Season 2, Episode 10: “The Passenger”
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye
Written by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Vanishing Point” – click here
* Season 3 recaps & reviews to come next year!
We see one of the tests with Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright)— tests we once viewed in a highly different like, not knowing their true nature. Dolores wonders about the real Bernard, not the version of him that’s survived in the machinery. She begins “trial 11,927” for another round of questions and testing. Quite the beta phase for ole Bernie.
Speaking of, he’s out in the midst of the desert by himself. Looking towards the Valley Beyond. Elsewhere, Dolores mourns the suicide of Teddy Flood (James Marsden), particularly given the fact she’s partly responsible. She’s doing a good thing in her rebellion. But she’s also found out about the negatives to power, and manipulating the man she claimed to love turned out very bad.
When Dolores moves on she finds none other than William (Ed Harris) up in the hills, digging into the flesh of his forearm. She pulls her gun on him. Until they have a chat about their respective losses, then she decides the Man in Black is going with her on the last leg of her journey. Fate’s brought them back together in a very curious way.
The Ghost Nation are pushing towards the Valley Beyond. At the same time, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) is using Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) as a leader for their armed troops, taking everybody to lead a new slaughter she’s directing. Back at the facility, Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) is facing a technician about to finish her off, so she puts her powers of manipulation to good use, summoning some of her host friends to save her. This is all she needs to restore herself to full health properly. Simultaneously, Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) has found Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), cowering in a corner after what he’s done. Ever the outlaw heroes, Hector and Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) head further. They witness a veritable running of the bulls, unleashed by Maeve, whose power is back to beyond even its original strength.
Bernard is headed for a bunker in the desert when he’s stopped by a couple armed men. That’s when the men are attacked by William and Dolores, like two Wild West partners. Another strange reunion, especially considering ole Bill’s been looking for Arnold, that consciousness stowed away in Bernard. While Dolores and her old pal chat, the Man in Black shoots her in the back. This doesn’t hurt her, she walks right into more of his bullets taunting him: “Your species needs death.” Before he can put a bullet in her brain he nearly blows his fingers off, after she put a dud bullet in there before giving him over the gun. This subdues him, while she and Bernard go inside the nearby bunker.
Then Bernard comes to, he’s on the beach with Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), Hale, and Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård). Soon everyone arrives at the Forge. First, Bernard and Dolores. A little later it’s Strand and the others. Except they find a seemingly dead Dolores! We skip back to when Bernard and Dolores arrived. She was searching through the records, hoping to begin the process of “mankind‘s undoing.” The two of them link up to the machine together…
Then, they come out into Sweetwater again. They find James Delos (Peter Mullan) at the saloon, presiding over the new world he’s purchased. Outside, guns fire. Delos is a madman, shooting people everywhere, screaming. Bernard tells Dolores it’s all part of the system running through possibilities, scenarios, et cetera. But Dolores needs to go deeper into the system.
At a soiree, Dolores runs into Logan (Ben Barnes). He’s a control system, the one copying all the guests’ data. We come to see a defining moment in the life of James, involving Logan. The son and father had a shattered relationship, ending with Logan’s overdose. Throughout all the human testing the company determined humans are “deceptively simple.” Yeah, no shit.
Finally, Logan takes them to a library, the warehouse of human knowledge— literally, books upon books of all the data collected on the guests, a storage facility of people in a simple form of media. This is, in effect, a way for the hosts – or a host – to figure out how to live in the outside world.
While the rest of his group gets away, Lee sacrifices himself, giving the speech meant for Hector so that Maeve can lead them onward. He does a heroic act after so much villainy behind the scenes. He’s gunned down by armed men while his host friends escape.
In the midst of the desert there’s a massive crack, like the opening between worlds. Everyone can see it from great distances. This is an entrance to the Valley Beyond. All the hosts are heading for The Door, from Maeve to the Ghost Nation to all the rest. It’s all in terms of consciousness, though. The bodies are discarded, whereas the consciousness uploads to the Forge. “Another false promise” is how Dolores sees it, even if it was agency that led them to their destination. It’s all simulation, none of it’s real.
When Dolores goes back, she decides on destroying humanity. She wants to flood everything, getting rid of the hosts and humans in one go. This is the only way she sees forward. Again, it’s all created worlds, and none of it means anything. She wants something real— reality is the very thing which humans deny their creations.
At the entrance to the valley, Maeve sees Clementine riding towards them, influencing the hosts as she goes and turning them on themselves. Like Death riding the pale horse. Maeve and Hector move faster towards the Valley Beyond, and Armistice shoots Clementine from her horse. This doesn’t stop the chaotic madness. Murder and mayhem erupt throughout the hosts in a chain reaction. So Hector sends Maeve on while he remains behind.
Ole William comes to in the desert, half his hand shot off. But he’s still kicking, and he’s got a big fucking knife! He heads for the bunker, where Dolores and Bernard are having their stand off over her plans for humanity and their kind. This is when Bernard pulls a gun on her. He won’t allow her to do anything else, pulling the trigger right in her face.
Near the opening to the Valley Beyond, Maeve finds her daughter and her other mother. She gives her daughter the strength necessary to make it through safely, Aekecheta (Zahn McClarnon) helps get her all the way across, too. Maeve is gunned down by armed men as she halts the chaos of the hosts long enough for her friends to get to the other side, not able to get there herself. Just as the entrance closes once more.
After Bernard shoots Dolores he halts the rest of the process she started, though the flooding “fail–safe” has started. Up in the desert, the armed men are finishing off more hosts. The place is starting to flood. Bernard hitches a ride with Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) while everything crumbles. He’s conflicted about everything now, but Elsie tries to convince him she can keep him away from Hale. Doesn’t work, because Charlotte kills her, leaving Bernie in the lurch.
He comes to back down in the Forge, next to the corpse of Dolores, and Hale continuing her manipulations. She wants “the pearl“— that orb of data taken from Mr. Abernathy. She finds it hidden in Dolores. And Bernard, desperate for help, summons Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) from his subconscious system. He realises humans are just “algorithms” designed to “survive at all costs.” He and Ford have a significant conversation about survival.