This is my favorite episode so far. The show took it easy on the whole mindfuck aspect of it this week and focused on good old fun. I sincerely hope you all watched it on Sunday instead of The Walking Gorefest.
Soooo damn much happened in this episode that instead of going through it scene by scene I'll just split this recap into what happened in each storyline. My least favorite scenes were Dolores' and though they were all intriguing perhaps her arc is just not as thrilling as whatever is going on with Man in Black and Maeve. Anyways Dolores is having another conversation with Bernard and he tells her of the game - the maze. He tells her that if she can get to the center of it, she can be free.
Dolores wakes up and William is there. He is very kind and attentive of her. They reach Lawrence's village where Man in Black slaughtered all those people. Dolores has a conversation with Lawrence's daughter and when the girl says 'remember' Dolores has odd flashbacks. She sees herself digging up her own grave and entering a church, no doubt the one we saw buried in the ending of episode 2.
Meanwhile we see Stubbs being informed Dolores is off her loop. Then we see Dolores approached by another host who wants to take her with him. William interrupts and tells him he is with Dolores. The host realizing that she is accompanying a guest backs off. This may be just another example of very clever editing - Dolores could simply be off her loop twice - once with William and once when Stubbs is informed of her whereabouts, meaning the two time frames are still very much possible.
A lot of other stuff happens and ultimately the group of William, Dolores and Logan are on a new path - which as we see in next week's episode promo leads to the city of sin - Pariah. Dolores also keeps having flashes of her memories, including the technicians surrounding her after she was shot.
Maeve however is having even more intense reminders of her hellish existence. She remembers again - looking at Clementine she sees her dead and the men in hazmat suits taking care of them which leads us to horrific discovery that the hosts are aware of what is going on after they 'died'. Meave feels that the bullet is still inside her and draws a picture of a man in a hazmat suit. When she intends to hide it, she finds previous pictures of that man hidden under the floor. Pictures she has no memory of drawing. This was like something straight out of Memento.
Later as the Indians walk through the town a girl drops a toy - a figure of a man in a hazmat suit. Maeve picks it up. Hector's gang attacks the town again and Maeve remembers he deals with the savages. So she tells him that she will give him the combination to the safe if he tells her what he knows of the figurine. He tells her that this is some sort of devil and Maeve wants him to check if there is a bullet inside her. And indeed they find it after which they kiss.
And in this episode we finally caught up with our favorite lovely road trip buddies - Man in Black and Lawrence. Appropriately the first time we see them MiB is killing snakes. He is at loss, given how the riddle spoke of snakes and yet he cannot find anything...until they both see naked Armistice bathing in the river. As in the girl with the snake tattoo.
Since it's been 1 episode since MiB killed someone, he shoots two dudes and impressed Armistice lets him and Lawrence, who has had enough of that shit, join their gang. MiB is very interested in finding out the back story of Armistice's tattoo. In exchange he agrees to break Hector out of prison. All he needs is one gun, one man and one match.
We get a truly badass prison break sequence in which MiB gets himself into prison and then lights a match. Stubbs gets a request for some effects and allows it - turns out that match being lit is simply a signal for headquarters to help out their guest with some effects in the game. The entire thing was so entertaining to watch and I loved how when MiB and Hector were rescuing Lawrence we didn't even see the shootout - we just heard it. This show doesn't get enough credit for imaginative scenes where less is truly more.
Hector and our duo meet up with Armistice and as promised she tells MiB her story. Her family was slaughtered and she then kept finding men who did it and tattoo is made out of their blood. But there is one left. A man named...Wyatt (the centerpiece of Ford's new narrative). MiB smiles when he hears that name.
There was also a big reveal before that as MiB was camping with these guys - another guest came up to him saying he recognizes him from the real world and that his foundation saved his sister's life. MiB is annoyed by this and tells the guest to basically shut the fuck up because he is on vacation. In new interview with EW Jonathan Nolan talks of how MiB is basically someone who is a wonderful person outside but plays violent computer gamers. I love that. It really introduces such an interesting dichotomy - what is truly defining? Who we are in the outside world or who we become when we indulge in our fantasies?
Another big thing - in one scene MiB talks to Armistice of...Arnold. Telling her Arnold was a settler of these parts and you could do whatever you wanted...except for one thing - you couldn't die. MiB says that Arnold broke his own rule but he believes he had one more story to tell.
Anyways MiB and Lawrence leave Armistice and Hector and they see someone strapped to a tree...and it's of course Teddy. I cracked up at MiB's remark that he should have known it was Teddy. Well of course, he is like Kenny of Westworld. MiB decides to take Teddy with him.
Meanwhile, back in the headquarters Elsie is having more and more doubts and is becoming convinced what is going on is not a simple glitch. Bernard doesn't pay much attention to her concerns. The most important thing that happened in 'the real world' was the scene in which Theresa went to talk with Ford.
She met with him in a villa next to the new construction site inside the park where the hosts are building 'sets' for Ford's new narrative. The scene begins calmly but suddenly the waiter keeps pouring wine and doesn't stop while it's overflowing the glass. Turns out he is a host and all the other hosts freeze at Ford command. Theresa is freaked out, realizing that Ford is much more dangerous and powerful than she thought. He basically tells her to back off and let him go on with his new narrative.
He also informs her that 'they' know everything about the guests and employees and let's her know he knows of her relationship with Bernard and tells her to be gentle with him because he is sensitive. He also tells her that the board already sent a representative to the park, leaving us with another question - who could that be? Is it Man in Black?
All around this was a fantastic episode and it was surprising how even though it was directed by Vincenzo Natali who directed Cube it was the most straight forward episode to date. Such huge chunks of it was just pure fun and there was even a little bit of humour there mostly thanks to Man in Black and Hector.
I also loved the chemistry between characters - William and Dolores are incredibly sweet together. I wasn't sure I'd ship them over her and Teddy but I'm on board now - the romance between a human and a robot seems like a very intriguing idea and I cannot wait to see how the show explores it. Another two people who had great chemistry were Man in Black and Armistice - I think he actually admired how badass and capable she was.
And finally we had the explosive chemistry of Hector and Maeve who are probably gonna be lovers on the run towards freedom. I'm digging all of this. The variety of pairings and the interesting character interactions are so much fun to behold.
Next episode is entitled Contrapasso, which means "suffer the
opposite" and refers to the punishment of souls in Dante's Inferno, "by a
process either resembling or contrasting with the sin itself." A similar
process, though a penitential one, occurs in the Purgatorio.
Here's the plot summary: Dolores, William and Logan reach Pariah, a town built on decadence and
transgression, and are recruited for a dangerous mission; The Man in
Black meets an unlikely ally in his search to unlock the maze.
Evan Rachel Wood hyped this episode on her twitter saying that this is where shit hits the fan. But where it is at for me? Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris in one fucking scene. Heat-levels of awesome.
1x01 The Original
1x03 The Stray