Summary: Flashbacks show Ben telling Locke that he must kill his father to join the others. Locke is unable to do it and so Ben decides to leave him behind. Richard goes to Locke and tells him that he could go to Sawyer to get him to kill his father. In the present, Locke finds Sawyer and takes him into the jungle, telling him that he kidnapped Ben and needs Sawyer to kill him. Sawyer reluctantly goes with Locke and finds himself in the Black Rock. Locke locks him in with Anthony and Sawyer realizes that Anthony is the Mr. Sawyer he has been hunting all along. After Anthony tears Sawyer's letter, Sawyer strangles him to death with a chain. Locke goes to return to the others but leaves Sawyer proof that Juliet is a mole. Meanwhile, Hurley, Charloe, Jin and Desmond decide to bring Sayid into the loop regarding Naomi but don't want to let Jack in. Sayid fixes the satellite phone but can't find any available channels. Kate sees Sayid at work and Sayid tells her the truth, asking her to keep it secret. Kate ends up telling Jack and Juliet anyways out of frustration.
The Good: Locke and Sawyer's storyline in this episode is fantastic. It's a perfect blend of mystery, drama and character work that builds up patiently and intriguingly before delivering one of the most memorable sequences of the show so far towards the end of the episode. The way the mystery is developed early in the episode is perfect. Locke's arrival raises plenty of questions, and his claim that he kidnapped Ben with plans to kill him immediately sounds suspicious. It's difficult to uncover what exactly is going on, but the intrigue makes it exciting to figure out. In the present, we're with Sawyer as he tries to figure out what is really going on, while in the past we get to see the timeline get closer to the present, making the mystery steadily grow clearer and clearer. It's a wonderfully slow paced delivery of information that is executed perfectly to get maximal drama.
Now most astute viewers will figure out the Mr. Sawyer twist well before the climax of the episode. But somehow taking away the shock element actually benefits the episode hugely. With the amount of clues this episode subtly gives us towards figuring out why Locke is taking Sawyer out into the jungle, it's very easy to figure out the twist, which leads me to believe that the moment was not written to be a surprise. We are meant to discover the reality of the situation before Sawyer, and the drama from the episode comes from the anticipation of Sawyer confronting the man he's been hunting all this time rather than wondering what happens next. Removing the surprise from the moment of the Mr. Sawyer reveal actually benefits the scene as well. Instead of feeling meaningless shock, we are allowed to spend the entire scene in Sawyer's shoes, getting to appreciate the emotional reaction he has to finally meeting the man responsible for the deaths of his parents. And Josh Holloway does a superb job of making the most out of the moment.
The entire sequence in the Black Rock is some of the best television that this show has produced. The focus is almost solely on the three characters of Sawyer, Locke and Anthony and they completely steal the show. Everything Anthony says in the scene is excellent, adding more and more intrigue to the scene. He reveals Locke's paralysis to Sawyer, confirms that Flight 815 crashed, fuels the possibility of the island being a sort of hell, and finally reveals to Sawyer who he really is. It's tremendously entertaining stuff that escalates in tension the further it goes on. Everything after Sawyer learns Anthony's identity is somehow even better, being a masterclass of tension and drama leading up to Sawyer murdering Anthony in cold blood (see: Best Moment).
The fallout from this scene is also excellent. It's great to see Sawyer and Locke bond a little more with this experience and they share a brilliantly written scene following Sawyer murdering Anthony. I really appreciate the detail of Sawyer vomiting after his exhaustively emotional ordeal, and Locke thanking him was really good. I liked that they addressed Locke's paralysis and Juliet's status as a mole, ensuring that the entertainment did not come to a halt following Anthony's death. The episode went to its logical conclusion, and went the extra mile to make it more meaningful.
The side story involving Naomi was also very well done. I really like the decision not to tell Jack about her due to his affiliation with Juliet, and the possibility of rescue is far too important to risk. The decision to rope Sayid in was pleasingly logical, and I love that he immediately interrogated Naomi with suspicion of her being an other. I thought the interrogation scenes were very good as they gave us the necessary exposition in an interesting way.
I enjoyed getting a better look at the others through Locke's flashbacks. There are still plenty of details the show seems to be avoiding but it was nice to get some more hints at who they are and what they do.
The Bad: The one big problem in this episode is Kate. Kate stumbles upon the fact that Sayid and co. have found a potential rescue and so she knows to keep it quiet from Juliet. But then she inexplicably marches straight to Jack and Juliet and openly tells them both about Naomi, a move that makes no sense whatsoever and seems so incredibly stupid. Surely rescue is more important to Kate than expressing frustration towards Jack.
I wasn't happy about Ben telling Locke about how Juliet is his mole. Why would he divulge such important information to the man who was working against his interests mere days ago?
The Unknown: Is Jack trustworthy? What did Juliet want him to tell Kate about? Does he have some kind of plan in place?
How did Anthony end up on the island? Did the others somehow bring him? Is there any weight to Anthony's theory of everyone being in hell?
Anthony confirms that Flight 815 was actually discovered, so Naomi isn't lying about that. How is that possible?
How do you get initiated as an other? Did everyone else go through a similar process of proving themselves like Locke did? Also what is the purpose of the others? Richard seems discontent to be working on fertility. What other things do the others want to be working on instead?
What was Rousseau doing at the Black Rock? What was the dynamite for?
Best Moment: Upon learning who Anthony Cooper is, Sawyer carefully probes him to ensure that this is the same man who killed his parents. Anthony remains cocky and confident despite Sawyer's obvious change, creating a very unique and intense dynamic. Slowly, Sawyer gives Anthony the letter and gets him to read it. Anthony discredits everything and refuses to take responsibility, getting under Sawyer's skin more and more. The tension boils and boils throughout this scene until everything explodes when Anthony callously tears Sawyer's letter. The music halts, and we get an outstanding moment as Sawyer angrily and aggressively chokes out Anthony, unleashing all of those years of pent up rage. It's a thoroughly satisfying moment and one that hits all of the emotional beats it tries to. Near flawless television.
Character of the Episode: Sawyer.
Conclusion: This was a brilliant episode that gives us emotional closure to one of both Locke and Sawyer's defining storylines of the series. Not only does that make this episode significant and suspenseful, but it also makes it emotional and unforgettable. This is "Lost" doing what it does best. Despite the slow start, the back half of this season looks to be picking up a lot. I'm very excited for what comes next.
Summary: Flashbacks show that the host pretending to be Charlotte is an unknown friend of Dolores. In the present, Charlotte arrives at Delos and learns that somebody named Serac has bought key shares, buying out the company. Charlotte goes to meet with Dolores. Meanwhile, Caleb helps Dolores escape. She tells him to get a new identity and leaves. She meets with Charlotte who is having identity issues. Dolores comforts her and Charlotte talks about Serac. Caleb prepares to go into hiding but he is caught by some criminals who interrogate him about Dolores. Dolores arrives and kills the men, and she informs Caleb about how Incite has been gathering data about everyone and using it to predict the future and control the people that aren't worth investing in, like Caleb. Caleb is angered and allies with Dolores. Charlotte grows closer to her son after reliving some of the real Charlotte's memories. She manages to get into contact with Serac who is revealed to have been the person who Charlotte was serving. Serac wants Charlotte to bring him the profiles of every guest.
