Westworld: Virtu e Fortuna, Review

***SPOILER WARNING***

If you have not seen the third episode of season 2 Virtu e Fortuna and don’t want the show spoiled then please turn away. If spoilers don’t bother you or you have seen the episode then welcome.

Last week’s episode Reunion was an ‘explainer’ episode and a much needed one at that. This week we have a world building episode which doesn’t move things along all that much but lays the ground work for future installments.

We open surprisingly in a different park, a tropical type setting akin to British colonial India. The colonial fantasy serves as a nice commentary of Westworld itself, an adult playground created to entertain the wealthy, at the expense of the long-suffering and dehumanized inhabitants. We get an unnamed man and woman both courting each other which quickly escalates to a bedroom. The woman we find out wants a real adventure and proceeds to shoot the man to prove he’s real. When they go out on a hunt they find that everyone at the camp has been killed. They get ambushed by a host and the woman is correct to assume that this isn’t just some other storyline. She escapes but is chased by a Bengal tiger off a cliff and past a barrier into a lake. When she opens her eyes she washed up on a shore and confronted by a Ghost Nation tribe.

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PHOTO SOURCE: Westworld, HBO

We then go to the ‘future’ timeline where Bernard and the Delos crew are following a railway into a tunnel where we find Charlotte who is very much alive. She’s also missing her vest from the other timeline and comments on how Abernathy has yet to be found. She then asks Bernard in a slightly weird tone if he knows anything. Its moments like these that make you wonder what’s actually going on.

We then flashback to the post ‘event’ timeline where Bernard and Charlotte find Abernathy being held hostage by Rebus. Bernard does a cool thing here where he reprograms Rebus by giving him expert marksmanship and 100% virtue. Its funny watching Rebus go from threatening his captives trying to save every woman he sees.  But as funny as it is, it raises questions about the nature and permanence of identity, questions that the episode repeatedly brings up in other contexts. If the hosts’ personalities can be so easily reversed, how is it possible for them to have any selfhood at all?

They all get ambushed and caught by Confederados except for Charlotte who is able to escape. Bernard and Abernathy find themselves in the captivity of Dolores (who in this episode referred to herself a Wyatt). The scenes here were really good because we get to see Dolores interact with her father and deliver emotion we’ve yet to see this season. Even with access to her entire past Dolores is moved to see Abernathy again. It’s especially great that she’s now self-aware enough to realize that Abernathy isn’t really her father, and yet still recognize that the connection is important to her.

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PHOTO SOURCE: Westworld, HBO

Abernathy himself was lobotomized in season 1 but turned on again by Charlotte and fitted with a very loose storyline by Lee of ‘getting on a train’. We see the ramifications of this here as he weaves through old personalities and is essentially broken. Bernard tries to fix him and uncovers hundreds of encrypted files. He eventually breaks through and is shocked at what he finds. Though what that is is still a mystery.

Meanwhile Meave and company are ambushed by Ghost Nation and make their way underground. The relationship between free will and programming is explored further, as Maeve and Hector’s obvious love for each other weirds out their ‘writer’ Lee, who didn’t design their personalities that way. His characters are capable of surprising him, yet Lee is still able to finish Hector’s sentences, proving that the host’s newfound sentience isn’t quite as straightforward as it appears.

Armistice soon joins them branding a new arm and wielding a flamethrower as Hector delivers the line of the night: “she has a dragon.” They also find Felix and Sylvester tied up and Maeve frees them. The new group heads upstairs into a snowy part of the park where upon encountering a decapitated head are ambushed by a samurai.

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PHOTO SOURCE: Westworld, HBO

Back in the wild west Dolores has convinced the Confederados at Fort Forlorn Hope to join them against the impending Delos raid. She is correct as Charlotte and a militia of Delos men come for them guns blazing. Dolores betrays the Confederados though by willingly sacrificing them by locking them out of the Fort. Turns out she merely wanted them to buy time. However, Delos does send a covert team to capture Abernathy and they succeed. Dolores is incensed and tells Teddy that they’re going back to Sweetwater to get ‘something’.

The Confederado general is also upset that his men were deliberately slaughtered but this falls on deaf ears. Dolores orders Teddy to kill him and the remaining men and what follows is what I believe a very important part of the episode. Teddy finally makes a decision for himself, choosing to ignore Dolores’ order and let the men go. We’ve seen shades of Teddy’s general discomfort at Dolores this season but he’s gone along with everything so far. Now that he knows the truth it seems like he can finally act on those feelings. Dolores sees this happen from a distance and looks disappointed. The ethical clash between the two is sure to have major ramifications down the road.

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PHOTO SOURCE: Westworld, HBO

Another solid episode and while the plot isn’t moved forward all that much there’s still a lot happening. We know the show likes to take its time and this is just another example of it.

Diagnostics

  • The woman in the other park has a map with an image similar to the image Bernard sees when he’s trying to hack Abernathy’s files
  • Did Bernard download the encrypted data into himself? After Delos takes Abernathy Bernard experiences even more spasms then before and can barely walk
  • When Maeve and company are in the snowy bit Lee says they must be in the Klondike area of the park yet they’re ambushed by a Samurai? So not Shogunworld?
  • Clementine makes her return and well…she’s scary now
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