodes don't properly connect with each other and it often takes me out of the experience when something completely different happens between episodes.
The Unknown: What happened to Hannah after she was taken in? How did she become so cold?
Was the capture of Nick an intentionally placed trap from Fred? Was it because Eden wanted Nick to suffer? Or could it have all been Fred's idea? Did he perhaps want both Offred and Nick to suffer? Did he figure out that Nick was likely the father to Offred's child? Or was this all just a big coincidence?
What dos Offred do now that she is all alone and far from home?
Best Moment: Offred reuniting with Hannah was so powerful and Elisabeth Moss played the scene so perfectly.
Character of the Episode: Offred.
Conclusion: This was a very strong episode with a lot of powerful scenes which paid off of long-running storylines. The show appears to be picking up as it heads towards the season finale which is very exciting. I will gladly take more impactful episodes like these.
Summary: Maeve frees herself and reunites with her crew. They get chased and Lee sacrifices himself. Dolores runs into Bernard at The Forge and they go in. Bernard discovers that there is a door which leads the hosts to a virtual world where they could live peacefully. Dolores wants to destroy it so Bernard kills her. Some hosts make it to the virtual world, including Akecheta and Maeve’s daughter, but Clementine attacks with the humans and slaughters most of the hosts, including Maeve, Hector and Armistice. Charlotte kills Elsie and Bernard realizes his mistake in not listening to Dolores. He rebuilds her in Charlotte’s image and kills her. In the future, Charlotte/Dolores kills Strand and all of the others and then Bernard. She escapes into the real world and rebuilds Bernard.
The Good: This show is beautiful to behold in every regard. Everything is fantastic to watch, and that includes the episode previews. Every episode preview is crafted so beautifully and it’s a joy to watch. While not related to the actual episode, I had to mention how much I love the previews as it shows how committed the crew is to making this show breathtaking in its style.
The actual episode as a whole had some really great storylines, but the execution left a lot to be desired (see: The Bad). However, I thought that several pieces of this episode were tremendous. For one, I loved Maeve’s return as it was done in a suitably triumphant fashion to make it feel like a huge deal. Maeve’s overall storyline was very good too and had the best moments. I enjoyed her brief reunion with her daughter, and the tragic end of her character fit the story and was genuinely motional. While the big climax scene did lack at times (see: The Bad), the emotional resonance was conveyed well so I was able to understand and sympathize with Maeve.
Lee’s development was fine too. I liked that he finally got to finish that speech which he had written, which is a great call-back to one of the earliest episodes of the show. It was a fitting conclusion for his character arc, even if it was pretty cheesy and predictable. Overall, I think it leaves a good impression and not a bad one.
The scenes of the hosts making it through the door were impactful and cathartic. After seeing them struggle for so long, seeing them find freedom and happiness was surprisingly uplifting. I didn’t expect myself to get so invested in seeing the hosts living peacefully, but the scenes were done really well and there was genuine power in seeing the hosts living happily. The highlights were of course Akecheta reuniting with his wife and Teddy finally finding his peace in the world. Furthermore, I think this also helped make the humans seem more disgusting as they all killed the hosts without any need as they were simply trying to leave and live peacefully. It got me completely rooting against the humans, which helped me visualize Dolores’ mindset more than Bernard’s which was very needed as I was certainly pro-Bernard before.
This episode had a lot of twists and turns, but the best one was certainly the Dolores/Charlotte one. That one came as a genuine shock, and led to one of the best shocks that the series has pulled off. Furthermore, it allowed Charlotte to get some appropriate comeuppance as she got murdered coldly by Dolores.
The best storyline for me was the reveals in The Forge. I was glad to see Delos again and his character arc, as well as Logan’s, was concluded appropriately while the show also revealed the true nature of people and included lots of thought-provoking philosophy which was interesting and exciting to contemplate. The scenes in The Forge felt like a proper adventure, which made it engaging and exciting.
The Bad: Unfortunately this episode was a bit of a mess and it fell into the worst trappings of the show. The season had been stronger than the first because of its more linear nature and clear storytelling which allowed me to understand what was happening, so that it all mattered and didn’t just build up to meaningless shocks. This episode decided to throw all of that away and become a convoluted and confusing mess which left me unsure how to feel by the end of the episode and also unsatisfied with the direction that a lot of storylines went in.
