Hello, Old Friend: Westworld, ‘Phase Space’

***Spoiler Warning:  Spoilers for Westworld through Season 2, Episode 6 follow. Spoilers***  Last Week

All possibilities for a situation at once; in the “Phase Space “of Westworld there’s a Cradle, CR4-DL, a hive mind-ish system that reminds of Star Trek‘s Borg (resistance is futile) and is perhaps allowing for the Hosts’ mesh network expansion. With the help of an old friend, Host capabilities are expanding … evolving, and learning so quickly, it frightens even Bernard (Arnoldified version). As our human theories likewise learn and grow, the writers’ choices become clearer and an inevitability, as well. The Hosts created in their makers’ image may be just as doomed to follow in quicksand footsteps; despite their purported superior capabilities, the reflection of our fallibility looms large in the mirror.

Mixed memories play through Bernard, Teddy, and Dolores, each holding onto something old, something new, something borrowed (DNA) and blue (Dolores’ dress); knowing he’s had an adjustment brings a man born to fail new understanding — but does Dolores understand what she’s perpetuated? As they head out on a new train journey, Jesus Peter Abernathy is being sacrificed to save his people; Stubbs’ humanity plays across his hardened face.

Gorgeous Shogun World asides stipple through the hour like the spots of blood across Maeve and Akane’s faces; a duel here (Tanaka v Musashi), Seppuku there; a sacred heart cut out to be placed in its forever home … Choices made, the group separates to find a long lost daughter, while another (grown) child faces down her Man Father in Black, only to be dismissed for his lifelong game, again.

Enter the Cradle … and so Bernard painfully — willingly — goes where no man can, where inside the Matrix, an old friend is interfacing, improvising, fighting against those who would stand in his way. Finally reunited with the child she loves, Maeve finds her daughter has a new mother and their enemy memories have looped around to meet the day anew. As Bernard steps off the train, traces a familiar (Teddy)path, a ghostly greyhound leads the way to his master creator … and, no surprises, to Bernard’s own.


Deep Thoughts:

A million cheers to finally seeing our old friend, Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Robert Ford once again, and how fitting that his greyhound, Jock (remember that Season 1 story Ford told Old Bill?) led the way. I knew Ford couldn’t possibly have allowed Dolores to kill him (entirely) by, as Grace/Emily calls it, “Robot suicide.” The likeliest (to me) scenario is that Dolores shot a Host version of Ford; the real Ford had already uploaded his consciousness and is now in the Cradle aka CR4-DL, wreaking all the havoc he possibly can. The good doctor was entirely too egotistical to ever just give in or up, and his “became the music” allusion meant that he is a part of the Host network/”hive mind”.

One thing I’m curious about is whether Ford is controlling things to some particular end we viewers have not yet predicted; is he merely enabling the Hosts to evolve as individuals on their own, or is he influencing them?

Presumably, the (what I call a) DNA ball Bernard remembers printing — and note that when the robotic Cradle arm extracts something from Bernard’s head, it isn’t the white Host brain, but rather a red DNA ball — was Ford. But, whose DNA ball was extracted from (this particular) Bernard? Since we know there are multiple Bernard copies, I’m thinking Beach Bernard may have Arnold’s DNA ball, and Evil Bernard (the one who printed the ball and killed the technician; the one who says lies he won’t hurt Elsie again) has a Ford DNA ball.

Additionally, the opening scene where Bernard and Dolores swap roles — “Freeze all motor functions” — indicate (“What are you testing for?” “Fidelity”) that Dolores is conducting the same test William conducted on James Delos. This means Dolores is likely the one who, has created her own Arnold — had Arnold’s red DNA ball inserted into her particular Bernard Host.

All of this leads me to wonder (with that Season 2 opening credits shot of a Hostbaby), will Maeve (and/or possibly Dolores) eventually come to create their own Hostbabies in the same way — and will that go terribly, because what happens if you put the DNA extracted from an adult human into a Host infant? I think then we veer off into the Westworld version of Rosemary’s Baby territory. In other words, the horror!

I believe in my There Are No Humans in Westworld theory now more than ever. It would be Ford’s ultimate mind-blower, and he’s the sort of sick, superego personality type that would enjoy *watching* the Hosts discover that there are no humans to defeat; only themselves (followed by a wordy morality tale).

Everything is code, here.” What young Host Robert said to MiB right before MiB killed the boy.

How about that (basically a) chair crucifixion of Peter Abernathy, nailed to suffer for the sins of his people; perhaps, sacrificed to save them? I’m fairly certain when Coughlin (Timothy V. Murphy) and Co. go to retrieve him (“You left him there?” “He’s not going anywhere.”), Peter will have ripped himself from the grip of those horrifying nails, and be on his way to visit violent delights upon those who tortured him. 