The Good: There are two decent stories being told here, one focusing on Caleb and the other focusing on Charlotte. Charlotte's story is the most intriguing to follow because it introduces a big mystery that will presumably be one of the core questions of the season: who is the host pretending to be Charlotte? I'm sure there are plenty of theories already, and it's a very interesting topic to think about. I like most of Charlotte's story. She's tied directly to Serac which is important for the plot, and she also has a very curious character arc regarding her family life, which is important for telling a good story. I like the idea of a host that doesn't know itself getting thrust into Charlotte's life, forcing itself to care about Charlotte's problems, and grow closer to her family. It's a unique conflict and I think it was explored in some decent ways in this episode. The bond between Charlotte and Nathan was particularly interesting to follow, and seeing the host attempt to be a more caring mother was very interesting.
Caleb and Dolores' story is the second half of the episode and it is pretty solid. Their relationship develops organically throughout the episode. Caleb's desire for something real is a sensible motivation for him to stick up for Dolores, and Dolores' surprise and curiosity at his actions is a good motivation for her to come save him later in the episode. The actions of the characters are logical and the episode presents very good reasons for them to develop a bond, laying the groundwork for what could potentially be a very good storyline. I appreciated the climax of their story where Dolores explained the concept of Rehoboam to Caleb. Seeing Caleb's rage paralleled with Dolores' rage in seasons 1 and 2 was pretty powerful, and I think it's a smart idea for the show to expand its themes of free will to human characters as well as hosts.
The Bad: Something about this season isn't clicking. It's presented well, acted well and written well (for the most part), but I'm just not that into it. The characters and the story aren't grabbing me like they did in some of the best parts of season 1 and 2, and the show feels like it hasn't offered us enough to get invested in now that we have left Westworld and entered the real world. For lack of a better word, much of these season feels pretty dull so far.
There are still some more specific issues as well. The Charlotte mystery, while intriguing, does take away from her scenes. We don't know who she is, and we're given no good reason to care about her relationship with Dolores. Sure, it's fun to watch and I imagine everything will make sense once Charlotte's identity is revealed, but it's very unfulfilling to have emotion and character exploration sacrificed for needless confusion and a surprise later in the season.
Dolores' gunshot wound remains a really weird moment. She's a host so she shouldn't be affected badly by these injuries, hence how she was able to recover and drive off so quickly. But then how was she badly injured in the first place? It doesn't make sense and it feels like a major logic gap that was created in the show's attempt to make Caleb's meeting with Dolores more dramatic.
Charlotte murdering the pedophile is a moment that made me roll my eyes. The worst aspects of this show is how it has painted hosts and humans in such a black and white way so that it can have these "cool" moments where a female host can be a badass and kill an evil rich man. It feels like needless SJW nonsense that the show is using as fanservice for no apparent reason. There should be more thought put into telling a compelling story instead of trying to cheaply entertain the audience.
The Unknown: Who is the Charlotte host? Is it somebody we have seen before or a completely new character?
Who is Serac exactly? What are his exact motives? It seems that he was working on things well before Dolores' revolution since he was the one ordering Charlotte in the last season.
Who is the mole in Delos?
Best Moment: Dolores telling Caleb that he is being blocked from a better life because of Incite was pretty powerful stuff that aligned well with the themes of the show.
Character of the Episode: Caleb.
Conclusion: This was more solid story advancement. The episode doesn't do anything special but it's perfectly fine. The larger issue remains with the fact that this show isn't very gripping anymore. Maybe that will change, but it seems like this show is settling in to be average at best.
Summary: Jimmy and Kim get married and they vow to communicate better with each other. Kim patches things up with Mesa Verde after Kevin blames her for what went down by fighting back against him. Jimmy is immediately called by Nacho and goes to meet the imprisoned Lalo who wants out on bail. Jimmy and Kim have sex later and Jimmy tells her about the Lalo case. Meanwhile, Nacho reports to Mike that Lalo has ordered him to be in charge and to burn down a Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant. Mike decides to take a new approach to deal with Lalo and he meets with Jimmy. Gus has a Madrigal meeting and meets with Peter Schuler regarding their plans. He assures him that things will go smoothly. Gus and Nacho work together to burn down one of the restaurants. Jimmy follows Mike's instructions and manages to get Lalo out on bail by bringing up witness tampering by Dave Clark. Howard confronts Jimmy about how he has been getting attacked, Jimmy responds by lashing out at him.
The Good: This was the most united episode the show has had since season 1 outside of "Chicanery". The major storylines all intersected each other and events in one half of the episode ended up directly influencing the other, which was immensely satisfying to watch. Even though Jimmy did join up with the cartel storyline back in "The Guy for This", that episode didn't feel like it was the momentous combination of the Jimmy half and the cartel half of the show. On the other hand, this episode does feel like that combination, and because of that it somehow manages to feel even more significant than last week's fantastic episode.
This episode was doing a whole lot of things. First up, it explored the fallout of two key moments in the previous episode: Kim's proposal of a marriage and Lalo's arrest. The episode wastes no time in jumping right to it. The cold open is a lengthy sequence of Jimmy and Kim's wedding. There's no fanfare, no guests, no honeymoon, not even any rings. It's as cold and rushed as a wedding could possibly be and it is plainly quite awkward. Jimmy and Kim are happy enough, but you can see Jimmy's worries that perhaps this should have been a bigger moment. The fact that Jimmy is only communicating to Kim about her desires on the day of their wedding is telling enough of the problems in their relationship. This wedding is an attempt to rectify that since they have both vowed to tell each other everything going on in their lives, but if they aren't even communicating the day of their wedding, who's to say that they ever will communicate properly? This wedding seems like a horrible idea and even though both Jimmy and Kim are hopeful, it's hard to imagine this ending well. The key tragedy of Kim is that every time we think she's getting closer to finally leaving Jimmy for good, she ends up sinking even deeper with him. It hasn't had any major consequences yet, but now with Jimmy being open to Kim about his newly made cartel connections, there has never been more danger for her.
The other big fallout was from Lalo's arrest. This was such a pivotal moment in the last episode because it completely upended and opened up the Gus vs Lalo conflict in a new way, promising something fresh and unexpected in the continuation of this storyline. And that's exactly what we got here. Lalo's arrest has ramifications on everyone because it didn't end up being a solution. It just changed what the problem is, and now everyone is left scrambling trying to come up with an actual solution. Nacho hoped that he could get out, but Mike immediately shuts down any chance of that happening in the near future once it becomes apparent that Lalo is still a threat. Gus thought that he would soon be able to resume business on the meth lab, but at the end of the episode he finds himself angrily burning down one of his own establishments with Nacho to keep Lalo at bay, taking yet another hefty business loss. And Jimmy is getting it worst of all, as his job to represent Lalo leads him into a whole new conflict that is an absolute joy to explore.
