If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Why don’t we start at the beginning? (HBO)
Writers: Carly Wray and Jonathan Nolan
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Running Time: 58mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)
While the first episode was more of a reintroduction to the chaos we left off with at the end of season one, this second episode entitled, “Reunion” wasted no time in showing us many different timelines and many different places both within the park and outside.
We begin the episode, with what looks to be the consistent norm, in conversation with Arnold and Dolores. At first, we are only shown a portion of the whole story as Arnold is preparing Dolores for an event that is taking place in the outside world. Staying true to character, there is a noticeable shift in how Arnold interacts with Dolores compared to a younger Ford as he questions him on whether or not she is ready for presentation. It made me wonder just how these two very different dreamers ever came together in the first place. On a side note, I also maintain the belief that in old age Ford came to better realize Arnold’s original vision and lead him to free Dolores from his control, but I’ll save that for my Westworld Conspiracy Corner (patent pending).
Evermore, we are teased with the possible location of the actual park and in this episode, the outside world seems to resemble that of a city located in or near China based on its building’s architecture and some of the off-handed lines by Logan, William, and Arnold in the episode. Arnold’s scenes with Dolores as they were walking to and eventually inside his home were fantastic. It was surprising how quickly the show moved outside of the park even if it was through a flashback but hopefully they continue to do so. This was the first time I began feeling truly sorry for Arnold’s original vision because we, as viewers, already know that the purity of it will be grossly corrupted and but at that moment with Dolores we are able to see him take joy in what he believes the future will bring him.
The more and more the show reveals about Arnold, it became more engrossing despite knowing how his story eventually ends. Seeing this play out backward almost makes it more tragic in some strange way. Later in the episode, we are shown just what Dolores wasn’t deemed ready for by way of the pitch meeting from the Argos Initiative to Logan Delos. And what an incredibly convincing pitch it was. It was easy to be surprised just as he was as he began to realize that every single being he was surrounded by was, in fact, a host that he was unable to distinguish from actual humans. This was a very impactful sequence that even as the viewer knew what was happening was still incredible to witness Logan’s raw reaction and exclamation that “We are not supposed to even be close to this” as the reality of what was in front of him began to sink in.
This was the moment that started everything and the show was allowing us to peek behind the curtain of it all. What’s more interesting to me were the lingering shots of the hosts during these scenes who almost appeared to be listening without seeming to be paying attention. Knowing what we know about the hosts in their current state, my mind immediately went to wanting to see Clementine, Dolores and Angela’s playback of this entire sequence as it was all being seen by three very different perspectives. And yes, Angela must have been a host with Maeve-like powers over the other hosts during that presentation.
Meanwhile in the present, both the William (MiB) and Dolores were on two very different paths that will seemingly lead to the same place according to MiB’s trusty guide, Lawrence. He stated that there was a lonely path through Paraiah as well as the road that went through the Confederados. MiB took the former with a great guest spot from Giancarlo Esposito who played El Lazo but more importantly played an extension of Ford’s consciousness that continues to goad William on even in death as he slowly makes his way to the door.
His path is one of loneliness that was stamped by the mass suicide of El Lazo’s men in an effort to keep MiB pushing forward without help, however, why Lawrence was spared is still a mystery to me. Dolores chose the other path that leads her to the Confederados and their reluctant recruitment to her cause. Why she needs an army, we aren’t really sure, but she seems to anticipate a fight looming where there will be the need for expendable hosts. In all honesty, Dolores (present day) is wearing a little thin on me as her character only speaks in round-a-bout sentences that are so mired with enigmatic meanings that she hasn’t really said anything of substance since back when she was with Arnold on his terrace 35 years ago. Hopefully, her ambiguousness will change as she progresses on her path to “the valley beyond.” Time will tell.
- Is the park really near China? I’m still holding out for another planet
- Dolores vs. Angela There was definite host shade being thrown around
- Argo’s pitch to Logan. WOW!
- Maeve was on the bench this episode and I didn’t really like that
- So. Many. Time Jumps.
- Want to see more of Jim Delos
- Some Delos employees still don’t know what’s happening topside. Crazy
- Delos’ procedure for a park shutdown definitely involved the beach from the last episode. Hmmmmm…..
- Sherriff Armistice has a nice ring to it.
- Confederado Last Supper shot was the highlight of the episode
- Kanye’s music set to piano = MONEY
- Logan’s “…fools fiddling…” monologue to Dolores was incredible. Both in content and in performance
- Juliet and Emily (MiB’s wife and kid). Strange to see them still happy knowing it’s not going to last
- As Clementine was playing piano, I kept waiting for her to Rick Roll us….again
- CRAZY THEORY INCOMING: I think “the weapon” is the hub for all of the DNA data collection on the guests over the years as well as a kill switch that will enable hosts to venture into other parks.
Overall, “Reunion” was a great episode that featured so much timeline jumping that it purposefully appeared not to let the viewer’s mind settle on a specific timeline before moving on. While doing so, it allowed us to see much of the build-up of the hosts and the park’s origins, helping snap to focus the tragic road of both Arnold and Ford at the hands of Delos. Also being shown the continued progression towards darkness in William, while off-putting at times, was a necessary evil in order for the park to truly become what we are seeing in the present day.
However, discovering that it was William who first thought of the idea to draw information on the park’s guests for future benefit and that being the one aspect that sold Jim Delos on investing in the Argos Initiative caused a massive sense of guilt as it was reminiscent of all of the times from seeing the indulgences of the park and was cheering for even more. What remains to be engaging is the prospect of Arnold’s original vision and now see just how badly it was perverted. At this moment, burning it all down doesn’t look that bleak of an option.