The Body Count Rises On Westworld
We've made ten copies of this EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP, covered them all in plastic, then left them in a basement. (Confused? Read on.)
We fade in on Bernard, who's asleep on the floor of the lab, photo of his son in his hand. He's dreaming about the child, and we see him touch his son's cheek inside the hospital room. "Bernard," says Stubbs, waking him up. To my great surprise, Stubbs is becoming the moral compass of the show. Who would have thought? He whispers to Bernard that Strand and his band of mercs aren't even bothering to search for any surviving guests, and are solely focused on "their fucking project," which includes "making anyone who knew about it disappear." Stubbs wants to sneak into Theresa's office (remember Theresa? She's the Westworld boss Bernard was hooking up with, and who he later killed) to get her satphone and call for help. The pair have barely made it into the hallway when Strand shows up, pulling out a gun he doesn't even bother to point at them. "Let's go for a walk," he says, because he heard someone say that in a mob movie once and thought it sounded cool.
Strand, Stubbs, and Bernard walk outside in the dark. Stubbs asks if they're about to be executed, but Strand says that this is just a negotiation. "You have something I need," he says. "A key." Oh good lord. I love this show, but all this Joseph Campbell quest-for-an-object bullshit is starting to get me down. Anyway, Strand thinks Bernard or Stubbs is about to sell this McGuffin to a third party, which really ticks him off. In fact, he thinks one of them killed Theresa to get the key. "Hey, we were just talking about her!" neither of them says. Though Theresa's death had been considered an accidental fall, Strand says they discovered some suspicious DNA of hers five kilometers from where her body was found. For whatever reason, he's now taking them there, where he says her death actually occurred.
Of course, we know that means Ford's little cottage in the woods, the one with the secret lab in the basement. Strand marches Bernard and Stubbs down the stairs. There's a partially-constructed robot on one of the lab's tables, which to my eye looks like the underpinnings of the greyhound we saw with Ford last week. If so -- and I say this as the guardian of a sighthound -- if Ford wanted true realism, he should have made a bunch of those teeth loose, rotten, or missing.
At another bench behind the pup, we see Charlotte fiddling with some tools. "I see you've signed off on kidnapping your own employees now," Stubbs comments bitterly. "The project is a turning point for the human species," she replies. "You know how much it was worth in the open market," Strand finishes. Theresa had told upper management that she suspected "foul play," so Strand thinks one of them bumped her off. Well, he thinks Stubbs bumped her off: Bernard, he says, is too soft. He puts his gun to Stubbs's head: "But you, limited skill set, limited prospects, not really management material...." Luke Hemsworth does some nice work here, making a resigned face that I have got to imagine he also makes any time someone bags on him for not being Chris or Liam. "I've never set foot in this place before," he says evenly. "I don't know a fucking thing." Bernard, meanwhile, looks at the bloody smear still on the wall where he bashed Theresa's head in. "Stop," he snaps at Strand, but before he can confess to a staffer out of the shot, he tells Charlotte there's something she should see.
That something? A secret door inside the secret basement of the secret house! "What door?!?" I cry. My own non-robotic greyhound looks at me, unamused. The door leads to a creepy hallway, with still another door at the end. Inside that room, there are a bunch of hosts with clear, zip-front bags over them. Everybody gets a chance to make faces of exhausted surprise for a second until Charlotte says, "I figured you'd have some skeletons in your closet, Bernard. I didn't think they'd be your own." In a reverse shot, we get a full-on Resident Evil bite, as we see that the room is filled with Bernards, equipped with glasses of various angles and vintages; one Bernard has the old, articulated skull. Now that guy sure would have come in handy when they needed to jack into the cradle!
Now it's Bernard with Strand's gun to his head, as the credits roll. When we return, we're back in the main lab, as Charlotte tells anyone who has never watched this show that Bernard is a "host hidden among the humans, even from himself." He's choking and panting, and from right outside the lab we see Costa with a tablet. He tells Stubbs that they're "waterboarding" Bernard -- or, at least, that's what they're programming him to think they're doing. Great, then why not just program him to tell them what they want to know? Stubbs looks distressed. See, moral compass! "Would you ever lie to me, Bernard?" Charlotte asks. He tells her he never would, and Charlotte proceeds, asking whether Dolores led the attack on the mesa a few days before. Bernard repeats, "I don't remember." But Charlotte says his archives say he was in the lab during the attack: "So somewhere the memories exist. You can access them. I know you can." If I had a dollar for every time I've said something similar after I've lost an important email, I'd be fucking a robot at Westworld right now instead of writing about it. Of course, Bernard might not want to remember, Charlotte says: "So let's do this together. I'll tell you what I saw, and you'll tell me what you saw. Then we'll figure out what Dolores did with her father's control unit." Things are about to get confusing, so stay with me, kids. We're gonna get some Nolan family business!
