Season 2, Episode 6: “Phase Space”
Directed by Tarik Saleh
Written by Carly Wray
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Akane No Mai” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Les Ecorches” – click here
We begin with one of those familiar sessions between Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), the latter worried about who she “might become.” Quite the moment to see now, in hindsight. Back then, Bernard was struggling with making a choice, about how to handle whether Dolores will eventually expand beyond what Westworld is. Although soon we see this isn’t exactly the past. Dolores is controlling Bernard, doing a test. She tests for “fidelity.” Ah, yes, we’ve seen this before with Delos himself. This is quite interesting, and I’m curious as to what Dolores has in mind as an endgame.
Sweetwater is a mess of dead bodies littered everywhere. The whorehouse/saloon is where Dolores sits and plays piano, whereas Teddy Flood (James Marsden) seems confused about her intentions. She’s manipulating him, we know this already, so anything he does from here on in is not agency or autonomy on his part, but rather her puppeteering. He’s no longer a meek, mild-mannered man, he’s ruthless and without emotion, killing men without Dolores even needing to tell him. Unlike before, when he used discretion against Craddock. Not a good sign.
At the inner Westworld Delos facility, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) have Peter Abernathy (Louis Berthum) in their clutches. They go and have him secured by some of the men, keeping him immobile for the time being. What do they do? Basically, a crucifixion.
In Shōgunworld, Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) stands in the midst of absolute carnage, blood and corpses everywhere after she took ultimate control of everyone and everything around her. She also keeps seeing the grim similarities between her her Japanese counterpart. Despite a partial victory there’s still so much tragedy. Nevertheless, Maeve continues using her abilities to keep her and her new friends safe. Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), and Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) have wound up in the clutches of the rival samurai. But then a duel presents itself, between Musashi and their captor, Tanaka (Masayoshi Haneda), a long-time nemesis. And so the warriors duel, sword to sword in the streets. After a while, Musashi cuts off one of Tanaka’s hands, and before Tanaka can commit seppuku, Musashi beheads him. GODDAMN! What a samurai fight scene.
On the plains, old Bill (Ed Harris) and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) and their fellow riders – including the Man in Black’s daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers) – are riding on towards their destination. Bill’s convinced it isn’t his daughter, that she’s Delos Incorporated choosing to “stoop this low” as to make a host out of her. She’s just trying to get out of there. Not just that, she’s a real good shot, too.
Elsewhere on the Westworld plains is Bernard, alongside Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward). They’ve found their way back to a main Delos facility, where more carnage aftermath lies. Elsie checks the system, looking into what Quality Assurance have been doing. She and Bernard discover there are troubling things going inside the overall system of the Westworld park with the Cradle. As if there’s something “improvising” and evolving inside. They can’t access it via computer, either – they have to go straight to the source.
“We each deserve to choose our fate. Even if that fate is death.”
Some of Maeve’s Japanese friends opt not to go further with her, though she’s thanked for helping them to see a way towards their own liberation. She is a warrior and a leader, one who’s having a positive effect on those around her even if she’s got to kill a few people. Unlike Dolores, whose leadership’s already changed Teddy for the worse. The juxtaposed positions of Maeve and Dolores are especially interesting. Now, Maeve is going back to the plains of Westworld, where she’ll hopefully locate her daughter after all this time.
Around a fire, Bill and Emily have a brief chat. The daughter and father are most certainly estranged. She was invited by Ms. Hale for a big gala. The two talk about their shared connection – his wife, her mother – and Emily also taunts dad a bit, using Westworld itself against him somewhat. She claims she’s there to drag him back to the real world, rather than let him go “suicide by robot” or whatever else he plans on doing. However, his obsession is deep and dark. He’s not going to walk out of there like he says when he lies to his daughter.
Elsie and Bernard get to one of the other facilities, where he puts himself in a machine to allow his brain’s core to be taken out. Doesn’t even have time to let the pain go numb, but Bernie says fuck it, man. While Elsie does her thing, Bernard wakes up someplace else, on a train. He’s heading into Sweetwater, in fact. Then he walks into town, wandering like a ghost.
“The pain’s just a program”
Maeve goes on the final leg of her journey alone, down over the range to seek out her daughter (Jasmyn Rae) in that small house amongst the plains. There the girl sits, playing with her dolls. Maeve soon sees things have changed, irreparably. The girl has a new mother, and the Indigenous warriors return to push forward the same narrative Maeve once lived and died in, over and over. This sends her running with her daughter, leaving the other mother behind. One of the warriors, Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) stops to tell her they are “on the same path.” Only violence erupts between the Indigenous tribe and the rest of Maeve’s friends.
Inside the Delos facility, a new guy named Coughlin (Timothy V. Murphy) and his mercenary-like team arrive. He’s running the show, even with Charlotte around. He’s trying to get a grip on the situation when he sees that a train’s moving.
On the train, Dolores and Teddy continue with their plans, setting one of the carriages free. They’re sending it in towards the tunnel from the outside world, where it detonates full of the explosives they harvested. Oh, shit.
And Bernard’s currently still wandering around Sweetwater, in some other piece of his robotic consciousness. He sees Dolores in the street, he sees all sorts of people. Then he notices a dog run into the saloon, so he follows it, noticing Teddy walk past him. The dog sits by a man playing piano. And who is that man? Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). “Hello, old friend,” he greets Bernard. (Love that he’s sitting at the player piano; a compelling image.)
Man, Westworld Season 2 continues paying off, and also keeps adding layers to its intricate mysteries. Love this series, love to see it getting better, too. “Les Ecorches” is next time.