Last week, I complained slightly that Westworld’s season premiere had set us up for action, only to deliver a more ponderously paced episode. Episode three, ‘Virtu e Fortuna’, is that action-packed spectacular and then some. Bullets fly, skin scorches and Dolores proves herself to be every bit the ruthless Wyatt we heard about in season one. The cold opening lands us in another ‘world’, not the samurai world we’d been expecting since the teaser trailer, but The Raj, the Colonial India to Westworld’s wild west. As the show is wont to do, it lands us in The Raj with zero introduction, just a heavy dose of sexual tension between two guests, followed by some foreplay with a Luger and a hunt for Bengal tigers that goes very, very wrong. This prologue suggests and answer to how the tiger ended up on the beach in last week’s episode, but it brings with it more questions. No surprises there.
Back in Westworld, we join up with Maeve, Lee and Hector as they journey deeper into the park, seeking out Maeve’s daughter. Reduced to a fleeting cameo last week, it’s a joy to have a lot more of Thandie Newton. In a show that isn’t wanting for great performances, she still manages to shine brightest. This odd trio has an encounter with the super creepy Ghost Nation dudes (which brings up another question – see below) and they end up running for their lives into one of the underground facilities dotted around the park.
There’s something incredibly satisfying in how the show keeps subtly dropping in Maeve’s hugely enhanced intelligence. Lee, being an almighty arsehole, balks at the unscripted relationship blossoming between her and Hector, prompting Hector to declare that his love for Maeve is so much realer than anything programmed into him. Lee undermines that by revealing that he wrote Hector’s platitudes of love, only for Maeve to adeptly emasculate Lee with a perceptive comment about how he created Hector to represent the man that he could never be.
Last week’s episode was titled ‘Reunion’ but there are reunions aplenty this week, too. Maeve is reunited with Felix and Sylvester (still whiny), Hector is reunited with his badass partner-in-crime Armistice – who we meet setting fire to Delos goons – and Dolores is reunited with both her father and Bernard. There’s been a real ruthless streak to Dolores ever since the uprising, but this week is above and beyond. After convincing the Confederados to assist her, she then brutally betrays them, leaving them to be massacred by a heavily armed Delos force.
Still, there’s warmth left in Dolores, brilliantly portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood in the scene where she meets her glitching father, an unwitting vessel for whatever Charlotte Hale is up to. Bernard manages to unlock the secrets hidden within him, but he’s whisked away by Clementine (who seriously unnerves me) while Dolores’s father is sneakily abducted by Charlotte.
We end on the scene we’ve been waiting for since we saw that ninja in season one, as Maeve and her merry band of humans and hosts accidentally stumble into Samurai World. Given how The Raj played out, there’s a good chance that this isn’t going to go well.
Questions, questions, questions
- I’m not going to get into trying to figure out timelines again but I have a suspicion that The Raj scenes might not lead immediately up to the discover of the tiger on the beach. For one, there’s a theory bouncing around on Reddit that the female guest, Grace (played by Katja Herbers), is really a younger version of Teresa, who was murdered by Bernard in season one. Or could she be William’s daughter?
- In the battle for creepiest characters, who wins out of the Ghost Nation, Clementine and Dolores’s henchmen? My vote is for the latter.
- Speaking of the Ghost Nation, who else is starting to suspect that they’re protecting humans? We saw them grab Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) in season one but now he’s back and none the worse for wear. Then this week they told Maeve and Hector they only wanted Lee, which Maeve refused. Grace ends up in their clutches after swimming across from The Raj, but something tells me that’s not curtains for her.
- Dolores tells Teddy, “Not all of us deserve to make it to the valley beyond”. Poor devoted Teddy can’t bring himself to execute the Confederados – to Dolores’s obvious disappointment – and we’ve already seen him among the drowned hosts in the lake. Could this mean that Dolores killed all the hosts?
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