Westworld Goes Groundhog Day
Get some Delos family values on repeat in our latest EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!
We begin inside what appears to be the most Instagrammable prison cell you've ever seen. It's all white and wood and tasteful ceramics and a fishbowl and the sexiest Standard Hotel-looking turntable you've ever seen. From that turntable comes the Rolling Stones' "Play With Fire." The camera floats past a half-full hourglass that just so happens to be on a recognizably-designed side table but I'm sure that means nothing. A black-clad man pedals an exercise bike, then drinks a glass of water. As he lights a cigarette he's revealed to be James Delos, who we last saw signaling that he was terminally ill at Dolores's piano party.
What follows is an assembly of scenes seemingly intended to imply that his life is very dull. He pees, showers, puts in eye drops, takes a bite of an apple, smokes again while hooked up to some cranial electrodes, jerks off (ugh), and pours cream into his coffee. On this last act, his hand begins to shake, and he dumps the dairy all over its tray. Disturbingly, he seems unbothered by this.
Right after that, a tone sounds and the cell's mirror becomes a messaging system, as a woman's face appears, telling him he has a guest. "'Bout time," Delos says, looking to the door. He's buttoning up his polo-necked sweater as William comes in. I say "William," but we're given signs that he's entering MiB territory, as he is dressed, you guessed it, all in black. "William, my boy. Where the hell have you been?" Delos asks.
William hands the Scotsman some Scotch, which he expresses gratitude for, as "the strongest thing these cretins will give me is grapefruit juice." Oh, I'm sorry, SMOKEY THE BEAR. Delos pours two glasses, and hands one to William. "It's a little early for me," William says. "A little fuckin' late, you mean," Delos says. "Besides, if you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering." William watches him with a smile that seems a little odd right now, but will make sense soon.
"So, when can I get out of here?" Delos asks. William tells him "soon," saying that the "observation period" is almost over. The last step in whatever Delos has been going through is a "baseline interview" that gives a mysterious "them" something to refer to. Delos says he's ready to do it, and William tells him that that is what they are doing now, as it should be done by a person who knows Delos and can gauge his mood and sense of humor. "I own a biotechnology company and I'm dying of a disease whose research I defunded 15 years ago," Delos expositions. "I think my sense of humor is fuckin' intact."
It's around then that we see Delos begin to shake again, now with his right leg as well as his hand. That's not the focus, though, as we're on to more exposition. William asks Delos if he knows where he is, and the magnate responds, "Carlsbad, in some office park I'm probably overpaying for, along with the rest of this fucking endeavor." Something about how he said this makes me start imagining what this show would be like if Delos were Jimmy James (would that make the resorts WNYX?). This fantasy sends me into a Bernard-level critical corruption and I have to plug my arm into a iPad to calm myself down. (Just one last thing: Khandi Alexander as Maeve omfg you guys.)
Where was I? William then asks Delos how long he's been in his little room, to which he responds, "Far too long already. I have a business to run." Delos gets increasingly agitated and aggressive, asking, "What is the purpose of these questions?" William says they're just trying to establish a baseline "for fidelity." "What's the idea," Delos asks, "that afterwards you and I have the same conversation? Seems a little far-fetched, doesn't it, William?" What "afterwards" means isn't explained, as William hands Delos a folded piece of paper. Delos opens it and starts reading, as we go to a black screen.
Next, we see little William all grown up, as MiB and Lawrence ride their horses along a trail. Lawrence is bitching because they are out of whiskey and tobacco, and are low on ammunition. "Wherever you're taking me, we best get there soon," Lawrence says, as a saddled but riderless horse crosses their path. They head in the direction the horse came from, arriving at a tent of Chinese rail workers laying track along the desert. Toward the end of the tracks, however, things get really dark -- instead of timber, the rail ties are made of bodies. Even MiB seems sickened as a spike is driven through a screaming human figure (we don't get clear cues on whether the victims are guests or hosts), but he's still together enough to mutter, "These tracks are supposed to head north, not west. Seems like Ford's game has multiple contenders." This change in trackwork will apparently detour the pair through Lawrence's "hometown" of Las Mudas at Ford's design, MiB believes.