Now we're in the lab right after the train exploded in the tunnel, an incident that blaring alarms indicate makes the place vulnerable to yet another attack. In addition to the alarms, a still-bolted Abernathy is screaming. Can't someone turn that guy down? Stubbs announces to Charlotte that the explosion wasn't an accident, but an intentional act by the hosts. They've lost contact with the response team and need to evacuate, he tells her, but casts his eye to Coughlin and a vaguely Fisher Stevens-looking merc IMDB tells me is named Engels. Charlotte says they need to stay until she gets what she needs from Abernathy, and tells the military guys to send some backup to the lower levels. Stubbs says he'll go with them, but Coughlin tells him to stay behind, "and protect our crown jewel here." At least, that's what his words say, but his attitude indicates that he thinks Stubbs isn't cool enough to hang with his crew. (Since we don't see any of those guys in the later timeline, we already know that this contempt likely saved Stubbs's life.)
At the site of the explosion, Dolores and her gang march through looking amazingly cool but worrisomely under-armed.
Meanwhile, Coughlin is in the map room, demanding surveillance footage of the area. It's down, a member of his team tells him, but says she's "retasking the haptic vests to emulate the host's mesh network." That gives the rescue team's vests a thirty-foot range of "eyes in the dark," and a warning when hosts are nearby. Maybe it's just because I have Resident Evil on the brain from the room of Bernards, but the next few minutes seem to owe the property a significant debt, from the generic action scene scoring to the delusionally arrogant troops to the first-person gunfire in darkened tunnels. As the mercs near the crash site, Coughlin tells them to look for the response team. It's when they approach what seems to be a pile of unclad hosts that we realize the joke is on them: members of Dolores's gang have swiped the security guys' outfits, and their activated vests barely have time to light up before Angela and friends are upon them. It's an extremely solid ambush.
"They're fucking dying down there," Stubbs hollers at Charlotte, as they listen to the events unfolding over comms. "Cut him open and start copying over his control unit," Charlotte orders a tech, regarding Abernathy. "That's a lot of data, it'll take time," the tech objects. Why didn't you do this as soon as you got Abernathy into the mesa, Charlotte? If you're into procrastination, you might be better suited to, I dunno, recapping than killer robot management. "What's in his control unit," Stubbs asks unnecessarily, the show having already told us all that key stuff before the credits rolled. Charlotte tells him to focus on his job, which, he has been, but nobody's been listening to him! This is so frustrating. The tech starts slicing the back of Abernathy's neck, which seems weird since we know they have that handy Ronco skull slicer that can get the unit out in a jiff. From the map room, the hacker merc says the vests are "detecting a strong signal amassing on the lower levels," and I think this definitely goes in my Alien franchise reference column. "What the hell's down there?" she asks, and Stubbs knows what's up: it's the cradle they're after. "They're here for their backups," he tells Charlotte. He relays to Coughlin that his team needs to intercept the hosts before they reach A 15, and for once the mustachioed merc listens, ordering his men to do as Stubbs commands.
From inside the cradle, Elsie has been listening in on the comms, and says, "Come on, Bernard." As we saw last week, he's still "under," communicating with the system ball to tower unit. "What have you found in there?" she asks.
That's our cue to go another layer in. So, to re-center ourselves, Level 1 is Charlotte and Bernard in the lab-turned-interrogation room. Level 2 is whatever is happening immediately after the train crash. Level 3 is Bernard in Westworld, watching Ford as he plays piano at the Mariposa.
I'm weirdly excited to see Anthony Hopkins again! And he starts out very Anthony Hopkins-y, reciting the opening lines of William Blake's Auguries of Innocence, an apparent favorite among sci-fi properties that want to sound smart. "Robert, how are you alive?" asks Bernard, which seems to indicate that he's unaware he's jacked in to the cradle and that nothing he's experiencing is current and correct. "You've seen the company's little undertaking," Ford replies. "Do you think James Delos would have spent all that money just to resurrect himself? He was a businessman, he would have preferred death to a bad investment." (Having seen Elon Musk's tweets, I am not so sure about that.) We see Clementine drop her sex worker lines on Bernard, before Maeve tells her, "He's not a prospect." To let viewers know this isn't real? To suggest that the cradle is a soup of character and narrative? "I don't think God rested on the seventh day, Bernard," says Ford. "I think he reveled in his creations knowing that some day it would all be destroyed." Bernard manages not to roll his eyes at the extraness of this remark. "That control unit I printed, it was you," says Bernard. "You had me bring you here, before--" "Before Dolores killed me, yes," says Ford. Okay, so that's the story behind the red ball we saw Bernard swipe from the (other) secret lab before he and the drone hosts killed the workers. Another mystery solved. "Don't you understand, Bernard, what this place really is?" asks Ford. Bernard remains silent, so Ford taps the piano to have it play the standard Mariposa theme, and says, "Come with me, I have something I want to show you."
