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.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.