In another part of the desert, Clementine drags an unconscious Bernard through the brush. She deposits him at the mouth of a cave, gently unties his hands, and leaves her rifle by his side. "Clementine, where are we?" Bernard asks, but she's already too busy heading down the trail to an Anthropologie look-book shoot (seriously, that dress? Those boots? Gorgeous.) to respond.
Bernard undoes his bound feet, picks up the rifle, and ventures into the cave. Of all the things he might have found, I did not expect this one: It's Elsie! She's alive! And pissed off, understandably, as the last time we saw her, Bernard appeared to be doing her in.
She's chained at the ankle, so Bernard uses one of his valuable shots to free her. As soon as she's loose, Elsie grabs the rifle and cocks it, telling him to stay still and accusing him of leaving her in the cave "with a bunch of protein bars and a bucket." "It wasn't me, it was Ford, he forced me," Bernard protests. Elsie is skeptical, but Bernard explains further. "You knew too much. He couldn't risk you stopping him...Ford wrote a game, and we're all in it. Now all the hosts are free, with no constraints, no safeguards," in case YOU HAD NOT NOTICED.
Throughout this exchange, Bernard is shaking more and more, stuttering and slurring his speech. (It's a water-is-wet kind of thing to say that Jeffrey Wright is an amazing actor, but the subtle way he indicates that Bernard is starting to really fail is the best kind of under-the-radar physical work. If you've ever been around someone during or after they suffered a stroke, you might find this hard to watch.) "Elsie, please," Bernard repeats as he pulls out his tablet and waves it toward her. He falls to the ground, twitching even more. "Cognitive lock," he manages to get out, as she opens the device, mouth agape.
So this is when Elsie basically reacts the way we all did when Bernard said, "What door?" last season, asking where he went when he "rotated out" as she looks at the display that indicates that Bernard is a host in critical need of repair. "You have a family, you have an ex-wife, you have...a backstory." Elsie realizes she needs to restart Bernard in "safe mode," a familiar act for anyone using Apple hardware. She tells him she's not going to break him as he has "too much to answer for," as she removes his glasses and shuts him down.
Ever wonder what your phone thinks as you do a hard restart after it craps out? If your phone is Bernard, it sees blood dripping into white liquid, a drone host stacking trays of Gobstopper-looking white balls, some of those balls falling to the ground, a bunch of things that look like cupcakes but are probably horrible robot bits being arranged inside the plexiglass holders we used for waffle cones at TCBY, and Bernard looking to his right with a nasty expression.
And then Bernard's waking back up, again bound by the wrists and still without his glasses. Elsie has the rifle trained on him, and he asks her, "Is this now?" "You have extensive cortical damage," she responds. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you shot yourself." Which we know he did. It's kind of nice that we're seeing a bit of fallout from that, because I had wondered!
Elsie says she altered his code to ignore the hardware issues for now, which is something I wish she'd pass on to the folks at the Genius Bar the next time they want to charge me $700 to fix the dead right end of my space bar (true story). He just needs more cortical fluid, that goo he shot into himself while Charlotte was changing clothes. "With any luck, you'll survive 'til they call in the cavalry." She stalks off, Bernard on her heels. No one is coming, he tells her/reminds us, until Delos gets "something here, something they've been working on a long time." Presumably, this is the big-ass file he discovered in Abernathy. He begs Elsie to help him with his fluid problem, but she says that even if she wanted to help, without tools she can't. "We're in Sector 22," she says. "There's nothing out here for miles."
Bernard gets a "my car keys are around here somewhere" look as he starts to swivel his head around. We see him "see" a different Bernard, one in a clean shirt and tie, pass him walking up the trail to the cave. (This is rendered as it is on network procedurals when the detective -- maaaassive air quotes -- gets into the mind of the killer to see the crime.) The Bernard who's currently with Elsie says, "There's a facility here...I think Ford had Clementine bring me here for a reason," as he walks back into the cave. We're reminded that Westworld takes place in a future where museum diorama makers find themselves in hot demand, as first necktie Bernard and then the current one show that a lump on the wall of the completely realistic cave slides away to reveal a release handle.
