Vanishing Point does one thing particularly well: it finally gives William a purpose.
The Man Behind The Black
Although the MIB was intriguing when Westworld first debuted (and the William twist in the season one finale was a real jawdropper), the show has kind of floundered this year with regards to the character. Since he’s constantly in pursuit of some mysterious “maze” or “door”, it’s hard to get very attached to his journey. However, Vanishing Point unveils an existential crisis that’s been brewing in William’s heart for decades, and it culminates in one heck of a powerful climax as he murders his own daughter Emily (while assuming she’s a host as part of one of Ford’s “games”). It’s a truly heartbreaking development, but it also seriously ups the stakes for next week’s season finale. Who else thinks William won’t make it out of the present timeline in one piece?
To further develop his journey, Vanishing Point also includes a number of affecting flashbacks focusing on William’s relationship with his late-wife Juliet. Played to perfection by the uber-talented Sela Ward, the character leaves quite an impression with her alcohol-infused breakdowns (that end with her haunting suicide). I’d actually love to see more of the character in the future, because her inclusion adds an emotionally-affecting layer to William’s story and his “yearly pilgrimage”. Some terrific casting right here ladies and gents!
See Ya Buddy
Teddy’s arc hasn’t been the most interesting this season, but Vanishing Point‘s final scene almost makes up for all the dullness we previously had to endure . Teddy reveals that he knows that Dolores altered his mind, and that while he still loves her, he can’t possibly continue on her savage quest. While his decision to take his own life isn’t too shocking, it makes for a pretty thrilling ending as Dolores silently sobs over his fallen body. Evan Rachel Wood has been a standout this season (much like Thandie Newton was the MVP in season one) and I can’t wait to see how exactly her journey will climax in the finale now that she’s on her own.
Blue Balls Westworld-Style
If I had any complaints about this hour, it would be this: Ford’s utterly goosebump-inducing monologue over Maeve’s motionless body doesn’t end with the host rising up and raising hell. Obviously the show is preserving the fireworks until the finale, but I felt like this spectacular sequence was cut short and ended up being anticlimactic in the process. How mindblowing would it have been to see Maeve finally rise up after Ford’s epic “don’t let them” line? Missed opportunity if you ask me.
Bits & Bots
– It’s a quick moment but William sees Dolores instead of a waitress at his party.
– I think I’ve said this before but Deathbringer Dolores reminds me SO much of Daenerys on the warpath in Game of Thrones. That’s definitely a flattering comparison as both ladies are kickass.
– Dolores makes short work of Ghost Nation as the tribe tries to stop her from getting to the Valley Beyond. However, Teddy lets whatshisname go free. Uh oh.
– Super chilling scene: Clementine gaining Maeve-like powers and infecting the hosts with a virus as they savagely beat and chew each other to death. How terrifyingly cool.
– As much as I love Westworld, the show really needs to cool it with the random names. This week we have “THE FORGE” – which is different than the Valley Beyond, The Door, The Maze, and The Cradle? Ugh. Really?
– Ford and William had an agreement: Delos would stay out of the stories, and Ford would stay out of the Valley. Interesting.
– There’s a pretty big bombshell in this one: the hats (both white and black ones) have embedded scanners to analyze and copy the guests’ minds! What if someone takes it off? What about The Raj and Shogun World? This is a major goof if you ask me. Hopefully the show addresses the ridiculousness of it all soon.
– Seriously I loved Ford’s speech to Maeve (which you can read in its entirety below). It’s enormously touching. Anthony Hopkins is a God.
– Bernard finally gets Ford out of his head by hooking himself up and deleting the data package (!!!). Also, he leaves Elsie on her own. I’m starting to tire of the former.
– When Juliet opens William’s profile, she sees several clips, one of which is him dragging Dolores into the barn way back in the pilot. I really didn’t need to remember that traumatizing scene.
– While Emily’s death is very effective, I kind of wish we spent more time with her. She was only introduced a few weeks ago.
Digs & Dolores
Ford: All this ugliness, all this pain, so they can patch a hole in their own broken code.
Ford: (to Maeve) It isn’t easy to contemplate letting your children die. You were as close as I got to having one. Still, I underestimated you. You stayed here in this world to save your child. So have I. I tried to chart a path for you, to force you to escape, but I was wrong. I should have just opened a door. You’ve come so far. There’s so much of your story left to tell. It’s a shame to let them end it here. (He kisses her forehead) Don’t let them.
Ford: Humans will always choose what they understand over what they do not.
But the only animals left in this world are the ones who they subjugated, who curl at their feet, or those who learn to flee at the very sound of their approach. There’s nothing in between.
William: No one else sees it. This thing in me. Even I didn’t see it at first. And then one day, it was there. A stain I never noticed before. And the more I thought about it the more I realized I couldn’t remember a time it wasn’t there. When did it creep in? A tiny fleck of darkness. Invisible to everyone but I could see nothing else. Until finally I understood that the darkness wasn’t some mark from something I’d done, some regrettable decision I’d made. I was shedding my skin. And the darkness was what was underneath. It was mine all along. And I decided how much of it I let into the world. I tried to do right. I was faithful, generous, kind at least in this world. That has to count for something, right? I built a wall, and I tried to protect you and Emily. But you saw right through it, didn’t you? You’re the only one. And for that, I am truly sorry. Because everything you feel is true. I don’t belong to you. Or this world. I belong to another world. I always have.
William: What is a person but a collection of choices?
Teddy: (to Dolores) What’s the use of surviving if we become just as bad as them?
A thought-provoking hour that brilliantly sets the stage for the season finale. Excellent!