If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: We each deserve to choose our own fate. (HBO)
Writer: Carly Wray
Director: Tarik Saleh
Running Time: 58mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)
On the surface, Phase Space seemed to be nothing particularly special of an episode. It touched on all of the circulating stories within Westworld, (and Shogun World) pushing them ever so slightly forward while still managing to tease what is to come in the following weeks once the Delos rescue units arrive. However, if you managed to look a little deeper, you would witness that Westworld is positioning the narrative to venture into some truly interesting and frightening territory in the coming weeks.
The first indication of this came through Bernard and Dolores’ conversation to start the episode. The mic drop came when the interviewer/interviewee roles were switched with Dolores grilling Bernard about his choice of dialogue and then dropping the word “fidelity” on him. Their back and forth implies that she’s speaking with Arnold’s consciousness that has been successfully reanimated into a host. Ford seems to be using Dolores as the “constant” to help drive the conversation and monitor his progress and for the most part, it seems to have worked. This one moment now gives way to questioning every single guest and host’s existence within the parks. Are they truly hosts? truly guests? Former humans-turned-host? Ahhhhh…..this show……
Next, we see Charlotte Hale and Stubbs in what’s referenced as a week after the Gala massacre. She is in possession of Abernathy and for some reason entrusts his care with Delos employees fully expecting them to take care of him without incident. For someone seemingly so intelligent, she’s making some really stupid decisions. Nevertheless, Abernathy doesn’t seem to be going anywhere after being crucified on one of the operating tables for safekeeping. Later in the episode, we see Delos’ cavalry arrive immediately bringing to attention what has been a long time coming for one and a half seasons: Ashley? Ashley Stubbs? That was cold. The man survived Ghost Nation and a major assault and you’re going in on his name? Funny but cold.
Karl Strand’s absence was peculiar because it implies that he wasn’t a part of Delos’ first wave of rescuers and appears to be the last resort for the company. Dolores & the gang seem to be heading Charlotte’s way in order to obtain Abernathy. This feels like a grasping-at-straws attempt to have Dolores’ character in search of more than just death in order to make her seem to have more layers, however, it has had the opposite effect. It’s easy to almost feel guilty for this because she started out as someone worth rooting for but now has become a nuisance onscreen. Hopefully, that will change in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, back in Shogun World, we pick up with Maeve right where we left off, surrounded by the aftermath of her carnage. The group heads to the park’s mountain region in order to pay respects to Sakura but get stopped by Tanaka, a host who has a score to settle with Akane and Musashi. In the end, we are treated to an incredible samurai battle between Musashi and Tanaka that left me questioning whether or not their fight was better than all of last week’s episode. Maeve’s group makes it to the mountain and Sakura’s heart was properly honored as well as the discovery of a way back to Westworld. By episode’s end, Maeve is reunited with her daughter, however, Maeve’s matriarchal role has been replaced by another host looking similar to her.
Just as their loop dictates, Ghost Nation arrives and while Maeve’s first instinct is to run with her faux-daughter this occurrence feels different with the presence of Akecheta, the Ghost Nation warrior who whispered sweet nothings in Stubbs’ ear a couple of episodes back. He indicates that both he and Maeve are on a similar path which hopefully doesn’t involve daughters and instead includes some real character development for a change. While the daughter storyline has begun to become endearing, one can’t help but notice the attention that has been shown to Maeve seeing Akane and Sakura resemble her same journey. It seems to have served as a reminder to Maeve that there is more after her daughter and she needs to be prepared. Let’s hope that Ghost Nation can provide her some new direction because as one of the most interesting character’s on the show, there has to be more to her story beyond this.
It’s hard to tell if the MiB took a major step forward with the presence of his daughter now in his storyline. The MiB was quick to place his guard up against Grace at first thinking that she was a host sent by Ford to really mess with his head but once realizing that she was, in fact, real that she was there to make fun of him as he chose his method of death via the parks. They shared a touching moment around the campfire as Grace recanted her accusing of her father being the sole motivation for her mother’s suicide and not wanting this to be the last impression of her father. For a minute, the focus shifted to the series of adventures that MiB and Grace would go on, thus bringing them closer and MiB back from the brink of oblivion.
Then reality set in when Grace met with him stealing away in the night and leaving her there with a random host poking a stick into a fire. Well played MiB, well played. Many people are attempting to draw attention to the fact that MiB blatantly got Grace’s favorite thing about The Raj wrong and because of this lapse in memory it furthers the theory that he is a host. This is unlikely. His lapse in memory was more of a moment that caused their conversation, which was beginning to head in a solid direction, to stall slightly preventing Grace from truly breaking through to him. Then again, he did just up and leave. An emotionally detached host would definitely pull that move.
Lastly, we visit Elsie and Bernard enter The Mesa in order to reach The Cradle, the neural network that houses every single host within the parks. Their intent is to override the block that The Cradle is delivering to every attempt to reset all of the hosts. The only way to do that is for Bernard to enter The Cradle in order to gather enough information to complete their mission. We get some glimpses of Bernard having already been in that same room with the Core Unit that we saw made several episodes back. The fan theory wheels barely have time to begin turning before we are treated to Bernard coming face to face with Ford’s presence within The Cradle. This one moment manages to explain so many previous things that have occurred while still leaving us to wonder what this means for the coming weeks as this is taking place before Delos’ rescuers arrive. This was shocking to see as it always seemed that Ford, or his consciousness, had to be somewhere in the park but didn’t expect it like this. His presence now leaves open multiple possibilities for where the rest of this season will go.
On its surface, Phase Space only appeared to offer some progress forwards for our characters with some answers being given but yet again, so many more questions being generated in their place. However, if reexamined more closely, it is sneakily setting the stage for some major plot points to drastically change. With the reemergence of Ford back into the main narrative, the possibilities are endless as to where all of the hosts and guests can now go. It is now fairly apparent that Ford has succeeded where the MiB failed in managing to implant a person’s consciousness into a host’s body. This concept causes us to question literally every single character in this show and to question just how/why they exist within the park. The kid gloves are clearly off with Westworld and if you’re struggling to keep up or pay attention to the details you might as well consider yourself no different to the Delos employee on the train speeding towards The Mesa.
- Help us Karl Strand, you’re our only hope!
- Musashi vs Tanaka was brutal and I loved every second
- THEORY: Every time we have seen human Arnold it has actually been host Arnold. The real Arnold died long ago and Ford has successfully transported consciousness into a host. It was only recently that he started short-circuiting a la Jim Delos.
- When I saw Ford inside The Cradle, I had the same reaction as Bernard from season one when he was recalling all of his memories (eye twitching)
- What the heck is Ghost Nation’s endgame?
- Ashley………..Stubbs………….dang that’s cold
- MiB straight up left his daughter! She is part of his path to redemption but he’s just not ready.
- The Core Unit Bernard made was of Ford who is now in The Cradle
- I don’t like new Teddy. Come back to us Teddy.
- Am I the only one that wants a long take of Charlotte Hale’s face when she realizes that Abernathy is empty??? I hope it’s while the room is exploding around her. Sorry. Not sorry.