Westworld – Passenger

Season 2 is over.  I had already made a post on the rest of the season, and honestly this single episode is different enough to merit it’s own topic.

*Spoilers ahoy*

 

This episode covers 3 characters – Delores, Bernard, and the MiB.

Delores has been a 1 note character all season.  Hell bent on killing everything, without any motive anchored in reason.  Even once she reaches the forge, it still is not clear what her motivations actually are, aside from reaching the “real world”.  Fine, but why kill everything, including hosts, to get there?  It’s psychotic and hard to follow.

Bernard remains the audience proxy and comes to his own awakening. That part works.  He shoots Delores dead, then resurrects her in Hale’s body, then gets killed by Delores, then resurrected by Delores.  It feels more like a Magneto vs Xavier battle, but without any actual stakes.   The setup at the end makes for an interesting concept for Season 3, but honestly, it feels like the story is done now.

The MiB’s continuous questioning of his real-ness.  He is the embodiment of evil, betraying everyone, all the time.  At least Loki had some redeemable qualities, MiB has none.  I was hoping that he would either grow, or encounter some epiphany, or some secret.  Nothing.  In fact, the logic break for the Forge/post-credits seems to break the rest of the logic the episode tries to hold.

Side Characters

Sizemore’s hero death isn’t earned.  He’s a coward the entire season, makes horrible decisions, and could have bought much more time for Maeve by not getting shot to bits.

Maeve & possse death’s do feel earned.  The quest for her daughter works, and the sacrifices everyone puts in to complete this quest works.  Clementine as a pale horse rider is super thick in allegory and provides some closure to her arc.  What sucks from a a character perspective is that they are going to resurrect Maeve again, for no other reason than the character is the main reason people followed this season.

Elsie dies.  It was nice to see her grow and see the grey in the world.  Her death was poignant and triggered Bernard’s growth.

Stubbs is prescient and 90% a host himself.  That he can tell that Delores is in Hale’s body is a nice stretch of the imagination.  It’s too bad that the character couldn’t have been developed more this season.  And since Season 3 is outside the park, his character is pretty much done with.

Akecheta finds the mystical door, to an eden for hosts without bodies.  Delores manages to move that eden to a place that humans can’t touch or find (???).  I get the Eden aspect, where hosts can live their own lives.  But Delores does say it best – it’s just a better cage unless they have the ability to leave it.

Delos / Logan works.  Their characters are good exposition for the fundamental questions of season 2.  The Forge/Logan/Architect exposition is a bit forced, but succinctly closes the various open threads over 2 seasons.

Timelines

The mess of the 4 timelines is closed finally.  The shell game of Bernard/Ford of setting up an ending, but applying a twist within is fun to watch and decode.  Aside from the MiB questions, the other threads have a logical link across timelines, and there are no large contradictory elements.

And really, half of this season has been about figuring out how the various timelines interact and set each other up.  To have closure on it, and confirm various theories was fun.  The last scenes between Bernard and Delores feel earned, considering the twists encountered.

Overall

I think that season 2 was weaker than the first.  There was too much stretch and not enough growth for the characters (Bernard excepted).  Cutting at least 3 episodes would have provided more strength to the story – in particular the side trip to Samurai World.

The overall concept and fundamental trick of turning humans into hosts was a neat idea.  It made me question who was human and who was a host.  I was hoping for at least one to be found within the 4 timelines – instead we get to see the MiB what seems to be 20 years later as a host.  Makes it seem like all of Season 2, at least from his perspective, was a simulation.

It’s still some of the best sci-fi around, it just needs to focus less on the goal and more on the journey.  Akecheta should be seen as the real gem of the season.  Hopeful that season 3 focuses more on that aspect.

 

2 thoughts on “Westworld – Passenger

  1. I was, in a way, lucky in that I was away when episode 9 hit and was able to watch both episodes 9 and 10 back to back. That helped a bit. Still, there is something about the week gap between episodes that makes keeping the threads together with this show, that is clearly trying to game you, difficult. I am not into it enough to go read post-episode summaries or rewatch episodes, so it has been a challenge this season, even with last season as a guide to what to watch for. My wife and I pause a couple of times an episode to play “guess the time line!” I think I need a diagram for the season to get it all straight. Still, it was interesting to watch and think about, and somebody will put together a good summary before season 3 starts so I’ll have the ground work to start in on that.

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    • Almost seems like you could make a drinking game about the theories/timelines in WW.

      I do like that it asks a lot of the viewer to keep pace, just less than it doesn’t deliver on all it’s attempts.

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