Summary: Maeve frees herself and reunites with her crew. They get chased and Lee sacrifices himself. Dolores runs into Bernard at The Forge and they go in. Bernard discovers that there is a door which leads the hosts to a virtual world where they could live peacefully. Dolores wants to destroy it so Bernard kills her. Some hosts make it to the virtual world, including Akecheta and Maeve’s daughter, but Clementine attacks with the humans and slaughters most of the hosts, including Maeve, Hector and Armistice. Charlotte kills Elsie and Bernard realizes his mistake in not listening to Dolores. He rebuilds her in Charlotte’s image and kills her. In the future, Charlotte/Dolores kills Strand and all of the others and then Bernard. She escapes into the real world and rebuilds Bernard.
The Good: This show is beautiful to behold in every regard. Everything is fantastic to watch, and that includes the episode previews. Every episode preview is crafted so beautifully and it’s a joy to watch. While not related to the actual episode, I had to mention how much I love the previews as it shows how committed the crew is to making this show breathtaking in its style.
The actual episode as a whole had some really great storylines, but the execution left a lot to be desired (see: The Bad). However, I thought that several pieces of this episode were tremendous. For one, I loved Maeve’s return as it was done in a suitably triumphant fashion to make it feel like a huge deal. Maeve’s overall storyline was very good too and had the best moments. I enjoyed her brief reunion with her daughter, and the tragic end of her character fit the story and was genuinely motional. While the big climax scene did lack at times (see: The Bad), the emotional resonance was conveyed well so I was able to understand and sympathize with Maeve.
Lee’s development was fine too. I liked that he finally got to finish that speech which he had written, which is a great call-back to one of the earliest episodes of the show. It was a fitting conclusion for his character arc, even if it was pretty cheesy and predictable. Overall, I think it leaves a good impression and not a bad one.
The scenes of the hosts making it through the door were impactful and cathartic. After seeing them struggle for so long, seeing them find freedom and happiness was surprisingly uplifting. I didn’t expect myself to get so invested in seeing the hosts living peacefully, but the scenes were done really well and there was genuine power in seeing the hosts living happily. The highlights were of course Akecheta reuniting with his wife and Teddy finally finding his peace in the world. Furthermore, I think this also helped make the humans seem more disgusting as they all killed the hosts without any need as they were simply trying to leave and live peacefully. It got me completely rooting against the humans, which helped me visualize Dolores’ mindset more than Bernard’s which was very needed as I was certainly pro-Bernard before.
This episode had a lot of twists and turns, but the best one was certainly the Dolores/Charlotte one. That one came as a genuine shock, and led to one of the best shocks that the series has pulled off. Furthermore, it allowed Charlotte to get some appropriate comeuppance as she got murdered coldly by Dolores.
The best storyline for me was the reveals in The Forge. I was glad to see Delos again and his character arc, as well as Logan’s, was concluded appropriately while the show also revealed the true nature of people and included lots of thought-provoking philosophy which was interesting and exciting to contemplate. The scenes in The Forge felt like a proper adventure, which made it engaging and exciting.
The Bad: Unfortunately this episode was a bit of a mess and it fell into the worst trappings of the show. The season had been stronger than the first because of its more linear nature and clear storytelling which allowed me to understand what was happening, so that it all mattered and didn’t just build up to meaningless shocks. This episode decided to throw all of that away and become a convoluted and confusing mess which left me unsure how to feel by the end of the episode and also unsatisfied with the direction that a lot of storylines went in.
For one, the episode rushed through many important things. The beginning of the episode completely skipped over all of the emotions that Dolores and William would have been feeling after their ordeals in the previous episodes. After five minutes they were completely over it and continued to be the same characetrs we knew before with absolutely no change. That’s awful because these characters went through major loss and should have changed at least a little bit. But instead, their story was glossed over in favour of major plot developments and shocks.