With a pneumatic whoosh, a door at the back of the cave slides open, a shiny stainless steel elevator behind it. "Where does that go, Bernard?" Elsie asks. "I don't remember," he says, in an echo of the "present-day" Bernard when questioned by Strand (do you guys even know how hard it is as a recapper to effectively communicate timelines on this show? Look, this is a job that I enjoy beyond all measure but I am so jealous of my fellow recappers who have a one-way progression of events and single set of characters to convey to readers. I hope I am doing an okay job for you guys! If you think of ways I can do better, please don't hesitate to ping me on Twitter). They get into the elevator, which as its door closes bears the number "12."
When the doors open again, they're inside another Delos lab. This one has clearly been the site of a recent violent event, with ostensibly human lab workers lying dead and equipment smashed. "This is a control unit printer," Elsie says over some of the wreckage, "what are they doing with this?" They aren't making your birthday present, Elsie, that's for sure.
A flickering tablet with a shattered screen sends Bernard back on another memory. We see necktie Bernard in the same lab, which is unmolested and staffed with workers. Drone hosts carry stuff around and do droney things as Bernard looks around with that nasty expression again. A device on a table is building something made of red strands, he sees, as Elsie wakes her Bernard out of the reverie to see a drone host standing before them. "What the fuck is that?" she says, asking the same question we've all had about the drone hosts (seriously, why make them look so fucked up?) as Bernard implores, "Don't threaten it and it won't hurt you." It's too late, though, as she's already pointed the rifle at it as it approaches menacingly. She fires at the drone once, and it takes the blow as well as Dolores did last week. Another shot to the chest and one to the dome and it's down.
"What the hell were they doing here?" Elsie asks. "I think they were watching the guests," Bernard responds. "What would they want with the guests?" Elsie asks, because she's always been one of those people who is too cool for Facebook. She realizes that Bernard is struggling, and goes to get him some more brain lube. But before she shoots him up, she asks, "Did you have something to do with this project?" He says he doesn't think so, prompting her to ask if Ford is controlling him now. Like he'd necessarily tell the truth? "Ford's dead," he tells Elsie, which is a brief enough recap that I'll allow it.
Elsie gets Bernard down on a counter and shoots more fluid into his head. As he fades out, we are sent to the desert, where we see a group of the Native hosts shepherding Grace and some other captive guests who are bound to a branch by their wrists. "This can't be happening because none of this is real, right?" says one guest, no doubt in an homage to HBO's discarded Westworld taglines. "It's going to be okay, someone will rescue us," another captive responds. "Seems to me that our rescue's in the same boat we are," Grace says, spying Stubbs as he's prodded by a female Native. With that, Grace is pulled from the branch and thrown to the ground next to Stubbs. The Native says something in her language to Stubbs, and Grace tells him that she's saying, "'Time is coming', or 'something is coming.'" Stubbs asks if she's spent enough time in the park to learn the Native's language, and Grace says, "A lot of people tend to ignore their narratives. I don't like other people very much."
Stubbs wisely passes on that one and tells her that he's been watching the Native hosts since they took him captive, and that while they're killing the other hosts, they're not harming the guests. Grace says she doesn't want to test that theory, but Stubbs urges her to play it safe and wait for evacuation. "They'll get you out of here," he tells her. "Thanks, but I'm not looking to get out of here," she says.
Next, we see MiB and Lawrence as they ride into Las Mudas. We've been here before, when MiB killed Lawrence's wife to get details on the Maze, and we know William and Dolores went there during the former's first foray in the park. This time, the place is eerily empty. MiB and Lawrence again take seats outside the bar as the barkeep comes out to take their order. "Whiskey," MiB says, because after a long day of riding in the desert and trying to avoid being killed by robots, hard alcohol is an elderly man's friend. Lawrence makes some speech about how he doesn't like coming back here because he's not "a domestic type," as the bartender pours MiB's drink with a shaking hand. Is he, too, failing? Nope, he's nervous because the few surviving Confederados are lying in wait, descending before MiB has time to draw his gun. Maybe if you switched to water your reaction time would improve, MiB!
If he tries to shoot, "I'll turn that pretty face of yours inside out," Craddock says to MiB as he holds a gun to his neck. "Someone took a chunk out of you boys," MiB says as he surveys their small numbers. "What happened to the rest of you?" "Double-crossed by some bitch name of Wyatt," Craddock misogynistically recaps instead of leaving it to the professionals. "Good for her," MiB mutters. This guy is growing on me!