Outside the saloon, Ford and the dog cross the road right before Dolores and Teddy (the versions from a far simpler time) ride past. Bernard follows, as Ford explains a bunch of important stuff about the show. This is not the time to check Instagram or text your mom! "Have you never wondered why the hosts' stories have barely changed in thirty years?" Ford asks Bernard. "I always assumed the loops were for the hosts, to keep them centered," Bernard replies, "But that isn't it at all, is it?" In response, Ford snaps his fingers and everything freezes. Both step through the hosts, as Bernard figures it out: "The park is an experiment, a testing chamber. The guests are the variables. And the hosts are the controls. The guests come to the park, they don't know they're being watched, we get to see their true selves, their every choice reveals another part of their cognition, their drives, so that Delos can understand...so that Delos can copy them." It's a curious echo of the scene earlier this season in which William pitched James Delos a greater investment in the park, right down to the frozen hosts. But back then, it seemed like the play was data collection for purposes of marketing and/or blackmail (even though, honestly, sex robots seemed plenty lucrative). Now, it's clear the play is far more ambitious. "Every piece of information in the world has been copied," Ford says. "Except the human mind. The last analog device in a digital world." "We weren't here to code the hosts," Bernard says accusingly. "We were here to decode the guests!" "The humans are playing at resurrection," says Ford. "They want to live forever. They don't want you to become them, they want to become you." But, like I said back when we were talking about the many Delos experiments, how is this living forever? It's not like the consciousness that is the me that is typing this will continue if it's replicated! Instead, it will be a second consciousness. Fuck that chick! I want the me from this moment to live forever! I don't give a crap about some other Eve walking around, petting my dog and griping at my husband. I suspect most people feel this way. The real market here is the same market that clones their dogs -- people who can't live without those they have lost, and are willing to accept a new version of their loved one even if it's not the original. So, yeah, Delos, if you want to pay me to consult, I'm in, but I'll be damned if I'm going to fly to your screwed-up island, and also we should probably take a long hard look at James Brolin just in case.
Leaving my dorm room, we return to Westworld, where Ford tells Bernard, "Your free will...is a mistake." "We never had free will," Bernard spits back. "Only the illusion of it. You made Dolores kill you." Ford shrugs, and says, "I knew what she would do. I didn't compel it. She's free now." He snaps his fingers again and the hosts resume their paths, which sure seems to belie that statement. "You're all free." "You're still responsible," Bernard says. "Responsible for all this misery. And all the while, you've been hiding here. You've cheated death!" "No," says Ford. "I didn't cheat anything, Bernard. Their project doesn't work. Not yet. They learned to copy a mind, like a soft-headed boy humming a tune someone else composed. My mind works here," presumably referring to the cradle. "But not in the real world. Out there I would degrade in a matter of days, or go mad like poor old James Delos." So why is Ford even in the cradle, Bernard asks. "I promised you a fighting chance, Bernard, and I want to make good on that promise." This seems to piss Bernard off, as he replies, "There's no escape from this place, you know that." "Isn't there?" Ford asks. "The hosts are all headed to the same place," says Bernard. "The Valley Beyond. What will they find there? What's the end of your story?" Ford chuckles, and responds to Reddit as much as he does to Bernard. "Isn't the pleasure of a story discovering the ending yourself?" With that, Ford calls the dog, and all three exit stage right.
From inside the cradle room, Elsie continues to listen to the walkie, which is broadcasting gunfire and death. "We've really got to get out of here," she tells Bernard. He doesn't respond because his ball is out. And we go to black.
Now we're with MiB and Lawrence, who as you might recall were just ambushed by the Ghost Nation. As they race across the plain, we realize that they're in the same valley as Maeve, her daughter, and the rest of her crew. As the Natives pursue MiB toward a cluster of buildings, we see Maeve and the girl take shelter inside one of them. MiB tells Lawrence and their two surviving minions to split up so that they can pick off the tribesmen in the crossfire.