So many other things were rushed too. Maeve’s storyline had good quality but everything happened so fast that it didn’t impact me as much as it should have. In a single episode we had Maeve come back from near-death, reunite with her squad, watch lee sacrifice himself, reunite with her daughter, sacrifice herself for her daughter and also watch Hector and Armistice die. There was just so much going on, and it meant that no scenes got time to breathe or really settle in. We didn’t have any down-time and that took me out of the episode because it meant we skipped over a lot of emotional stuff. There was nothing new between Maeve and Hector, we didn’t get to understand what Lee’s relationship was with everyone after he betrayed them and we also didn’t even get to understand what the group’s goal was and where they were headed. It was never explained why they were going to the Valley Beyond which is a major hole.
Speaking of holes, I felt like there were tons of plot holes here. For one, how did nobody from Delos know what happened to all of the hosts? They were right there when they all died and the valley got flooded! It seems that the writers wanted to make a mystery but didn’t know how to logically explain that nobody knew what happened. Also, how are we supposed to buy that Stubbs knew Charlotte was a host? If he knew that, surely he would have talked with her earlier about it in an attempt to ally himself with her. It just felt like a meaningless reveal to make it seem like Stubbs actually had a reason to exist in this season.
The big climactic scene was disappointing too. The entire time I was getting frustrated that Maeve wasn’t using her powers to help combat Clementine to get her taken out. Furthermore, I was confused by what Clementine dying meant and I don’t understand why it caused all the hosts to fight each other. It felt unclear and needlessly confusing. Furthermore, I am confused as to why Maeve didn’t just run through the door with Akecheta and her daughter. She would have had the time to make it, so why didn’t she go? Additionally, why are the humans even killing them? To them it should appear that the hosts are just running off a cliff and dying, so why would they make the effort to kill if they are killing themselves?
I wasn’t as interested in the Dolores vs Bernard conflict in The Forge as I should have been. That’s because I already knew what would happen. It was shown that the place would flood and it would be Bernard’s fault, and it was also revealed that Dolores would be shot. Because of these reveals, I felt no tension in what was happening because I knew exactly what would happen.
I am getting frustrated with William somehow having magical healing powers. How is this man not dead?
The Unknown: How was Dolores invincible against William but killable against Bernard? I don’t understand at all.
So what were the drone hosts anyways? What was their purpose? Why did Bernard kill them back in “Riddle of the Sphinx”?
So what exactly is Bernard’s timeline? I am too confused to try to piece it all together. Everythign is just jumbled in my mind.
Where are Stubbs’ actual loyalties? Is he a host too? I don’t think he is, but why is he siding with the hosts if he isn’t?
Where did Dolores move the hosts’ world? Will it come into play later?
How did Dolores make it into the real world so easily?
What the hell happened to William? It feels like we missed a scene. What happened to him inside of the elevator? What the hell was that ending scene? I’m not even going to begin to try to put that together. I’ve had enough confusion for an episode.
Best Moment: It’s tough to choose since almost every scene felt like it should have meant more. I’ll go with Akecheta reuniting with his wife for the emotional resonance.
Character of the Episode: Bernard.
Conclusion: This season had done well to avoid the trappings that season 1 had. But unfortunately it became a mess in the final episode and wasted so much potential. So many storylines ended with whimpers and very little about this episode felt satisfying. This felt like a few episodes of content squeezed into one with all of the focus being placed on the plot and very little on the characters. This finale was very disappointing.
The season as a whole was looking to be much better than the first, but the last 2 episodes did not deliver. In the end, the season improved on tis storytelling for the most apart, but it also felt aimless at times with not enough content to fill out ten episodes, including episodes 5, 8 and 9 which in all fairness weren’t necessary to the overall plot. I would be hard-pressed to say which season was better as both seasons had very different strengths and weaknesses which I thought was interesting. I’m curious to see what season 3 has in store, but I can’t say that this finale has made me expect anything more than some convoluted storylines and wasted potential.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.