So, hey. I got behind on Westworld recaps immediately. This is partly because of a project I’ve been working on, but also partly because I froze up big time. I ceased all motor functions. Basically, the finale of Season One changed the show so radically that I’m not even sure how to talk about it anymore. And rather than just start writing and see what came up, I had this massive crisis of confidence. I’m still not sure I’ve worked out an angle but it’s time to move forward. That said, I’ve really enjoyed the season so far. So let’s get to it. I’m planning on three recaps this week and then two next week to catch up, and then I stay current from there.

We open with Dolores and presumably Arnold. When they go into the past it’s not always readily apparent. But he’s talking about a dream of drowning, which sure seems like he’s human. She asks him what is real and he responds “that which is irreplaceable”. She doesn’t believe that answer and he admits she frightens him. Not of what she is, but of what she might become.

And then, a time shortly after the Host uprising began. Bernard waked up on the beach where armed Delos forces find him. Hey, Stubbs is there! We haven’t seen him since he got ambushed! These guys are heavily armed and it looks like they’re deployed from a boat, which really brings up some questions. They have a beachhead set up where they’re executing rogue hosts. Some of the more heavily armed people seem to be maybe a Blackwater-style mercenary force – they’re definitely harsher than the Delos people.

They bring Bernard to a guy who looks like he should be played by Corey Stoll. He introduces himself as Karl Strand, head of operations. Through some exposition, we learn that it’s been two weeks since the massacre and Delos is gaining ground but communications are still down and they don’t know exactly what happened. Karl has a tech open up a dead host’s brain to see what he knows. He cuts off the top of the skull, revealing the maze which means nothing to anybody. Then he has to dig through a fake brain to get to a processor. By accessing it, they see Hosts gunning people down. When this particular Host falls, Dolores approaches and says “Not all of us deserve to make it to the valley beyond” and kills him.

Bernard has a flashback to the Host uprising and Ford’s death. He hid in a barn with Charlotte Hale while the slaughter began. One dude named Rebus is killing people and seems important because he’s played by Steven Ogg from Walking Dead and Grand Theft Auto V. Once the assailants have moved on, Charlotte leads Bernard and a man in a tuxedo to the nearest outpost. Tuxedo Man kills a stable boy just to be safe. Bernard notices his hand shaking and then finds that his ear is leaking fluid.

We see here that not all of the Hosts have going full Dolores. Some of them are sticking to their scripted behavior. They can still kill people, but they aren’t necessarily looking to do so.

Dolores chases down human in a field, shotgunning them while riding horseback. And then we see several of the party guests with nooses around their necks, perched precariously on the crossbars of makeshift graves. It’s like a Survivor immunity challenge with actual surviving. Dolores taunts them and explains that she’s merged with cult leader Wyatt (which I don’t think was made explicitly clear last season) and Teddy looks on, clearly not understanding what’s going on or why Dolores is acting like this. He’s still in his old narrative. She and her crew ride off, leaving the captives to die.

The morning after the uprising began, we see that Cheat Code Cowboy survived by hiding under a body. Another guest finds him and that’s when a Host starts shooting. He kills the other guy, but CCC gets the drop on the shooter. He tends to his wounds and digs a black hat out of one of the houses so he can embrace his self-created mythology.

Inside the Delos facility, it seems to be shortly after the uprising. A one cannibal host advances on head writer Lee but Maeve manages to shut him down. Remember, she forced those techs to basically turn on God Mode for her, so he seems to have some level of control over other Hosts. Lee asks for help and she only agrees because he can get her a current map of the park. The only problem is that when they get there, the chaos has shut down the interactive map. Specifically, a dead Host bear falling through the map has kind of broken it. The power in their sector shuts down and Lee says he can still help. She tells him she wants to find her daughter. Lee reminds her that her daughter is just a story and she’s been reprogrammed. Maeve insists that he bring her to her daughter.

