Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sun Warrior (Tales of a New World #2) by P. C. Cast

I did it, I read Sun Warrior. It was a book I picked up with a great deal of trepidation and no small amount of dread. The House of Night Series remains one of the worst I have ever endured and Moon Chosen manages to plum still deeper depths. I did not have high expectations for Sun Warrior

Which made reading Sun Warrior, almost a pleasant surprise. Oh, not because it was good. Not because it came even close to good. Not because it could even see good on a clear day with a telescope. Because it wasn’t remotely. Nor was it not deeply problematic in many many ways (especially dwelling on a lot of rape as well as some really terrible treatment of the former slaves the Companions controlled) But it managed to avoid a whole lot of the most awful traits of the first book by… basically pretending they never happened or by retconning or by brushing over them super quickly.

Like the book tries to emphasise what a wonderful caring healer Mari is… we’re all completely avoiding the way she just abandoned her people and listened to them scream. At best we have a brief nod while everyone rallies round Mari to tell her she’s amazing and we spend the rest of this book with just about everyone treating Mari like the second coming. Or there’s the racial coding and Blackface of the last book which is just ignored in this book. The description of Earth Walkers as ugly vs the “refined” features of the Companions has been dropped entirely. The  Nightfever is there, but handwaved and we’re all far more concerned by the new plague from the Skin Stealers. She even develops a whole new load of traditions about Clan Weaver weaving - which sounds simplistic, but last book Mari didn’t think her people were capable of art.

It’s not that the book has changed, dispensed with or otherwise redeemed the badness of the last book: it’s just pretended none of it ever happened.

It does have its own problematic elements which largely stem from the writing: it’s horribly slow pace, the endless telling-with-no-showing and the Mary Sue omniscience of the main characters held together with a whole lot of magical plot glue.

This book, this oh-so-long-book, covers about a week, maybe a fortnight. And in that time Mari and Nik decide to create a whole new society called the Pack where all people come together in mutual love and tolerance. Which sounds nice - except remember like 2 days ago these Earth Walker women were imprisoned and enslaved by the Companions. They were enslaved for generations as a people and some of these women had literally spent many years in captivity. It is REASONABLE for these women to be at least a little wary of the Companions. It is reasonable for these women to be more than a little concerned when Mari decides to host several Companions in their BIRTHING BURROW. The place where pregnant women of the Clan give birth. And some of these Companions were literally among the raiding party that kidnapped several Clan women AND killed Leda, Mari’s mother and pretty much destroyed the Clan, a few weeks ago. Hey, y’know, it’s not exactly an act of vicious bigotry for the these women to think that they’d rather their enslavers not camp in the most sensitive parts of their home. But Mari treats them as grossly intolerant and drives some of the women out for not embracing them men who hunted and owned them 2 days before - and no-one challenges her on this

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Originals, Season 5, Episode 6: What, Will, I, Have, Left

I’m going to have another rant about Nazis. As I said in previous episodes, I truly think the writers have opted to go for Nazi vampires because they are Teh Evil. And Klaus needed Teh Evil to fight because he is already a leading contender for Teh Evil. And yes it says everything about Klaus that you need to resort to Nazis if you want to out-evil him.

The problem is that they’re Nazis. They’re not even subtle Nazis. They run around talking about purity of blood and master races. They. Have. Swastika. Coins. They just need to start goose-stepping.

The problem is that this means we have characters listen to Nazis nazi-ing everywhere, who presumably haven’t been living under a rock somewhere, and somehow they’re don’t realise they’re listening to Nazis. Because the writers both want to have Teh Evil but also want to have bad guys we’re sympathetic with or will join the good-guy side like Antoinette, Elijah and Roman. And it doesn’t work.

So we have Roman leading Hope into a trap - to the same place he has Hayley held captive - listening to Greta spout on about Master Races and purity but believing that Greta only wants to protect them from hybrids, honest and wouldn’t hurt anyone! And he’s so under his mother’s thumb which would work if he were, y’know, an actual teenager (and would also explain why he’s actually at school). But we know he is at least 70 years old. This guy was literally alive in World War 2 - in GERMANY during World War 2. He cannot be this naive. He cannot be this child-like. This whole character makes no sense at all.

Or Elijah has lunch with Greta while she goes on about blood purity and proper vampirism without putting two and two together.