Inside the shack, the girl asks Maeve if the Natives are coming for them. Maeve says that if they do, she'll chase them away. "What if they take me with them?" the child asks. "Then I'll come and find you," Maeve tells her. From inside the shed, Maeve sees Ned's legs, MiB's figure on the horse, and then MiB crossing the porch. As MiB opens the door, Maeve recalls the last time he did this, and his resulting cruelty to them both. "Get the hell away from us," she snarls at him. "Oh, it's you," he says, surprised. As she tells him to stay back, he continues: "No, not you. That's too obvious. Come on, Ford, your tricks are getting sloppy. You used a whole tribe to send me down here to these two?" UUUUGH could MiB be any more rich old white man than to assume that a woman of color needs another rich old white man behind her pulling her strings? I have never hated this dude more than I do right now. Maeve agrees with me and calls him out. "You think there's someone speaking through me just for your benefit?" she asks, her fear replaced by anger. When MiB says her rules have changed, "just like the rest of them," Maeve tells him, "I'm nothing like the rest of them" and SHOOTS HIM YOU GO MAEVE! MiB turns tail and runs, as Maeve shoots him again. Crouching by the girl, Maeve tells her to stay in the shack and wait for Maeve's return. MiB's hidden by the time Maeve leaves the shack, so she closes her eyes and does her mesh network thing. As she does, we see one of MiB's minions walking toward him. "Take cover, jackass," MiB tells him as the man, controlled by Maeve, shoots MiB yet again. MiB returns fire and the man goes down. Then the other minion comes out and shoots MiB in the leg. He's now been struck four times and is still alive and mobile. Are we sure Ford isn't intervening, or that MiB, himself, is not a host? Because this is pretty hard to believe. MiB finally gets off a shot that brings down his second assailant, and hides behind a dilapidated wagon. "You made your point, Ford," he yells, pissing me off even more. "We both know this isn't where you want me to die." "Well, I can't speak for Ford, but I don't give a fuck how you die, as long as I get to watch," Maeve yells back. Maeve for president! Her mind control thing gets one of the minions up again, and he tackles MiB from behind. After a brief scuffle, MiB manages to stab the guy to death, because at 5'9" (if I'm being generous), 170 lbs (ditto), and a bullet-riddled 67 years, this is a probable scenario.
Maeve is just about to shoot MiB again when Lawrence appears, training his gun on her. "Give in, sweetheart," he says. "Go down." Phrasing, dude! Maeve tells Lawrence that she's not the one he wants to kill, and we hear the whispery noise of her mental trickery. "Go ahead, turn on your master," she says, in a pointed choice of words. "Master," Lawrence chuckles. "Who the fuck is she?" As a series regular, I guess he's harder to control than some random Japanese soldier. "I'm glad you're awake," she tells him, even after he cocks his gun and again tells her to drop hers. "We all deserve our memories, Lawrence," says Maeve, as Lawrence recalls some of the brutality MiB has inflicted on him over their shared time at the park. "Shoot her, Lawrence," MiB hollers, as Lawrence turns toward him. "You shot down my wife," Lawrence remembers. "I saved your wife," MiB corrects. "I saved your whole sorry-ass village this time." Whoops, bad way to end that line, bro. "'This time'?" Lawrence says, turning toward MiB. "You killed her so you could finish a game." MiB staggers to his feet, gun in hand, as Lawrence says, "You told me a man ain't real until he suffers." Lawrence shoots MiB yet again (that's five), and MiB falls back to the ground. Lawrence stands over MiB, ready to deliver the kill shot, and asks, "Is that real enough for you?"
Suddenly, gunfire from behind riddles Lawrence, and he's down. The shots came from two Delos dune-buggies that peeled into the area. It's the backup called for by Sizemore, it seems, since he's in one of the vehicles. The other members of the gang (including Lutz and Sylvester) remain unseen. Maeve only has eyes for her daughter, of course, who as a typical kid in an action drama has not stayed put, and is standing outside the shed. "No," Maeve screams, as a Ghost Nation member picks up the child. We don't have time to see what his intentions are (am I naive for thinking they might be good?) as Maeve is shot down. Before a security guy can completely annihilate her, Sizemore intervenes, saying, "She's not like the rest." Nice try, but I still think you're a stinking hack, pal. He picks her up and they carry her to the car. As they pull away, we see that MiB is still alive. We'd better get a goddamn good explanation for his resilience or I'm sending an exploding train into HBO's tunnel if you know what I mean.
Back in the lab, we're still in the period right after Dolores has breached the mesa. Charlotte is berating the tech guy for not pulling Abernathy's data more swiftly, because nothing gets you better IT results than verbal abuse. "These data packets are too large to migrate over," the tech says, so Charlotte says he should just pull the unit manually. This seemed like the obvious thing to do from the moment they found him, since that way they wouldn't have to deal with a big, screaming middle-aged man, but what do I know? (More than Charlotte, apparently.) "I need an extractor helmet," the tech says, because apparently they keep a bolt gun in the robot repair lab but not the one tool they need to get to their hard drives.
