Westworld returns this week for a Maeve and Bernard-centric episode, one that serves to fill in more of the story gaps while continuing to showcase this season as a prophetic fight between Maeve and Dolores. While some may bemoan the direction this series is going, it still feels far too early to figure out what the main narrative is across the season.
Episode 2 of Westworld begins with Maeve and Hector in 1940’s Germany – another world built within the Park. Although they sneak past a batallion of troops, they’re stopped on the way out by soldiers standing at a checkpoint, who question then. Maeve stabs one of them in the eye with a white pill before they race away together to the airstrip. Unfortunately when they get there, they find all the men on-board butchered. Outside, a stand-off ensues leading to Maeve and Hector both dying.
We then cut to Divergence in the South China Sea, as we see Bernard making his way toward Westworld. On shore, he finds the church from the first series and the charred remains of the houses in the distance. He continues on, through the remnants of previous seasons in a bid to discover the truth.
Eventually he stumbles upon Stubbs in the basement and sees that he tried to shoot himself in the neck and failed. Bernard picks him up and proceeds to patch Stubbs up. As they talk, Bernard tells him he’s looking to stop Dolores as she’s intending to destroy the real word. Bernard actually came back to Westworld for Maeve – the only person strong enough to stop Dolores.
Maeve awakens and repeats the same pattern again, finding herself in the basement as guards approach, ready to fire. Just before Maeve looks set to commit suicide, Lee arrives and stops them. In the aftermath of this, they talk about his work before he mentions Maeve’s daughter, giving her precious hope.
Maeve awakens back in the park in the same narrative as before, but this time with her memories intact. She says goodbye to Hector, unwilling to go through the same narrative again, and heads off into the woods where she finds Lee waiting for her. Unable to smuggle a vehicle out, they instead ride two horses across the vast expanse while Delos operatives prowl the land.
Lee leads Maeve to the Forge where they discuss the events from last season. In particular, Dolores’ plan that concluded the final episode. As they talk, Maeve realizes that Lee isn’t who he says he is – he’s another host and a copy of the previous version of Lee. As the world dissolves away, Maeve sees the truth for what it is and asks herself just where they are.
Maeve hurries over to Lee’s office and begins sifting through papers to try and find clues. Partway through, two operatives arrive talking about the narrative. Maeve attempts to throw a statue at them but it hovers in mid-air, reinforcing her ideas that this is all a simulation.
Bernard makes his way back to the office too, walking down the hallways and finding a dragon in one of the rooms. (Is this a throwback to Game Of Thrones?) He questions whether Dolores planted a corruption in his code and begins going through the lines of coding again while Stubbs stands guard. This inevitably leads to a fight as Stubb’s forced to take out the approaching guards.
Maeve’s narrative begins again and this time she hands over the map to the German soldiers. This overloads the simulation and as everything freezes, Lee appears again and congratulates her for finding a way out. Maeve hacks a maintenance drone and after putting it in riot mode, uses it to break out her code and kill the guards in the room.
Bernard meanwhile recruits Stubbs officially and changes his programming to protect him at all costs. As they haul a boat out to the water again, we’re left to wonder what’s next for Bernard.
Maeve finally wakes up in the real world where she finds Serac waiting for her. He asks her to kill Dolores but she refuses to listen. Instead, Maeve picks up a knife and attempts to stab him. Serac shows off a new gadget that stops her from attacking and as he walks away, he leaves Maeve frozen on the spot.
Westworld’s latest episode plays out its simulation within a simulation reasonably well but unlike the first season, it doesn’t have the same allure and magic those episodes had. The dual storylines between Maeve and Bernard are interesting, although Bernard wandering through remnants of the past is definitely one of the highlights of this season so far.
The “call to action” trope is still being played out at the moment so it’s difficult to gauge how this one will develop but early on it seems apparent that the show is gearing up for a big fight between Dolores and Maeve, our two strong female protagonists. Maeve’s super-human intelligence and strength does raise question marks around why the group don’t just program more reliable and less erratic hosts to conduct this mission, but nevertheless the story is interesting enough to keep you watching.
Still, so far so good and as a big fan of Westworld, the show continues to deliver it’s sci-fi mystery box with enough intrigue to keep you coming back for more.