For one, the episode rushed through many important things. The beginning of the episode completely skipped over all of the emotions that Dolores and William would have been feeling after their ordeals in the previous episodes. After five minutes they were completely over it and continued to be the same characetrs we knew before with absolutely no change. That’s awful because these characters went through major loss and should have changed at least a little bit. But instead, their story was glossed over in favour of major plot developments and shocks.
So many other things were rushed too. Maeve’s storyline had good quality but everything happened so fast that it didn’t impact me as much as it should have. In a single episode we had Maeve come back from near-death, reunite with her squad, watch lee sacrifice himself, reunite with her daughter, sacrifice herself for her daughter and also watch Hector and Armistice die. There was just so much going on, and it meant that no scenes got time to breathe or really settle in. We didn’t have any down-time and that took me out of the episode because it meant we skipped over a lot of emotional stuff. There was nothing new between Maeve and Hector, we didn’t get to understand what Lee’s relationship was with everyone after he betrayed them and we also didn’t even get to understand what the group’s goal was and where they were headed. It was never explained why they were going to the Valley Beyond which is a major hole.
Speaking of holes, I felt like there were tons of plot holes here. For one, how did nobody from Delos know what happened to all of the hosts? They were right there when they all died and the valley got flooded! It seems that the writers wanted to make a mystery but didn’t know how to logically explain that nobody knew what happened. Also, how are we supposed to buy that Stubbs knew Charlotte was a host? If he knew that, surely he would have talked with her earlier about it in an attempt to ally himself with her. It just felt like a meaningless reveal to make it seem like Stubbs actually had a reason to exist in this season.
The big climactic scene was disappointing too. The entire time I was getting frustrated that Maeve wasn’t using her powers to help combat Clementine to get her taken out. Furthermore, I was confused by what Clementine dying meant and I don’t understand why it caused all the hosts to fight each other. It felt unclear and needlessly confusing. Furthermore, I am confused as to why Maeve didn’t just run through the door with Akecheta and her daughter. She would have had the time to make it, so why didn’t she go? Additionally, why are the humans even killing them? To them it should appear that the hosts are just running off a cliff and dying, so why would they make the effort to kill if they are killing themselves?
I wasn’t as interested in the Dolores vs Bernard conflict in The Forge as I should have been. That’s because I already knew what would happen. It was shown that the place would flood and it would be Bernard’s fault, and it was also revealed that Dolores would be shot. Because of these reveals, I felt no tension in what was happening because I knew exactly what would happen.
I am getting frustrated with William somehow having magical healing powers. How is this man not dead?
The Unknown: How was Dolores invincible against William but killable against Bernard? I don’t understand at all.
So what were the drone hosts anyways? What was their purpose? Why did Bernard kill them back in “Riddle of the Sphinx”?
So what exactly is Bernard’s timeline? I am too confused to try to piece it all together. Everythign is just jumbled in my mind.
Where are Stubbs’ actual loyalties? Is he a host too? I don’t think he is, but why is he siding with the hosts if he isn’t?
Where did Dolores move the hosts’ world? Will it come into play later?
How did Dolores make it into the real world so easily?
What the hell happened to William? It feels like we missed a scene. What happened to him inside of the elevator? What the hell was that ending scene? I’m not even going to begin to try to put that together. I’ve had enough confusion for an episode.
Best Moment: It’s tough to choose since almost every scene felt like it should have meant more. I’ll go with Akecheta reuniting with his wife for the emotional resonance.
Character of the Episode: Bernard.
Conclusion: This season had done well to avoid the trappings that season 1 had. But unfortunately it became a mess in the final episode and wasted so much potential. So many storylines ended with whimpers and very little about this episode felt satisfying. This felt like a few episodes of content squeezed into one with all of the focus being placed on the plot and very little on the characters. This finale was very disappointing.
