Westworld: ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ Episode Review

The latest episode of Westworld maybe one of the strongest episodes of the series yet. If not then it’s at least the best episode of this season so far. While season 2 has started off slowly this weeks episode kicks the season into high gear as there is a lot of interesting stuff that is revealed going on both inside and outside the park.

With that being said lets get into the events of the latest episode of Westworld which is titled: “The Riddle of the Sphinx”

William and James Delos

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The episode starts with a montage showing the daily routine of James Delos’s (Logan’s Father). While the camera pans around this beautiful apartment you notice straight away that James isn’t well at all, this was implied in the last episode at his retirement party when he was talking to William I noticed him coughing and being short on his breath every time he spoke. It’s quite strong imagery that below the surface of this beautiful property is a man who is breaking down struggling to survive. James is soon visited by William who by this time after his first visit to the park is in full control of the company. While is isn’t spelled out straightway what’s going on jumping forward into the middle of the episode we find out that James has actually been dead for 7 years. What William has done for him looks to be groundbreaking, he’s taken his mind and put it into a hosts body. However while James appears to be healthier than ever in his new body the company’s experiment hasn’t worked as he keeps breaking down from what William calls ‘Cognitive Plateau’. This has led the company building up to 149 versions of James all with the same result. From what it looked like while his mind was implanted in this new body it was rejecting reality. William compared his condition to when someone receives a new liver and how it rejects its new body. This leads to William claiming how this whole enterprise was a failure. But what enterprise? When William and James met earlier in the season his whole aim was to store the information from the guests and sell them to marketing firms. Now that looks like it has changed, it seems like they are trying to prolong life, to make people live on forever. Or was this just a one time experiment for Mr. Delos? Also from their conversations we find out that Logan died recently due to an overdose. By the end of the episode it really feels like William is torturing James by telling him how everyone around him is dead and how “Some men are just better off dead” when he refuses to carry on this experiment. I mean as the song at the start of the episode implies William is playing with fire with this experiment by trying to stop how death works.  The scenes with these two was easily my favourite part of the episode. At times it was very emotional and I even found myself feeling sorry for Mr. James which was helped by the actor’s great performance.

The return of Elsie

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One of the episode’s biggest surprises is the return of Elsie as the last time we saw her was during season one as she was being choked out. At the time we didn’t know who by because we weren’t sure is Bernard was a host at the time but she did confirm it was him who attacked her in this episode. As for Bernard his condition isn’t improving at all as he is in need of cardinal fluid, he cannot even recall what he did to Elsie. It’s revealed that through Bernard Ford has been protecting Elsie this whole time because of what she knows about the park. Either way Elsie still doesn’t trust Bernard and to be honest I don’t either. Their scenes take place in this lab which at first I thought was the same lab Bernard and Charlotte were in earlier this season. As we start to see flashbacks from another timeline it’s shown how Bernard kills everyone in the lab. It also looks like they were creating these new devices in the lab. These new devices could be used to store the mind of people which is then put into a new body like we saw with Mr. Delos. This theory seems more plausible because by the end of this episode we find out that this lab was the place that was used to keep Mr. Delos in. It’s revelations such as this that make me love the show in general. I honestly paid it no mind where he was located at the start of the episode because I didn’t think it was that important. To find out he was in the park all this time was a great reveal. By the end of the episode as Elsie is still finding it hard to trust Bernard he says “For the first time I get to decide who I want to be”. Has Bernard reached full consciousness already? Personally I don’t think so as I feel Ford is still in control of his actions and will be for the rest of this season.

The Man in Black’s journey

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The Man in Black or William as we also know him really took centre stage of this episode both when he’s inside and outside the park. Going back into the park we follow his journey to find ‘The Door’ and he runs into the Confederados who have occupied Lawrence’s hometown. Ironically they’re the same members that Teddy let go in the last episode. Maybe Dolores was right and he should’ve killed them because once they find Lawrence’s hometown they do nothing but take out their frustrations from being betrayed by Dolores on the locals. What I found most interesting about the scenes with the Confederados is how the leader whose name is currently slipping my mind acts exactly how The Man in Black did when he visited the same town in the first season. One clear similarity is how he starts to dance with Lawrence’s wife which is exactly what The Man in Black did too. However unlike his actions in season one this time The Man in Black has somewhat had a change in heart and actually saves Lawrence and his wife. During her rescue we are shown footage of William running up the stairs to find his wife who had committed suicide. While he couldn’t save his own wife’s life I thought it was a nice touch that this time he was able to save Lawrence’s wife. However what does this mean for the Man in Black? Has he changed now? He claimed at the beginning of the season how the journey would let him wipe the slate clean but that’s not the case. Acts such as saving Lawrence and his family don’t outweigh everything else he’s done in the park. This is shown as Ford takes control over Lawrence’s daughter and tells him “One good deed doesn’t change that” and that he’s looking in the wrong direction. It will be interesting to see how he acts going forward. One last thing I want to add is how last time when The Man in Black was looking to recruit Confederados for his journey Ford took over and killed them. However by the end of this episode when he recruits Lawrence and his cousins Ford doesn’t intervene. Has he passed one of Ford’s tests? I found this really interesting.