Bernard , Charlotte, and a group of survivors head for the outpost. They find a dune buggy with one of the biohazard guatrds, but when they get close they see that he’s already dead and it’s a trap. Bernard and Charlotte manage to hide while the Hosts, including former greeter Angela slaughter the rest. Strangely, Angela lets Tuxedo Man live.

Lee leads Maeve through the facility past some very realistic buffalo, as he explains that the minds of the Hosts are valuable IP and Delos is going to want to salvage what they can. He promises to vouch for Maeve when it comes to that. Maeve deactivates an injured host just as security forces find them. Lee tries to tip them off that Maeve is a Host, but some more hosts arrive and kill the security team. Maeve sends them off to find more humans so she can deal with Lee herself. She lets him live but makes it clear that he’s on thin ice. They eventually reach that resort we saw last season that overlooks the park. Everybody’s dead except for one Hector Escaton who’s full of bullet holes but otherwise in good spirits.

Charlotte and Bernard reach a site where an elevator should be, but it’s not working. They have to dig up the manual override before it activates. They take it to a sector of the facility that Bernard doesn’t recognize at all, though Charlotte knows her way around. Bernard runs into a terrifying Drone Host, but it means no harm. It’s off-network and just doing manual labor. It’s super weird looking though. It’s an all-white body without a face or skin.

Charlotte tries to access the system to request a personnel extraction while Bernard watches the Drones pull a Host’s memory core and extract fluid. He realized they’re logging guest’s experiences and DNA, which I’ll talk about in a bit. Charlotte explains that they won’t be rescued until Delos receives an intact host – remember when they tried to smuggle Dolores’ original father out of the park last season? They’ve always wanted to get just one host out of the park, which Ford refused to allow. Until they have a host, they will not intervene or extract any personnel from Westworld.

Cheat Code rides through a field and finds the host based on young Ford. The kid is glitching out but tells him that he found the center of the maze and now there’s a new game for him to play. He just has to find the door. It seems like a message from the modern Ford. Cheat Code kills the Host because now that there are real dangers like he always wanted, the first thing to do is shoot a boy in the face.

Inside the facility, Maeve repairs Hector. She forces Lee to change into costume for the park but first she makes him stand there naked. It’s about taking away his dignity, so she just lets him stand there for a bit before she allows him to dress.

Dolores and Teddy reach a clearing and he asks her what it is she wants. She tells him about the creatures who walk among them and he just tries to get her to go away with him to claim a small corner of the world for themselves. Poor Teddy is still in his narrative. She insists that the story ends with them, which is a sweet moment that feels like the old Dolores. Angela interrupts to report that they “found it”.

Back in the facility, Bernard and Charlotte try to figure out where Peter Abernathy went. While Bernard is doing this, he subtly runs a diagnostic on himself and finds out he’s on the edge of a terminal malfunction. He drains fluid from a decommissioned host and injects it into himself just before Charlotte catches him.

And then it’s two weeks later and he’s back with the security team. They return to the site of Ford’s assassination and find his body. They head out from there and eventually reach a lake that’s not supposed to be there. There’s the dead body of a tiger, which should be restricted to “Park Six”. At another anomalous lake, they find hundreds of dead hosts in the water. The lakes are likely the result of Ford’s terraforming project, but that doesn’t explain all the bodies. Bernard can only say “I… I killed them. All of them.” And then we see, at the bottom of the lake, Teddy’s body.

Oh, we’re off to a good start. I’ll try to get into more commentary when the recaps get caught up, but mostly this episode is pretty straightforward. It’s a lot of plot and catch-up, and I’ve missed this show so much even if it’s now a substantially different show now. It’s not so much about the consumption of entertainment now, which means I’ve got a lot of reassessing to do. Another recap tomorrow, with a surprise new cast member who accidentally told everybody he was a cast member before it had been announced. And somebody who was on the show before she was ever on the show. Mysterious, right?

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