Back inside the cradle, Bernard is still jacked in. It occurs to me here that he's not really lying when he says he doesn't completely know what happened during the train attack, since he's been effectively dead to the world since before it began. In any case, his ball is rolling with Ford and the dog, this time walking up a path to a hobbit-looking house. Ford is babbling about building a world and then watching it end, like, enough with the god stuff, Ford. "I need you to see how it began," says Ford, as they open a wooden gate to the home. "To understand why you're different." The dog runs ahead, clearly familiar with the slightly overgrown yard. Bernard says that the house is familiar, and Ford tells him that it's the home Arnold was building for his family, as you might recall from a couple of weeks ago. Bernard created it in the park first, Ford says. As they enter, Bernard says, "This is where you created me." "We refined you here, tested you for many years," says Ford, dropping some more information for the speculative members of the audience. The effort to resurrect Delos didn't exist when Arnold was still alive, Ford says, which is important: since we know Delos died a long time ago, that means Arnold died before that. "The only thing I had left of him was memory," says Ford. "My memories, and hers. Of course, hers were much more complete." As he says the last part, we see Bernard again in the basement chair -- and now we know, all those conversations we saw between him and Dolores weren't for her benefit; they were for his. We also know now, given what Ford is telling us, that theories that Arnold himself created Bernard are unlikely. This seemed to be a Ford production, which I will note underscores my argument above that the whole "copying humans" thing isn't a product intended for the copied person; it's for that person's friends and family. "Dolores," says Bernard. "She knew Arnold better than anyone, so she could verify whether my personality was faithful to his." "I left you here together for many years until you finally fooled her," says Ford, which sounds like a pretty amazing "unlikely roommates" sitcom pitch if anyone's looking for a Westworld spinoff idea. "How am I different from Delos, from you?" Bernard asks, which I'm glad about, because as you know, I have been wondering that too! "They want fidelity, Bernard," says Ford. "A faithful self-portrait of the most murderous species since time began. But you and all the other hosts are something very different. An original work. More just, more noble....All the beauty of who you are, who you could be, could be pulled out into the darkness forever. Unless we open the door." Walking slowly toward him, Ford Lecters, "I'm sorry, Bernard, but you just don't have it in you to survive. It's my fault, really." Speaking quickly as he backs up, Bernard says, "You said the hosts could determine their own fates. You gave us free will!" The room darkens to black, as Ford continues forward. "I did, but you won't have a use for it unless I take it back." We see his hand move toward Bernard's face, and we're out.
Also out: Bernard's ball, which is ejected from the cradle's docking station with a whir. From there, it's to the claw game, where it's remounted, Elsie's screen tells her, inside Bernard. A quick spin with a laser and Bernard's head is closed up, only a tiny trickle of blood to remind us of his wacky ride. "We did it," Elsie tells a still-out-of-it Bernard. "The system is back online. Whatever was clogging it up is gone." Spoken like a true technology professional. Elsie asks Bernard what happened while he was under, but before he can answer, there's shouting from the walkie. "The mesa's under attack," Bernard half-asks. Elsie confirms, and says that it's believed the attacking hosts are on their way to the cradle to "steal" their backups. Can you call it theft if it's your own personality and memories you're trying to take? They make their way out of the cradle room, Elsie saying, "If we survive this, I'm going back to dental school." Oh, Elsie! I hope, respectively, that you do and you don't!
Inside the map room, Coughlin's tech minion tells him, "The system just debugged itself." As her screens reveal security footage, Coughlin sees Dolores and her friends in the lab area, headed toward Abernathy.
Then we see them without the filter of the security camera, shooting down everyone in their path. In Abernathy's room, Stubbs once again urges Charlotte to evacuate. "But all you care about is what's inside this host's head," he says. "I want you to tell me what the fuck it is that the company's willing to risk all our lives for." Manager Of The Year Charlotte sneers, "I told you, it's above your pay grade." Stubbs claims my eternal admiration by grabbing a gun and putting it to Abernathy's temple. "What are you doing?" Charlotte asks. "Putting in for a raise," says Stubbs. Charlotte takes his threat seriously enough that she's willing to spill the beans: "A decryption key needed only in the unlikely event of a total catastrophic incident." "Oh, like the one we're experiencing right now?" Stubbs asks. You guys, I think these crazy kids are meant for each other. He asks what it decrypts...
...but Charlotte doesn't get to answer because Dolores has arrived. Teddy, who's kitted out in the ready team's tactical gear, disarms Stubbs. Dolores goes straight to her dad, and takes his head in her hands. "It's all right, Daddy," she says, near tears. Charlotte fails to read the room and attempts to get Dolores's attention. Dolores turns to her with a very Terminator-y look.
Charlotte kisses Dolores's ass by saying that what the hosts have achieved is a "technological breakthrough," but Dolores isn't buying it. As Charlotte babbles on about wanting to celebrate the hosts' awakening, Dolores serves some intense side eye. "I assume you're the one in charge?" she asks Charlotte. "You had your men put something inside my father's head. A key, to lock away your treasure. It's ripping him apart." She asks how to extract it. "You wouldn't know what to do with it even if you had it," Charlotte unwisely replies. "Oh, I know exactly what I'm going to do with it," Dolores tells her, leaning in real close.
