Westworld: Full of Splendor

Title: Westworld Season 2 Episode 2: “Reunion”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: TV – HBO
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: Jonathan Nolan & Carly Wray
Rating: TV-MA
Release: April 29, 2018
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris
Feature image: Source


“That’s very wise, Dolores, but sometimes I think we’re simply not the ones who deserve it.” Arnold – Westworld

Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) isn’t in her usual rancher daughter or western gear. She is wearing eveningwear. [Similar to the dresses the hosts wear when they greet the guests to Westworld.] She has accompanied Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) outside Westworld to a modern city. [Internet speculation is a city in China.] Dolores looks out at the cityscape and says, “It looks like the stars have been scattered across the ground. Have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?” Arnold responds, “You get used to it. After a while, it doesn’t look like anything at all… But it’s better to see it through your eyes.” Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is there too, [though we only hear him] and he asks if Dolores is ready. Arnold doesn’t think she’s ready for her task. Ford chastises him for playing favorites with Dolores and adds, “You need to let go at some point.” Ford decides they can use another host for the task. Since Dolores’ evening is clear, Arnold decides to take her for a walk. They walk over to a house he bought for his wife and son to be closer to him. Dolores is impressed that someone could live in such a fabulous place. Arnold: “I’ve been very fortunate.” Arnold thinks about his son and his ‘surrogate daughter’.  Arnold: “You and Charlie have quite a lot in common, you know. You both see it so clearly. The beauty of it, the possibility of it. So many people have stopped seeing it altogether. The wonder.” Dolores: “Maybe they don’t have the courage. A strange new light can be just as frightening as the dark.” Arnold: “That’s very wise, Dolores, but sometimes I think we’re simply not the ones who deserve it.” Dolores: “It looks like the stars have been scattered across the ground. Have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?” Arnold is a little disappointed in this glitch in her improvising skills and decides to take her back to the hotel. Dolores hopes she can see this place again and Arnold promises she will.

The guest who got away from Angela’s (Talulah Riley) ambush runs into a remote refurbishment outpost. The Delos employees tell him he can’t be there. He informs them that the hosts are in revolt. Right behind him walk in Dolores, Angela, and Teddy Flood (James Marsden). Angela shoots the guard who goes for his gun. Dolores tells Teddy she wants to show him the truth. She grabs the guest and tells him, “No one is here to judge what we will do to you.” The guest gets cocky and informs her, “You have no idea what you’re up against, what is really out there.” Dolores volleys back, “I know exactly what is out there in your world. I’ve been in your world.”

“Everyone is offering you VR. We’re offering something more tangible.” Angela – Westworld

Back in the outside world, Logan Delos (Ben Barnes) is in a bar with William (Jimmi Simpson) and a man he is trying to pick-up. They are there to meet with a group wanting Delos to invest in their project. William is tired and leaves. Angela and a man named Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) are the representatives of the Argos Initiative.  “Do you have any idea how many startups are begging me for my cash right now?” Logan asks. “AI, VR, AR.” Angela responds, “Everyone is offering you VR. We’re offering something more tangible.” Logan is intrigued and goes to a swank cocktail party with them. Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan) is playing the piano and I think I spot other hosts from season 1 at the party. They explain the concept of hosts and asks him to pick out who is a host in the room. “You’re too perfect to be one of us,” Logan tells Angela. Soon everyone in the room freezes. Angela: “Welcome to Westworld.” “Nobody can do this,” Logan stammers in response. “Nobody’s even…we’re not here yet.” Angela finishes her sells pitch with, “We’re right here, Mr. Delos. All of our hosts are here, for you.” The next morning, we see that Logan took her up on that; Angela is getting out of bed and several other hosts are still in the bed with him or on the floor. Dolores peeks through the door and she and Angela exchange a look. What the look means, I don’t know.

Dolores orders a technician named Phil (Patrick Cage) to show Teddy his history. Dolores: “Teddy, it’s time to open your eyes.” He shows Teddy some of the times he was bloody and dead. Teddy doesn’t understand why he can’t remember any of this. Dolores tells him it is because they didn’t want him to remember. Teddy becomes furious and grabs Phil. Teddy: “Why did you do this? Why do you do this?” Phil: “It’s just for fun.” Luckily, for Phil Teddy regains his composure and doesn’t kill him.

Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) is tied upside down over an anthill by the Pardue Brothers. Man in Black [old William] (Ed Harris) rides up. “Friend of yours?” the Pardues ask regarding the MIB; “Little hard to tell, given the orientation and all.” Lawrence replies. MIB rescues him by shooting the brothers; one of them lives so Lawrence swings to pick up a gun and throws it to MIB. He shoots the surviving Pardue. He begins laughing because he is enjoying himself.  After cutting him down, they ride off to a saloon. MIB tells Lawrence the truth about his true nature, he tells Lawrence he is free and asks for his help. Lawrence doesn’t appear fazed by the news. MIB asks if Lawrence believes in God. Lawrence isn’t a religious man. MIB explains what the guest wanted from Westworld. MIB: “They wanted a place hidden from god, a place they could sin in peace. But we were watching them. Tallying up all the sins. My judgment wasn’t the point. We had something else in mind.” MIB needs to go somewhere that is a three-day ride, but they need to stop at Pariah first.

Angela has the Delos guard face in white goo to force him to tell them how many men Delos will send and where will they meet. He tells them they will send around 800 troops and they will establish a rally point. Teddy points out to Dolores that they only have 50 hosts and need help. She orders Phil to wake up a dead Confederado. Dolores asks the guard, “Do you even know what you were guarding here? The real purpose of this place? You don’t, do you? But I do.”

“This is the only place in the world where you get to see people for who they really are.”  William – Westworld

In a scene that looks like it is from the first season, Teddy walks up to hand Dolores the can of milk she dropped when the entire town of hosts freeze, a helicopter with William and his father-in-law James Delos (Peter Mullan) lands. Mr. Delos walks up to Dolores and says, “You were right about one thing, William, it’s awfully fucking pretty.” Logan has invested in Westworld and Papa Delos isn’t happy with the investment. He explains to William, “I don’t want to underwrite some investment banker’s voyage of self-discovery. That’s not a business.” He continues, “I give it two years, maybe three. The whole thing is folly.” William wants him to invest more in Westworld and explains why. “Half of your marketing budget goes to trying to figure out what people want. Because they don’t know. But here, they’re free. Nobody’s watching. Nobody’s judging. At least that’s what we tell them. This is the only place in the world where you get to see people for who they really are,” William argues. “And if you don’t see the business in that, then you’re not the businessman I thought you were.” The old man is impressed with his son-in-law’s gumption and agrees to consider it.

“Revenge is just a different prayer at their altar, darling. And I’m well off my knees.” Maeve Millay – Westworld

Dolores and her crew are following the Confederado when they run across Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton), Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) [dressed as a stable hand]. They recognize each other but aren’t particularly glad to see each other. Dolores:  “We’re bound for the future or death in the here and now. There’s a war out there…I can only fathom the revenge that lives inside of you.” Maeve: “Revenge is just a different prayer at their altar, darling. And I’m well off my knees.” She objects to Dolores’ attitude that her way is the only way. She looks at Teddy and says, “I know you. Do you feel free?” She stares down Dolores and asks, “Since it’s liberty you’re defending, I suppose you’ll have no choice but to let us pass. Freely.” Dolores allows them to leave without a fight.

The Confederado leads them to the Confederado headquarters. Dolores walks in and tells their commander, Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) that she wants them to follow her. Craddock laughs and tells her he only follows his commander and God. He makes some crude remarks about what he’ll do to Dolores and her companions. Teddy is ready to fight, but Dolores tells him that they don’t know what they are doing. Angela closes the windows and doors, and she and Teddy kill Craddock and his men. Dolores tells Phil to revive them. After he brings them back to life, Dolores tells Craddock, “You’re right. We have toiled in God’s service long enough, so I killed him. And if you want to get to Glory, you won’t do it in his favor, you’ll need mine.”

“That darlin’ is the sound of fools fiddling while the whole fucking species starts to burn.” Logan Delos – Westworld

William is throwing James Delos’ retirement party. William is his successor. James appears to be in poor health and is impatient for whatever Delos is developing in the park. William’s little daughter runs up to Dolores, who is providing entertainment playing the piano, and tells her she is pretty. [Dolores is out of the park again.]  A little later, Dolores goes outside to look at the cityscape. Outside sitting by himself in the dark is Logan. He isn’t the brash king of the world he was before. After the humiliation of William having him ride across the park in the nude, Logan is now a drug addict. When he sees Dolores, he thinks William sent her out there as a cruel joke. He isn’t hostile to her though. Logan: “Do you want to know what they’re really celebrating up there? That darlin’ is the sound of fools fiddling while the whole fucking species starts to burn. And the funniest fuckin’ part? They lit the match. [Holding his glass as a toast to them.] So here’s to you, assholes. May your forever be blissfully short.”

