It seems all of my shows over the last week have been about free will: what it is, what it really means and what happens when that’s taken away. This episode of Westworld finds us split between Maeve and Dolores as they make their way through this brave new world they find themselves in. More importantly, it shows how very different they are and how that difference is going to be a major factor in the season going forward.
First we have to start with Strand’s dumbass, who, after Maling tells him they’ve recovered about 50% of the hosts that were drowned, tells her to get a move on because they need to get the program restarted. Which…what? Are you, are you kidding me right now? What kind of next level greed makes you go, “I know these robots – who I don’t know how to actually reprogram or even a 10th of the information I truly need to even begin to comprehend, since, you know the two dudes who knew how they worked are dead af – just went utterly and totally off the rails, gained sentience and promptly started killing every damn body but the past is past! Let’s get them up and running again!” The gall of this man and of Delos as a whole. They deserve what they get. Idiots. Friggin’ burn that place to the ground and be done with it!
Now into the meat of the story: Maeve and Dolores. The ladies travel through Shogun World and Westworld respectively, making plans and gaining allies through very different means. In Shogun World, Maeve meets Akane, her Japanese counterpart. Beyond showing that Lee is a complete and utter hack of the highest order, we get to see Maeve’s story through a different cultural filter but the core is the same: Akane is a matriarch who will do anything to protect the young women in her charge. Maeve, after initially wanting to dip out as soon as possible on her own quest ends up bonding with Akane and does what she can to help her break the bonds of her code. In the course of this something fascinating and utterly terrifying happens: Maeve levels up. We’re past the simple Jedi mind tricks of telling other hosts what to do and trucking straight into Jean Grey territory: sensing danger before it gets there and literally forcing her enemies to slaughter themselves. It’s frigging awesome however what’s far more interesting is what she chooses not to do: when Maeve basically offers Akane the freedom she has, and Akane refuses, Maeve…lets her. Maeve could easily overrule the will of every host – and possibly the humans – she meets. She could go through every park and enslave every host to her will and to her quest. Yet she doesn’t, instead letting her fellow host make their own choices, with no interference. As I said in a previous review, what makes Maeve far more dangerous than Dolores in the long run is that hosts and humans (with the exception of Lee and even that is up in the air) are following her willingly.
Which leaves Dolores. Dolores, who keeps going down a path of violence and ruin, who is rapidly proving herself to be no better than Delos, officially crosses the line for me in this episode. Throughout the episode we see how she forces others to do her bidding, deeming some unworthy of freedom, as if she has any right to. We see it in how she uses Clementine whom Dolores could easily have the techs fix but chooses not too, yet if there were any doubts it’s erased by her ordering the mind rape of Teddy. Teddy, who is devoted to her by his own choice, despite not agreeing to her methods. Who, in his own words, chooses her, not because he was programmed to but because he genuinely loves her. Teddy, who shows his fundamental goodness at every turn. It’s this goodness that Dolores deems not enough for “where they’re going,” so instead of letting Teddy choose to stay or turn back she takes his choice away from him. It’s ugly, it’s gross and it puts Dolores firmly on same path that William took to becoming the Man In Black.
- C.R.E.A.M. was used for the dance. Of course it was.
- I called Teddy’s goodness getting him killed for real. I wish that was what happened now.
- Lee has a walkie. The question is: will he use it?
- Watching Hector and Armistice freak out over meeting their counterparts had me giggling like a loon.
- I knew when we got an actual love scene with full consent by both parties it was going to end poorly.
- I sure af hope forcing Teddy to “suffer” doesn’t wind up biting everyone in the arse.
- Maeve tried to de-escalate the situation so many times but fools kept testing her…
With Maeve becoming something far more than even Ford or Arnold thought she could be, Dolores going full darkside of the force, and Delos being…Delos, it’s about to get really, really ugly fam.