Westworld Review: Phase Space (Season 2 Episode 6)

Westworld Season 2 Episode 6
Dolores’s train heads for hell. Maeve pursues her daughter. The MiB outsmarts his own. Bernard meets his creator, again.

On Westworld Season 2 Episode 6, “Phase Space,” Dolores sees her end goal (literally and figuratively) but might not be getting what she intended in all realms of her plan. Maeve finds her daughter, but is surprised to find the script for that story has changed too. As the human creators begin to feel something for their hosts, it might be just a tad too late. 

Arnold, Is That You?

It’s a continuation of the Arnold and Dolores discussion, the promise of what is to become of her becoming ominous. But far more ominous is her correcting Arnold, claiming the test is for fidelity, something like Jim Delos and William. It now seems that Dolores isn’t talking to Arnold, but perhaps an early rendering of Arnold. Dolores’s correction of Arnold is specific too: she’s making sure that the host understands that Arnold had agency and that wasn’t what he was questioning, but rather that he was questioning if he should act on that agency. For a show that rests on the idea of agency, it seems a pretty important distinction, and one that Dolores is quite particularly fitted to make. So, did Bernard become who he was because he could never be Arnold? Was there never enough fidelity?

A Fixed Teddy

And speaking of becoming someone else, Teddy seems to be a different kind of man altogether. Even Dolores seems a little sketchy and jumpy around him, and tries to reign him in by his memories, but he doesn’t seem to care about what happened. He declares that she “fixed” him, but the audience may not be so sure he means it that way. It seems the resetting of Teddy might not be exactly what Dolores intended. As she tries to find out more information on her father, Teddy takes matters into his own hands. But, seemingly at the mention of the Mesa (with a fly buzzing around him in the background), Teddy shoots their informant, something he wasn’t willing to do before. Despite Angela being thrilled, their leader seems to have a different mindset. Dolores, what kind of hell have you wrought?

Stubbs’s Sympathy

Just before Charlotte Hale calls in the recon team, which inevitability comes, she declares that it’s been a week, putting this leg of the time jump seemingly just before Bernard washes ashore. (If that even is Bernard.) It also means Peter Abernathy slips through Charlotte’s grip and Dolores, or someone else, brings even more hell upon them. Charlotte takes drastic measures and has some men staple him down, much to Stubbs’ disgust. It seems that, much like Lutz and some other employees of the park, he’s begun to feel something for the hosts. So, does this mean he gets to go to the valley beyond? Who chooses? If it’s Dolores, somehow my bet is that she votes no on Stubbs. There’s no gray area for her, or her new executioner it seems.

A Voice and a Choice

Back in Shogun World, Maeve has destroyed the last of their enemies, and Musashi has to do the same to his. Maeve declares that everyone has to choose their fate, giving Musashi his justice and us a great fight scene, and the line between she and Dolores has never been clearer. She is allowing the people around her to choose their own destiny, whereas Dolores, despite being controlled and fighting that control, still issues it to the people around her. Altering Teddy, the very person that she declared she loved, is the finest implementation of her twisted ideology that she has used for her own ends rather than for the betterment of those around her. Despite meaning that she may leave people to die, Maeve allows them the choice; despite having real control, she gives the power to the people around her.

As they enter hell, Maeve and her growing company reaches Sakura’s home, where Akane lays her to rest and Lee opens the door that will lead them back to the tunnels (literally). Lutz and Sylvester offer their usual flash of comedy before leading the company back down to below level. Akane and Musashi choose to remain in their world, their personal freedoms granted where they are. Despite arguably not being as awake as Maeve, Akane and Musashi make their own choices, and so does Hanaryo, who decides to join the brigade of misfits, becoming a arrow-wielding sharpshooter amongst gunslingers.

Daughters: A Two-Act Story, the First Act

As a mother says goodbye to a daughter, a father greets his. Despite the MiB believing himself to be deceived, that his daughter isn’t his real daughter, but an amalgamation of Ford’s treacherous game and his own past come back to haunt him, they find themselves at a sort of reconciliation, if only for an evening. The MiB and Grace share some family memories, despite that the MiB is remembering them a little differently, wrong in his daughter’s eyes. Confusing his wife and daughter seems like an important point of contention for the MiB; it isn’t so much that the didn’t listen, it’s that he couldn’t differentiate. The only thing of fascination was inside the walls of the park, not outside, and it began when he first came with Logan and met Dolores. The fact that his wife wasn’t convinced the park couldn’t hurt them seems to be the exact reason why both he and his daughter delight in it. The “good guy” act that Grace refers to is the perfect bridging of the two characters, the MiB and William, and it’s the part he plays seamlessly in order to get his daughter to trust him. It seems like he hasn’t lost that streak of disingenuous behavior. Old habits die hard, as they say.

