Westworld

Westworld 2×06 – Phase Space

"Pain's just a program."

Dolores-Westworld-2.jpeg

Well that was slow.

Not every episode can be mindblowing, but Phase Space is far too slow for my liking. I lost interest several times throughout the course of the hour, and that hasn’t happened with Westworld since early season one.

Daddy’s Girl

Certainly my favorite part of the hour was the layered campfire exchange between William and Grace. The Man in Black has been such a dark presence since the show’s inception, so it’s very refreshing to see him open up to his daughter. Katja Herbers is perfectly cast in the role as a headstrong buttkicker who knows the parks like the back of her hand (The Raj was her favorite), and who’s hellbent on bringing her father back to the real world. Interestingly, it seems like she’s gotten through to her dad only for him to ditch her by morning light. This ain’t gonna be easy huh?

Mommy to the Rescue

Something about Maeve’s storyline is bothering me. Shogun World was a fun diversion, but what was the point if Akane and Musashi are staying behind? Moreover, it was far too obvious that Maeve would find her “daughter” stuck in the same narrative loop but with another mommy. There were no surprises here, and I don’t like seeing Maeve being so weak and running for her life (even though Ghost Nation apparently didn’t want to harm them). We spent two episodes experiencing Maeve’s new abilities and a dozen episodes of her tapping into her strength, only to have her run for her life? Something doesn’t add up. Cringe.

A Messy Mythology 

Very randomly, Phase Space introduces us to a seemingly integral element of the show’s vast mythology: “The Cradle”. This data hub stores the consciousness of the all hosts in the parks, and it’s where Bernard subsequently enters to find answers. In a cliffhanger that didn’t exactly blow my mind, he finds Ford (and let’s be honest, we’ve been waiting for Anthony Hopkins to pop back in for a while now). Let’s see if we can salvage this storyline.

Bits & Bots

– How beautifully done was the “previously on” segment? Barely any dialogue too.

– I still don’t understand what’s happened between Dolores & Arnold/Bernard, but loved the twist with her saying “that’s not what he said.” Also, if you missed it, she says she’s testing “fidelity”, which is what William said when he was testing the James Delos clone a couple of weeks back.

– New Teddy still remembers old Teddy but he’s vicious now. That’s a start!

– I felt really bad when Abernathy was nailed to the chair.

– Love how casually Maeve gets samurais to kill one another with just a glance.

– Although the samurai duel was super nifty and well choreographed, I don’t understand why the show spent so much time on two characters we don’t even know. Seemed like an ill-advised writing decision to me. Hey, at least we got a sliced hand and a decapitated head.

– We meet a new Delos retrieval team this week led by a rude dude called Coughlin. I’m not expecting him to be multi-dimensional.

– What’s for dinner? Barbecued heart.

– And that ladies and gentlemen is how you unhook a train.

– Thankfully, Dolores finally gets some forward momentum and she and the gang crash their train into the Mesa Hub. This feels like a season-finale level development, so I’m extremely ecstatic for the upcoming battle.

– What is the significance of the dog that Bernard follows? Reminded me of the coyote from season one.

Digs & Dolores

Grace: (to William) Thought you didn’t drink. Oh, I see. You don’t drink out in the real world. Well, glad to see you can still tell the difference.

Grace: Anyway, I rode there for a couple of days, till I remembered I was old enough to try out the pleasure palaces. And then I rode there for a couple of days, too.

Grace: Oh, I’ve always seen the appeal of it. Life without consequences? That’s what made it so fun when I was a kid. And that’s why it’s so sad that you’re still obsessed with it now.

Conclusion

After five brilliant hours, Phase Space is the first semi-letdown of the season with its slow pace and disjointed plotting.

Nad Rating
B-

3 comments

  1. I quite enjoyed this episode to be honest. For me, Dolores’ plotline is the weakest one, I am much more interested in the other characters’ journeys. And I still believe that she is not fully sentient but rather following the Wyatt storyline to some extent.

    As for the dog’s significance, this is the start of the Ford reveal. This is his dog, the same one we saw with a younger Ford back in Season 1 with his “host” family.

    1. Oooh excellent catch about the dog. I’m so intrigued and very glad you enjoyed this hour more than I did!

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