The Confederados usher Lawrence and MiB into the chapel, where the rest of the townspeople are huddled. "Papa!" Lawrence's daughter cries as she rushes to embrace him. Craddock keeps walking toward the dais, and I get a bad feeling he's going to give the first in a series of long speeches. Not for the first time, I think about how desperately Sizemore needed an editor.
I'll summarize: Craddock and company need food, ammo, and whiskey for a long journey they have planned. He's not interested in making deals, he confirms, shooting a guy presented as the "village elder." Since the people in this town are rebels, Craddock knows they have weapons, and he expects to be told where that cache is. He's still blabbing in the background as the show mercifully cuts to MiB and Lawrence. Lawrence says that Craddock will kill them all anyway if told where the weapons are hidden. "Think of my family," Lawrence tells MiB, "my daughter. You told me you have a daughter." MiB slowly turns to Lawrence. "Did I?" he asks. "I don't know, at some point," Lawrence says, which is either a sign that he, too, is remembering his past, that Ford is gaming the system, or that the writers want to remind us of what we saw at that long-ago party of William's. "You think she'd want to watch you gunned down in front of her?" Lawrence asks. Craddock shoots someone else in the background as MiB responds, "Probably." Well, I'm sure that will never come up again.
Lawrence tries to convince MiB to help him get the weapons to fight their way out of this mess, saying they're hidden in an unmarked grave behind the church. MiB agrees to his plan to wait until the Confederados are drunk and to make a run for it, then pops up and announces to Craddock that he wants to make a deal and that the guns are hidden behind the church in a gravesite. "For a man who wants to make a deal you ain't very proficient at it," advises the man who recently made a deal to fight by Dolores's side, only to be snookered into sacrificing nearly all his colleagues. The guns, MiB says, "aren't what I'm offering. I know something you don't. I know where you're going. You've been telling your men you know, but you don't. Just someplace you think your dreams are coming true. You call it Glory, but it's got a lot of names. And I know the way." Eyes trained on MiB, Craddock orders one of his men to go check the graveyard. Lawrence hangs his head in despair.
Hey, we're back in the Insta-inspo cell, only this time it's Roxy Music's "Do The Strand" on the turntable. We join Delos as he hops off his bike, and this time we get to watch him do a goofy dance.
He's feeling good, it seems, but then he pauses and gives himself a quizzical look in the mirror. We skip the other morning activities, including the jerking off (thank god). It's straight to the coffee bit, where he's pouring the cream with a bit of a tremor. This time, he stops himself, then steadily pours again. He seems lost in thought when again we hear the tone, then the same woman from last time announces that he has a visitor.
"About time," he says yet again, then makes the same adjustments to his sweater neck we saw at the beginning of the episode. If you hadn't picked up that something strange is happening, that should cement it. William comes in, and he looks a little worse for the wear but still smiles as he hands Delos the Scotch. What follows is the same conversation as before, until we get to the "seems a little far-fetched" bit. This time, William replies, "It did, at first," as he hands Delos that same piece of paper. This time, as he opens it we see it's a transcript of their conversation as it's happening. The baseline, indeed.
Delos chuckles in disbelief. "And there I thought you were just pissing away my money," he says. "I take it I didn't recover?" "I'm afraid not," William says. "How long's it been?" "Seven years," William replies. Delos -- or rather, what must be a Delos replica -- is taken aback by this, and quickly realizes he's not in Calabasas anymore. "If you can't tell, does it matter?" William asks, but I don't think he's just talking about Calabasas.
Fake Delos gets over that pretty fast, though, and asks when he can get out of the cell to smoke cigars (guess they only gave him cigarettes in the lab?), sail his boat, and fuck his wife. In that order, what a peach! That last one won't be happening, William regretfully informs him, as a stroke took her life. "Juliet," who we know as Delos's daughter, Logan's sister, and William's wife, "had her buried in the family plot." Shaken, fake Delos asks if William is looking after Juliet. William says that he is, and that their daughter is "whip-smart" and "capable." Fake Delos looks happy to hear that for a moment, then the shaking begins.