The season as a whole was looking to be much better than the first, but the last 2 episodes did not deliver. In the end, the season improved on tis storytelling for the most apart, but it also felt aimless at times with not enough content to fill out ten episodes, including episodes 5, 8 and 9 which in all fairness weren’t necessary to the overall plot. I would be hard-pressed to say which season was better as both seasons had very different strengths and weaknesses which I thought was interesting. I’m curious to see what season 3 has in store, but I can’t say that this finale has made me expect anything more than some convoluted storylines and wasted potential.
Summary: In flashbacks, William’s wife Juliet lashes out at him about him being evil. Emily sees this and sides with William. William accidentally tells Juliet she was right about him and leaves his profile behind. Juliet sees the profile and confirms her suspicions before leaving the profile for Emily and killing herself. In the present, William believes that Emily is a host and kills her before realizing he was wrong. Bernard leaves Elsie after removing Ford from his system. He reveals that there is a place called The Forge which has profiles of every guest. Teddy is frustrated with his role in helping Dolores and he kills himself.
The Good: This season has followed a Lost-esque format and that has made it more enjoyable overall than the last season. This episode continued that trend by focusing on William and giving him a conflict to battle with, while also showing us the complete story of his life which had only been hinted at before. This also allowed William’s storyline in the present make more sense, with the appearance of his profile which all but confirms Emily’s true nature. It also gives the moment more significance, as we can better understand what William has lost by killing his own daughter, and we can understand that he truly did care for her, instead of being confused by his true feelings for her.
Bernard’s storyline had some good moments. I was really happy with the reveal of The Forge, as it adds some more significance and theorizing to what will actually be found at the Valley Beyond (see: The Unknown). Also, I enjoyed the development of Bernard deleting Ford. It was easy to understand Bernard’s confliction with Ford being inside of his head, so his desperation for freedom again was completely understood. Of course the acting from Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins was great as well.
The Teddy and Dolores scene at the end was very good. Teddy’s death was set up well throughout the season with how his relationship with Dolores fell apart, and the actual moment had a lot of impact. Evan Rachel Wood’s acting was tremendous too, adding even more emotion to an already powerful scene.
The Bad: William’s character isn’t explored enough to make this episode feel needed. I mentioned above that this episode made the bits and pieces of William’s past into a complete story. The problem is that there is literally nothing new that we learn about William, and that hurts the quality of this episode. In every Lost episode, we learned something new about the characters in flashbacks, that’s why the flashbacks were so good, but when we learn nothing of real substance, it feels mostly like a waste of time.
The death of Emily wasn’t as impactful as it should have been. Once more, the mystery surrounding the show completely detracted from the scene. When William killed her, I didn’t feel the emotion I should have because I wasn’t sure if Emily was real or a host. I understand that the effect does try to help us sympathize more with William by giving us paranoia similar to his, but it completely destroys the emotional effect of seeing an insane William gun down his own daughter in his own madness. It should have been more than just shocking to witness. It should have been disgusting and tragic, while also demonstrating how far removed William is from reality. The fact that I only thought about these emotions later instead of during the scene is a complete failure. Furthermore, death is losing meaning in this show. A lot of characters can just come back (like Clementine in this episode), so I’m not even sure that Emily is dead, which once again hurts the impact of the show. This also hurts Teddy’s death since I’m sure he will come back to life in order for him to end up in the sea from that first episode.
While Teddy had a good story this season, Dolores didn’t and that is very disappointing. She was one of the most interesting aspects of the first season, yet right now she is the most boring by quite some distance. Her character is repetitive, and I’m not entirely sure what she is trying to accomplish which distances me from her and everything her character goes through. With Teddy dead, I’m not sure if there is anything that makes me care about Dolores’ story at all now. I just wish that she had more to do than just kill. I would be more than open to having her relationship with Abernathy explored more, but unfortunately that storyline appears to have been dropped which is disappointing.
Once again Ford’s unclear motives detract from my engagement in the story. If I knew what Ford was doing, I would be more open to sympathizing with Bernard trying to remove Ford from his head. But instead, I don’t know who I should be rooting for and it confuses me as to who is in the right. I understand that Westworld likes doing this with the whole “puzzlebox” style, but I really don’t like it because it removes emotion from a lot of potentially great scenes, like this one and even the death of Emily.