The Cradle’s Circuitry

Elsie’s digging through code reveals that the Cradle, effectively the hosts’ backups, is rewriting the system; it’s fighting back with countermeasures, improvising as it goes. Bernard and Elsie realize they have to go to the Cradle itself to figure out what exactly is rewriting the systems, and how. The Cradle prompts a memory from Bernard, and finally, we come to realize that the little brain Bernard was cooking up was placed in the Cradle. The question is: whose is it? If the Cradle is rewriting itself, it would need the master of Westworld’s writing to do it. That means Ford’s in the Cradle. Begrudgingly, Elsie sends Bernard into the Cradle, with him giving the badass line of “pain’s just a program”. Put directly into the Cradle, which seems to be an unvisited Westworld completely untainted with all of the hosts simply doing what they’ve always done, Bernard wakes up à la Teddy on the train. It also seems symbolic because, as he ventures inward, Dolores and her troops venture outward through the very same machine. The only thing left to ask is: who will find the answers they’re looking for first? And will Bernard ever be able to be himself again after this? (He doesn’t seem himself, have I mentioned that?)

Daughters: A Two-Act Story, the Second Act

The recon team arrives and they hilariously but rudely greet Stubbs. They, however, don’t seem familiar, so my guess is they don’t make it. But someone has finally made it. Maeve is staring at her homestead, hoping her daughter is still there. (As a sidebar: that’s a genius and clever spot to put an entry point, also symbolic because of it being a burial spot, as death and life are the highly debated and sought after realities of the show.)

The MiB finds himself at the mercy of the Ghost Nation, but seemingly, especially shown in the other episodes, their motives not be at all what the MiB thinks. They, however, do tie the MiB and Maeve together, as they were the scripted force that overtook Maeve and her daughter, only to be subdued by the MiB, who ultimately became the worse villain, killing she and her daughter, prompting an awakening from both parties. It seems destined that the MiB and Maeve will face off again, if only for one last time. Maeve reaches her daughter, but realizes that she’s been overwritten; her daughter has a new mother in the script, and her daughter doesn’t seem to know who she is. Not everyone is awake, after all. And now, rather than see it from the mother’s point of view, Maeve knows how the story ends when the Ghost Nation arrives, but now it seems different this time. The Ghost Nation declares that they are bound for the same path, and it seems that he’s the one who told Stubbs the prophetic words of that you only live as long as the people who remember you. Meanwhile, Lee seemingly begrudgingly calls for help and Lutz chooses to assist the hosts.

The Blinking Light of the Train

The train’s working! Dolores, Teddy, Zombie Clementine, Angela, and their hellhound-like squad are bound for somewhere, and they leave the one human they had behind. Meanwhile, at the Mesa, the system is booted up just in time for them to realize there’s something en route to them. Dolores is on her way. (As a sound bite: the leader of the recon team has the best line of the entire season: “that’s got to be the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard and I’ve been to three inaugurations”.)

A Man and His Dog

As Dolores enters the Mesa, we rejoin Bernard as he enters the Cradle. He sees Dolores, in her blue dress, living her life the way the audience has become so familiar with it, and then Bernard spots something unusual for the western terrain, and particularly all too neatly tied up with the story of his creator: a greyhound. Teddy walks by, probably in pursuit of Dolores, a callback to simpler times, and Bernard enters the Mariposa. Playing the piano, not too dissimilar to the way Dolores opened the episode, but this time with the greyhound lying at his feet, we find the man of Westworld himself. Ford is back! I guess now we don’t have to wonder who’s been running the show. He indeed became his own music.

 

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What did you think of Westworld Season 2 Episode 6? Will Bernard be himself? In place of Abernathy, will he become the host of the IP? Will Ford finally explain what’s been going on? Will Dolores get her carnage-filled victory? How does Teddy die? Does the MiB finally lose? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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