It's fair to say that Jimmy McGill hasn't emerged too much this season. Much of what we have seen is the vile nature of Saul Goodman at work, following nobody's rules but his own with one goal: profit, no matter what he has to do to ensure that he does. But now Jimmy is faced with a serious moral dilemma, one that he hasn't had to face before. He has a massive opportunity to earn more money than he has ever desired, but to do so he has to join up with the cartel, crossing a bridge into dangerous territory he never even imagined he would explore. Saul is more than willing to join forces with Lalo and do this, but Jimmy is very skeptical. We get to see his morality come back in the intimate scene with Kim. Instead of continuing to keep his secrets, he actually opens up to Kim about how Lalo offered him to become a friend of the cartel. Ironically, being pushed further into being Saul Goodman has brought back a little bit of Jimmy to the surface. And unfortunately the two opposing sides of Jimmy make him more unstable than ever. The final few scenes of the episode are outstanding television. We see Jimmy flicking between himself and Saul Goodman at a moment's notice, first in the courtroom, and then later with Howard. His guilt that he feels for Fred's family is contested with his desire to earn Lalo's respect and make a truckload of money for himself. There's a fantastic reflective shot, one of the best shots of the series, that perfectly shows how fragmented Jimmy is with his two personas pulling at him. And it's here, at the worst possible time, that Howard shows up and Jimmy launches an incredible speech on him, the episode's defining moment (see: Best Moment).
Jimmy isn't the only character being explored in meaningful ways. Kim gets a fair amount of development as she deals with the failure of the Acker case. Kevin is understandably angry and shames Kim and Rich for their poor performance, and the meeting ends on uncertain terms. But then Kim does something really surprising. Taking a page out of Jimmy's book, she loses her professionalism and goes back to Kevin's office, telling him how things really are. Rich evidently feels quite awkward about Kim's unprofessional display and is left gaping as Kim rips on Kevin. And yet, the honesty works. Kevin decides to continue with Schweikart & Cokely and Kim gets a taste of the success that Jimmy's methods bring. It's a very interesting development that continues to send Kim further and further away from being a good, ethical lawyer, into something more questionable.
Mike also gets some really good content here. I've been critical on how poorly his early season arc was handled, but this episode resolves some of my biggest issues with his character. In his scene with Stacey we finally get a good reason why Mike decided to join up with Gus, and it makes far more sense than anything else I had thought up. Mike simply decided to stop pitying himself and trying to be righteous. He simply has to do his best with the options he has, and his time spent reflecting at the village in Mexico allowed him to come to this conclusion, deciding that even though Gus' cause may not be the right one, it's the best option that he has. I still feel that this explanation did come too late and that this story could have been told in a much clearer way back in "Dedicado a Max", but this explanation did improve my views on Mike's overall story. Looking back, I can now understand the purpose of Mike's time in the village and it does have more emotional resonance now than it did during my first watch of the episode. Every time I question the writing team's decisions, they always manage to make up for it and I'm left trying to remind myself not to doubt them because there is always a satisfying story being told.
There were plenty of other little things I really liked about this episode. The presentation of this was spectacular and it was the most visually striking episode of the season thus far. I was pleased to see Mike and Jimmy reconnecting again, and Jimmy's response to him on the phone was perfect comedy. The cameo of Peter Schuler was a wonderful addition to the episode that allowed some more insight into the business side of Gus' operation while also hinting even more at his mysterious past in Chile (see: The Unknown). I also loved the callback to Schuler's food tasting that he did in "Breaking Bad". Another really great callback was the mention of Jimmy's two former marriages. Lots of people were theorizing that Kim may become Saul's second ex-wife who was described in "Breaking Bad" as having been caught having sex with Saul's step-dad. Confirming that Kim would be Jimmy's third wife both served as a fun Easter Egg and also gets people to stop thinking about the possibility of such an absurd event happening in the show. Finally, I'm once again wowed by this show's continuity, using minor story beats previously used to play a major role. I would never have imagined Mike's role as Dave Clark to be used in such a big way to get Lalo out on bail, and the pieces slid into place so perfectly in this episode. Little details like this really raise the show to a whole new level.
The Bad: Nothing I would call bad.
The Unknown: What is Gus' relationship with Schuler? What happened between them in Santiago? The show has been giving us more and more teases of Gus' past and I'm starting to think that we may actually learn about what happened in Chile.
Why does Mike want Lalo out of jail? Does he have a plan to take care of him? If so, what is he going to do?
Where is the money that Jimmy has to pick up? I imagine that transporting $7 million would be quite complicated.
Why is Jimmy feeling so much guilt about Fred's family? Does it have something to do with the plan that Mike gave him? What is Jimmy going to do to clear Lalo's name?
Best Moment: Jimmy's encounter with Howard was absolutely fantastic. I'm really glad that the show didn't portray Howard as a fool and that he was able to figure out that Jimmy was the one who was sabotaging his life. It made sense for Howard to confront him to inquire about answers, but you also get the feeling that Howard maybe wanted to help as well, talking about how Jimmy is in pain. But unfortunately, bringing up pain was the worst thing he could have done. Jimmy is frustrated by Howard's ability to have moved past Chuck's death, which already gives him plenty of reason to despise him. But also, Howard is the biggest reminder that Jimmy has of Chuck. So now when he is caught in this vicious moral struggle, the shadow of Chuck is the worst thing he could possibly see. So Jimmy completely lashes out. He is vicious and hateful towards Howard, spitting venomous words at him, even doubling down on blaming him for Chuck's death. This isn't entirely rage directed at Howard though, it's also rage directed at Chuck. He's trying to show superiority over Chuck, embracing his new persona as Saul Goodman and ragefully shouting down at Howard how he has ascended to a whole new level that doesn't need to be held back by any ghosts of his past. The scene is masterfully executed and is a definite highlight of the series for me.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy.
Conclusion: Another absolute cracker of an episode. While this one didn't quite have the emotional intensity of the previous episode, it delivered in other departments, providing us with an outstanding examination of Jimmy's internal conflict while advancing the story in clever new ways that leave you craving for more. This season is firing on all cylinders now.
Summary: In flashbacks, Sun is confronted by a woman who demands $100,000 or she will reveal that Jin's mother is a prostitute. Using her resources, Sun meets with Jin's dad to confirm this. She pays off the woman using money from Mr. Paik, indebting Jin to him forever. She also reveals that she knows the woman is Jin's mother and that she will kill her if she sees her again. On the island, Sun is concerned when Jack asks her questions about her pregnancy. Sun goes to Juliet and learns that pregnant women die on the island. Juliet takes Sun to The Staff to confirm is the baby is Jin's or Jae's. If it's Jin's, Sun will die, but if it's Jae's, she will live. The baby is Jin's. Juliet leaves behind a report for Ben. Meanwhile, Mikhail stumbles upon Desmond, Jin, Charlie and Hurley as they try to save the parachute woman who is dying from a wound. Mikhail saves her life and in exchange Desmond lets him go. Mikhail tries to steal the satellite phone but Jin stops him. The woman wakes up and reveals that Flight 815 was found and all of its passengers are dead.
The Good: This was an excellent episode for Sun. She has always been the most interesting of the female characters on this show, and she proved that again in this episode. We get to see the strong-willed, determined Sun dealing with engaging conflicts in both the past and the present, and Yunjin Kim delivers a strong performance, ensuring that it's a blast to follow Sun's struggles throughout. The flashbacks tell a very good story that fills in some of the gaps in Jin and Sun's history. These flashbacks were excellent, and featured some of the show's best side characters in Sun and Jin's fathers, two very different men. I was glad to see Sun using her family's power to her advantage in this episode as she tracked down Jin's father and also identified the woman blackmailing her as Jin's mother. It showed us a new side of Sun, who had commonly played second fiddle to her husband and father. Here we see a confident, ruthless Sun who stops at nothing to get what she wants, going as far as even intimidating her father (see: Best Moment).