This did not feel at all like a penultimate episode. After last episode didn’t accomplish much in order to tell a story, this episode needed some more plot development to pick up the pace and set the stage for the finale. It felt like an episode 6 or 7, not an episode 9, and that makes me worried for the finale, since it seems like a whole ton needs to be accomplished in that episode.
The Unknown: I was very intrigued by Dolores being told the Valley Beyond wasn’t meant for her, which parallels William on his quest to discover the maze. Was the Valley Beyond made for the guests? Why isn’t it for Dolores? Wasn’t Ford’s entire motive to bring consciousness for hosts?
Was Emily actually a host or is she dead? IS William a host? Or is it just his paranoia getting to him? Was this all Ford’s plan somehow?
What is Bernard going to do? What is the significance of the forge and what will they find there? Have Delos made clones of everyone somehow? Could that be what Emily is? A clone which was sent to find William? Emily had said to Ghost nation that she wants him to be punished. Could it be that she is a host that was meant to put William through the pain of thinking he killed his own daughter? Did Emily donated herself as an experiment to Delos to accomplish this?
Will Teddy come back?
What will happen with Clementine? Will Charlotte use her as a weapon?
Best Moment: William’s speech about his stain is pretty powerful and has good emotions to it. Even though it doesn’t offer any new information, it does show us how William feels about himself as a person, which is pretty cathartic and powerful to see.
Character of the Episode: William.
Conclusion: This episode told a complete story and as always the actual episode was beautiful to behold in cinematography and soundtrack. But this wasn’t anywhere near as good as it should have been because of a lack of emotion, and lack of meaningful developments. This was the weakest episode of the season despite everything that it did right.
Summary: Serena tells Offred that she will be evicted once the baby is born. Offred entrusts Rita and Aunt Lydia to take care of the baby when she leaves. The Waterfords go to Canada for better relationships. They aren’t welcome there and Luke confronts them in a mob. Nick gives the handmaid letters to Luke and they are exposed to the world. The Waterfords are sent out from Canada. Serena meets a man named Mark who offers her a way to escape Gilead but she doesn’t take the offer. Eden begins to have hostilities towards Nick.
The Good: I loved the development of the Waterfords going to Canada for this episode. The show has been so constricted in Gilead that it’s began to get frustrating (see: The Bad), so to expand a little allows for new territory to be explored. Furthermore, it allows Luke and Moira to fit more organically into the story, which rectifies the flaw of their storylines feeling like insignificant afterthoughts so far this season. The actual scenes of the Waterfords in Canada were pretty good. I particularly enjoyed the bits where Serena got to see the outside world firsthand, being forced to see the world which she abandoned in favour of Gilead.
There were some good character interactions too. Luke had good moments in this episode as he attacked Waterford for what he is doing to June, and got to interact with Nick later on. While the conversation with Nick wasn’t perfect, I think it was pretty good overall and had genuine emotion to it as Luke got to let out his anger while Nick did the right thing by slipping Luke the letters from the handmaids. The scene was constructed fairly well and made some progress towards getting me to like Nick’s character.
Speaking of Nick, he had a really good storyline here which did a lot to make me care about what happens to him. Nick made the decision to give the letters to Luke, and went the extra mile to tell Offred everything that Luke wanted to tell her. This showed his heart brilliantly, as he had no hate towards Luke because of his relationship with Offred, and seemed willing to accept that his relationship with Offred is temporary. Nick showing his acceptance is honourable and adds more depth to who his character is, and also makes me root for him more. This episode was nearly perfect for him.
The ending where the Waterfords got evicted from Canada was really good. The show has been very static so far (see: The Bad), and not much of substance has actually happened. But now, with Canada turned against Gilead and the letters leaked online, there is a promise for change which is exactly what this show needs to kick itself into gear.
The Bad: While this episode was certainly better than previous ones this season, I still have to mention my frustration at how the show appears to be static in its storytelling. When looking at what has been accomplished this season, it’s shocking to believe that nine full episodes have gone by. Not much has really changed in terms of storylines, and the show feels content with sitting back and showing us how terrible Gilead is. However, that’s a problem because season 1 already spent 10 episodes showing us this reality. Now we need to see something new, some change, and the fact that we haven’t got anything like that after nine episodes is pretty disappointing. However, I picked a bad time to mention this, as with the Canada plot in this episode, the show looks like it’s about to start changing things up a little.