At least Antoinette has the sense to be vaguely suspicious. But even she seems to buy her mother’s claim that Roman is being threatened by Hope (also, can someone please address 70+ year old Roman with 16 year old Hope? Please?) and is more concerned by the fact that Klaus may hurt her baby brother AND that she’s dragging Elijah into her family drama than she is that her Nazi mother may be up to some Nazi-ing. None of these characters make sense. None of them are tolerable. It’s just a convoluted way to drag Elijah back into the plot mainly because without an Original, Klaus is just going to squish everything.

Meanwhile Klaus and Caroline are looking for Hope and Caroline, headmistress of a school, thinks they’re all over-reacting just a little bit about this 16 year old girl running off with a 70 year old vampire. Ha-ha isn’t it fun when teenaged girls like “bad boys” who are several decades or centuries older than them and occasionally commit murders? Hey this is a great time to reminisce on how Caroline was a teenager and how she sort of had a thing for Klaus, ho-ho bad boys. Serial killing bad boys. Serial killing torturing bad boys, why it’s just a rite of passage for teenaged girls and she totally has no regrets at all despite her constant terror of him and aren’t we all better people now.

My urge to vomit is rising.

Andrew Lincoln Leaving the Walking Dead

It’s the end of an era; after what feels like a hundred years, Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead. This continues to confirm our theory that British non-soap actors live in terror of being typecast and hate to be stuck in one role for too long, although in the case of Lincoln it may already too late to avoid being typecast. We believe that for the rest of his life, Lincoln will be asked by fans to yell, "Carl", in the horrible southern accent is has affected for The Walking Dead

Inevitably, this is going to immensely change the Walking Dead which has very much been the Rick show. From the very beginning of the first episode, it has always been clear that Rick was the protagonist and the one man who can never die - from overcoming Shane, to establishing the Rickocracy, to becoming the near messianic figure he was at the end of the last season, Rick is front and central. There may be the odd break while we spend a couple of episodes on another character, but Rick has always been the core of this show. Even when Rick decided to bow out of leadership and become a farmer, the rest of the cast members spent their time trying to get Rick back in the game. 

And now that is going to change. In many ways we can’t even predict what the Walking Dead will look like without Rick in the centre. Will we still be focusing on the growing alliance of city states that are slowly recreating a nation? Will we almost spin off to a whole new direction, moving away from the main action like Morgan did on Fear the Walking Dead? We can’t even guess.

But one thing is clear is that the show isn’t moving away from a central protagonist - no, we have a new lead. And I can see so much potential here

Maggie, now stepping up as leader of Hilltop, the only really intact community, trying to integrate the newly surrendered Saviours while still simmering with anger over Glenn, but still seen as a great leader by many of her people? Well, nope, sadly not, not her - though I understand Lauren Cohan has her own contract issues with The Walking Dead and will also be taking a back seat

Ok, what about Ezekiel? I’d be behind an Ezekiel centre - think of it, the dramatic ruler who led his people by means of a tiger and flamboyant cosplay, was dragged down to reality with a dead Shiva and a whole lot of dead people, only to rise from the ashes as a new leader. How does he integrate the lessons he’s learned? Does he throw out the King entirely or does he realise that there’s a place for showmanship? This could be compelling to see the King come forward as a true leader without the the mask.

Of course it’s not him

Ok - Carol! Of course it would have to be Carol! One of the few characters who has been with us since Season 1, she’s been destroyed, rebuilt herself, made small children look at flowers, danced on the edge of becoming truly evil, lurched back from the edge so hard she nearly fell apart in face of what she’d become, only to charge through that and step up again as the glorious wrath of god we know her to be. No character has been broken, reforged, broken, reforged as much as she, while still showing a powerful caring side looking to Ezekiel and Daryl. Can you see her now pushing to make these communities work? Not the leader, but the fixer - the one there with kind word and reassurance when a leader doubts or needs someone to talk to - and the one who will be the first to step up if a threat arrives. Carol, head of the Walking Dead, it would be perfect.

Nope, not her either

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Westworld, Season Two, Episode Seven: Les Écorchés

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If you've ever had any doubt that Bernard is there to represent the audience, this episode should lay that to rest. Bernard is discovering what has happened just as we are and almost everything we see is from his perspective.  We are Bernard and Bernard is us. At times, Westworld is difficult to follow because it's constantly shifting through timelines dropping little clues with one hand and moving away from them with the other.  More than any other episode to date, Les Écorchés has been the most transparent and the most revealing. 