On the island, Sun shows the same grit and determination as she sees through Jack's suspicious behaviour and immediately goes to Juliet for answers. The dynamic between Sun and Juliet is unique and I really enjoyed seeing Sun slowly come around to trust her as she learns more about who Juliet is. Their relationship develops nicely to the point where I can buy into the idea of Sun letting Juliet go back into The Staff alone at the end of the episode. Both characters were given very good stories in this episode to emotionally engage us. Sun is put in one hell of a predicament as no matter what the case is, she loses. Learning that she is going to die is a hard reveal for Sun who breaks down, but she shows her grit once more by looking on the positive side, expressing joy that the baby is Jin's. It's a wonderful little moment for her. Juliet also benefits from that moment as the news is bittersweet for Sun, but at least she got a smile from her patient rather than a grim realization. Juliet's arc in this episode is how she has lost the joy of being a fertility doctor due to the harsh realities of her research. But here she is rewarded for helping Sun, which is nice to see.
The other half of the island storyline is also very effective. Most of the episode's drama comes from this storyline as Desmond, Charlie, Hurley and Jin scramble to figure out who this mysterious woman is and how to help her. It's fast-paced and exciting stuff made all the better by the inclusion of Mikhail who unexpectedly survived being thrown into the fence. It was wonderful seeing Mikhail again, and his presence lead to increased tension and a very good action sequence between him and Jin. However the real highlight of this storyline is the conclusion where the woman finally wakes up and drops a major bombshell that will presumably have huge ramifications (see: The Unknown).
The Bad: Mostly just small things in this episode. The way Juliet wakes Sun up is needlessly dramatic and only happens to give the audience a small burst of tension. The same goes for Jack showing up in Sun's garden at the start of the episode. It's getting a bit tired since we have seen Sun hearing rustling in the jungle countless times by now. Also, I was annoyed to see that Kate has resumed her random bodyguard role from "Maternity Leave" as she tries talking for Sun and getting her away from Juliet.
The Unknown: How was Flight 815 found with all of its passengers dead? Is the island some kind of a connection between parallel universes? Could this somehow tie in with the theory that they were dead all along? How would that work, especially since we have seen people like Richard and Ethan travelling to and from the island at will? How will this impact the story going forwards?
Is Sun destined to die now? What if she is taken off the island before birth? Can that save her? I don't think it's a coincidence that Juliet was unable to try this, perhaps her new goal will be to save Sun's life by getting her off the island. Also, that's 2 characters now who are destined to die, with Charlie being the other one. Is there any significance to this?
Where do Juliet's loyalties lie? Is she still firmly loyal to the others, or is she planning to switch allegiances to the survivors? The "I hate you" at the end of the episode is a really important moment because of how nicely it suggests the possibility of Juliet betraying the others without actually confirming it.
Best Moment: The scene between Sun and Mr. Paik was superb television. Desperate to do anything to get what she wants, Sun goes in hard against her own father, threatening him and trying to stay in control of their negotiation. It's a wonderfully executed scene that once more serves to humanize Mr. Paik. He doesn't relent to Sun's aggressive claims, but once he learns that she is doing it for Jin, he is quick to give her the money that she needs. But it comes at a cost. We learn that this whole thing is why Jin was promoted and why he wasn't allowed to leave after working for a short while like it was promised. It's a sad reveal since in protecting Jin's honour, Sun ended up transforming him into the monstrous man he was back in season 1. Excellent storytelling.
Character of the Episode: Sun.
Conclusion: This is another really strong episode. While not the show at its absolute best, this is very entertaining television with solid character work and some dramatic reveals to set up the final stretch of the season.
Summary: Hector comes to Maeve and offers to help her escape. They go together but Maeve realizes that it's all just his loop. She wakes up in the lab and is surprised to find that Felix and Sylvester don't recognize her. She sees Lee who has survived his injuries. Lee takes her to the forge, but Maeve quickly realizes that Lee is a host, and the entire world is a simulation. She overloads the simulation and crashes it, allowing herself access into the real world where she gets a drone to retrieve her core and remove it from the simulation. After, Maeve wakes up and meets Serac who wants to recruit her to fight Dolores. Meanwhile, Bernard gets to Westworld and finds Stubbs who he realizes is a host. Stubbs has tried to kill himself after freeing Bernard since he has no purpose anymore. Bernard and Stubbs try to locate Maeve but discover that someone else has taken her core. Bernard gives Stubbs a new purpose: to protect him, and they go hunt for Maeve.
The Good: This is "Westworld" falling back on what it's good at to set up for the rest of the season. The Maeve storyline is everything we've come to expect from the show, filled with hosts on their loops, constant questioning of what's real and what's not and some pretty fun action. It's enjoyable to watch and the episode benefits from the show falling back on what it's good at.
The writing is very strong here. I love how episode slowly reveals its series of twists to let us know where and when Maeve is. The mystery is introduced early on and it's refreshing to see a complete story as we aren't left with any tedious questions coming out of the episode. It's a complete mystery packed into an hour of television as we follow Maeve discovering she's in a simulation and ultimately breaking free into the real world.
The Bernard storyline is solid too. Unlike the previous episode, Bernard has direction now as he hunts for Maeve, which will presumably take him to Serac. The return of Stubbs is welcome and I do like the reveal that he's a host.
Speaking of Serac, the introduction of this new character was easily the highlight of the episode (see: Best Moment). I'm interested to find out who he is and what his motives are. Vincent Cassel is an excellent addition to the cast, and he stole the show in his one scene.
The Bad: The problem with the show returning to the status quo is that it just doesn't interest me anymore. I'm tired of meaningless twists and confused timelines, so I just ended up groaning when I realized that's where this episode was headed. Was it fun to watch? Sure. But there is nothing under the surface here. It's just some fun television to watch as long as you turn your brain off and don't expect to get any kind of interesting character development or deeper themes. Maeve, like Dolores, has just become a killing machine, and she hardly has any character anymore. I don't feel like I can relate very much to her, and so there's an emotional disconnect. So watching Maeve simply escaping a simulation doesn't have me at the edge of my seat at all. It's merely intriguing to me and I don't get any greater emotions coming out of the episode. It's a shame because despite how well written and well directed this episode was, it did nothing to enthrall me.
The Game of Thrones reference was pretty unnecessary and took me out of the episode a little bit. It's a nice nod and I would have appreciated it more had it been integrated more naturally into the show's world. But instead it was more distracting than anything else.
I really don't have much to say about this episode which is telling. The show remains fun but there isn't a whole lot to dive into at the moment.
The Unknown: Why was Maeve put in a simulation? Did Serac do this? Why? Did he anticipate Maeve's escape so they could have their meeting? Why did he go through the trouble of doing all of this? Who is he anyways? What is this system that he created?
How is Serac able to control Maeve? What is the device that he has? Will Maeve eventually agree to work against Dolores?
Will Bernard track down Serac?
Best Moment: Maeve wakes in a well-maintained garden and meets with Serac who knows exactly who she is and proposes an alliance with her. The scene features some incredible acting with both Maeve and Serac trying to control the flow of their conversation, each trying to accomplish their own goals. Maeve wants to understand the nature of her own reality and kill Serac, while Serac wants to win over Maeve's trust and loyalty. Serac is good, but Maeve's confidence in following her own path is too much and she decides to kill him. However, Serac is surprisingly able to control her and shuts down her functions. Then, presumably he prepares to reset the scene and try yet another approach to get her to trust him. It's a very well-written scene filled with intrigue, captivating dialogue and a pair of superb performances.