Nothing exemplifies my point about being static more than the Serena and Offred relationship. While I am fascinated by their character dynamic and the way that they are explored, their relationship hasn’t evolved very much at all. The previous episode looked to change their relationship, yet all of that hard work is rendered pointless as Serena just decides to hate Offred again and be cruel to her. After all of this exploration of their relationship, everything is exactly the same as before which makes me question why the show even bothered focusing on the two of them so much.
Nick’s character had a good episode, but it wasn’t perfect. He is so rude to Eden to what is honestly a ridiculous level. It’s one thing to not show love to her, but Nick is downright awful to her to a frustrating level. The show is trying too hard to set up that Eden will be Nick’s downfall, so much so, that I fear it won’t feel earned when it happens.
The episode had some other major flaws too. For one, the show has been annoyingly inconsistent with the details surrounding Gilead. I am very confused about what the other countries actually know about Gilead and that hurts my ability to be engaged in the overall story. I don’t understand how the world isn’t aware that Gilead is against gay people, to the point that they have a gay man speak to Fred. I thought they sent people to Gilead, so shouldn’t they understand the rules and laws of the place? I find it impossible to believe that Gilead can just exist without the rest of the world understanding what Gilead is. Furthermore, if we are to assume that Gilead isn’t frowned upon, why do all the other people throw mean glances toward Serena? It seems like they understand perfectly well what Gilead is, so why can’t their government? It’s frustratingly vague. Additionally, it’s implied that the letter leak was the first time this information has been spread from Gilead. Seriously? Are we supposed to believe that hundreds of people have escaped Gilead, yet not one of them brought any proof that would expose the truths about what happens in Gilead? The story is frustratingly vague about all of this.
There were a few smaller scale flaws which still served to annoy me. For one, Nick gives the letters in a way which makes it insanely easy to track him. The Waterfords would have to be foolish to not suspect that Nick betrayed them, especially since he was seen in public. Another flaw surrounding the letters, is Moira’s reaction to them. How did she not realize that they could be significant to bringing down Gilead? Her wish that Nick gave a bomb or something felt exceptionally dumb and gave me an unintentional moment of stupid comedy. Lastly, having Luke charge Fred alone made no sense. There was a whole mob of people there, and yet only Luke charged Fred. With what seemed like only two security guards, I’m shocked that there wasn’t a huge riot when Fred arrived.
Finally, the ending was tone deaf again as the show tried to be empowering, despite its nature as what is essentially a depressing horror show warning us about the future.
The Unknown: Will we finally get some change in the story with that ending? I sure hope so.
Mark was a very curious character and his conversation with Serena interested me. Does he have any other motives, or does he just want to help her? Will she accept his deal at a later date or is she still committed to her decision of staying true to Gilead?
Best Moment: The best moment for me was with Aunt Lydia and Offred. It took a lot of courage for Offred to ask Aunt Lydia to take care of her child, and I was impressed with the way that the scene captured those emotions. Aunt Lydia was very genuine here and the most likeable she has ever been, as she genuinely cared for Offred and let her know that she will take care of the child, while also giving us an exciting glimpse of her backstory. That was a very good scene.
Character of the Episode: Aunt Lydia.
Conclusion: This episode had some really good scenes and developments, but some frustrating writing and that same vague explanation of Gilead as a whole detracted from this.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Akecheta discovered the maze at the site where Dolores killed Arnold. He has been conscious since then. His loop was changed eventually but he remembered his past. He tries to escape with his wife but she is taken by the staff. Akecheta realizes the world he is in and lets himself die to find his wife. He realizes she is gone and decides to create an army of conscious hosts which are the Ghost Nation. In the present, Maeve is taken to Charlotte and she communicates to her daughter through Akecheta. William is captured by Akecheta but Emily arrives to take him.
The Good: This episode relied heavily on the classic "Lost" format where we learn about a character through a centric flashback episode and that format worked spectacularly well. Then again, when has this style ever failed hugely? After season 1, a show like Westworld which was short on characters I cared about needed to give a greater character focus in its sophomore season, and after eight episodes, I think the show has done a very good job. I care about Maeve and Akecheta as actual characters, and I buy into the relationships between Dolores/Teddy, William/Emily, Maeve/daughter and Dolores/Abernathy.