We begin with Bernard sleeping on a couch with a picture of Arnold's son cradled in his hand. Ashley has determined that Delos is not interested in saving any survivors and that the two of them must get to a satellite phone to call for help. They don't get very far before they are confronted by Charlotte Hale and marched to the location of where Theresa Cullen was killed. Ashley is quickly deemed the most likely suspect for killing Theresa but as we already know, Ashley is not the guilty party. It was Bernard who killed Theresa on Ford's command. It isn't until a gun is put to Ashley's head that Bernard decides to speak up.  To make matters worse, Hale's attention is drawn to a door and when everyone walks through it they find several hosts who look like Bernard. So yeah, the literal skeletons in the closet is a bit too on the nose but now everyone is in the know about exactly who and what Bernard is. Now that the secret is out however, Hale has a new lead on where to find the info that was hidden inside of Abernathy. 

In the past, Bernard is still inside the cradle and it's finally time to have a long awaited conversation with Ford. Bernard remembers uploading Ford, who explains that he lives inside the cradle now and would only degrade if placed into a host.  We learn that the mission of the park was never perfecting the tech but in breaking down, recreating and understanding the human brain, which Ford calls the last analog item in a digital world. Ford believes that in the host he has created something new and innocent and has no intention of allowing humanity to corrupt it with its violence and evil. Bernard is absolutely astounded with the revelation. Ford believes that Bernard does not have the stamina to do what needs to be done to survive and so he decides to take away Bernard's free will.  Outside of the cradle, Delores has begun her assault on the headquarters and Elise is anxious for Bernard to get out of the machine so that they can escape.

The security force sent to deal with the hosts are absolutely overly confident and it isn't until they find the remains of the previous team that they discover how much trouble they are in. The security force doesn't have time to register the danger before they are shot dead by hosts who have dressed up as the security force.  Delores has two aims inside of headquarters: find Abernathy to get the information out of his head and to destroy their backups which she believes will lead to true freedom for the hosts. Delores comes face to with Charlotte Hale at last and it's almost everything I hoped it would be. Delores is enraged with what has been done to Abernathy and for her part, Charlotte is absolutely dismissive of Delores's ability to use the information stored inside of Abernathy. Charlotte really hasn't quite dialed into exactly what she is dealing with because she's so results driven. It's only when Delores places her up against a wall and threatens to give her just a measure of what she's been forced to go through that things suddenly start to feel real for Hale. Fortunately for Hale, with the help of a gun going off somewhere in HQ and Ashley who creates a distraction, both she and Ashley are able to escape. Delores may be thwarted for now but at least she finally has access to Abernathy. The two share a very emotional goodbye, even though Delores is well aware that it has been written into her programming to care for Abernathy before she takes what she needs from him.

Elsewhere in Westworld, Maeve has taken refuge in an abandoned building to hide with her daughter when who should show up but William and of course Lawrence.  The arrival of William instantly triggers Maeve because she like Delores has been the subject of Williams cruelty for decades.  When William enters the building, Maeve instantly demands that he leave but he doesn't take her demand seriously because he knows that Ford has been driving his current experience in the park. It's only when Maeve takes out her gun and shoots William in the shoulder that he realises that he needs to take her seriously as a threat. William races outside to try and find cover and after pausing to promise her daughter that she will come back for her, Maeve follows William outside. Once outside, Maeve uses her powers to cause the hosts to turn on William much to his surprise.  Maeve is playing for keeps and still William doesn't quite understand that this isn't Fords doing because he continually pleads with Ford, claiming that this isn't how Ford wants him to die. Delores advances but is forced to stop when Lawrence arrives and points a gun at her head, demanding that she stop attacking William. Maeve tries to use her mind power on Lawrence but it doesn't work. I just knew that the writers wouldn't be consistent with Maeve's abilities and I'm already frustrated by it. Maeve then tells Lawrence that he should think back about his past interactions, positive that anything involving William and a host would not be good for the host.  As Lawrence picks through his memories, he remembers William killing his wife. William tries to insist that he saved Lawrence's wife but as we know, that's the first time he ever did anything kind for Lawrence. It's a reminder of Ford's warning to William that one good act could not erase the harm that he's done. Now in full possession of his memories, Lawrence no longer sees William as a hero and turns the gun on him, only to be shot by the rescue forces that Lee called for.  Maeve is shot as well and before she can be permanently killed, Lee intervenes saying that Maeve isn't like the rest. As Maeve is taken to a vehicle, she watches as her daughter leaves the security of her hiding place only to be scooped up by Akecheta and the Ghost Nation warriors. Maeve screams out but its to no avail, she's powerless to help her daughter.