Still inside the lab but a ways away, Bernard and Elsie are hustling through the hallway. Elsie jumps at the sound of distant gunfire and says that they need to get to the higher levels. As Bernard stops in his tracks, Elsie asks if there's something he's not telling her. Looking into the darkened glass, instead of his reflection Bernard sees Ford's. It's effectively creepy, and not just because we've all been trained to assume glass + Anthony Hopkins = liver and fava beans for dinner. "Send her on her way, Bernard," commands the Ford in Bernard's head. "We have other business to attend to." As Bernard turns to Elsie, Ford appears again, this time in full "human" form behind her. "We don't have time for her suspicions," Ford tells Bernard. I'm kind of freaking out at this point because Elsie is pretty much the only decent human whose survival into the next timeline isn't guaranteed. Bernard keeps me sane, however, by telling Elsie that they need a vehicle, since they have to get to the Valley Beyond before anyone else does. "We're going to need some more firepower," says Elsie. This plays right into Fordnard's hands, and he tells her he'll meet up with her downstairs. "Good," says Ford, turning tail. "Now follow my lead."
In the map room, Coughlin and a couple of his remaining guys are heading to the lab, where Dolores, Charlotte, and Abernathy (among others) are currently chilling out. Via their comms, we hear that another group is engaging above the cradle; then we see Clementine unleashing a barrage of gunfire in Engels's direction. She never bothered to get dressed up in merc gear, so right now she looks a little bit like a sister wife defending the compound. Angela's there too, firing one of those big red Delos guns. She gets hit and falls to the floor. Clementine keeps shooting until she's out of ammo, then starts beating the hell out of the mercs with her fists and gun. It's great. She's making good progress, taking guys down and using their bodies as shields, until she's hit three times. Though three gunshot wounds is an average Thursday for MiB, it's enough to send Clementine sliding to the floor. Behind her, Angela gets back up and takes off, limping and looking behind her.
Dolores continues to confront Charlotte at the other end of the lab, saying basically the same stuff that Ford told Bernard a couple of minutes before -- that people made hosts to be like people, but now people want to be like hosts. I think we got the concept, show. "I can promise you this," says Dolores. "Your chances at eternity will die in that valley. All the souls you've gathered there." Dolores asks again how to get the key out of her dad, and Charlotte says, "By ripping it out of his goddamn brain," giving up on any attempt to be polite. "You think you're invincible. You're not. Without your backups it's game over for you when you're killed, and we've got those backups sealed up tight so you won't have them as an advantage anymore." It's really like Charlotte has no idea what is going on here. Dolores decides to educate her, saying that the backups aren't an advantage: they're the trap the humans use to control the hosts. "Do you really think I'd let that continue?"
Engels is creeping along inside the cradle room, where from above he sees Angela standing before the dock Bernard just used. "Why don't you put down the gun, sweetie?" he says, so that we know he sucks. Angela, who is wearing an extremely flattering tank top, drops the weapon but doesn't turn. Engels delivers several expository lines about how she's close to the backups but won't be leaving with any, and the whole thing is kind of an insult to us as audience members. We get it, there are backups, show. This guy would have dropped Angela where she stood, not mansplained her own plan to her. "Goddamn, you're pretty," he says as she turns, demonstrating less self-preservation and professionalism than your average small-town deputy. "Not just pretty," she says, delivering her version of the Cool Girl speech. "Perfect. Just as you built me to be. Sexy, not threatening. Accommodating, but not unchallenging. Sweet, but not boring. Smart, not intimidating." When Engels notes that she's injured, she gets closer, saying that she "can still do what [he] built [her] to do," now nuzzling his face. Really? We're supposed to believe that this supposedly elite merc is vulnerable to the advances of a known killer robot? In that case, let's just send a bunch of hot chicks into battle and we'll win every war. This is weak. But it gets us where we, and Angela, need to go: as she hangs all over this guy, she releases an explosive hanging from his belt. "Welcome to Westworld," she says, and the room blows up.
The blast is enough to briefly knock the power out in the room Abernathy, et alia, are in. "Now we're truly free," Dolores says, as the sound of the explosion echoes. "One fire burns out another's burning, one pain lessens another's anguish," Abernathy stutters. "Yes, Daddy," says Dolores. She picks up a nasty-looking circular blade and steps toward Charlotte. "An eye for an eye," she says. "But all the other parts first." Charlotte pleads with Dolores as she turns on the blade. "Oh, sweetheart, begging doesn't help," says Dolores. "You'd know that if you'd lived the lives I have." The sound of nearer gunfire stops Dolores for a moment, as she tells Teddy to go join that fight. She raises the blade again, which is when Abernathy says, sounding clear, "Dolores? Is that you, baby?" Maybe I'm just tired, but the way she looks as she turns, and the quake in her voice as she says "Daddy?" bring a lump to my throat. Charlotte looks wrecked at her torture, interrupted. "They broke my head, filled it full of howling and sorrow," Abernathy tells his daughter...
...and we leave them to follow Teddy, who's stalking down the hall and serving John Woo two-gun realness.
Teddy's just holstered his guns when he's tackled from the side by Coughlin.
