Summary: William and Emily talk and Emily reveals she wants him to come home and not die. William leaves her in the night. Maeve leaves Shogun World but Akane and the others choose to stay. She meets her daughter but finds that she has a replacement mother. Teddy has turned into a ruthless killer and Dolores ha regrets. Bernard and Elsie go to the cradle which is where all of the data is kept. Bernard enters it and finds Ford.
The Good: The William and Emily (I don't know if it's Emily or Grace, but for now I'm going with Emily) story was really well done. I have been largely uninterested with William once more being on a lone journey to discover the answers to a mysterious puzzle, but this gave the storyline the shot in the arm it needed. With William's family matters being explored through Emily's return, it adds a fresh new aspect to William, giving his arc more resonance and emotion. After all of the examination that the show has done for William, I genuinely care about what happens to him, so adding an emotional edge is very smart. Furthermore, Emily comes off really well as her desire to live out life with her only remaining family is a very easy to understand motivation. Her character can neatly be built around this relationship with William and I'm excited to see more from them.
The Maeve storyline had some good moments despite it being disappointing overall (see: The Bad). The moment where Maeve saw her daughter again was cathartic and equally tragic when we see that there is another host as her mother. It's heartbreaking and also makes perfect sense, which really highlights how Maeve took everything for granted and assumed that she could just do whatever she wanted. It's a fitting wake-up call which obviously had a huge impact on Maeve who wasn't expecting her daughter to no longer love her. While I wish we spent more time on that (again see: The Bad), the overall story had a good emotional heart to it. I also like the background story of Sizemore wanting to escape his situation while also feeling bad since he has formed something of a bond with Maeve who he now accepts isn't a bad individual and has a human quality about her.
Dolores' story with Teddy had a great emotional core too. After the tragedy at the end of last week's episode, Teddy has changed and Dolores is starting to face the consequences of her decision. Now Teddy is much more efficient as a bodyguard, but he is no longer the man he was and he also seems to be rather spiteful about that. Now Dolores can no longer get the small romantic talk she loved and is stuck feeling guilty and perhaps even regretful about what she has done to Teddy. Now it's abundantly clear that Teddy is gone and this new version of him isn't the real Teddy.
The most intriguing storyline was once more Bernard's. We still don't quite know what he has been up to and there was a lot more intrigue as he has been getting flashes upon entering the cradle. I have theories (see: The Unknown), but so far it has mostly remained mysterious. However, we seem to be on the verge of getting a truckload of answers as the episode provided a massive reveal at the end. And that reveal is the return of Ford, which I'm very excited about. Ford was the standout of the entire last season, and to see Anthony Hopkins reprise his role is an extremely exciting development. Furthermore, Ford has all of the answers about what Bernard has been doing, so I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say to explain all of the weird things that have been happening.
The Bad: I had hoped to get more clarity on what exactly happened to Teddy. Last episode I had assumed he would be completely erased, but that is clearly not the case since Teddy is still conscious and with Dolores' group. I would have appreciated it if the show had actually revealed what would happen to Teddy and what has happened instead of keeping things as a mystery.
I hate that there are apparently some Delos employees still alive and around while Westworld is in chaos. How did they survive? How did the hosts let them survive? I wish we had more answers to this. Speaking of answers I wish we had, hat is Dolores hoping to accomplish with the train? What is it going to do, how does she know to do it and what does it accomplish for her? Without knowing the answers to these questions, the moment loses all significance and value.
Maeve's storyline was very flawed, in particular the closure to Shogun World. While it was a fun detour, the problem is that it was a detour. That means that it had no actual value to the story and is nothing more than filler. The only thing that the story accomplished was that it showed Maeve to have some sympathy, but that seems like something that could have been accomplished in 5-10 minutes, not in an hour-long side story. Without Shogun World having any relevance, it feels like a waste of time and I'm left questioning its inclusion in the story.
Furthermore, the Maeve story is hurt by its need to rush a lot of stuff into a single episode. This episode had a sword duel, the closure for Akane's character, Maeve's group leaving Shogun World, Maeve meeting her daughter, Ghost Nation attacking and Sizemore contemplating calling for help before actually doing it. It's an overwhelming amount of developments, and the sheer number of developments means that the episode isn't able to focus on its more powerful moments like Maeve realizing her daughter has a new life. The arrival of Ghost Nation actually ruins the moment and all of its resonance which is really annoying.
In the end, the flaw in the Maeve story highlights my biggest qualm with this episode. It's too cluttered with far too many storylines and no clear focus. The two best episodes in this season so far have been the ones which focused specifically on a single plot point, and that isn't a coincidence. Without any real focus, episodes like these fail to hit as hard as others, making them feel pretty disappointing overall.
The Unknown: What was that test in the opening scene? Is Bernard the same sort of host that Delos was? Did Ford actually end up perfecting the hosts made from consciousness?
What was the significance of Akane taking Sakura's heart? Also, what was with the heart? Does it have a specific role in hosts or is it just there to add to realism?
Is Emily actually there or is she part of Ford's game? I noticed William messing up a detail about his past regarding the elephants, and while it's possible that was used to develop that William has forgotten his family life, I suspect that it was William testing to see if Emily was a host. I wonder if Emily is the one who is meant to lead William to the door which could perhaps be the door out of Westworld and into the real world.
What is the role of Ghost Nation? Clearly they are important since they are appearing very frequently.
What was the purpose of the train explosion? Was that Dolores breaking out of Westworld? Will it help her find her father? Does it mean she is coming for Charlotte's group?
What will Bernard learn from Ford in the cradle? What else can be found in there?
Best Moment: While I'm tempted to pick Ford's reveal, I'll go with Emily and William's conversation. I bought into the story completely after that and I'm now invested in their relationship which has genuine stakes to it.
Character of the Episode: Ford for returning.
Conclusion: This episode had a lot to it and several things worked, but it was too cluttered and messy to truly succeed, making this one of the least satisfying instalments so far.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.