3×02: “The Winter Line”
Directed by Richard J. Lewis
Written by Matthew Pitts & Lisa Joy
* For a recap & review of 3×01, “Parce Domine” – click here
* For a recap & review of 3×03, “The Absence of Field” – click here
In a Nazi-occupied Italy— Warworld— Maeve’s locked up with a German tied to a chair. She hears someone coming to the door and she gets them at gunpoint only to realise it’s a friendly face, Hector Escaton. They’re reunited across space and time, “stranded in Hell.” Now they’re going to flee. Hector may have a way out. He hands over a cyanide tablet so both he and Maeve have one so they can kill themselves should they be caught. They head off past several public spaces filled with armed German soldiers. Eventually they reach a bridge and nearly make it across before they’re found by three Nazis, who discover plans Ettore was hoping to smuggle out to the Allies. Things nearly go sideways until Maeve jams the cyanide tablet right in one of the soldiers’ eyes so she and Ettore can sneak off— noticeable her previous powers don’t appear to work.
The pair make it to a fancy car, giving them a faster way across treacherous territory towards a military plane. They get in and see the pilots have been shot dead. And this is when Maeve finally puts it together: Hector’s Ettore, an Italian, he’s playing a role, and he has no clue who Maeve is outside their preordained parts. Nazis are there to stop Ettore. They face each other down with pistols. The whole scene plays out violently for Ettore and the two Nazis. Maeve tells a dying Ettore: “None of it matters.”
After that she puts a gun to her head and pulls the trigger.
Maeve later wakes on one of those tables being worked prodded by technicians, one of whom she’s seen before, Lutz. She gets up once they’re gone and grabs a knife. She sees Hector in a pile of artificial flesh with other hosts, then she’s noticed and flanked by security. She’s about to end herself when Lee Sizemore turns up, playing up a ruse to get the armed men out. “This is art— my art!” he yells at them. Lee survived, albeit banged up pretty good, after the massacre. He didn’t want to leave his greatest creation behind. He tells Maeve he placed her in Warworld because it’s next to the Forge, the place that “opens the door” to her daughter’s world.
Once more Bernard Lowe has returned to Westworld, pulling up onshore and making his way inland. He passes the burned church and all the other bits of wasteland from when the chaos occurred. He makes it back to the house below which sits one of those labs, where all his old work is left waiting. There’s another Bernard clone, and there’s also Ashley Stubbs, not quite dead after attempting to shoot himself. Turns out Stubbs is a host. So, Bernard patches him up. They talk about Dolores and her plans to “destroy the human race or enslave it“— Bernard’s worried, he needs help to stop whatever Dolores is planning in her rage. He’s come back to Westworld to look for Maeve. In lieu of his equipment working he has Stubbs, whose duty and honour in his purpose wills him to help Bernie.
The Nazi-occupied Italy routine starts over and Maeve plays the part again. This time, she ditches Ettore and the car for Lee and a couple horses, heading towards the Forge. When they arrive Maeve says she’s never been there, and Lee wonders how things went down during the massacre, leading them to realise it was Dolores who’d done it all herself. Looks like Lee isn’t Lee after all, either. He’s just a host in Lee’s skin.
Simultaneously, Stubbs and Bernard are looking for Maeve. They don’t find her in storage, seeing that her neural components have been plucked out. Maeve’s piecing together that everything she’s been experiencing is a deeper illusion, from the labs and Warworld itself is “a construct” locking her away someplace.
In Maeve’s own words: where the fuck is she? And who’s doing it to her?
She’ll have to get cracking on the detective work. Good thing Maeve’s smarter than anyone around her at any given time. She goes looking through the copied Lee’s things at his office, seeking any leads as a result of human laziness. Because humans like to think they’re perfect but the machines they built are actually perfect. Don’t piss ’em off. Gradually, Maeve figures out this fake world and starts to play with its rules.
“I understand the nature of my reality”
Stubbs and Bernard arrive at the labs in Park 4. They walk past interesting things, like a massive robot dragon and a couple royals being entertained with a medieval lute. They get to an office where Bernard checks the system looking for Maeve. The results show she’s not able to be located. Bernard thinks some of Dolores’s measures may have complicated things for him. He uses the technology there to hook up to his network, looking to root out any corruptions in his system. He catches flickering moments of Dolores and Hale. He and Stubbs are interrupted by armed men whom the latter has to fend off brutally so the former can finish a little “introspection.” Not good when an alarm’s sounded, putting their plans in more jeopardy. Stubbs decides to get medieval on the security team’s asses with an axe.
The Warworld simulation begins anew. Maeve’s manipulated things to turn the tables on the Nazis, creating absolute madness when she fires a bullet and starts a gunfight. Everything goes haywire and she’s “crippled the simulation.” Everyone stands in place, even Lee with a bullet inches from his eyes. Maeve’s tracked things back to the source, seeing a factory-like setting guarded by large robots. Her neural components are being housed there. She uses a drone (love how Maeve refers to it as ‘she’) there to do the work. She goes limp as the drone takes hold of the components, then the drone kicks the shit out of the armed men trying to stop it. But then it’s gunned down outside, dropping Maeve’s neural components on the ground. Shit.
When Maeve wakes up this time she comes to in a mansion where she meets Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel), one of Rehoboam’s creators. He explains they’re in the “middle of a war” that hasn’t entirely happened yet. He’s concerned with the future, both preparing for it and creating it, as well. He doesn’t particularly love humans or human history, seeing it as a lot of chaos and thuggish nastiness. “For the first time, history has an author,” he says. Serac then goes on to talk about Dolores. He wants Maeve to find Dolores and kill her. He also basically has total control over her.
Another great episode. Such a solid follow-up to the premiere, again expanding on the world(s) already created by Westworld. Should only get wilder from here. Love the role Thandie Newton plays and it’s so wonderful to watch that expand, too.
“The Absence of Field” is next.