"I assume the house is ready for me?" fake Delos asks, getting up. But it's not that easy, William's disappointed reaction to the replica magnate's trembling suggests. Fake Delos needs to remain while some more observation is done, William says, as they don't want to wear him out. "Wear me out?" Fake Delos says. "I feel fucking brand new. I am ready to get out there and see the sun. Get some fresh aid." Whoops. William smirks at the gaffe.
Fake Delos struggles to correct himself, but it's enough for William. As the sad strings of a rich guy who can't live forever but still seems way less rubbish than Guy Pearce in Prometheus rise on the score, William tells him that he'll be back tomorrow. "It's good to have you back, Jim," William says, clapping fake Delos on the shoulder. But it's all an act. As he exits the cell, we see that the room is a fully-visible cage in a darkened space. "Same problems as before," William tells the woman we just saw in fake Delos's mirror. "We made it to Day 7 this time so," she says with a sigh, "that's progress. Would you like to go ahead and terminate, sir?"
William gives her the go-ahead, and instead of remotely shutting fake Delos down or whatever, a fire is ignited inside the cell. But what about that coffee table! That turntable! The fish! Do they just go buy new ones every time? Maybe William is pissing your money away, fake Delos!
Now we're in Las Mudas, as Craddock checks out the guns his men have unearthed. There's nitro, too, which gets Craddock so excited that he starts taking big gulping sniffs of it. That's perhaps because people who are regularly exposed to nitro develop a chemical dependence on it; did you know that? He starts waving the bottle of the explosive around, which is a terrible idea given its notorious instability. "We are going to blast our way to Glory," he says, but is distracted by the perpetually nervous barkeep. He's just spilled some booze on a customer, an act that inspires Craddock to "teach" the host how to have steadier hands. This attracts MiB's attention, either because he has a lot of thoughts on shaky hands or because he knows (spoiler!) something awful is about to go down.
Craddock pours a shot, places it on the back of the barkeep's hand, then tells him to walk about 12 paces. Remarkably, the bartender makes it the distance without dropping the drink. He holds it out, as Craddock says, "Well done, my friend," lifts his rifle, and shoots off the publican's hand. Even MiB winces at this one. Is he getting a little soft on us?
From there we're sent back to the Natives, who are again marching Grace and the other guests as they're bound to a stick. Now it's dark, and their way is lit only by torches. In their language, Grace asks, "Where are you taking us?" "To the first of us," a Native woman replies. "He will decide." "Who? Who will?" Grace asks. The host does not reply.
Grace, Stubbs, and the others are presented to a heavily made-up host I believe was the man with Angela when Logan received his first Westworld demo. "Release yourselves of this burden," he says in his language. "Oh god, it's too late. You and your stupid fucking fantasy, you've gotten us killed," the guest from earlier says to her companion. Somehow, Grace releases her bonds, whacks one of her captors with a torch, and escapes into the surrounding trees. Behind her, a Native draws a blade and holds it to Stubbs's neck. "You live only as long as the last person who remembers you," the demo Native whispers to him in English. (This statement is also the thesis of The Brief History Of The Dead, a novel I highly recommend.) Of course, there's no suspense here, as we know Stubbs makes it and he's too boring to be replicated.
Bernard is waking up again, this time after getting his fluids topped off. "A pint or so of the good stuff," Elsie says she added to him, which I assume is better than the used goop he shot up before. "I still don't trust you," she says, because she is not an idiot. "But I also figure I might need your help."
She says that whoever destroyed the control unit printer did so because they wanted to hide what it was used for -- something very different from what they're doing at the park, as it's even on a different OS. Looking at a screen, Bernard says he's seen that kind of code before, as it made up the file he saw on Abernathy. "I think I've been here before," Bernard says, as if the previous flashbacks telling us this weren't enough. Though his damage is allegedly repaired (is it?), "My memories...I get lost in them. I can't tell if this is now or then." Elsie says she noticed he was having that issue when she was repairing him. "Your memories aren't addressed, they're just kind of drifting around in there," which sure seems convenient, were I a screenwriter seeking to develop mystery. "If you're experiencing one, you'll have no idea if it becomes before or after the others." Well that's just fucking fantastic.
