Picking up from where we left off last week, “Phase Space” manages to somehow find the time to catch up with pretty much every major dangling plot thread. Maeve gets closer to her daughter, Dolores is on a runaway train never going back, Teddy is dastardly, MiB is chasing down the end game, Bernard is piecing things together and Charlotte is trying to get something important out of the park. Phew. It’s hectic.
There is a lot going on in this week’s episode of Westworld (titled Phase Space). Whereas previous weeks have only touched on two, maybe three storylines, by my reckoning “Phase Space” hits all of them. That means we get to check in with Dolores, Maeve, Teddy, MiB, Bernard, Charlotte and towards the end of the episode another old favorite (more on that later).
I’ll let you into a little secret; behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain if you will. I have to watch an episode of this show twice. The first time I go through and frantically scribble notes for anything that might be interesting (including highlights like “Hemsworth looks surly this week”). I’ll then go through and watch it again without the compulsive notes to see if anything stands out when I’m not focusing on the minutiae of it all. Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s to show that I really do pay attention, that I really like to think I have a handle on things even if I have to Google the odd character name. It’s also to illustrate how confusing everything’s getting. I’ll level with you, I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next episode, let alone in the next season. I make the comparison every week but it really is my new Lost – utterly bewildering at times, but I think that makes me like it all the more.
The first scene in “Phase Space” seems massively important. We see Arnold/Bernard (Arnard?) and Dolores having one of their usual chats. It looks familiar and unremarkable, but then we get a switcheroo. Dolores stands up and freezes his motor functions (not a euphemism), and she tells him a fidelity test. Does this mean that Bernard is not simply a host made to look like Arnold but instead a host with a copy of his consciousness – like we saw Jim Delos earlier in the season?
Maeve finally gets reunited with her daughter this week. After slogging through Shogun World they’re inexplicably back in Westworld. I have no idea how the geography of this park works. I wouldn’t be shocked if they revealed at the end of it all that it’s built inside the Tesseract inside Jessica Chastain’s bookcase in Interstellar.
I must say I was surprised that they actually found her daughter, as given the way things have been going in the park I expected Maeve to find a mutilated body or something. In the least surprising turn of events of all time, Maeve’s daughter doesn’t recognize her and has in fact been reprogrammed to have a new mum. As if this reunion couldn’t feel any more awkward the guys from Ghost Nation show up. I’m not convinced that the Ghost Nation is a bunch of mindless savages, I think they know more than they’re letting on and are likely to be an integral part in all of this. Oh and in the kerfuffle Lee (the British guy) uses his ill-gotten phone to call in back-up. I expect him to be dead within 3 episodes.
Charlotte is finally taking care of business back at the base. Well, the railway station where people enter and exit the park. She’s got Abernathy all ready to ship out and has got backup in the form of a rough and ready looking security/mercenary team. There was a moment where Charlotte was debating how to immobilize Abernathy while they waited for extraction. I thought maybe “lock him in a room” or at worst “lop a leg off”. I was way off the mark. They secured him to a table with some sort of enormous nail/bolt gun, and in case you’re wondering this is where Hemsworth looked surly.
Dolores’ plan seems to be taking shape and it seems like in a week or two at least Dolores, Charlotte and Bernard are going to collide. We see the start of that this week in “Phase Space” as Dolores finally launches that train she’s been playing with at the Delos HQ (where Charlotte, Bernard, Elsie and grumpy Hemsworth currently are). Perhaps the more interesting/frustrating thing about Dolores this week is she now looks sad/upset whenever Teddy kills someone, despite her forcibly upping his mean setting last week. You can’t have it both ways I’m afraid. She also lost the only way to really turn him back to his goofy, aww shucks self when they decided the leave the (very helpful and cooperative) lab tech on the train.
The MiB is getting to have a little daddy/daughter time in what seems like an incredibly dysfunctional relationship. It sounds as though he chose “life” in the park above pretty much anything else (“life without consequences”). She also reveals how she spent a lot of time in the park as a kid and then recounts how much time she spent “riding” in the pleasure houses when she was old enough. When I was a kid my dad used to take me bowling and I thought that was pretty good. In the least shocking moment of “Phase Space”, despite agreeing to leave the park with her to repair their relationship, MiB instead just ditches her while she’s sleeping. Classic.
Finally, we’ve got Bernard and Elsie who are also at the Delos HQ (it seems very hectic this week). It seems there’s some rogue code in the mainframe (or other such jargon) that is blocking any attempt to fix things. Guess what the solution is? Bernard volunteers to have a hole cut in his head to extract his mind ball thingy so he can “go into” the Cradle (Westworld’s data center). Inside the Cradle, everything looks like Westworld and we see “who” the mysterious program is that is maintaining the mischief in the park. Why it’s Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) sat tinkling away on the piano. First of all, I called it at the start of the episode and secondly, I presume that this means it was Ford’s consciousness that we’ve been watching Bernard move around in previous episodes.
There you go. A lot happened this week but I’m not quite sure what it all might mean. It certainly feels like all of our story threads are converging, but what they are converging on is anybody’s guess.