Character of the Episode: Maeve.
Conclusion: This was better than the season premier at least, but "Westworld" still hasn't convinced me that it's worth watching this season. While this episode was fun, there wasn't enough under the surface to invest me in the story that is being told.
Summary: In flashbacks, a young Kim refuses to get a ride home from her tardy, drunk mother. In the present, Jimmy works on filming various commercials but Kim comes to him, telling him she changed her mind about their plan. Jimmy is hesitant but relents in the end. However, after humiliating Howard using some hookers he represented, Jimmy decides to go through with it anyways. Kim gets Kevin and Paige to meets with Jimmy to discuss terms, but Jimmy goes against Kim's wishes and shows Kevin commercials that will tarnish the reputation of Mesa Verde and also brings up that he will set up a copyright infringement case against them. Jimmy leaves and Kim and Rich get hard to work in an attempt to fix this. Kevin leaves and meets with Jimmy, Jimmy offers Kevin terms and he accepts. Later, Kim returns home and lashes out at Jimmy for conning her like that. She is prepared to break up, but then suddenly suggests that they get married. Meanwhile, Nacho gives Gus more intel and Gus assigns Nacho to report to Mike from now on. Mike goes back to Lalo's attack at TravelWire and gets Lalo's car to be identified as a prime suspect. He arranges it so Lalo is discovered by the police and is arrested.
The Good: This episode knew how to build intrigue the way "Better Call Saul" does best. We're often treated to scenes of characters working on a project, but we're often missing a few key details to fully understand what they are doing. This episode utilizes that to its fullest effect in the Jimmy/Kim storyline. We start the episode by seeing Jimmy filming various commercials, though we don't know what he plans to do with them or what his approach is to stick it to Mesa Verde. This intrigue is immediately established early in the episode, and it's very important that it is established. Since we know that there needs to be a pay-off down the line, we know not to buy into the idea of Jimmy shutting down the operation just because Kim says so. We know that these commercials have to be shown at some point, and so we can anticipate that Jimmy isn't going to back down. But in this case, it isn't bad to know where the story is going. Knowing that Jimmy isn't going to adhere to Kim's wishes allows the episode to overflow with tension as we wait for Jimmy's game to be revealed and for the inevitable impact that it's going to have on Kim.
Everything boils over at the meeting, which ended up being one of the episode's two incredible scenes. Everything is fine early on, but we are just waiting for the ball to drop. And when it does, it is awesome. The look on Kim's face when Jimmy drops the 4 million on Mesa Verde tells the whole story. Jimmy absolutely dials it up in this episode, embracing Saul Goodman to his very core. He's charismatic, unyielding and a complete asshole throughout the entire sequence. And Kim looks shellshocked when she realizes the storm that she's caught in. She tries to usher Kevin out of the room, but Saul can't be stopped and he says all of the right things to ensure Kevin stays and that he can take complete control of the meetings. Then we get the reveal of what he was working on. The slanderous commercials and Jimmy's "smoking gun" of copyright infringement are tremendous, and the episode lays on how significant this is with expert performances and even better cinematography and editing. The slow zoom on Kevin's face as he festers in his own frustration was such a powerful shot that truly captured how much chaos Saul left in his wake. Kevin's decision to just cut a deal with Saul and end it all was completely understandable, and it was the perfect end to another perfect con.
But while executing a perfect con is enough for Jimmy to be happy, it's nowhere near enough for the flabbergasted Kim, who looks like she has been through a trauma by the episode's end. She returns home to Jimmy, horrified and confused by what just happened. For the second time, Jimmy played her and unlike the last time, this one was intentional. Jimmy's moral flexibility has gradually gotten worse and worse as the show has gone on and now Kim gets to see firsthand that the man she loves is never going to fix this. He has been spiraling rapidly ever since Chuck's death and now he has taken it too far. So Kim lashes out hard at the end of the episode, having had enough of Jimmy's lies and deceptions, having had enough of this relationship that has done nothing food for her. She seems like she is ready to storm away from him no matter what he says to her, the same way she refused to get into the car with her mother at the start of the episode. But there's just something about this relationship. Something that makes it so Kim just can't walk away, no matter how many reasons she has to do so. And so when she tries to put her foot down, she says something completely unexpected that causes the story to make a complete u-turn. What if she and Jimmy get married?
What makes this episode's story so damn effective is how the characters don't have to spell out their motives to us. There are so many ways to interpret the scenes in this episode (especially that stunning final line) and that's shown by how many unique takes there are on this episode. It's an episode that is open for interpretation which allows it to have extra depth that other episodes of the show don't have. all of thsi combined, the unpredictability, emotion, suspense and deep character development ensure that this is one of the show's finest episodes, one that will have a profound impact on the story as a whole.
And I haven't even talked about the other subplots in the episode yet. First up is Jimmy's continued sabotage of Howard. These scenes manage to be both hilarious and hard to watch. It's funny because the ideas that Jimmy cooks up to attack Howard are excellent, and sending some hookers to meet him in order to embarrass him and hurt his reputation is a hilarious idea. Even funnier is when we see him relishing what he's done to Howard. But it's still hard to watch. It's painful because this petty asshole is not who Jimmy is supposed to be. Jimmy is a con man, but this outright unnecessary sabotage is pure Saul Goodman. Howard doesn't deserve to have this happen to him, but Jimmy does it anyways. It's certainly one of the worst things he has done in the whole series, up there with the stunt he pulled with poor Irene back in "Fall". And the episode clearly paints to us that the glee he got out of conning Howard here was one of the deciding factors to him choosing to go through with the Mesa Verde plan anyways. Jimmy can be a good man, but whenever he dips his toes into the sweet illegal territory, he just can't help himself.
Lastly, we get to the Mike storyline where there are some very big happenings. For one, Mike is reunited with Nacho, finally giving Nacho a little glimmer of hope. With Mike's help, he does have a genuine chance to escape, and I'm excited to see what will come of their alliance. The rest of the episode focuses on Mike's plan to get Lalo arrested, which was another big twist that completely reshapes the direction of this season. I've been critical of Mike's storyline (see: The Bad), but he is always at his best whenever he has a job to work on. It's a blast seeing Mike pose as a private investigator, worker in the police office, and even as a police officer himself in order to secure Lalo's arrest. Furthermore, I absolutely love that the logistics that brought Lalo down were his irrational actions back in "Winner". I was harsh on Lalo's chaotic actions in my review of "Winner" (an episode I actually love even more now) because I thought that they were small instances of sloppy writing. But I'm extremely impressed that Lalo's actions ended up bouncing back on him, and it was these reckless maneuvers that have resulted in him being taken off the streets. This was such intelligent writing, and it made the story much more satisfying than it had any right to be.
The cameos from detective Tim Roberts from "Breaking Bad" and Cliff Main were very welcome.
The Bad: Mike's character arc in the first 5 episodes of this season ended up being quite the disappointment. This episode feels like it jumped ahead to a point where Mike is now loyal to Gus without actually giving us any good reason for him to actually be loyal to him. It makes Nacho's comments about why Mike is working for him feel like they hit the mark. We're supposed to believe that Mike has good reason to work for Gus, but we aren't given anything more than revenge. I'm disappointed that there wasn't more to Mike's journey towards working for Gus, and I honestly think that showing Mike spiraling downwards was a waste of time that could have been used to develop their relationship more.
