I’ve still got a backlog of Westworld recaps, but I’m making progress. Let’s jump into the season’s second episode, “Reunion”. This is not the first TV episode I’ve recapped this year with that title, by the way. Let’s get some crazier episode titles!
We open with a flashback. It’s Dolores but she’s outside the park and really the whole facility. Arnold explains “You’re in our world” and yeah, it’s a modern city. It’s like nothing she’s ever seen before. Arnold insists to Ford that she’s not ready and Ford finally agrees to “go with the other girl” and it’s clear that Arnold is very protective of Dolores.
Arnold takes her outside to show her what’s going to be his new home. He indicates that this is close to the park, so if his family lives there, his two worlds are “within reach”. Boy, they’re shooting down my idea that the park is on another planet. Arnold tells her about his son, Charlie, and how they have a lot in common. It’s a very sweet scene and then Dolores starts to repeat the words she said when the episode opened and maybe Arnold was right and she isn’t ready.
Back in the present (you know what I mean), Tuxedo Man makes it back to the facility. There are techs there who didn’t know the hosts were rebelling, so this is news. And then Dolores, Angela, and Teddy walk in. Teddy is impressed by everything because he’s still in his old narrative.
Back to the flashback. It’s a fancy party. And there’s Logan and Young William! Logan is being gross, William is bored. Once William leaves, a man we haven’t seen before and Angela approach Logan as part of the Argo Initiative. The man explains that they would like Logan’s investment because they’re working on something impressive. They lead him to a room full of party guests. Somebody in the room is artificial and they want him to pick them out. He creeps around until he decides that the only one it could be is Angela. He’s impressed and immediately indicates that she’s going to have to have sex with him. Gross, dude. And then everybody in the room ceases all motor functions. Everybody there is a Host. And hey, at this point we see that the woman playing the piano is Clementine. Yay!
And of course, Logan still has to have sex with Angela. Dolores sees her getting dressed afterwards and it’s not a stretch to put this as the moment where she, on some level, realized that humans are the worst.
In the present, Dolores makes a tech show Teddy a slideshow of his various deaths. Teddy is horrified and demands to know why. The tech doesn’t have a good answer for that question other than “for fun”.
In the park, some guys tie Lawrence up and hang him upside down over an anthill. He tried to steal their horses, so they’re going to let the ants eat him. Cheat Code Cowboy rides up and guns them down. One of them survives and attacks him and Lawrence has to grab a fallen gun and toss it to Cheat Code, while hanging upside down. It’s a pretty cool move. Cheat Code cuts Lawrence down and brings him to a bar. He punches a hole in a wall to find…. something. He tells Lawrence that he and his kind are free, but they’ll all be dead soon enough. I think the thing in the wall might be a first aid kit, actually. Hey, the video game parallels haven’t totally gone away. Punch the right wall and some health falls out. He’s going to head for something called the Pearly Gates, a prospect which alarms Lawrence.
In the facility, Angela and Dolores torture a security guard to find out how Delos plans to respond. He doesn’t know but assumes they could send as many as 800 armed men. Teddy realizes they’re going to need allies, and it’s so weird to watch him still playing the game. Dolores has them wake up a “dead” Host because he has a job to do.
It’s another flashback, this time at the park. Dolores drops her can and Teddy picks it up and then everything stops. A helicopter lands and we see a guy we will learn is James Delos (Logan’s father) walks around, apprising everything. He tells William, who’s with him, that Dolores is very pretty. They talk about finances – the park isn’t going to last and Delos isn’t especially interested in this nonsense. William convinces him that what they’re really investing in the guests’ experiences. That data can tell them what people really want and that’s very good for business. That wins Delos over, and William continues his pitch. Man, so he turned cynical immediately after he left the park for the first time.
The reactivated host leads Angela toward the Confederados while Dolores and Teddy run into Maeve, Hector, and Lee. They only sort of know one another, but they both know the score. Dolores tries to recruit Maeve, but she’s got her own stuff and isn’t too concerned with this uprising, and it seems like Maeve has only contempt for Dolores’ path. They go their separate ways. And then Dolores and Teddy reach a Last Supper-style tableau where the Confederados are having dinner. Dolores wants to recruit them and when they’re not interested, so she and Angela kill them all. And then, Dolores has the tech guy they took captive resurrect them. They wake up and think Dolores has power over life and death and yeah, they’d probably better join her team.
Flashback. Another fancy party with repurposed hosts, this time with Dolores playing piano. William makes a point of kissing his wife right in front of Dolores. It’s James’ retirement party, but James himself says it feels more like William’s coronation. It looks like he’s poised to inherit the lion’s share of Delos, and it doesn’t sit well with Logan, who finds her while he’s drunk and tells her that they’ve doomed humanity.
The Cheat Code Cowboy and Lawrence continue their ride and reach Pariah. There, they meet El Lazo who’s played by Gus Fring himself, Giancarlo Esposito. Now, if you remember Season One, Lawrence was secretly El Lazo. But by taking him prisoner, Cheat Code kept him out of the story for so long that they had to recast the part. CCC wants to recruit his gang to help them reach the Pearly Gates El Lazo rejects his offer and tells CCC the game was meant for him, but he must play it alone. And then the gang commits mass suicide. Man, Ford is messing with him from beyond the grave.
Flashback. It seems to be after the retirement party. Young William keeps Dolores around after everybody leaves to tell her she doesn’t mean anything but then he takes her back to Westworld to show her a special project. It’s some kind of excavation and I have no idea what it means.
In the present, Dolores and her group head toward the place William showed her in the flashback. She only tells Teddy that it’s a weapon and they can “use it to destroy them”.
–I can’t even wrap my mind around what this weapon is. I’m also a little confused by why Ford has a special game for William, when the theme of the first season was that the maze wasn’t meant for him. Unless he needs William to do something very specific and he knows the best way to manipulate him. That seems likely, actually.
I suggested this last season but William makes it clear this week – Delos is interested in Westworld for data mining purposes. By documenting experience, they can create a more valuable dossier of consumer preferences than, say, Facebook. And man, talk about some good luck with the scheduling – in the wake of Cambridge Analytica, this show definitely features an evil corporation tracking your every move.
Since we’re still playing catch-up, I just want to address a couple of casting things. Giancarlo Esposito is going to recur as El Lazo – obviously a head shot doesn’t kill anybody for good on this show. So after all that time on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul where he didn’t slip up and spoil anything, he suddenly got all loose-lipped and told people that he’s playing El Lazo this season. I love the guy and I’m glad to see him on the show, but that’s pretty funny.
We see William’s wife (and Logan’s sister) for the first time in person this week, and it’s the same actress who appeared in the photo last season. But. When they created the photo, they just pulled an image from Getty Images. She saw it and reached out to the producers. I like that. I think we all remember that we first saw LOST‘s Penny in a photograph and then she turned out to be a completely different person.
Finally, this came up last year but it’s weirder now. Talulah Riley, who plays Angela, is Elon Musk’s ex-wife. That’s kind of odd, but since Season One, she’s divorced him a second time. And now her character shoots tech guys and millionaires, so there’s clearly a whole thing there.
Another recap tomorrow. Things are getting wild!