Fortunately we have things like broken screens and neckties to help us figure this stuff out! We flicker to necktie Bernard standing in exactly the same place, broken screen now intact. He taps on the tablet and maybe uploads something (we see a bar that symbolizes an up- or download, that's why I think that). He types some more stuff; then the code turns all swirly and Matrix-y. That red-stranded device we saw earlier is building something that looks like those cupcakes the drones were carrying around earlier.
Then Bernard is out of that memory, repeating, "I've been here recently." He doesn't know why, he tells Elsie, but says he thinks he knows what they were up to in the lab. "They weren't building hosts, not exactly," he says as we pan to the cupcakes, which now lie in disarray.
"What were they building here if not hosts?" Elsie asks. "The same hardware, but the code's different, the language not code at all, not really." A crash from elsewhere in the lab draws their attention, as Elsie heads down a short passage toward the source of the sound. "Whatever they're making here, it's behind this door," she says as she stands in front of an ominous steel threshold. "Maybe we don't want to know," Bernard says. Then, as his voice gets echo-y: "Elsie, Elsie, I'm not there with you, am I?" He turns away from her, saying, "I'm trying to remember. I'm trying to remember what we found here. It wasn't hosts we were making. It was something else." I know, Bernard, it was cupcakes! Say it!
Bernard flashes back to before the lab was a slaughterhouse, and we see a lab worker looking at necktie Bernard with confusion and dismay. A shot rings out -- it's Elsie with her rifle, blasting the steel door to get it open.
Our view of what is doubtlessly the world's fanciest cupcake bakery is delayed, however, as we're back at Las Mudas. It's night there, too, and it's raining. Lawrence is huddled on the ground, as Craddock and his men try to force him to drink, then beat him for no good reason except their programming, I guess. The Confederado briefly harasses a guitar player, then steps inside the bar, putting down a shot of whiskey in front of MiB. "You look restless," Craddock tells him. "Are you upset at the way we're treating your friend?" Given some of the shit MiB has put Lawrence through, I doubt that! "He's not my friend. And we're wasting time," MiB concurs.
Then, oh my god, Craddock sits down. Do we seriously have to talk to this cornpone motherfucker some more? Ugh. Again, I'll spare you and summarize: Craddock has many Big Thoughts on death, as Dolores killed him and then had a tech wake him back up. Now he's doing death's bidding, and I check my DVR to make sure I have not been accidentally recapping Supernatural. At that point, he sends Lawrence's wife outside to deliver him a drink, and you JUST KNOW Craddock's going to shoot her right in front of Lawrence just for kicks.
As Craddock raises his gun, we see real-world memories that must be MiB's, of male feet running up an ornate marble staircase, a tap running, a bathtub of red. As you might recall, last season MiB told Teddy that Juliet had killed herself just last year, an act MiB's daughter blamed him for because his wife had feared him for years. It was his wife's death, in fact, that MiB says was what drove him to return to the park, in a search for purpose. (That's why he killed Maeve and her daughter, to see if he could feel anything, he said at the time.)
All that backstory may or may not be relevant right now, idk. ANYWAY. Something about that memory, and Lawrence's sobbing daughter, seems to get his motor running. "You think death favors you, that it brought you back?" MiB asks Craddock. "But death's decisions are final. It's only the living that are inconstant. They waver, they don't know who they are, what they want. Death is always true. You haven't known a true thing in all your life. You think you know death? Well, you don't." "Is that so?" Craddock asks, and I feel sorry for Jonathan Tucker, who I am sure is a lovely person, but who is having his lunch totally eaten by Ed Harris during this scene. "You didn't recognize him," MiB says as he pours a drink, "sitting across from you this whole time."
With that MiB smashes the bottle against the table and shoves the jagged edge into Craddock's neck. In a gorgeously choreographed scene, he grabs his gun and takes out the rest of the Confederados, then takes the drink from Lawrence's wife. "Open up," he says to a now-cowering Craddock, forcing the shot down his throat. Opening up one of the crates of weapons, MiB pulls out a long gun and strides through the rain back toward Lawrence. "I believe you said this was yours," he says to the now-standing man. Lawrence takes the gun and blows Craddock away. MiB stands in the rain for a while, looking incredibly cool.
