Recap: 'Westworld' season two episode 6 – reunion and loss in 'Phase Space'
Part of me wonders whether Westworld is better suited for a streaming platform like Netflix, instead of a traditional cable network like HBO, the show’s current home.
Westworld isn’t bingeable the same way many Netflix shows are, but the weekly timeline jumps, riddles, and deceptions can make the show wearisome, especially when you don’t have the (immediate) benefit of looking at a season as a single whole.
It’s a risky gambit on the show’s part. Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy want us to experience Westworld the same way a Host (particularly Bernard, who once famously asked “Is this now?”) would; lost in a sea of swirling timelines.
“Phase Space” does its best to tie up some loose threads while teasing a huge reveal later on. The episode starts with Bernard running diagnostics tests on Dolores. But Dolores starts to veer away from her script and then orders Bernard to freeze all motor functions.
It becomes apparent that Bernard, not Dolores is the test subject here. She’s testing Bernard for fidelity to Arnold, the park’s co-creator and basis for Bernard’s personality. It’s a scene that recalls the countless tests that James Delos, resurrected as a Host, had to undergo two episodes ago.
The show does its best to make Dolores the badass revolutionary she was destined to be, but her journey has been bogged down by slow pacing. We’ll have to wait a few more episodes for any sort of Dolores-related catharsis. At least we get to see what Teddy’s like post-personality adjustment. Teddy has free will, no conscience, and still retains his old memories, which makes him resent Dolores.
While Dolores and Maeve haven’t interacted much this season, the contrast between their personalities and methodologies is extremely evident. Dolores is on a path of destruction, and imposes her will on those below her.
Maeve, on the other hand, is on a quest for her daughter, and is willing to let other Hosts awaken on their own terms.
Going Back West
The members of Team Maeve have been the stars of the last few episodes. Akana and Musashi have both decided to stay in Shogun World. It’s interesting how the Shogun World Hosts assert their selfhood by not becoming woke; their sense of being is firmly entrenched in their narratives. It may be scripted, but it’s still their stories. All the world’s a stage, and all the Hosts and humans merely players.
The remaining members of Maeve’s posse, along with Hanaryo, the girl with the dragon tattoo, make it back into Westworld. They reach Maeve’s old homestead, thanks to Sizemore. There’s even a fleeting moment of affection between Maeve and Sizemore. He was one of the more despicable characters in season 1, but he’s become a bit more sympathetic in recent episodes. Or at least, a source of awkward comic relief, like when he asked “Why should we all get killed over a literal sex machine?” in the previous episode.
Maeve finds her daughter, and after a few hopeful moments, learns that the girl has been assigned a new mother. It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments in any of the show’s two seasons. Remember, Maeve’s flashbacks have been occurring since last season. She died countless deaths, disregarded her own programming… only to find out her singular reason for being has a new mother. In some ways, it’s worse than if Maeve’s daughter was killed.
There isn’t much time for despairing, because members of the Ghost Nation appear. Sizemore uses the distraction as an opportunity to use the phone he stole last episode and call for help. But Felix, on the other hand, decides to fight for Maeve. Felix isn’t a major character, but I think his choice is one of the most significant decisions made by a human in the show. By joining Maeve, Felix validates her purpose for being. He treats her as an equal; he treats her as human. On that note, please don’t die, Felix.
One of the Ghost Nation tribesmen chases Maeve and her not-daughter, then asks her to come with him, telling her that “We are meant for the same path.” It’s still unclear what this means. We do know that members of the Ghost Nation have been helping humans. Could Maeve and her daughter have any sort of significance to the Ghost Nation?
Ghost in the Machine
As the show progresses, we’re beginning to learn a bit more about Ford’s gambit. Bernard and Elsie make it back to the Cradle, which is basically a giant facility where all the Hosts’ data is backed up. Every Host that has lived, died, removed from commission… they’re all here.
Elsie has difficulty hacking into the system, so Bernard elects to have his cranium literally hacked to get inside. A machine trepans Bernard and removes a red ball from his head, which is apparently where a Host’s consciousness is contained. The machine inserts the ball into a socket, allowing Bernard to directly interface with the Cradle.
Bernard finds himself in a Sweetwater back-up. He enters the Mimosa, and finds Ford at the piano. Reports about Ford’s death are greatly exaggerated… or at least he is dead, but his consciousness is alive and well in the Cradle. It’s a huge reveal, but not exactly a surprising one.
Now that we got that confirmation out of the way, we can finally explore what Ford’s actually plans are. But this being a weekly show, we’ll have to wait a bit for the next episode’s reveals. – Rappler.com