The Unknown: Why did Kim suggest getting married? Is it because she can't bring herself to end their relationship and has resigned to sticking by him? Or are there more reasons for this?
What happens now that Lalo is busted? Will the Salamancas send more men into America? Will Lalo go to Jimmy in an attempt to free himself?
Best Moment: It's a real toss-up between the meeting scene and Kim's outburst at the end of the episode. I think I'll go with Kim's outburst because that ending was so unexpected, but both scenes were equally fantastic in my eyes.
Character of the Episode: Kim, though Jimmy is a very close second.
Conclusion: What a wonderful episode. This was exciting and emotional, and completely changed the direction of the show multiple times with some spectacular twists. I'm genuinely unsure how the story will proceed from here, and the uncertainty really excited me. This is a game-changer of an episode to throw out halfway through a season, and I really appreciate the ambition for the writers to do something like this.
Summary: In flashbacks, Desmond runs away from a marriage with his girlfriend Ruth to join a monastery. He doesn't fit in however and is soon fired. Once he's fired, he meets Penny at the monastery and they leave together. On the island, Desmond has a vision of Charlie dying to one of Rousseau's traps and somebody arriving on the island, someone he hopes is Penny. Desmond gather Hurley, Jin and Charlie to go "camping" in hopes of seeing Penny. Shortly into their trip a helicopter crashes into the sea and somebody parachutes out into the jungle. The group head inwards to find her. Desmond almost lets Charlie die to ensure Penny does arrive but he changes his mind at the last moment. They find the person unconscious in the jungle. She isn't Penny, rather another woman who knows Desmond's name. Meanwhile, Kate tries to get back on track with Jack but he ignores her so she ends up going back to Sawyer and they have sex. However, Sawyer realizes why Kate went to him and lets her know about it.
The Good: This is a very fun episode to watch. The very first scene of the episode provides a hook as we get a glimpse into one of Desmond's visions, which sets the stage for the rest of the episode: somebody is coming to the island and Charlie has to die for it to happen exactly as Desmond saw. The plot is laid bare in these opening moments and the rest of the episode is just as thrilling and dramatic as you expect it to be. On top of being a fun watch, this also ends up being a hugely important episode. The arrival of somebody else to the island is a massive development, likely one that will shape how the rest of this season plays out. The presence of this mysterious woman is immediately intriguing and it's the kind of forward movement the plot needed.
Desmond's story is very well done too. His key conflict comes from the idea of if he's going to sacrifice Charlie in order to ensure that Penny arrives on the island safely. This is a wonderful use of Desmond's abilities since knowing what is about to happen gives him an engaging moral dilemma. The moment where Charlie's death is impending is very dramatic and you do get worried for a moment that Desmond may actually let Charlie die to further his own goals. It's very interesting drama which does actually pose some more interesting questions about how this world works (see: The Unknown).
The flashbacks have some good moments in them too. I like that Desmond's cowardice is shown to extend further than Penny since she isn't the first woman he has left out of fear. I thought that Desmond's speech about how he knew he was supposed to go to the monastery was extremely well done, and it sounds like just the kind of ridiculous crap that Desmond may be telling himself to deal with the fact that he's a coward. The meeting with Penny at the end was another terrific moment since these two have excellent chemistry together. Lastly, I thought that Desmond's past in the monastery was a neat explanation for why he calls everyone "brother".
The Kate/Sawyer/Jack subplot was pretty well done for what it was. This love triangle storyline certainly isn't top tier television, but I am impressed at how well the show is handling the characters involved. Kate's desire to be with Jack is easy enough to understand, and we can see why she would go to Sawyer to get comfort once Jack has become too distant. Kate has always been selfish, so she is certainly not above using men for her own needs. I really appreciated that Sawyer discovered what she did and was completely fine with it. This story could have easily become unnecessarily melodramatic, but the writers showed restraint.
The Bad: When you look into the logic behind this episode, things quickly fall apart. The only reason that Desmond, Hurley, Charlie and Jin go on their journey is because Desmond had his vision. Otherwise it would never have happened. This is a common problem with all time-jumping stories. There's always the risk of writing a time paradox, which allows the entire episode to fall apart when the details are scrutinized. If the writers want to delve further into the complexities of Desmond's powers they need to be more careful than this.
I was also bothered by some of the editing in this episode. I thought it was really excessive how often the writers spliced parts of Desmond's visions into the episode. That was very unnecessary and I think it took away from my immersion in the episode when there are random flashes being thrown in where they don't belong.
I thought the flashbacks could have been stronger. Sure there are some good scenes and the story is well written, but there isn't enough to make the story really stand out or change how we view Desmond as a character.
I was bothered by Sawyer outright asking Kate to have sex randomly. They only ever did it once, and that was when Kate thought Sawyer was going to die. Furthermore, there was an intense break-up scene shortly after that, so why would Sawyer ever think that he would just be able to have sex with her whenever he wanted? It's such a strange request, especially seeing how long they had been apart prior to the previous episode.
The Unknown: Who is the woman at the end of the episode? How did she know Desmond? Was she sent by Penny to find him?
Is the universe recognizing that Desmond is saving Charlie's life? I wonder if the universe somehow targeted Desmond specifically with this vision to tempt him into letting Charlie die. It would be very interesting if the universe operated like that. Furthermore, it could also explain the time paradox problem if the universe was somehow breaking its own rules in response to Desmond breaking the rules by seeing the future.
Best Moment: Desmond meeting Penny for the first time was a really sweet moment. Intercutting that with Desmond saving the woman from the parachute ended up being a genius choice since it combined the feelings of love and happiness with feelings of hope, turning the whole sequence into something really sweet and powerful.
Character of the Episode: Desmond.
Conclusion: This episode was a lot of fun to watch and Desmond got some more strong development as he remains one of the show's better characters. However, there are some flaws underneath the surface, blocking the episode from scoring too high.
Summary: In flashbacks, Juliet meets with Richard and Ethan who take her to the island in the sub. Once on the island she meets Ben and is tasked with solving the problem of women dying in labour on the island, but she is unsuccessful. Juliet wants to leave, but Ben forces her on the island by promising to heal her sister whose cancer has returned. Juliet agrees to the deal. Later when Ben finds out he has cancer, Juliet angrily accuses him of lying. Ben shows her a video of Rachel and her new son to calm her down. In the present, Jack protects Juliet from any interrogation. When the group returns to camp, everyone is less than pleased about Juliet. However, Claire suddenly gets sick and Juliet reveals that it has to do with the medications Ethan was giving her. She retrieves some of Ethan's supplies and saves Claire, earning some trust. However, it's revealed that the whole thing was planned by Ben because he wants to have somebody in the survivors' camp.
The Good: Juliet's story is really well done. We get to see her transformation in full by comparing the early flashback Juliet to the current Juliet on the island. The difference is huge, and it's great to finally see what it was that led to her becoming so cold. We learn that Ben essentially held her hostage on the island for 3 years, simply not allowing her to leave and seemingly emotionally manipulating her the entire time (see: The Unknown). And in all that time, she was operating on patients who were continuously dying, and with nobody close to talk to about her feelings, it led to her becoming closed off emotionally. What helps the story even more is how easy it is to sympathize with Juliet. We know that her heart isn't into staying on the island and there is never a moment in the flashbacks where we don't know what she wants. It's clear that she just wants to leave the island, and that makes her no different from any of the survivors on the beach in that her main goal is to return to the life she had before coming to the island.
