Summary: Two visitors, Logan and William arrive in Westworld and explore the world. Logan is rash and an asshole whereas William is kind and hesitant to hurt the hosts. The Man in Black finds a host named Lawrence and uses him to attempt to find the entrance to the maze. Maeve acts up and is taken backstage but she wakes up ad sees the realty of her world before being put back to sleep. Lee presents his narrative to Ford, but Ford doesn't like it and rejects it, choosing to create his own narrative which he has been working on.
The Good: This was a solid episode, even if it did dump another mass of mystery on our heads. There were several genuinely enjoyable scenes here that I felt weren't dominated by confusion and mystery, which there was a LOT of (see: The Unknown).
First of all, I love that we got to see the entire park in the eyes of a newcomer. We know nothing about Westworld and that made some of the first episode a little confusing since there was very little information offered. In this episode we learn a ton however by looking at everything through William's eyes as he arrives in the park with asshole friend Logan. We learn more about the hosts, the attraction of the park, what the guests are told and given before arriving and so much more. These scenes worked very well because they provided a lot of extremely satisfying answers mixed in with necessary exposition and world-building which will surely be very useful to help us understand what is happening in future episodes.
The Maeve storyline was also very good for the most part. The scene with Elsie and Maeve was very good as it helped us understand more about the hosts and how they work, specifically tackling things like the dreaming of hosts. It's nice to get more concrete answers for little things like this as it helps add to the sense of immersion we get in this show, which is probably its strongest aspect so far. The world feels genuinely thought out, fleshed out and filled with depth. The show even tells us in the spectacular ending dialogue from Ford (see: Best Moment) about how people always come back for the finer details. More on that later though, and for now let's get back to Maeve. I enjoyed the scene where Maeve escaped into the real world. the host incidents are rapidly increasing and it continues to add to the sense of tension and dread that the show is producing. There will obviously be a host outbreak at some point, but it's not a matter of if, but when. The show is using this to its full potential to build tension and suspense, though there are some flaws with this focus on tension (see: The Bad).
I really enjoyed the scenes with the Man in Black too, specifically the ones with Lawrence with his family. I thought the scenes were visually cool, but more importantly they helped build some sympathy for the hosts. With a lot of the cast being robots, it is very hard to get invested to their programmed personalities, so we absolutely needed some cruel actions like these to help us start sympathizing with the hosts. Logan's antics help with this as well. It makes it easier to relate with the hosts if we see them being misused by the humans, and I think the Man in Black scene did the best job of getting me to start to feel some sympathy. We are going to need more scenes like this to demonstrate why we may want to vouch for the hosts over the humans in charge and the guests. If executed properly, this could be a very good exploration of some morally gray territory.
Of course I loved Ford once more. Anthony Hopkins has been superb in the role and he was easily the highlight once more. I never liked Lee and I still think he is shallow and annoying, so it did some good to see Ford bring him some comeuppance for being a general dick with his final speech. But as I said before, more on that speech in Best Moment.
The Bad: The biggest problem with this show so far has been characters. It has done so many little things well which is very impressive, but it doesn't mean as much if it can't get the most basic aspect of storytelling right. Right now I'm intrigued by the plot, but I can't care less about the story. The characters themselves are dull to me and that takes away from a lot of the experience. We are introduced to William and Logan in this episode and I feel that we are meant to like them and grow attached to them but I just can't. Logan is an asshole so I don't care about him and William is just extremely generic. Without depth to their characters, I don't care about anything they do. The other characters are suffering as well. I don't care about a single person in charge of management, even the ones I'm supposed to like, including Bernard and Theresa. Their relationship was completely cold to me. Even Ford, who has been the best thing about the show so far, is too mysterious for me to actually care for him. He just interests me, nothing more. Now I'm not saying these characters are bad in design, but I haven't been given a reason to care for them which is a problem because it means I won't be able to get emotionally invested in the show and the individual character arcs. And of course, if I don't care, anything that happens won't be memorable or powerful. Unless this flaw is rectified, this show will likely not hit a score of 70 ever again, leaving it at good but not threatening great.
The plot is messy but I think it has been very well done, because I only have one minor flaw with it. I don't like that there is discord between park management. A multimillion (maybe even billion) dollar company needs to take care of everything, yet it seems like nobody cares about hierarchy or even bothers to listen to each other. This is notable with Maeve, as Bernard wants her taken off, but Elsie completely disobeys orders and puts her back in the park. We don't see any consequences coming to Elsie for this decision either which makes it feel more perplexing and awkward than anything.
The Unknown: Once more I'm left with so many questions.
What is the maze? Where is the entrance? Why does the Man in Black want to find it? How did he learn about it? Why did the girl say the maze isn't for him? Why do all the park people just let him do what he wants? Was my theory of the Man in Black saving the park from the previous incident correct? Has he earned a right to visit the park as much as possible because of this or something along the lines of that?
What were with Maeve's memories? Why did the Man in Black want her? What did he do with her? Why are her memories being triggered now? Will this happen to other hosts too? Why did Maeve wake up when she wasn't supposed to?
What is going on with Dolores? Why and how does she have a gun? What was with the one scene with Bernard? What did he want from her? He implies that they have had previous talks as well. What were they about?
What is the significance of Bernard and Theresa's relationship since it was treated as a really big deal?
What was Ford doing on the hill? What was that steeple in the ground? Could it be the entrance to the maze? How does it relate to Ford's narrative? Is the maze Ford's narrative?
Best Moment: Ford's speech at the end about what people truly want was so fascinating. It offers tons of possible insight as to what Ford's motives are, which are still murky. He clearly understands people and hosts very well though, which makes him very interesting as his knowledge could have a massive impact on or understanding of the story. I love that Ford completely shut down lee because of his ability to properly understand what humans want, whereas Lee is only doing what he wants. I also love that Ford's monologue completely explained to us in a very subtle way why we come back to this TV show. In a way the show is the park and we are the guests who keep coming back to learn more of the fascinating details about it, and that to me is a very good piece of writing that feels nearly fourth-wall-breaking but not quite.
Character of the Episode: Ford.
Conclusion: This was another strong episode. Though there is a major flaw with the lack of memorable characters, the show remains fascinating to watch and there were loads of great details given here to get us to start theorizing.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.