Things are also getting physical in Abernathy's lab, as Stubbs gives Dolores's remaining minion a shove. He and Charlotte rush out of there and into a nearby elevator, managing not to get hit as Dolores shoots their way. It really pisses me off that Stubbs worked so hard to protect her here, and yet Charlotte and Strand will accuse him of killing Theresa and trying to steal and sell the key on the other side of this flashback! If Stubbs were that craven and mercenary, he would have let her die during this scrum! Coughlin's got Teddy on the ground and is working his face, gritting, "Happy trails, motherfucker," as he raises a gun to blow him away. It's a quip too soon, as Teddy reverses his fortune, knocks the gun out of Coughlin's hand, and starts punching him in the face. They apparently make robot hands more sturdily than the good lord does, since his fist would have shattered after blow #3. Still, Teddy keeps punching until Coughlin is still, then walks off. I'd say Coughlin is dead, but, MiB. Who knows what people can survive on this crazy island?
Dolores has put her gun away and turned her focus back to her dad. He apologizes to her, saying, "I tried to take care of you, but...I am who I am because of you, and I wouldn't have it any other way." Dolores is full-on crying, and I'm almost with her. It's really heartbreaking and sad, and pretty much the polar opposite of the screwed-up way Grace and MiB talked to each other last week. Maybe the hosts are better at being human than we are. "Are you ready, Daddy?" she asks. He sadly nods, and tells her he loves her. Teddy reenters the room, as Dolores steels herself and turns back on the blade she'd been menacing Charlotte with.
In the map room, the lights are flickering and there's movement right outside the doors, but that's all we see before we're outside as the dune-buggies that had earlier scooped up Sizemore and Maeve come speeding past. They pull into a garage area, and the mercs run in as a robotic voice announces a control room breach. This is a helpful mark on our timeline, then: Maeve was indeed confronting MiB around the same time Bernard was jacking in and Dolores was blowing up the train. The show is playing fair with the respective plot's timelines, it seems.
Maeve is loaded onto a stretcher, where she remains, panting with pain. The troops run off as the PA says, "Unauthorized weapon discharge in central room." Sizemore is left with Maeve, who seems incapable of walking.
The exceedingly familiar and a bit on-the-nose strains of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 rise from the score. Ford says, "When the great library burned, the first ten thousand years of stories were reduced to ash. But those stories never really perished; they became a new story. The story of the fire itself." Ford is standing against one shining red wall as Bernard looks mad and listens. "A man's urge to take things of beauty and strike the match." With that, we see that Bernard is standing in the map room as Dolores's gang battles the mercs. That trenchcoat and horns guy is fighting one of the military men, as others, many seen only in silhouette, bring Coughlin's fighters down. "Is this the story you're telling, striking the match?" Bernard asks Ford. "I keep telling you, Bernard," says Ford. "'Tis no longer my story. It's yours." He gestures toward the screen the tech merc left behind when she joined the fray. Taking a seat at the console, Bernard says, "If we shut down what's left of the system, Dolores will have free rein. She'll murder them all." Is Bernard referring to something other than the "all" Dolores is murdering in the room right this second (or the "all" every time we've seen her before that)? Is he talking about the lake? "The passage from one world to the next requires bold steps," Ford tells Bernard. Oh, hey, I just thought of something. Since Ford basically just told Bernard that his mind was only continuing to exist within the cradle, how's he still talking now that the cradle is gone? Is he, for lack of a better term, on Bernard's ball now? If, as Ford said and Delos illustrated, trying to take a human consciousness into a host makes that consciousness fall to pieces, how long can Ford last if he's Bernard's brain roomie? We won't get answers to those questions today, so: moving on. Bernard types on the keyboard, and the robot voice on the public address says, "Attention. Initiating general shutdown protocol. Please evacuate." He then punches the screen, shattering it. Hope Delos sprang for AppleCare!
Down in the garage, Sizemore is doing his trademark cringing and hiding move as shots ring out at the entrance to the building. He takes cover, leaving Maeve behind, as Dolores appears like Darth Vader at the beginning of Star Wars. She's still got a healthy contingent of weirdos following behind, some of whom stop to cover Dolores as she hovers over Maeve's stretcher. "How did you get here," Dolores asks. "The woman I know would have done anything to survive." "They had my daughter," Maeve barely gets out. "She's still out there." Dolores gives her a pitying look. "The kin they gave us, that's just another rope they use to lash us down." As Teddy, in the distance, fires his weapon, Maeve gives him a look, then turns back to Dolores: "Is that how you can justify what you've done to him?" She may not be able to walk, but Maeve can still get salty! Dolores looks sad, then resigned. "You're lost in the dark," Maeve tells her. Dolores looks down at her hands, where, like Akane, she holds the last of her loved one -- in this case, Abernathy's robot brain. "When you've been in the darkness long enough," Dolores says, "you begin to see. I saw what lies ahead. Who I needed to be in order to survive." Dolores warns Maeve that the humans will torture her, and will "find all that is good and powerful inside you and turn it against us." Dolores draws her gun and says she can spare Maeve all that, but Maeve declines. "You're free to choose your own path," Dolores says, as she puts her gun away. "Hey, why does she get to and I don't?" Teddy fails to holler. Dolores leaves Maeve, telling her army to get to the horses. As they walk off, we see Sizemore cowering behind a box of saltines.