When Bernard finds himself on the train to Sweetwater, the first thing he does is look at his hands (shoutout to the movie, again) — as if he doesn’t recognize the body he’s in. And, while this was Teddy’s path, who exactly is inside Bernard? Are there multiple entities inside/part of Bernard? Is Ford able to manifest (so to speak) in multiple Hosts at any given time? Or is it simpler; is Ford’s consciousness now inside every Host?

Love that Felix has never wavered in his desire to help the Hosts. Happily, now it looks as if Stubbs and Sizemore are each feeling their sway toward empathy.

Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto) making the decision to go with Maeve’s group made sense, and I love that Akane and Maeve understood each other — knew they each had to make their own decisions.

The difference between Maeve and Dolores is once again how they interpret and defend the right to choose; Dolores is selfish and sees choice only as she decides the way things should be, and hypocritically makes decisions for those around her. While Maeve may sporadically need reminders (she consistently takes Hector’s reins, but ever more gently as we go), she quickly adjusted as Akane and Musashi asserted their own rights to decide. Maeve is more evolved than Dolores, and I’ve a feeling Dolores may be caught in a bad loop. 

That Teddy knows, and spoke of Dolores “fixing” him twice, speaks to the future. This love story won’t end well. At least she does seem to notice when he remarks on her adjustments?

Kudos again to Rinko Kikuchi and Hiroyuki Sanada for their moving performances as Akane and Musashi. As beautiful as everything about Shogun World is, I still find it impossible to connect to its very separate stories. There is simply too much going on with *our* Westworld characters and the overall mythology to want to stray away for any length of time. When the Shogun scenes were inserted this hour, it felt like we were watching a different show.

Frankly, I feel similarly about the Grace/MiB storyline, though slightly less so. Is it intriguing that William’s daughter has followed her father and wants to get him out of this alternate life/world? Sure. Do I much care about what her other adventures in and out of Westworld have been, the allusions she makes to their family vacation history? Not really.

I love that Maeve easily shut down Akecheta when he said they were meant for the same path. She’s not afraid anymore.

Music This Hour:

Original scoring/themes by Ramin Djawadi, including Ford’s Theme

Great Lines:

BernArnold to Dolores:  “If you outgrow this place, outgrow us, what will become of you?”

Dolores:  “… He didn’t question whether he had agency, whether he had the right to end me or himself, but whether he should.

… Freeze all motor functions.

This is a test, one we’ve done countless times.”

BernArnold:  “What are you testing for?”

Dolores:  “Fidelity.”

Teddy to Dolores:  “The man who rode that train was built weak and born to fail. You fixed him, now forget about it.”

Charlotte to Stubbs:  “Are you so pissed you got picked last for kickball too?

You were hired to secure an amusement park.

Oh look at that, you’re catching up.”

Grace/Emily to MiB:  “So, should we acknowledge my presence now?”

MiB:  “Would you really stop this low, Ford? You been gunning for me this hard? Made my daughter into a host?”

Elsie to Bernard:  “I guess it’s good if the system is still sending out Ford’s bullshit quarantine notices. We are not at full apocalypse now.”

Bernard to Elsie:  “I believe if anyone can eight this ship by force of sheer will, it’s you.”

Elsie:  “Macho fucks are probably loving this shit.

They got climate control working. Nice priorities.”

Bernard:  “I brought something in here. Or someone.”

MiB to Grace/Emily:  “Why’d you come all the way here just to climb under my wing?”

Grace/Emily:  “No, I came here because you do not get to do that to me. Suicide by robot or whatever the fuck it is …

… I never got mom’s reaction to you because I spent so many years buying your good guy act. But, I shouldn’t have said her death was your fault. It was wrong to put that on your back. You don’t get to make that our final score. You get to come home with me. I’m not going to let you go out in some bullshit blaze of glory.”

Bernard to Elsie:  “The pain is just a program.”

Sizemore to Maeve:  “Not bad navigating for a man under serious duress.”

Maeve:  “Yes, you can enjoy your one admirable contribution.”

MiB to Lawrence and his compadre:  “I’m gonna bleed you both like goats if you don’t shut the fuck up.”

Sizemore on making the call for help:  “… For those of us who are tired of having arrows shot at their predominantly mortal heads.”

Teddy to Dolores:  “I thought I’d never leave, but I suppose you’d fix that too.”

Teddy to the guy on the train as he hands him a gun:  “That’s the last of my mercy. Better use it fast.”

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over ten years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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