From a plot perspective, this was really well done as well. We get to see that Juliet was always tightly involved in the others society, and there will presumably be answers on the way now that she's infiltrated the camp. We already get some good answers about why Ethan kidnapped Claire, why she was important and why the others did experiments on pregnancy. We're slowly getting a more fully formed view of how this society works and I'm excited to see more of it. One of the most interesting aspects was Richard, who seemed to have spent a lot of time off the island, possibly as some sort of recruiter. I'm very interested to learn more about him.
The island storyline is very well done. Juliet's arrival in the camp shakes things up as expected, and for once I think that everyone's reactions are explored fittingly, since it's obvious that the survivors would not be at all comfortable with one of the others joining their camp. Moments like Hurley being sent against his will to keep an eye on her and Sayid immediately trying to interrogate her make perfect sense. I was also very pleased with Sayid and Sawyer choosing to follow her since they naturally did not trust her at all. That allowed for a great confrontation which pleasingly allowed Juliet's character to shine as we got to see how she approached the problem of Sawyer and Sayid not wanting to trust her with anything.
The twist at the end of the episode was very effective. Juliet is there as a spy, and it's her job to get people to trust her. She already succeeded with Jack and so she has infiltrated the camp and will likely be feeding information to Ben. But the intrigue comes in when you consider that Juliet wouldn't have any reason to stay loyal to Ben and it's possible that she changes sides to the survivors. I'm really excited by this storyline and I can't wait to see where it goes.
The Bad: Nothing I'll call bad. This was a very consistent episode.
The Unknown: Apparently Jacob himself was going to cure Rachel. Who is Jacob? Can he leave the island? Is he on the island? The others seem to worship him. Is he some kind of deity or a grand leader of some sort? It seems like Juliet was converted to whatever belief system the others have which is very interesting.
Did Rachel actually have cancer or did Ben just make that up? I wouldn't put it past him to manipulate Juliet like that to get her to stay. But if he did actually cure her cancer, it raises some important questions. How did he do that? Can Jacob cure cancer? Why did Ben get cancer then if he can cure it?
Why can't women give birth on the island? Is it something to do with conception that's the problem? If so, why was Claire successful? What does it mean for Sun since she got pregnant on the island? Is she going to die or can Juliet somehow save her? Why are the others so concerned with solving this issue? Are they scientists? What's the point of all these experiments?
Why did Ben send Juliet as a spy? What are his plans for the survivors camp?
Best Moment: Ben showing the video of Rachel to Juliet was heartbreaking stuff. Juliet has been isolated for so long that she is hardly even herself anymore. But with the slightest glimpse of home, she immediately falls back into the timid, emotional woman she was before, a desperate plea to anyone that is around that she wants to go home. But nobody listens, and when Ben shuts the TV off, Juliet is thrown back into her unfortunate reality. It's a fantastic moment that perfectly captures the emotion of Juliet's storyline.
Character of the Episode: Juliet.
Conclusion: This was an immensely satisfying episode to watch, one that gave us lots of answers about the others through Juliet's flashbacks while still managing a spectacular character journey showing us how Juliet went from the timid and nervous woman to an emotionally detached and ruthless woman. It's a welcome episode to get after the story was essentially put on hold for 2 whole episodes.
Summary: In the real world, Dolores infiltrates the company Incite by killing a shareholder named Gerald and taking his money. She develops a relationship with Liam, the son of the founder of Incite and works to get information about the company from him. She soon discovers that he doesn't have access to the deeper workings of the company but he knows who does. Right then, Liam's bodyguard Martin realizes Dolores is an infiltrator and knocks her out and attempts to kill her quietly. It backfires and Martin is killed and replaced by a host, though Dolores is shot in the process. Meanwhile, Caleb is an ex-soldier who is struggling to get by and can't get over the death of his friend. He does petty crime jobs by night using the RICO app. He decides to pursue a purpose and ditches his therapy program and ends up meeting an injured Dolores. Meanwhile, Bernard has been blamed for the deaths in Westworld and is a fugitive in hiding. He decides to go back to Westworld. Maeve wakes up in a Nazi-Germany style theme park.
The Good: This show is as beautiful as ever. The effects, the acting, the cinematography, the soundtrack, all of it is terrific. The presentation for this show has always been a high point. Even when the story gets too convoluted, or the shallowness of the characters gets exposed, the show still looks great and is easy to watch.
The introduction to Caleb is the best stuff in the episode. He's a new character, so the show puts in effort to give him some development and create a meaningful character arc for him. Caleb is an ex-soldier struggling to get over his past and move on, something that isn't helped by the horrible class system in this futuristic world. It's easy to sympathize with Caleb, immediately making him a far better character than most that we've seen on this show so far. I appreciate that time was given to set up his storyline, making his encounter with Dolores at the end of the episode mean something. Caleb wants something real, and now he seems to think he's found it in Dolores. It's ironic considering that Dolores could very well be the most false thing he has encountered that entire day, including the robot he talked to over the phone.
The Bad: Unfortunately this show is still misfiring quite a bit. Outside of Caleb, every character feels way too shallow and uninteresting to keep my interest. Dolores isn't a character anymore, she's just a thing that wants to kill people which I'm not at all interested in watching. It became tiresome last season, and I don't want to see Dolores on a path of destruction anymore. The other established characters don't have much of interest to do either. Bernard is performed tremendously as ever, but his arc in this episode is rushed and uninteresting. We don't have any reason to care about him at this point, and I'm finding it tough to even describe his personality despite knowing this character for 2 full seasons now. When you take away the mysterious plot elements from the show, these shallow characters are exposed, as they were here.
That leads me to my second problem. I'm glad the show has stopped with the convoluted time jumping (I hope), but the problem is that we've been given nothing to take its place. Part of what made season 1 and 2 so entertaining was that it was really fun trying to puzzle out what was actually going on, and these dynamic plot elements were able to make up for the poor character work to a certain degree. But without any of that here, we're left with an empty show that doesn't offer anything different from your average TV drama with bland, 1-dimensional characters.
This episode was also paced pretty poorly. It's a really long episode at 68 minutes and somehow the episode manages to feel both rushed and slow because of some strange choices in presentation. The episode is paced very slowly as we get countless shots where not much is happening. The show enjoys showing off its impressive cinematography, but when there is no drama happening on screen, it can be pretty dull to watch so many shots of just the environment and the actors doing their jobs. But the episode also feels rushed because it skims rapidly through what should be the most powerful moments, not giving them a chance to stick with me. Take Liam and Dolores' relationship as an example. It's established, developed and destroyed so quickly that I feel nothing for either of the characters, who by the end of the episode I don't understand any better than I did at the start of the episode. It's all so rushed. And yet it still feels slow because the episode takes forever to actually get from the start of the relationship to the end because there are so many wasted minutes spent developing a plot that I'm not at all invested in.
With Dolores working to overthrow humanity in the real world, all of the stuff happening in the theme parks feels unimportant in comparison. As such, I don't care at all about what Bernard and Maeve are up to. The samurai world in the last season ended up being a waste of time, so how can I believe that this Nazi Germany world will be of importance.
The Unknown: What are Dolores' plans for Incite? What is she trying to do? Who is this Serac that she's trying to get in contact with?
Why has Bernard been isolated from Dolores? Does she have any plans for him? Why is he going back to Westworld?