This episode was all about Akecheta and his journey was enjoyable to watch. John McClarnon delivered a great performance and made his character stand out throughout the hour. The storyline was very simple with Akecheta's main driving force being his relationship with his wife. He wanted to see the truth but also wanted his wife to experience it alongside him. He had good motives mixed with an emotional edge which made his mission very engaging and powerful. It was also fantastic to see McClarnon portray Akecheta's slow ascent to consciousness and highlight the subtle emotions he felt as he progressed through the story.
Akecheta's relationship with Kohana was extremely well done. They had a few genuinely sweet scenes early on which made Akecheta's discoveries later int he episode mean something. When he discovered that his wife was replaced, it felt suitably tragic. As was the moment when Akecheta found the empty shell which was Kohana in the storage room. Both scenes were well portrayed and were shot smartly to capitalize on the emotions so that we could understand the gravity of what we were witnessing and how much it is hurting Akecheta.
This episode nailed a lot of the smaller things as well. First of all, this episode tied back in to last season where it was mentioned that some of the natives believed in religions which were similar to the Westworld staff behind the scenes. We get to see that here as Akecheta's village consistently mentions these demons which haunt them in their memories, keeping the story consistent. Along with the tight writing, there was also superb acting, innovative and beautiful cinematography, as well as gorgeous soundtrack. Regarding the soundtrack, I think Westworld has my favourite soundtrack out of any show, as every single track is just mesmerizingly good. This episode featured that lovely Nirvana remix sequence which had a little bit of everything; beautiful soundtrack, stunning cinematography and stellar acting.
I really loved the cameos from Ford and Logan in the episode. They didn't feel forced and actually aided the plot while also explaining away some plot holes. We now know how Logan got out of Westworld after being sent away by William after a terrific scene where Logan was seen slowly going insane. Additionally, we got answers about why Akecheta wasn't being noticed by the staff as Ford has evidently been watching his progression into consciousness in the background. Even more interestingly, it seems to be implied that Akecheta's ascent through the maze is what allowed Ford to realize his mistakes in holding back the hosts. Perhaps without Akecheta, we never would have seen Ford create a narrative to let the hosts reach total consciousness.
The secondary Maeve story was pretty good too. I enjoyed seeing Sizemore come along to her and realize that she didn't deserve what he brought upon her. His guilt was pretty powerful and cathartic, and I wonder if Maeve would forgive him for what he did. The ending was also very good and provided a great reveal that Maeve was still doing whatever she could to protect her daughter by speaking to her through Akecheta.
The Bad: It's tough to buy that nobody noticed Akecheta leaving his loop continuously for 10 years. Even if Ford was covering it up, it feels a little bit too easy that nobody ever noticed him.
Honestly the Westworld staff really suck at their job and it does take away from the story. I can understand it as a narrative device to allow the story to be told (after all the show is about how we can't control our technology), but that doesn't mean I like it. It's simply ridiculous that Akecheta wasn't shut off properly when he got his update, and it's even worse that nobody noticed him walking through the facility all the way to the storage room.
I wish we had gotten this episode a little earlier. Ghost Nation was frustratingly vague for too long and it really didn't accomplish much by keeping their motives secret. Also, there are still some holes, such as why they spared Stubbs and let him go, and those inconsistencies need to be made more clear.
The Unknown: So was Akecheta the one putting the maze into the scalps of certain hosts? How did he manage to do that without anyone noticing? Or was it Ford who did it? Perhaps that's what Ford was doing when he was in the park.
Did Akecheta find the valley beyond? Was that the place with all of the weird structures in it? Why couldn't he find it again? What was there?
How did Akecheta make his wife remember so easily? Is that a benefit to being sentient?
How much has Maeve done through Akecheta's eyes? Has Maeve influenced anything else we don't know about?
What will Emily do with William? Does she actually intend to punish him or does she have good intentions?
Best Moment: The sequence with Akecheta walking through the facility and finding his wife was very touching and superbly executed. It was a genuinely gorgeous sequence with lots of emotional resonance.