The Man in Black’s daughter

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Speaking of going forward we finally get to find out who Grace really is. Having first being introduced to her in the first episode where she was in the Raj world I just knew she was linked to the park in someway. And it turns out she’s the daughter of the Man in Black. Given the circumstances of her mother’s death you can tell their relationship isn’t the best as even The Man in Black at one point during the episode claims his daughter wouldn’t mind seeing him be gunned down. Also there isn’t this emotional embrace when they see each other, you wouldn’t think they were father and daughter by the way they acted in this scene. It will be interesting to see throughout the rest of the season if their relationship will develop or not. One question I want answered about Grace is what’s she doing in the park? Did she go out of her way to look for her dad? What’s the deal? Also one last aspect that links in with Grace from this episode which I found interesting was we finally get to see the role of the Ghost Nation in the park. Instead of killing the humans they’re in fact protecting them playing a security role, it looks like they’re under the control of Ford. Of course while Ford isn’t physically at the park his presence is still felt because after all this is his narrative.

Overall I thought this was a really good episode, it might be one of my favourite episodes of the series so far. It’s definitely the strongest episode of the season so far and while the season started off slow this episode provides for a great watching that should satisfy all fans and have them greatly anticipating the next episode.

Let me know your thoughts on last night’s episode of Westworld.

Be sure to come back here again next week for my review of the next episode.

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Westworld: My Thoughts On Season 2 So Far

This article will contain spoilers from both season 1 and 2 of Westworld

Just last weekend I had stumbled across this new show Westworld. It was a show that I had always planned to get into thanks to the adverts that would grace my television every now and then. The blend of science fiction and western was something I couldn’t pass on. I had to at least give the first episode a try and before I knew it in the space of a weekend I had finished the first season, not to mention the countless podcasts and explanation videos I had to watch after each episode. I’m not ashamed to say that I found myself a bit confused during the season. But that was part of the beauty of the first season trying to work out how many timelines are currently going on and how this action would lead into an event further down the timeline. And by the end of the season finale I was really satisfied, they wrapped up a huge storyline while setting the stage for the Ford’s next story take place for season 2. Now here we are season 2, only a couple of episodes in and maybe it’s the fact I’ve taken in so much Westworld in the past week and I need a break but this season has kind of been a disappointment for me so far. Granted we are only 3 episodes in and that could change by the end of the season because the first season to me was also a slow burner. I wanted to use this article to just layout my thoughts on the season so far and the current issues I’m having with this season so far.

No Anthony Hopkins

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Look it was always going to be a tough to follow up a character such as Ford after the season finale. Now granted Ford’s character isn’t fully dead if you know what I mean, his mind and his thoughts are still there it has just been transferred into other characters. It’s a smart way for the show writers to make sure the character is still apart of the storyline without having to be there physically. But it has impacted the show, Hopkin’s performances in the first season were just amazing. He brought so much to the first season that his presence is missed throughout the early episodes of season 2. It does look like Bernard/Arnold is taking that role from Ford and while Jeffrey Wright is a great actor too the show greatly misses Hopkins’s presence as any film or TV show would to be honest.

Too much going on?

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Is the show doing too much? Now I know that may seem confusing coming from someone who enjoyed the first season but this season for some reason it feels like they maybe spinning too many plates at the same time. Will the pay off work this season? This season looks to be building up to where Bernard/Arnold kills the rest of the hosts laying in the river. But we also have the likes of Dolores and the Man in Black travelling to the place known as ‘The Door’ which has a weapon that will help destroy that world. Of course it wont be an actual weapon like a gun or anything. It’s interesting to note how the maze from season 1 allowed the host to find their inner conciseness and be awake and now with the door what happens? Maybe its a way out, who knows. You also have Maeve who is practically free going on her own journey to look for her daughter, somehow I just think she will end up going to ‘The Door’ with the rest of the main characters. The main point I’m trying to make here is when is it too much with what the show is trying to accomplish? I haven’t even spoken on the fact that in the last episode we were treated with two new parks which are the Raj themed world and Shogun world. I also forgot to mention the importance of the character Peter Abernathy who had been uploaded with up to 30 years of data which makes him a crucial aspect of the storyline for Delos to capture. What information is he carrying? Not sure but Charlotte has already shown us how they are using androids to keep information on the guests that can be used in the real world. The information he has must be important for the storyline and those who enter Westworld.

Dolores/Wyatt’s storyline

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Dolores’s character maybe the biggest issue I have with this season so far. It’s not that the actress is bad or anything, Evan Rachel Wood has been great throughout the entire series. The direction in which they’ve taken the character doesn’t really interest me. I want to support and cheer for Dolores and that’s just hard to do at the moment. Ironically she has turned into the the Man in Black from season 1 as she is now formed with Wyatt. She’s just killing everything in sight to get to this new weapon on her journey to carry out this rebellion in which she hopes to finally break out into the real world. While I’m interested to see where this character goes by arriving at her destination so far it’s falling flat to me. What I do find interesting though is her relationship with Teddy. Lately we started to see how she’s been manipulating Teddy and in the last episode Teddy starts to think and act by himself. It will be interesting to see how and when they clash because Teddy’s body is there amongst the other robots that are presumably dead which we saw in the first episode.