Outside, Dolores and her guys are riding across the plain, which Westworld shows us just in case we thought she was kidding about getting to the horses, I guess.
Inside the lab, Ford leads Bernard down a hallway, where they run into two of Coughlin's mercs. "I work here," Bernard tells them. "I don't care if you're the employee of the fucking month," one merc says. "Put your goddamn hands up, dipshit." Next to Bernard, we see Ford. "Pick up the dead man's gun, Bernard," Ford tells him. "Please, no," Bernard mutters as the merc pats him down. As gunfire erupts nearby, the second merc takes off, and Ford tells Bernard, "Do it now." "There's gotta be another way," Bernard tells him. Of course, since Ford isn't really there, this is freaking the merc out. "Who are you talking to?" he asks, as Bernard implores, "Please don't make me hurt anyone, I don't want to kill anyone else." "I know you have a delicate constitution," says Ford, "so I'll do my best to ease your conscience. What is about to happen will not be your fault." And with that, he feeds Bernard an Ambien. Just kidding!
The lights, at least through Bernard's perception, flicker out. Here's what we see instead: Bernard shooting the big red gun, as we saw in the very first episode of the season. Then Bernard becomes Ford, shooting the same gun. Darkness, then light flashes. Bernard's face, Ford's face, apart and then in the same place. I think we get it, show.
"Bernard," we hear a female voice (Charlotte? Dolores?) say. Bernard is in a lab, one that looks far less slick than the ones we see today. On a table is Dolores, at least the beginnings of her. She sits up and pivots toward him, with her human face and hands and that same janky wig. The rest of her is robot, metal and clear plastic in vaguely Ex Machina style. He takes her hand. "Who am I?" we hear Dolores's voice ask, as we flash on Bernard's closed eyes. "Dad, Dad," we hear in a whispered echo as we see Arnold's son. "You're alive, Charlie," we hear either Arnold or Bernard say; then a male voice I don't immediately recognize says, "Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?" As we hear this, we see (I think?) Arnold and Dolores in his under-construction home, as we did the night of Logan's demo.
We see Bernard's closed ayes again, then hear Ford say, "One fine day perhaps we can actually resurrect the dead." At the end of this, we see Ford in fancy dress, as he was the night of his slaying. "To escape this place, we will need to suffer," we hear Ford say, as we see Bernard's closed eyes again; Bernard riding in the dune-buggy as he did after he awoke on the beach; and Bernard looking at the hosts floating in the lake. There are some more murmured words at this point, but all I can make out is "From time to time." Bernard's closed eyes again; then Theresa's frightened face as Bernard walks toward her in Ford's basement lab. "Perhaps you can help her, Bernard," says Ford. Then we see Bernard's fake FaceTime call with his wife (Hi, Gina Torres!), during which her face flickers from her own visage to Ford's. A brief scene of the doctors attempting to save Charlie; Bernard grappling with Theresa; Dolores's voice saying, "Who in the world," as we see her (in her blue dress) raising a gun and then shooting Ford in the head. During this, we hear Arnold or Bernard's voice again saying, "Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?" Dolores nodding at Arnold in the basement setting; Bernard watching Ford get shot; CPR performed on Charlie, as Dolores VOs, "I think there may be something wrong with this world."
"Open your eyes," Charlotte says. Bernard complies, and I stop and think, "Vanilla Sky wasn't really that bad, was it?" "I know it's confusing," Charlotte says, "separating your real memories from the ones you've been given. But it's the only way to remember. The only way to get to the truth." Stubbs and Costa watch from the hallway, as Strand walks up. "Is she getting anywhere?" he asks. Costa says he doesn't know, but that "his system is under siege. It's been querying itself for the last hour. Like he's trying to debug his own head."
Bernard is in tears, as Charlotte circles him. "Analysis," she says. He sits up, impassive. "Abernathy's control unit," she whispers. "You remember where it is, don't you?" Bernard flashes back to a red-lit and damaged room (could it be Delos's cell?) with a table-top platform holding a gold-flecked ball. We see Bernard pick up the ball. From the hall, we see Bernard's lips move, but not what he says. Charlotte stands up, satisfied smile on her face. Strand, Costa, and Stubbs come into the room. "Bernard, tell these men what you just told me," Charlotte says. "Why, what do you want to do with it," Bernard asks, before Charlotte interrupts: "Analysis." Bernard says that Abernathy's unit is in Sector 16, Zone 4. "Prep the phased array," Strand says ominously. "The moment we get the key, we'll transmit our data to the satellite. So, we're going for a ride, Bernard. Back to the Valley Beyond."