“The Passenger” is the final episode of the current season of the Westworld and everyone is converging on the Valley Beyond. Will the hosts find what they’re looking for? Will the humans manage to get all of the data that they want? We get partial answers to these questions and at the same raise a whole host (get it?) more. One thing is for sure: nothing will be quite the same.
Here we are. It’s the final episode of Westworld’s sophomore season and to be entirely honest I’m still not entirely sure what I’ve watched. The first season was fairly ambiguous with its fair share of twists and turns, but the second season seems to have taken that to new heights. We’ve spent most of the season unsure when and where we actually are on Bernard’s timeline and this final episode, “The Passenger”, doesn’t really help to clear things up.
After weeks of build-up Dolores, Bernard, Maeve, MiB and Hale and her Delos cronies all converge on the Valley Beyond and it seems like we’re due to have an epic showdown. The only thing is that everyone is apparently arriving at different points in the narrative. What we have been seeing are Bernard’s scrambled memories that he purposely obfuscated to hide what really happened. I think as a plot mechanic this is understandable but I’ve found the execution slightly jarring. Even now at the end of over 10 hours of television (which I’ve watched more than once), I’m still not completely sure I could piece together the linear timeline.
One of the biggest reveals in “The Passenger” was what the Valley Beyond actually is. Well, it’s a great big data center, the kind of thing that would make Amazon or Google giddy with excitement. As we’ve found out in previous weeks this has partly been used to store data about every guest in the park and this week we learn a little bit more. The system itself is controlled by a version of Logan and he’s been patiently creating simulations of Delos and all of the other guests. It seems that the main purpose of this fun-filled virtual world wasn’t to allow the guests to pursue immortality but instead to let the hosts prepare for the outside world. Perhaps most interestingly Bernard knew about this project and allowed it in order to give them an advantage and to prepare them for the outside world.
The Valley Beyond also houses a new world for the hosts, a fun virtual world that their consciousnesses can be uploaded to in a similar fashion to the Black Mirror episode “San Junipero”. In order to get there, the hosts just have to pass through a “gate” and their consciousness will be uploaded as their lifeless body falls to the ground. Hence the pile of bodies floating around near Bernard at the start of the season.
The gateway to the other world is where Maeve finally catches up with her daughter, thanks to a bit of uncharacteristically heroic self-sacrifice from Lee. Finally, Maeve’s mission becomes clear; she does everything she can to save her daughter and ensure she gets to rattle around on a server forever. Sadly, Maeve doesn’t get to make the journey with her and instead gives her own life to keep her promise. I can’t help but feel that isn’t the end of Maeve though.
The MiB doesn’t seem to be doing too well in “The Passenger” – he’s made it to the Valley Beyond but at the cost of a few fingers. I’m still not sure we were ever conclusively told if he was a host or not but I’m going to assume he was. He is still left alive, minus a few fingers, at the end of the episode, so I can only assume we’ll see him again next season in some form or other. Especially as the last we see of her is when Felix and Sylvester are tasked with findings salvageable hosts, shortly after a lingering shot of Maeve.
The season ends with pretty much all of the hosts dead, only a befuddled Bernard left. Well, as luck would have it he had a plan all along, and that’s why he’d muddled his memories. While everything was going on Bernard was busy making a copy of Charlotte Hale with Dolores’ consciousness nearly planted inside. It’s pretty good planning on his part as despite him being killed Dolores is still free to finally escape the park masquerading as Hale. It’s even more fortunate that Dolores/Hale (DoloHale?) manages to get away with a bag full of pearls (the hosts’ brain ball things). I wonder who she might recreate?
I had expected the whole thing to end there but Westworld seems intent on taking the Lord of the Rings route this week with multiple endings. We cut to the outside world (we assume although it’s never conclusively shown) where Dolores has put together a new body and a new Bernard, seemingly at a house Ford created for them. The interesting part of this is that she has brought Bernard back to oppose her, it’s only with the two of them in opposition that she thinks their species can survive. It looks as though next season is going to shape up to be Dolores vs. Bernard to decide whether humanity perishes as the hosts thrive.
I enjoyed “The Passenger” and the season, but in retrospect having seen the whole thing it feels a little too gimmicky. I don’t think the time hopping narrative necessarily improved things, but instead made it feel disjointed and purposely obtuse. I think the season would have been equally, if not more, impactful with a more traditional and easier to follow narrative. That said, the pieces are set for an interesting third season as the action looks set to finally leave the confines of the park.
1 thought on “Westworld Season 2 Episode 10 Review”
“…in retrospect having seen the whole thing it feels a little too gimmicky. I don’t think the time hopping narrative necessarily improved things, but instead made it feel disjointed and purposely obtuse. I think the season would have been equally, if not more, impactful with a more traditional and easier to follow narrative.”
This about sums it up for me.
It seems to me that every so often, film media falls under the thrall of a “hot” director “style”. There have been others to be sure, but two of the most recent and notable examples are Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan (his brother Jonathan Nolan writes, directs, and exec produces Westworld). Unfortunately, the Westworld series embodies the worst excesses of both, but is particularly guilty of what I term the “Nolanfication” of sci-fi (see Inception and Interstellar).
Season one was fairly enjoyable for me, but season two, purely became an exercise for the most part, in just enjoying the dialog and visuals, as the story was all but inaccessible to me due to its completely, and intentionally incoherent sequencing (Tarantino), and deliberately obfuscated storyline (Nolan). Ok, to be fair, there were enough visual cues and hints from the dialog to discern the overarching storyline, but having a detailed understanding of how all the characters and their actions fit together as pieces of the narrative puzzle as a whole? Forget it. Basically all I know at this point is that Delores wants to open a can of whoop-ass on the humans, and Bernard (and possibly Maeve?) are going to try to stop her.
I mean, I consider myself a fairly logical and intelligent person (Sr. SW Egnr, BSCS), so this isn’t an instance of being unwilling/unable to comprehend a non-simplistic story, but c’mon! This is absurd. There is absolutely NO reason that following a TV show should be the equivalent of solving New York Times’ Sunday puzzles -with a significant number of numbered squares and hints missing.
Let’s hope season 3, is a little more accessible.