Maeve

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Maeve is probably the only character I’ve been most invested in since season 1. In my eyes she has become the most sympathetic figure in the show. This is helped by her actions in season 2 where her only goal is to meet her daughter whether she’s real or not. Unlike Dolores who’s angry at the way she’s been treated by the humans she doesn’t go out of her way to make those suffer who put her in that position. Maeve comes across as the most sympathetic character on the show right now and someone that I’m currently rooting for. I want her to find her daughter because I feel like she deserves this piece of happiness, unfortunately knowing Westworld it most likely won’t be a happy ending for Maeve. Also I have to mention I like the people she’s picked up along the way on her journey in season 2 so far. I loved Hector’s character since season 1 and along with the likes of Felix and Lee Sizemore it provides for an interesting group dynamic which provides for a source of humour at times.

The Man in Black

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While on the subject of characters another one I need to mention is The man in Black. This is probably the character I’m least interested in so far. He was easily my favourite in the first season but now having got what he wanted with a park that now had stakes and consequences it’s hard to be invested in him. Now he’s looking for The Door after spending season 1 looking for The Maze. Although I find the flashback scenes of William investing in the park this is where I feel like the show is just in a loop characters are practically just living out the same story arc in the first season just in a different form. Knowing the show it was probably done in this way on purpose, maybe it’s leading up to his huge crescendo.

Or maybe I’m just totally wrong, I still think there’s a lot I can learn from the show and while I was initially worried about writing a piece such as this on the show I can’t help but put out there how I feel about season 2. After finishing season 1 I was contemplating if this show was in my top 5 TV shows of all time and the start of season 2 has kind of left me flat. Granted this is just the start of Westworld, I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface yet. I’m confident that this series will run for a number of seasons and of course I’ll be there along for the ride.

Depending on how well this article does I may just do recaps on the shows for the rest of the season, let me know if you’d like me to do that

Have you started Westworld yet?

What do you think of season 2 so far?

Why you should watch ‘The Gifted’

Last month I put out a tweet asking if I should watch The Gifted. What I find hard is catching up with with all the current comic book TV shows. It feels like a new show or season is starting every week. Surprisingly the tweet received a lot of positive feedback mainly in favour for me to start watching the show. I was told by many that if I loved the X-Men then I would enjoy The Gifted. So I gave the first episode a chance which is what I do with most TV shows that I’m trying to get into. It’s all about whether the first episode can keep my interest enough to invest my time in a series as a whole. Well before I knew it after watching the first episode of The Gifted I had caught up with the series in the space of a couple of days.

What I loved most about this series is how it gave me such an old school X-Men vibe from the animated series that I watched as a kid. Without going into major spoilers the main story of the series is that the X-Men are no longer around but what they left behind is an underground organisation to act as a refuge for mutants who are being hunted down by the sentinels. One family comes to find out that the children themselves are mutants and find themselves on the run from authorities eventually joining the mutant underground. This provides for a lot of conflict and companionship that is dealt with well throughout this series with how the outsiders are now looking at the mutants to be accepted. Once at the mutant underground this is where the show is at its strength because we are introduced to characters such as Polaris and Marcus who quickly became my favourites. As a whole it’s interesting to see how the mutant underground operates and helps other mutants. At the same time the mutants have to make sure that they are one step ahead of the sentinels who are tracking them down in a continuous cat and mouse game.

One reason why I have always liked the the X-Men in both comics and movies is because they mirror social issues that go on today such as racism and immigration. The Gifted also touches on these subjects and does a good job at creating a world where mutants just want to be accepted for who they are. The writers do a good job at allowing you to see both sides of the argument because although you may not agree with the other side it’s interesting to see their thought process and where their issues with the mutants lie. One aspect I would also like to address is the CGI in this TV show. CGI is crucial to this TV show as it’s needed to showcase the mutants powers and with a TV budget in my opinion the CGI is great. With some shows you can tell that they are working on a small budget but that’s not the case here.

The best thing about this series is you don’t really have to be a X-Men at all to enjoy it, you can come into the series with no prior knowledge at all. Granted there are a lot of callbacks and easter eggs to the original X-Men characters. One of my favourite easter eggs is one of the characters ringtone being the theme song from the X-Men animated series.

With the first season being wrapped up just a couple of days ago I cannot wait to see where they go next with this series in future seasons. If I still haven’t convinced you to watch The Gifted just give the first episode a try, what’s the worst that could happen?

Let me know what you think of the series if you have watched it

 

Favourite charactersPolaris, Marcus

Favourite episodes: Episode 1: eXposed, Episode 4: eXit Strategy, Episode 10: eXploited