TV REVIEW: ‘Westworld’ – ‘Vanishing Point’

It's not too late for us

| July 7, 2018

Spoilers from ‘Westworld’ Season 2, Episode 9 will be discussed, as well as details from the previous season.

Ed Harris as William (Courtesy of HBO)

In the penultimate episode of Season 2 of “Westworld,” the central stories of the season finally teased at their mysterious endgames, as the four leading characters sought to uncover their true places outside the fiction they’ve been yearning to escape. As we’re quickly clued into the startling affairs that have haunted William, we find Maeve and Bernard in compromising situations that look to push them toward unsettling fates. While the answers of the season still remain ever-so-clouded, “Westworld” nears its bitter end in one final leap into the past.

As the solemn journey for William continues, he encounters his daughter Emily once more after getting captured by the Ghost Nation. Delving into his memories of his wife Juliet (Sela Ward) and her mysterious suicide, the two contemplate the true cause of the incident. As William’s demons consume him, his kinship with his daughter meets a grisly and sudden end, forcing the man to question his humanity. Meanwhile, the manipulative tendencies of Maeve have turned on her as Charlotte Hale uses her host code to reprogram the hosts to inflict violence upon each other. As an unknown fate rests at Maeve’s feet, Bernard faces his own demons in the form of Robert Ford, the man haunting his every move as he yearns to draw out the truth. As the ultimate revelation lies at “the Forge,” a vault of stored guest data, the secrets at the heart of Westworld are bursting at the seams.

While much of this season has been dedicated to delving into the affairs of the somewhat-unreliable narrator of Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard, as well as cluing us into the more expansive sides of the show’s titular park, the penultimate episode of the season sought to explore further into one of Westworld’s most elusive guests. With Season 2 thus far drawing heavily on the Delos family and their origins constructing Westworld, the path of William/The Man in Black has been an intriguing one. After years roaming the park, carving out a violent road towards damning the world he escapes into, the black-clad outlaw’s own origins have remained in the shadows. Truth and reckoning, however, found themselves in the entrance of William’s head-strong daughter Emily.

Even as Katja Herbers’ Emily might have entered the series at the height of the season’s ever-growing mystery, her role in her father’s path wasn’t just a wasted revelation. As the episode revealed more about William’s past, from his broken marriage to the injustices that define him in the present, it also clued us into the true conflict between the man and his daughter. As the apparent suicide of William’s wife and Emily’s mother pit the two against each other, we quickly found William at the edge of his reason. As questions began to spring up, like whether or not the man is human or merely another slave to the park and its violent delights, the fate of The Man in Black suddenly became even more cryptic than before.

Fate, it seems, remains an ever-present theme across this season, as this week’s episode also found both Bernard and Maeve’s paths weighing down on their ultimate endgames. As Bernard continued to seek answers to his own existence, he was finally able to relinquish himself from the devil on his shoulder, so to speak. While the remnants of Robert Ford still proved to leave their mark on William, Bernard found the only way to move forward was on his own, free to uncover the dark secrets ahead with his own eyes. Also caught in the tendrils of Ford’s presence this week was Maeve, still bound towards an untimely demise after parting ways with her daughter. As her mind is excavated by the likes of Charlotte Hale and the remaining Delos forces, her role in the series doesn’t yet seem finished.

As the three central characters of the season in William, Bernard and Maeve are all likely to collide in the season finale, one character’s fate is set to leave a lasting imprint on the series as a whole. With Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores still trekking towards an unknown salvation, this week lent the audience a glance at just one of the revolutionary’s weaknesses. As her relationship with her compliant compatriot Teddy finally reached a startling peak, with the man realizing he cannot stand idly by while she tampers with his mind, we saw the beginnings of Dolores’ journey unraveling into a desperate battle to retain control. Her story is far from done, as her biggest battle still lies ahead, at the gates of the Valley Beyond.

Season 2 of ‘Westworld’ airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. Catch up on Season 1 now on HBO Go.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Television

Tyler Trudeau is a junior Architecture major from Raleigh, NC, who spends most of his time writing about film and TV, running in 90 degree heat, and bingeing Netflix shows. You can find more of his film criticism and editorials at his personal website below.

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Tyler Trudeau is a junior Architecture major from Raleigh, NC, who spends most of his time writing about film and TV, running in 90 degree heat, and bingeing Netflix shows. You can find more of his film criticism and editorials at his personal website below.

Twitter Author's Website