Previously on Westworld, “Kiksuya”
We still have to wait for next week’s finale for answers to how Bernard ended up on the beach and the hosts in the water, but “Vanishing Point” answered a few questions from the past like: Why did Juliet (Sela Ward), William’s wife, kill herself? Why did Emily really come to the park? How far will the Man in Black go to destroy the park and beat Ford’s game? If you answered “kill his own damn daughter far” to the latter, give yourself a prize.
Obstacles on the Way to the Valley
An encounter with the Ghost Nation depletes the rest of Dolores’ army, leaving just her and Teddy to travel to the Valley Beyond alone. Teddy has no problem gunning down those who attack them, but stops short of shooting one of the Lakota men in the back as he retreats. Dolores did change him, but some of the old Teddy is still in there. He remembers everything now, including seeing Dolores the first time he woke up. His cornerstone was to protect her, and now that he can’t protect her from herself, he’s done. Teddy takes his own life as Dolores watches.
With Maeve’s admin abilities copied inside of Clementine, Hale hopes to use Clementine to control the hosts still roaming the park. Once they’re sure it works, they’ll decommission Maeve. Ford isn’t about to let that happen. Before Bernard leaves the Mesa with Elsie, Ford instructs him to stand outside the lab holding Maeve so she can download a message from him.
Later, in one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking scenes of the series, Ford appears to Maeve and explains he had different plans for her. He wanted her to escape, but she stayed to save her child. And so did he. She was the closest he ever came to having a child and he tells her to not let the humans end her story now. Ford is just like the audience: Maeve is his favorite. Maeve begins to work the system from the inside.
When Elsie stops to retrieve ammunition from dead bodies on the road, Ford tells Bernard to get rid of her because she’ll betray him. It’s what humans do. It’s nice that Bernard is all noble and sensitive, but the fate of an entire new species is at stake. No time for fee-fees, Bernard. He resists Ford’s programming and zip ties himself to the steering wheel to keep from hurting Elsie, then he connects to a behavior tablet to delete Ford from his system. He tells Elsie she should go off on her own and let QA rescue her; traveling with him is too dangerous. He plans to put a stop to this without anymore bloodshed.
It’s like Bernard is new here.
At a rally point, Emily tends to her father’s wounds and awaits a rescue from QA. She convinces her father that she wants in on his secret project with the hopes she can use it to find out why Juliet committed suicide.
A flashback to the night she died reveals that William ran into Ford at a hotel bar. Ford gave William his own profile, collected after all of his annual visits to the park. He warns William will not like what he finds there.
At home, Juliet goes on a drunken rant and accuses her husband of being a fake, a pretender. Emily confronts her mother and threatens to have her sent back to rehab. William puts Juliet to bed and avoids answering her questions.
“Is this real? Are you real? Did you ever love me? Tell me one true thing.”
Once she passes out, he admits out loud that the darkness in him was always there and she’s the only one who saw it when he was able to fool everyone else. Because of this, he declares he doesn’t belong to her or the real world. He belongs in the park.
Juliet was only pretending to be asleep, and when William leaves the room she retrieves his profile card which he had hidden in a book. She accesses it and sees all of the killing and raping the Man in Black has done from his early days as William to his most recent visit (which is a little perplexing since one of the things shown only happened after Juliet died). She leaves the card in a jewelry box for Emily to find and then kills herself in the bathroom, where William later finds her.
In the park, Emily tries to convince MIB that she blames herself for Juliet’s death since she had put into motion plans to have her mother forcibly committed right before she took her life. MIB once again accuses her of being a host and controlled by Ford. She finally comes clean and says that the only thing she’s faking is caring about him. Her real plan is to expose his project and have him committed. She saw his profile and knows that he’s sick and her mother was right along. This convinces MIB even more that she’s not human because he believes no one knew about his profile card but him and Ford.
The QA team arrives, but after confirming that MIB is human, he shoots them all and then Emily when she goes to reach for something tucked in her back pocket. It’s not until he begins to cut in her arm does MIB realize she wasn’t reaching for a weapon, but for his profile card. He contemplates suicide, but drops the gun and begins to claw at his own arm.
Analysis. What Prompted that Response?
The scan seems to confirm that MIB is, in fact, human, but his profile revealed that he’s prone to delusions and extreme paranoia. Both Juliet and Emily had accused him of being so obsessed with the park that he could no longer tell what’s real. We’ve seen this occur all season until it tragically leads to him shooting his own daughter. By episode’s end, he questions all of his choices and whether they were truly his own. He may not be a host, but his own demons are leading him to think he is.
I may be in the minority, but I love Ford. How we ever thought the series could continue on without having him in season two to clear up some season one loose ends is beyond me. This week, his scene with Maeve was perfectly acted and wonderfully effective. It also confirmed that he did intend for Maeve to make it to the mainland. I’m excited by the idea that season three could take place outside the park with hosts in the real world. The fact that Ford had make provisions for Maeve to live in the real world gives me hope we may see that.
What are your thoughts on the episode? If you’re a Premium subscriber, head over to Patreon to leave your feedback and we’ll read it on the podcast tonight.
Westworld S2E9 Review Score
Westworld – S2E9 – “Vanishing Point” | Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Rodrigo Santoro, Simon Quarterman, Luke Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Gustaf Skarsgård, Zahn McClarnon