Character of the Episode: Akecheta.
Conclusion: This was awesome. Aside from some small flaws, this episode was easily the most powerful and impactful Westworld has ever been. Akecheta's story gave this episode a focus which other episodes wish they had and it led to what was so far the show's greatest episode.
Summary: Offred and Serena continue to work together until Fred returns. Baby Angela gets sick and Janine finds out and panics. It's expected she won't make it but Janine shows her love and she survives. Fred discovers what Serena has been doing and whips her as punishment. Offred sets up allegiances with both Fred and Serena. Nick continues to be hostile towards Eden.
The Good: This was Madeline Brewer's episode to shine and she delivered a fantastic performance. Her fears for Angela (or Charlotte to her) were conveyed brilliantly and the moment she learned the truth from Offred specifically was really well performed. Her fantastic performance got me to invest into the baby Angela storyline and deserves loads of credit.
The storyline surrounding Angela was good. It was easy to relate with the characters because the death of a baby would be horrible in any situation. It provided a good struggle for Janine and for Serena who had to take initiative to save Angela's life by forging Fred's signature.
Serena's story was really nicely done. It was great to see her acting decently with a heart, and I believe that this season is doing a great job of humanizing her. By the end of the episode, I was sympathizing with her, so the episode certainly accomplished its goal, though I have some issues with that goal (see: The Bad).
The Nick and Eden story is still interesting and it is the most intriguing for me because there are a lot of possibilities for where that story can go. Having Eden find the handmaid letters was a good way to get him to lash out at her and I'm excited to see how she responds, especially seeing how her characterization makes her very unpredictable.
The Bad: The pacing of this episode feels completely wrong. With Fred returning so quickly in the episode, it feels like we have glossed over a ton of important drama and storytelling regarding Offred and Serena's blossoming relationship. They have been hostile towards each other for the whole series and yet this one episode makes a total U-turn and makes them friends within a span of ten minutes. It's rushed to a shocking degree and hurts the impact of the story.
Serena's arc is rushed too. She was a villainous character last episode, yet now she seems to be a heroic character who we sympathize with. The change is too sudden and doesn't feel spurred on by anything. I suppose Fred's hospitalization did it, but I don't understand why that is which is problematic. Furthermore, to make her seem more likeable, Fred has to once more go to cartoonish lengths of villainy to get us to feel for her. In the end the show is sacrificing its best villain to make a hero and replacing her with a dull and 1-dimensional villain who doesn't interest me at all.
I hate that we have been given no fallout to the major bokbing from a few episodes ago. When it happened, it felt like a huge event but in the end it accomplished nothing. Fred is back and unharmed too which means that the bombing led to absolutely no change in any characters or the story as a whole. For such a pivotal moment, it did nothing of note and that is a massive disappointment.
Nick's storyline felt static here and not much of note happened. Furthermore, its hard to relate to Nick since he makes no effort whatsoever to be kind to Eden who didn't ask to be put in as Nick's wife. This makes Nick seem selfish, which does nothing to make me care for him at all.
The ending scene with Offred was disappointing. We genuinely don't know how she feels for the first time ever and I don't think that's a good thing. The show has been strong because it's easy to relate with Offred and sympathize with her struggles, so to see her doing something mysterious is disappointing. We needed to understand her mindset for her scenes with Fred and Serena to have any impact.
The Unknown: Will Angela survive then? Since Janine saved her, does that mean she will be brought back into the Putnam household? What was wrong with Angela? Was it really just neglect?
Will Emily rebel again? She seems to be angry once again.
Where are Offred's current allegiances and what is her plan goign forwards? Will she help Serena or Fred?
Did Eden read the letters? What will she do next after Nick's outburst.
Best Moment: Offred coming to Serena's door and showing some compassion was outstanding and did a great job of showing how far they have come. It would have been even better though if Offred didn't go to Fred right after and that somewhat soured the moment.
Character of the Episode: Serena.
Conclusion: This episode had moments of power and good storytelling, but it was messy in terms of pace and writing. With better execution there is a great episode here but unfortunately what we got was pretty disappointing and only average overall.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.