No One Knows That It’s Happened Yet or That It Has Already Been Lost: Westworld, ‘The Winter Line’

***Spoiler Warning:  This post contains spoilers for Westworld through Season 3, Episode 2. Spoilers***

During World War II, a series of military fortifications comprising The Winter Line was built in Italy to defend a direct thoroughfare to Rome. In this the Westworld version, a simulated construct of several levels is created to keep Maeve from understanding where she really is and more importantly, to test whether she can discern her true location. Just who is attempting to run her show is at hour’s open unclear, but by the time “The Winter Line” end credits appear, the curtain pulls back with an interesting reveal — Rehoboam’s co-creator and would-be technical successor to Robert Ford, a robomagician by the name of Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel).If all that sounds familiar — Liam Dempsey Sr. and Serac as modern-day Westworlders Ford and Arnold Weber — it’s no accident. Neither is Maeve waking up with Rehoboam above her head, again begging the question, just who’s in charge of what’s happening now? Paralleling ideas in 1976’s Futureworld (human technicians replaced by robots), then appropriately taking things next level (human technicians replaced by simulations of robots), our heroine is forced to leave behind in Warworld all the pseudo men she’s loved before. And while Maeve puzzles her way through a new version of The Maze (still making appearances in Season 3), Bernard struggles to understand the nature of multiple realities. Having revived and discovered a valuable ally in Stubbs, Bernard resets his new friend to protect him at all costs as Lowe tries to find a way to stop Dolores’ mission to end humanity. In attempting to set up the ultimate Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots bout (another callback to Futureworld), Bernard believes Dolores may be using him to keep herself in check. Running a full self-diagnostic while connected to the Westworld mainframe, he discovers her concentration on the folks connected to Incite, and therefore, Rehoboam.

Her current reality discerned, Maeve’s attempt to retrieve her own core is — if not delightfully — violently thwarted, and she yet again awakens peacefully, though in a strange bed. Meeting the self-described future maker who describes humanity’s battle as already lost; defines what’s to come as a story with an author, we’re left to wonder who’s left for the saving. Knife in hand, Maeve moves to take back the control she’s worked so hard to earn, only to find her strings are still being pulled by a smug puppeteer.

Deep Thoughts:

Thandie Newton continues to be an absolute goddess who can carry off any language, accent, level of genius, and be brilliant no matter her state of dress or undress. Just start throwing the Emmys now.

That was A Very Mr. Robot soundtrack …

Well, there was that Benioff & Weiss cameo, perfectly pointless and all it did was make me groan. Well, except for the dragon that Weiss apparently plans on chopping into pieces to sell for some Costa Rica startup.

It was great to have Lee Sizemore back and if it’s possible, he’s even more fun as a simulation (almost mistook him for a Hybrid at first). He and Maeve had wonderful banter and a lot of great lines. My favorites were:

Female codebreakers helped win WWII, learn your fucking history, Benny.”

And then when he said — in shock — to Maeve, “Fuuuuck me” and she replied, “Not likely, darling.

Nice to see our boys Felix and Sylvester again, but I’m as bummed as Maeve that they weren’t real.

This week’s “Divergence South China Sea” seemed to pertain to Bernard. Does that mean his actions are being perceived not only as a divergence from Rehoboam’s plan but also, that he might be considered a threat of some sort? The whole idea that there is a machine plotting out courses for everything/everyone sounds even worse than the idea of Westworld, to me. And so humanity, if there is still a human alive, has decided not only that they want eternal life by having consciousness uploaded to either a Host body or a mainframe, but also that people would like to have no choice whatsoever about their lives? As Maeve might say, NOT BLOODY LIKELY.

We know there are 6 Delos parks, and the numbers are quickly being filled with corresponding names:

  1.  Westworld
  2. Shōgunworld
  3. Warworld
  4. Medievalworld
  5. unknown
  6. The Raj

I called it before and I’m saying it again; the “New World” is a park — since Bernard labeled (what we’re calling) Medievalworld Park 4, presumably the New World is number 5.

Cheers to Luke Hemsworth for his best ever Westworld performance. That stuttery awakening (both his and Quarterman’s were great) was something to witness. He’s never been a favorite of mine — felt a bit one-note to me — but that changed after this hour.

I imagine a corpse would make a less than ideal travel companion.” Thanks for the Weekend at Bernie’s reference, Serac! Speaking of, I feel like Andrew McCarthy would be a great addition to the show.

Ford could command his Hosts with a word, sound, or a simple gesture; Serac needs a magic button.

Everyone’s worried that Dolores will gain control of Rehoboam, but Maeve seems the likelier candidate to me. It’s already in her nature to be able to speak to/control other Hosts with her mind.

The anagrams for Engerraund Serac are endlessly entertaining,

Well said, sir:  “For the most part, humanity has been a miserable little band of thugs stumbling from one catastrophe to the next. Our history is like the ravings of a lunatic — chaos.” [Serac]

There were so very many lines this hour that felt entendre-d  and fit right into all my thoughts about there being no humans left. Serac practically said it outright:  “We’re in the middle of a war …No one knows that it’s happened yet, or that it has already been lost.

Perhaps next time we talk I can persuade you that our interests are aligned.”

And the hits kept on coming:

It’s a good script, even you believe it.

You’re saying I’m just a copy.

They plagiarized themselves and left us a way out.

Benny, let me ask you a very important question. Do I look real to you?

You’re one of them, of us, I mean.

I guess you could say I became redundant.

Through these woods is our real path to freedom.

Death by a pill to the eyeball (nice, Maeve!) is a new one on me, and I love the carry through on  Futureworlds eye theme.

When Maeve is staving off two techs before she nearly self-lobotomizes, she quotes the (year-appropriate) titular line from Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off written (by the Gershwin brothers in 1937) for the musical Shall We Dance, in which the nature of a would-be couple’s (played by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire) relationship is challenged several times, and also features a number of women wearing one woman’s face (masks).

The group of Hosts in with a technician during one of Stubbs and Bernard’s scenes together featured a Host plucking the Westworld theme on a ukelele.

Hector’s sweet ride looks to be a vintage MG. Beauty!

“You’ve lost none of your power over me, my love.”

I very much missed Hector and Maeve together, though they seem forever ill-fated. And Rodrigo Santoro knows just how to give off that I-might-be-a-little-dim-but-look-how-hot-and-romantic-I-am vibe.

Is it strange to anyone else that Maeve will still choose to go to the Forge? On the one hand, I get that it’s purportedly some safe utopia for the Hosts, but it’s still like being in a cage, no?

Is Bernard in Charlotte? Some people seem to think so after next week’s preview, but I’m still team Teddy.

 

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over nine 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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