Stay on target Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseTop Movie and TV Trailers to Watch From SDCC 2019 We’re rapidly heading toward the end of the second season of Westworld. By now, we’ve realized that its philosophy isn’t quite as deep as it wants it to be. The big reveals are often telegraphed just a little too far ahead, or if they’re not, they’re based on the camera keeping crucial information just out of frame. Somehow though, that’s all OK. If you’re still watching this show week to week, you’ve had to admit to yourself that you’re not actually here for all that. You’re here for a story that’s pulpy and fun, brutal wild west violence and gorgeous cinematography. And old-timey player piano versions of pop music. Can’t forget that. And for all its attempts to be more, Westworld is still really good at giving us what we really want.That can make the moments where it tries to be more a little groan-inducing, though. Like Robert’s return, which predictably involves a lot of big words about small points. It’s great to see Anthony Hopkins again. He commands every scene he’s in, and it’s been weird having Ford’s presence still be in the park without him. But there’s nothing more Ford likes to do than wax endlessly about the nature of humanity. It worked in Season One. He was an old man reaching the end of his life, wanting to tell one last story. Which I guess is the one where Dolores leads a violent robot revolution. All of his philosophic monologues were important because they pointed to the thing he was setting up.Shannon Woodward (Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)Now, he’s an electronic ghost using the same monologues to talk about things that have already happened. Yes, Dellos had a bigger investment plan in mind when they funded the park. The goal was to sell people on immortality, on backups of themselves. And also to collect data on their guests’ darkest desires. We knew all this. And to be fair, this scene hints at some other, more nefarious purpose that we’ll find out about in the future. That doesn’t stop lines like “we thought we were coding the hosts, but we were decoding the guests!” or “The hosts were the control, the guests were the variable!” any less ridiculous. Even when said with all the considerable gravitas Jeffrey Wright can muster.Thankfully, unlike many of Ford’s scenes last season, this all does lead somewhere. First of all, it has a cool and satisfying reveal. That scene from last week with Blue Dress Dolores testing Bernard for Arnold fidelity happened inside the Cradle, basically a virtual testing environment for Westworld. Bernard is constructed from both Ford’s and Dolores’ memories of Arnold. Because Dolores, Arnold’s creation, knew him even better than Ford could.The other thing all this conversation leads to is the sense that Ford may have constructed Dolores’ Wyatt personality with a little bit of himself. There’s a cool parallel between Dolores changing Teddy’s mind and Ford taking Bernard’s free will. They take over another person’s autonomy for the exact same reason. Who they are won’t allow them to survive. Dolores changed Teddy’s entire personality into a violent killer so he’d do what she asked. Now Ford took Bernard’s free will for the same reason. And under the same pretense of ensuring his survival. Now, when Bernard starts participating in all the action of this episode, there’s an overtone of sadness to it. You can see he really doesn’t want to lie and send Elsie away. He doesn’t want to pick up a gun and murder Dellos guards. But Ford is forcing him to, even while Bernard begs him not to make him do these things.Tessa Thompson (Credit: Jordin Althaus/HBO)Where it’s all leading, what purpose this all serves, we don’t know yet. That’s something saved for the remaining three episodes of the season. This episode finally returns to the furthest timeline, the one with Dellos soldiers cleaning up the place, and uses it as a cool and chilling bookend to the rest of the story. The very opening of the episode has Charlotte Hale discovering that Bernard is actually a host. While investigating the area where he killed Teresa Cullen, they find a room full of other Bernards. And yeah, it’s creepy as hell. This time, there’s no amount of skull-bashing that will get him out of this. The Dellos team captures him, and soon Charlotte Hale is using Bernard’s own programming to waterboard him. That’s one of the most uncomfortable, yet believable sci-fi ideas this show has come up with. As horrific as it is to watch, I’d like it if Westworld gave us more horrors like this.As Hale asks where Bernard took Peter Abernathy’s control unit, he begins searching his memory for the answer. That’s the framing device for the whole episode, and it’s a pretty effective one. We see Dolores storm into the headquarters while Bernard is still having his conversation with Ford. She almost kills Hale with a surgical saw, but Hale gets away while Dolores is distracted by her dad. I have to hand it to this show, it set out to make us feel completely for the hosts and very little for the humans. It succeeded. For all of William’s family drama, we don’t know enough details about it to really care. And the one storyline from last week that promised to dive into that a little bit (him meeting up with his daughter), is completely ignored this week. The hosts, though. We really empathize with them. That moment where Peter is lucid enough to remember Dolores is real and heartbreaking. They both know this is their last moment together. Their relationship may be artificial, but that doesn’t make it any less real to them. This show also makes the hosts’ malfunctions look like the effects of a brain disease like Alzheimer’s. That makes a fleeting lucid moment like this feel even more real.Louis Herthum, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden (Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)I mentioned William, though and while his story doesn’t link him back up with his daughter just yet, it does give us a great fight scene. This episode had a lot going on, and it still managed to have nonstop action that made the hour fly by. He finally met up with Maeve, which is a confrontation we’ve been waiting for forever. He just happened to be chased into the same cabin where she and her former daughter were hiding. That triggered a painful memory in Maeve, and she starts firing on him. More than that, she uses her power to make his host allies turn against him. What really makes this moment so satisfying is the whole time, William thinks he’s dealing with Ford.He talks to the hosts like game masters. He’s convinced that, though the consequences are real, this is still all part of an elaborate game. And it’s so satisfying to see that attitude run up against a group of people who don’t give a shit what he thinks this is. He doesn’t die. Not yet anyway, but he’s in bad shape. This is probably how his daughter catches up to him next week, and she’ll probably make sure he lives. For now though, he’s forced to contend with the fact that he’s done some horrible things to beings who remember them. He’s had to face consequences for his actions before he realized there would be any. He’s not happy about that, and it’s wonderful.Rodrigo Santoro (Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)Maeve gets shot up pretty bad in the confrontation too. Just as Lawrence is about to kill William, Dellos security shows up. They save William by killing Lawrence. They also take Maeve’s daughter. As Maeve tries to run after them, she’s shot multiple times. Again, she doesn’t die. That would be a really unsatisfying end for her anyway. Lee shows some basic decency and convinces the security team to spare her, saying that they need to study her. As she’s brought to the main building, we get a fascinating conversation between her and Dolores. Their interactions have always been brief, but they’re always interesting. Maeve looks at Dolores and sees the horrors she’s committed.Maeve may have killed people, but Dolores has gone much further. As much as we’re meant to sympathize with the hosts, this is Westworld showing us that they are just as capable of evil as we are. Despite Dolores’ earlier emotional reunion with her father, she tells Maeve that relationships, like her daughter, are just chains to keep them in the park. Maeve calls Dolores on that. Does Dolores really believe what she says, or is it just justification? It’s what allows her to twist Teddy’s personality into something unrecognizable. Making him into someone who could punch the Dellos security head’s face into the ground until he didn’t have a face anymore. It’s what lets her rip her father’s brain out to further her own goal.Thandie Newton, Simon Quarterman (Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)This episode had a lot going on, but it pulled it all together into an exciting package. While I wished we saw more of William’s daughter, I loved what this week’s episode did to his story. It also, as it always does, left us wanting more for next week. Just like Angela did when she blew herself, a security guard and the entire Cradle up. Bernard knows where the key that was inside Peter’s head is. How he knows that, whether Dolores still has it, or why it’s there… of course we don’t get any of that. That’s the “leave us wanting more” part. And I can’t wait to find out (or not) next week.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.