What will come from Caleb meeting Dolores? Will she recruit him in her plans to destroy humanity? Or will she want to destroy him?
What is Maeve going to do in the Nazi Germany theme park?
The only scene that leaves me guessing about time jumping is the one with Charlotte. When did this happen? I thought Dolores was Charlotte. Has she created multiple versions of herself and released them in the world? How many other Dolores' are there?
Best Moment: Caleb unsubscribing from his therapy and vowing to move on and find something real was one of the few moments that stuck with me.
Character of the Episode: Caleb.
Conclusion: This was a pretty dull season premier. I commend "Westworld" for trying to reinvent itself but it just didn't work since the show failed to create a new form of itself that's worth watching. I'll keep watching for the rest of the season, but if the show's quality remains as weak as this episode, I'll likely be dropping the show.
Summary: Jimmy starts putting legal roadblocks on the eviction of Acker, frustrating Kevin who simply wants to get the place torn down. Kim lets him know that Jimmy is working for Acker but Kevin refuses to take her off the case. Kim tries to get him to consider relocation, but Kevin is too stubborn and the plan backfires. Kim decides to take things a step further and gets Jimmy to find someone to investigate Kevin's personal life. While working on the investigation, Rich visits Kim and reveals that he suspects that she is up to something. Caught off guard by this, Kim lashes out at Rich. Meanwhile, Mike stays at the small village and recovers, helping the old lady taking care of him. Gus eventually comes by to visit and they speak. Gus asks Mike to work with him, using Mike's understanding of revenge as a motive.
The Good: This is a very focused episode, only cutting between two storylines: Jimmy and Kim's attempt to get Mesa Verde to relocate and Mike's stay at the Mexican village. Both storylines are similar in how they get the central characters, Kim and Mike, to make some critical decisions that will have a huge impact on their futures.
Kim's story is easily the highlight of the episode. Kim has been one of the biggest dramatic hooks in the series since we are completely unaware of what awaits her in the future, and we can only hope that it isn't anything too bad. But she always seems to be at risk for something going wrong, and it usually seems to be Jimmy's fault. But now things are quite different. This hole that Kim finds herself in is entirely of her making. She didn't need to work against Mesa Verde but she chose to do it anyways, and now when faced with every opportunity to stop, she continues to push it further and further. Kim is risking so much for such little reward and it's scary to watch her make what could be a series of fatal mistakes that may cost her the career she has worked so hard to build. This episode builds up that tension so well as Kim continues to make bad choice after bad choice, and it all culminates in horrifying fashion when Kim learns that her boss has not been fooled by Kim's plan. Bubbling with fear and anxiety, she explodes at him in front of everyone, leaving her poised in a very uncomfortable position heading into the next episode.
Where the episode works so well is that is makes us understand why Kim is making these horrible decisions. We know that she empathizes with Acker and doesn't really care much for Kevin, so emotionally she wants Acker to have some sort of victory. But she is stuck representing the wrong side. Realizing how far she is from the job she wanted to do (representing the little guy) is soul-crushing for her, so even if she isn't aware of it herself, it's clear that a part of Kim is trying to tank her own career to punish herself for joining up with the rich and ignoring the poor. She has betrayed her own morals already, and that's why she now finds it so easy to bend the rules and break some laws in this episode. For once it isn't Jimmy that's making the choice to cross the line, it's Kim. And it's all because she regrets all the decisions she has made to come this far. It's tragic, it's relatable and it's scary to watch. We can only hope for the best for Kim, but with her current mindset she seems well on her way towards tragedy.
The episode had a lot of humour as well which I appreciated. It's always a joy to see Jimmy and Kim at work on a con. We never really know what Jimmy is planning, but seeing the results of his schemes is always a blast. His escalating stunts to fight off the construction crew were hilarious with some really absurd jokes. The imitation scene was brilliant and it nicely displayed how much closer together Jimmy and Kim always are whenever they are working a con. Lastly, Mr. X's cameo was an excellent piece of comedy, and a welcome return of a character we last saw in "Pimento".
Lastly we get to Mike's storyline, which is pretty solid. This isolation is exactly what Mike needs to get over his self-pity and start returning to the man he is supposed to be. Following a nice cameo from Dr. Goodman, Mike is forced to accept that he can't go anywhere and he is annoyed by this. Being as stubborn as he is, the fact that he is being taken care of by somebody else is frustrating for him and he makes every attempt to find a way out before settling in. When he settles in, we see him acting like himself again. He helps the lady taking care of him and keeps him self busy doing handyman jobs, and all seems fine. Then Gus arrives and we can see the rage on Mike's face when he hears his voice. Mike doesn't respect Gus at all. To Mike, Gus is simply a business associate, a man he doesn't even like. Their relationship is quite far from what we see in "Breaking Bad". The final scene of the episode gives us a hint of how they will end up making peace. Gus once again shows a deeper side to him by revealing that he funds this village as a memorial to Max. I can only imagine that Max had a desire to help the poor, having been poor himself and Gus is keeping Max's dream alive by donating to this village. Of course he doesn't explicitly say any of this to Mike (see: The Bad), but it's a nice touch to his character. The final moment of the episode shows us what I can presume is the reason why Mike joins up with Gus and it makes sense. Mike has been motivated by revenge for much of the series (revenge against Matty's killer and against Hector) so he will understand Gus' plight.
The Bad: Unfortunately I feel like Mike's story didn't quite work. This episode was the perfect opportunity to stage a transformational arc for Mike to make us understand why he would join Gus and to make us emotionally invested in their relationship. But the episode just didn't commit enough to do that. What we got was a simplistic story that works well enough. But considering the standards that this show sets, that is nowhere near enough. The problem is that we don't have enough context for why either character would trust the other. Mike can understand revenge, but is that really enough for him to set everything aside and go back to working for Gus, the man whose work lead to Mike having to kill Werner. And why does Gus care so much about Mike anyways? We need to know more about these two characters to make this relationship work. If this scene is just the start of their relationship, I suppose it's fine. But the way the scene is presented, it feels like this is supposed to be the big moment where Mike chooses to work for Gus, and I just don't buy it. I think that it would have been better had Gus been more open to Mike about his past and who he really is. That could have helped build a bond between them, but the show is far too interested in keeping Gus mysterious which I feel isn't necessary at this point in the story. In the end, I'm left very disappointed by Mike's story in this episode since it should have been so much more powerful than what we got.
The Unknown: Would Stacey really be okay with Mike suddenly vanishing like that? Presumably it has been a few days since she last saw him.
What did Kim discover that gave her hope for framing Kevin? Is it something to do with copyright infringement involving the Mesa Verde logo?
Now that Rich knows about Kim's schemes, what is he going to do about it? What is Kim going to do? Is she going to try to back out or will she keep on recklessly trying to save Acker?
Best Moment: Kim lashing out at Rich in front of the whole firm for telling her his suspicions was a brutally tense scene to watch. I'm afraid for Kim and I can tell that she's afraid for herself in this scene, having to directly face how unethical and self-destructive her actions have been.
Character of the Episode: Kim.
Conclusion: The idea of running two parallel character stories was excellent and it should have resulted in one of the show's better episodes. But this ended up being another middle of the road episode due to the drastic difference of quality between both stories. Kim's story was fantastic, with some of the season's best content, but the Mike story was disappointing. Hopefully it's just a fluke and the rest of this season can deliver much stronger content.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.