in ,

Westworld S3, episode 2: Back in the game, breaking parks again, Ars Technica

Westworld S3, episode 2: Back in the game, breaking parks again, Ars Technica

      playing to win, playing with sin –


In “The Winter Line” we say hello to old friends and confirm a season 2 finale question.



You better watch out, because she’s back in the game.
This piece contains heavy spoilers for (Westworld) season three, episodes one and two. You probably won’t want to read it unless you’re caught up.

Every premiere episode of Westworld

had had to introduce (and re -introduce) viewers to the rules of the world, and last week’s episode was no exception — the show had to cram a lot of information into an hour of runtime to make sure we all start the season on the same page. This week’s episode, by contrast, spends a lot of time in old familiar places — and with old familiar faces, too.

More than anything else, this is a workmanlike episode — it doesn’t wash us down with a firehose of revelations, but it covers its ground efficiently. There are symbolism and neat visuals to dissect here, too, but that stuff needs to wait a couple more weeks — we need a few more reveals to happen first. (As a brief aside, discussing single episodes of a foreshadowing-heavy show like

Westworld when when I’ve already seen half the season is a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be. I’ve got a new respect for folks who do this kind of writing on the regular, since it involves a hell of a lot of compartmentalization!)

“The Winter Line” starts us off back in the park, in War World, continuing from the post-credits tease in the premiere. Maeve is now a resistance fighter in WW2-era Italy (directly tying into episode title . Maeve is immediately reunited with Hector — and that’s where the oddness begins.

Is Hector awake, or not? Is Maeve? The scene unfolds in classic Westworld style, and my wife and I spent most of it in a spirited discussion about whether Hector and / or Maeve were aware of the nature of their reality or stuck in programmed loops.

Enlarge / New roles, same faces. (HBO) The answer, we eventually learn, is complicated (no surprise there) —Maeve’s stuck in a simulation inside a simulation, a scenario hinted at in the premiere by Incite CEO Liam Dempsey’s cannabis-influenced dinner party friend. And, sadly, poor Hector is asleep again. But that’s jumping ahead — before we get into that, let’s talk about the episode’s big on-screen confirmation of a season two finale mystery. New roles, same faces. Bernard annoys a buddy We catch the tail-end of Bernard’s boat ride to Westworld, with the ship’s captain noting that he remembers when the waters ” were red with blood. ” I’d take this to be a hint about naval battles having occurred in the area before the park’s founding, likely between the US and China .       


                      Bernard has chased that impossible line where the waves conspire, and the chase has brought him back here.                                                         

                      Cool pylon-looking things mark the perimeter of Westworld.                                                         

                      Bernard returns home.                                                         

                      The park’s latitude and longitude.                                                                                                        HBO                                   

Bernard’s ride concludes with him making landfall on the park, which is confirmed by a Rehoboam data-circle-graph-thingy to be exactly where the Internet figured it was, in the South China Sea at (9 °) ‘N, ‘E . He treks to Escalante, site of the Delos dinner party massacre, but it’s a burned-out wreck.

He then heads to Ford’s old country house with its basement lab — and encounters park QA lead Ashely Stubbs, who is (very clearly) a host, clearing up any ambiguity about his nature. (Though S2 finale Director Fred Toye more or less confirmed Stubbs’ nature in a
(interview) (back in , it’s still nice to see it on screen.)

You better watch out, because she's back in the game. Enlarge ( Poor Stubbs. He just wants to die in peace.


You better watch out, because she's back in the game. Stubbs is rightly annoyed at Bernard’s returning to the one place in the world where he shouldn’t be, especially after Stubbs expended so much effort protecting Bernard and getting him off the island. But Bernard is back for a very specific reason: he needs to find the one person who he thinks can stop Dolores. You better watch out, because she's back in the game. He needs to find Maeve. And Stubbs says he knows where she is — so off to cold storage they go, wandering through lonely dark corridors staffed only with faceless Delos drones. The park, it seems, is still on lockdown after the “incident.” New roles, same faces. I had a friend named Lee

While Bernard is reunited with Stubbs, Maeve finds herself facing some of her old acquaintances — though they react oddly. She encounters Sylvester and Felix in the Mesa’s body shop, but they don’t seem to know her. Trapped, with no allies and no way out, she opts to escape via a fast self-lobotomy only to be saved when Lee Sizemore unexpectedly shows up (well, I say “unexpectedly,” but the actor’s name is visible in the opening credits if You’re paying attention, so that does kind of spoil things a bit.) You better watch out, because she's back in the game. Lee offers a rather soft explanation for being alive that basically amounts to “Yeah, I got shot a lot and I should be dead, but I’m not! ” and suggests that Maeve might be able to escape after all: he’s put her in War World because it’s close to the Forge, and she could rejoin her daughter.

Unfortunately, on arriving at the Forge, Maeve begins to realize that Lee isn’t quite right, either — he asks questions he should already know the answer to, then starts putting the moves on Maeve as a distraction. She presses X to doubt, and that’s when things go, as Al used to say on Quantum Leap, “a little kaka.”

You better watch out, because she's back in the game. Lee’s confusion causes the simulation to fritz, and we’re treated to a neat aspect ratio shift as the world grows letterbox bars . And after season two we know exactly what being letterboxed means: this ain’t real, yo.



                          Sizemore is being extra-nice. Maeve notices this is definitely out of character.                                                                                                        HBO                                   

                          Wait just a minute, is that—                                                                                                        HBO                                   
                          —Letterboxing! We’ve gone letterboxed!                                                                                                        HBO                                   

                          Sizemore glitches.                                                                                                        HBO                                   

                          Maeve is at least back in familiar territory: stuck inside of someone else’s game.                                                                                                        HBO                                   
                      New roles, same faces. The Ashley & Bernard Show
    While this goes on, Stubbs and Bernard show up in cold storage to grab Maeve. Her body’s there — but someone’s sawed a giant hole in her head and made off with her control unit.
  • What do you think?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    Amazon Prime delivery delays are now as long as a month, Recode

    Amazon Prime delivery delays are now as long as a month, Recode

    Reckless stunt driver arrested in Dubai