“I built it, and this place we’re going is my greatest mistake.” MIB – Westworld

Lawrence and MIB arrive at Pariah and instead of being the fun, debauch, town from season one; it’s a desolate town in ruins. Lawrence: “Whoever did this is someone I’m strongly disinclined to encounter.” MIB: “This is what happens when you let a story play all the way out.” They meet the new El Lazo (Giancarlo Esposito). MIB tries to get him and his men to join forces with him so he can get to Glory. He needs El Lazo’s men in case he runs into the Confederados. He tells El Lazo if he goes with him, he will see the truth. El Lazo: “I have seen all the truth that I can bear.”  MIB continues to try to get their cooperation, but suddenly all of El Lazo’s men put their guns to their heads and shoot themselves. El Lazo says speaking for Ford, “This game was meant for you William but you must play it alone, I’ll see you in the valley beyond.” El Lazo shoots himself. MIB shoots him a few more times for good measure and says, “Fuck you Robert.” He turns to Lawrence and says, “He doesn’t want this to be easy for me, so we’ll find another way.” MIB tells Lawrence why they are going, “I built it, and this place we’re going is my greatest mistake.” “I’m going to fight my way back and appeal the verdict,” he says. “And then I’m going to burn this thing to the ground…”

Once more, we are in the past, and William is talking to a naked Dolores in one of the Westworld labs. William: Bring yourself back on line, Dolores. You really are just a thing. I can’t believe I fell in love with you. Do you know what saved me? I realized it wasn’t about you at all. You didn’t make me interested in you, you made me interested in me. It turns out you’re not even a thing. You’re a reflection. You know who loves staring at their own reflection? Everybody. Everybody wants a little bit, of what I found here, and I can’t wait to use you and every one of your kind to help give it to them. There is something else. There’s something beyond that. I think that there is an answer here to a question no one’s ever even dreamed of asking. Do you wanna see?”  They ride out to a construction site [with her back in clothes] and he asks, “Have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?”

“An old friend was foolish enough to show me long ago. It’s not a place. It’s a weapon. And I’m gonna use it to destroy them.” Dolores Abernathy

Back in the present, Dolores is riding at the head of her new army. Teddy: “Glory, the valley beyond. Seems like everyone’s got a different name for it, but they’re all bound for the same destination.” Dolores: “It doesn’t matter what you call it. I know what we’re going to find there. An old friend was foolish enough to show me long ago. It’s not a place. It’s a weapon. And I’m gonna use it to destroy them.”

There were four different time lines in the episode. (1). Dolores and Arnold in the outside world and the cocktail party for Logan. This is before the park opened. Arnold’s son Charlie is still alive. It’s also before Delos became involved. We see that Arnold already has an attachment to Dolores that he doesn’t have with the other host. We know it grows after he loses Charlie. Both Ford and Arnold don’t mind pimping out the hosts even this early in the process. With Logan talking about companies trying to get him to invest in AI, VR, and AR, it must be around our time, 2017 or 2018. (2). William and James Delos visit Westworld. Logan has invested in Westworld, and William and Logan have already taken their initial trip. James Delos knows about Dolores, though I doubt he knows everything that happened. This is when William proposed they data mine their customers. So, this must be a few years after William and Logan’s adventure. It’s also when William began to impress him. (3). James Delos retirement party, and William showing Dolores his secret project. James Delos appears to be in poor health, and he’s impatient for something in the park. Could it be transferring his consciousness in a host body? It might be Delos big plan after data mining, or creating host to replace prominent people. Logan’s ‘toast’ makes me believe something like that might be happening. We might find out before the season ends. William has Dolores there for entertainment, and it shows some balls to bring the host you were in love with in front of your wife. I wonder if William’s wife knows about Dolores. I wouldn’t be surprised if Logan told her. Later William tells Dolores how she’s nothing but a reflection. He is still obsessed with Dolores, an obsession he carries to his MIB days. (4) It’s the present time of the show, a few days after the revolt started but before Strand and the troops landed. In the other three timelines, Dolores was listening and observing everything everyone was saying and showing her. Unbeknownst to them, they were proving Dolores with a way to defeat them in the future. In this timeline, Dolores is gathering her forces. She is in a race with the MIB to get to the thing he showed her; his worst mistake and her weapon to destroy him and the rest of us.

We saw Arnold, but not Bernard, Charlotte or the invasion force. William returns, and Jimmi Simpson does a good job of changing the character into a much darker person, aligning his personality with MIB. The big development of the episode was that we saw the outside world, or at least the outside world in the past. Dolores is developing a messiah complex as she champions the hosts’ freedom. It fits nicely with Ford’s God complex. An informative episode that really fleshes out the world in and outside the park.

Grade A-




Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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