From there, we're back with another version of Delos, and this one managed to pour cream in his coffee with nary a tremble! This time it's a man who notifies this Delos that he has a visitor. And this time, the visitor is someone this Delos doesn't recognize. That's because they've apparently been working on this project for so long that William has fully aged into MiB. "It's been a long time, Jim," MiB says. "Good to see you again." This Delos again goes into the "William my boy" thing. Of course, MiB's advanced age sends this Delos into the "I take it I didn't recover" loop sooner than the last time, but he's soon diverted by the ubiquitous Scotch.
This time, since it's no longer a surprise, we see their interaction from outside the cell, their voices piped through. When this Delos asks, "How long has it been?," MiB answers, "Longer than we thought." (Long enough, in fact, that the son-in-law is "older" than the father -- Peter Mullan, who plays Delos, is 58 to Ed Harris's 67.) And when this Delos says his standard "So then let's get me the fuck out of here," William's response is a new-to-us "No, I don't think so."
As this Delos attempts to convince MiB that he's good to go, he starts to stutter. "You're feeling it more," MiB says. "The engineers call it a cognitive plateau. Your mind is stable for a few hours, a few days, then it all starts to fall apart. Every time. At first we thought it was your mind rejecting the new body, like an organ that's not a perfect match, but it's more like your mind rejects reality." I feel you, this Delos! That's my mind every morning before I remember who the president is!
This Delos stutters that he doesn't remember the previous efforts. MiB is brutal. "Well, Jim, this is the 149th time we've brought you back. We're getting closer to working out the kinks, slowly but surely. You're on Day 35 and you're only now starting to degrade." As 149 attempts to get out words in his defense, MiB impassively continues. "In another year or two they might crack it. Get a version of you that's viable long-term. But the thing is," MiB says as he picks up his glass of Scotch and takes a sip, "I'm not so sure anymore. I'm beginning to think this whole enterprise was a mistake." The Delos 2.0 enterprise, or, perhaps, beyond that? "People aren't meant to live forever."
MiB then rips 149 a new one as the latter rattles nearly to bits. Calling him a "ruthless philanderer," MiB says the OG Delos "has no ethics in your business or family dealings. A veritable shithead. In truth, everyone prefers the memory of you to the man himself."
149 gets it together long enough to sneer, "Enjoying running my company, Bill? Living in my house? Fucking my daughter?" What a cool dad! That's when MiB tells 149 that Juliet committed suicide, so we know that this conversation is a recent one. (Also, it's worth noting here that if you or someone you know is considering suicide you're urged to call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also take yourself or them to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional. But you're not in this alone, and people want to help you.)
"Why would she?" 149 asks. "Why would she do that? What did you do to her?" "The world is better off without you, Jim," MiB responds. "And possibly without me." 149 stands up and starts calling for Logan. MiB tells 149 that Logan died of an overdose "years ago," as he "couldn't face reality either." "Took me a long time to learn this," MiB says as he rises, "but some men are better off dead." At this cue, John Cusack fails to appear. As MiB puts his glass down, we see that the sand has run out in the hourglass. Nice touch, research team! MiB leaves, as 149 goes apeshit and starts trashing the place. "I don't understand!" the worker who'd announced MiB says from outside the observation unit. "He was stable! We should terminate, sir." MiB says to leave him, as it "might be useful to observe his degradation over the next few days," but I just think he wanted to be mean.
MiB closes the lab door behind him and YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE THIS but it's the one Bernard and Elsie are in front of right now! They open it and, you guys, it's not Instagrammable anymore. It's dark but for a pulsing red security light. Seeing a figure inside the unit, Elsie taps the tablet outside and manually overrides the doors to let herself in. "Play With Fire" is back on the turntable, but it's skipping, playing only the first line again and again (like the versions of Delos GET IT???). As Bernard steps through the Stones-hotel-room-level mess, he finds the dead body of the worker who'd urged MiB to terminate. And we see 149, slowly pedaling his bike. He gets off the bike and looks at himself in the mirror. He, too, is not Instagrammable.
