We finally got samurai. Kind of. The latest episode of Westworld, “Virtù e Fortuna” ended on a katana-hanger, but before that happened we got a new character, Dolores and Teddy’s communication issues, and a battle between mercenaries and confederados. And, as always, a lot of questions. Let’s dive in like a tiger diving into a lake.
Who Is the Woman From Colonial World?
Fans have been clamoring to see another park ever since the Season 1 finale teased Shogun World. But instead of delivering us a land of samurai, Westworld gave us what looked like British-occupied colonial India, where guests seem less interested in playing cowboy and more interested in sipping tea. There we watch an unidentified woman go on quite the emotional roller coaster: She engages in some … aggressive foreplay, watches her one-night stand get shot by a rogue host, kills the rogue host, flees from a host tiger, gets tackled by the tiger over a cliff and into a lake, and then washes up on the other shore and is discovered by the Ghost Nation tribe.
There are a lot of questions here — How did she outrun a tiger for a solid 30 seconds? Has future BDSM foreplay gotten out of control? Should we be outraged about people hunting the tiger version of Cecil the lion?? — but the most pressing question is, Who the hell is this woman?
There are two options here: Either Westworld is introducing a brand-new character in the middle of the second season, or she is connected to the existing characters somehow and will tie up some loose ends. The latter feels more likely, and there’s only one character that makes sense to tie in her backstory: William, a.k.a. the Man in Black (Ed Harris).
In Episode 8, the Man in Black explains to Teddy that after 30 years of marriage, his wife died the previous year after taking too many pills and falling asleep in the bathtub.
“And then at the funeral, I tried to console my daughter,” the Man in Black says. “She pushed me away. Told me that my wife’s death was no accident. That she killed herself because of me. Emily said that every minute with me was sheer terror, at any point I could blow up or collapse. Like some dark star.”
We didn’t see William’s daughter until the flashbacks to James Delos’s retirement party in last week’s episode.
That flashback was to a time roughly 25 years ago, which means Emily would be right around the same age as the mystery woman from this episode. She’s also one of the few characters that could tie multiple plotlines together, especially since she is in the same timeline as Dolores, Charlotte, Teddy, Bernard, and the Man in Black. Emily is likely either a massive stakeholder in Delos or the heir to William’s shares. She could understand the importance of the data inside of Peter Abernathy (a.k.a. the USPeter drive) and provide the 30,000-foot view of Delos that Charlotte and the Man in Black seem uninterested in sharing. Perhaps her story is related to whatever is in this map she was drawing.
If she does turn out to be Emily, perhaps William’s search for “The Door” will lead to what he wants most: the opportunity to repair his relationship with his daughter. In the process, Emily can also give us what we want most: the Man in Black, crying.
Why Are Dolores and Teddy Looking at Each Other Like That?
After a less-than-inspiring battle, Dolores asks Teddy to kill Major Craddock (the slick-talking dude from the Confederado Last Supper in Episode 2) and his remaining men. Teddy marches him outside, gets him to his knees, and puts a gun in his face, but Craddock starts pleading for his life with a we’re not so different, you and I shtick and says Teddy is too busy following orders to think about what he really wants.
“We ain’t nothing alike, you’re just a child,” Teddy says, echoing the words Dolores used earlier in the episode. But Teddy then lowers his gun and tells them all to leave as Dolores covertly and disappointedly looks on.
It’s a telling moment, and it foreshadows a seemingly inevitable rift between Dolores and Teddy that ends with Teddy floating in the sea two weeks later. While Teddy is constantly lost and confused about how to go on in this world (relatable, tbh) he deserves some respect for finally siding with his instincts rather than mindlessly following orders. Teddy’s two main drives are to protect Dolores and hunt Wyatt, and he seems to slowly be realizing those are at odds (you’d think that Dolores telling the colonel, “You can call me Wyatt” would be a red flag, but Teddy seems slower to the draw with his thoughts than his gun).
Teddy freeing Craddock shows his internal conflict is intensifying, and his reaction to Craddock’s plea is reminiscent of Episode 2, when Teddy made this face after Maeve asked him, “Do you feel free?”
That is not the face of a man who feels free. It’s time to #FreeTeddy.
Everyone else who has defied Dolores/Wyatt (Dolyatt?) this season subsequently fell in line or died. That makes Dolores’s handling of Teddy’s defiance particularly important. With her dad on the fritz, Dolores told Teddy that he’s the last thing she can hold onto from her past. If Teddy and Peter both die (as in, permanently) then the drives that make her “Dolores” may disappear and her new personality would be a lot more Wyatt-centric. Perhaps the Season 2 tagline “chaos takes control” doesn’t just apply to Westworld, but also to Dolores’s mind.
Why Are the Delos Security Guards the Worst Henchmen in the History of Bad Henchmen?
The Ringer obtained the script for a deleted scene from this episode, in which Delos operatives plan the raid on Fort Forlorn Hope.
Scene: Two dozen Delos mercenaries are planning their raid on a fort held by Confederados. Enter Charlotte Hale.
Charlotte Hale: Hey guys, we’re outnumbered, so let’s do a SEAL Team 6 nighttime raid with night-vision goggles and silenced P90s.
Delos Security: Eh.
Hale: How about we use snipers to shoot from, like, a mile away and then extract Abernathy with a helicopter?
Delos: [eye roll]
Hale: How about we send in drones, because this is the future and we are a robot company?
Hale: OK, wanna just sneak up from the trees and start shooting?
Delos: Nah, let’s walk slowly across that open field in broad daylight and start shooting when we’re halfway there.
Westworld cocreator Jonathan Nolan says video games were a huge inspiration for the show. Yet this episode is a slap in the face to anyone who has played Call of Duty. Or has seen a war movie. Or who watches Westworld with the scrutiny that the show insists upon. Yes, henchmen are always useless, and as a distraction to extract Peter Abernathy, the plan worked. But a show that hides QR codes in trailers, sets up elaborate Easter egg–filled websites, and trolls fans with the line “everything here is code” should not have highly trained mercenaries enter a gunfight either strolling through a field like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, or driving to the front of the firefight in DOORLESS, WINDOWLESS CARS.
Just two years ago, Game of Thrones aired “Battle of the Bastards,” a gruesomely claustrophobic and tactically accurate rendition of medieval warfare (minus the giants). Now we see SEAL Team Delos approaching a fort in a formation that wouldn’t win a game of dodgeball. The humans in this show have been mind-numbingly stupid throughout the series — remember how Sylvester and Felix kept working with Maeve in Season 1 even after Maeve slit Sylvester’s throat and made Felix cauterize the wound? — but this much thoughtlessness is disappointing.
If done with a Thrones-like attention to detail, a Westworld scene where mercenaries attack a Civil War fort would be legendary. Instead, it’s just a reminder that Westworld (the park) is kind of boring. Hopefully Shogun World’s samurai can cut through the noise.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.