"I'm all the way down, now," 149 murmurs. "I can see all the way to the bottom." Turning to Elsie, he says, "You like to see what I see?" He starts coming toward her, as she keeps her gun trained on 149. Though she tells him to stay away, he keeps coming, grabbing the barrel of her rifle and throwing her to the ground. Bernard attacks him from behind, throwing him through the glass. As 149 lies on the floor, he rasps to Bernard, "They said there were two fathers. One above, one below. They lied. There was only ever the devil." Then, after something indistinguishable: "There was just his reflection laughing down at you." As Bernard and Elsie prepare to leave the room, 149 says for the last time, "If you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering." Elsie uses the tablet to start the termination sequence, and the flames take 149.
Back in the lab, Elsie speaks for everyone who's trying to figure this damn show out when she asks Bernard, "Tell me that was a host and not a human." "I think it was both," he dissatisfyingly responds. He confirms that that was James Delos, who died "years ago." "So they printed his body, and they copied his developed mind onto a control unit, like our hosts?" Elsie asks. But it couldn't be that simple, right? After all, who cares if they're just copied? Wouldn't a person who wants to live forever want their current consciousness to be the one that continues? I mean, the me that is writing this recap for you right now doesn't give a shit what a copy of me does! Recap me wants to do that stuff! Oh god, now I'm just as bad as good old Philosophy 101 Dolores.
But also, I think what they were trying to do was more complicated than that, because Bernard is a copy of Arnold and he was doing great until Ford made him attack hella people. The technology to make a copy of a real person is there, as Bernard well knows. So I think we have to figure that this lab was trying to do something harder, something that allows for a continuous self, not just a mimeographed one.
This experiment, Elsie posits, is why a park rescue has been delayed. She plans on getting to the mesa to contact the mainland. "Fuck Ford and his game," she says. "Fuck these assholes and their project." As she says that, Bernard has a memory of picking up a Minority Report-looking ball. "Wait," he says. "I think I know why Ford sent me here. He had me print a control unit for someone else. Another human." Inconveniently, he doesn't remember who he printed or why, "but I need to find out. We'll go together. I can help you."
When she looks unsure, he tells her that the things he did before were because he was under Ford's control, but since Ford died, "for the first time I get to decide who I want to be. Please, give me that chance." "Fuck it," Elsie responds. "I always trusted code more than people anyway. But you gotta promise me one more thing. No more lies. And you'll never hurt me again." "Of course," Bernard says unconvincingly.
As they head out of the lab, Bernard looks down at one of the dead lab workers. He has a memory of necktie Bernard picking up that ball again, then pocketing it. As necktie Bernard steps toward a now-live worker, he whispers something to a nearby drone host, who takes the man by the neck and impales him on some equipment. Other drones are slaughtering the other humans, as we again see blood in white liquid we now know to be the stuff hosts are made of. The drones then grab their own chins, snapping their own necks. As a lab worker, the one whose body Elsie's Bernard was just looking at, crawls toward him in supplication, necktie Bernard stomps him to death.
"Everything okay?" Elsie asks Bernard. "Everything's fine," he replies, so we can see that promise is going great already.
It's dawn at Las Mudas, and MiB is saddling Ned up. Lawrence's wife approaches MiB to thank him, unaware that in the recent past he was the author of her demise. Lawrence tells MiB that his cousins want to follow him west, as a sign of gratitude. MiB warns him that "most of them won't be coming back." In front of him, we see Lawrence's daughter, who like the little Ford boy has grown up considerably since the second episode of Season 1, when she told MiB that The Maze was not meant for him. "They might not remember," she says, "but I know who you are, William. One good deed doesn't change that." "Who said anything about a good deed?" MiB fires back. "You wanted me to play your game. I'm going to play it to the bone." Somewhere, Lolita Davidovich says, "I'm right here, guys."
"Then you still don't understand the real game we're playing here," the girl continues. "If you're looking forward, you're looking in the wrong direction." She then turns back into her Lawrence's daughter character and runs to her dad for a goodbye hug.
MiB, Lawrence, and their men ride out. They're galloping across the plain when they come across a woman on horseback, silhouetted by the sun. As she gets closer, we realize it's Grace. "Hi, Dad," she says to MiB.