It's left to Angela to destroy the cradle and this seems a rather fitting choice given that she's the one who introduces William to hosts, as well as welcomes people to Westworld in the first place. Angela is who she is to the end, seducing a soldier, even though she is injured, encouraging him to drop his guard so that she can get close to him. Look, I know that Delos probably didn't spend a lot of money on their hired security force given that they probably didn't see this coming but what kind of security just lowers his gun and lets a threat close to him because of a hard on?

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 7: The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now

John has been shot, Naomi is upset by this and there’s a huge firefight between Alicia’s gang and Mel (brother of Ennis) and his vultures. Alicia would quite like to kill Naomi but Morgan decides to get involved because that’s his thing now - leaping into situations he knows virtually nothing about.

We also have Charlotte, the evil child infiltrator of doom - and Jacinda almost seems ready to pull the trigger. Instead she’s distracted by more appropriate targets and Charlotte escapes - to be grabbed by Morgan because he’s just rescuing everyone. He manages to convince Althea to stop filming and play rescue vehicle - since her truck has big enough guns to back down even Alicia in her full rampage mode

Despite being outnumber 165643 to 1, Alicia, Victor and Jacinda cut a bloody swath through the Vultures who start running away  - led by Mel who flees in an ambulance. Which Alicia shoots. With an RPG. And when he crawls out near death she finishes him off. Alicia is not playing.

Naomi needs medical supplies to save John, the nicest man in the apocalypse - which means going to the one place she knows with supplies. The Stadium - which even the Vultures dare not raid for supplies.

Inside the whole place is crawling with a gazillion gazillion zombies.

Time to check the past and how we got to this stage

Because everything was going quite well, they had new plans and supplies to rebuild, Madison was spreading peace and light everywhere, the Vultures have left and she is determined to make everything work and it all looks shiny and wonderful.

When they get a visitor - Charlotte the evil devil child. She wants help because Mel has split up from the Vultures and has now got in trouble, injured and in need of help.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale, Season Two, Episode Seven: After

The moment the grenade went off it was clear that there would be consequences for a Handmaid, having the strength and ingenuity to plan an attack on the leadership of the Gilead. Unfortunately, Fred survived though he is gravely injured.  The aftermath begins with a funeral for the handmaids who died and it is presided over by none other than Aunt Lydia.  Given how disposable the handmaids have been, it's almost a shock to see a ceremony of this type but I suppose with 31 women dead, Gilead must try to make it seem as though a noble sacrifice has taken place and to set order again.  Gilead being big on drama, all of the coffins are red and laid out in a circle. The handmaids in attendance put red veils to their faces as they mark the passing of their sisters in oppression.  Aunt Lydia even drones on about wishing that she could give the women a life without violence and the hypocrisy lies like a thick fog in the air.  Aunt Lydia as you recall is responsible for maiming countless women under the guise of loving them into compliance and that she doesn't see her actions as a form of violence reveals just how corrupt she really is. On the way back from the funeral, June tries to inquire as to what Ofglen's real name was but there is no trust between the women.

Gilead responds to the attack in the harshest way possible.  People are simply gunned down in the street.  Even though Gilead has been a violent and harsh place since its inception, before the attack, one at least had to be guilty of something Gilead deemed a crime like being a gender traitor, resisting being ceremonially raped, etc., but now, the violence has become even worse. Bodies seem to be strung up everywhere and no home seems untouched by the violence. 

OffGlen's act of resistance is far reaching as people gather in Little America across the border desperate to know if their loved one is part of the death toll but at this point, the government of Canada has no information to share. Luke and Moira hear the news together but Luke is absolutely certain that June is still alive. With no new information available about June, Moira decides that the time has finally come to look for someone else whose fate remains anonymous - her girlfriend Dr. Odette Johnson.

We really haven't seen much of Moira this season which is a shame because Samira Wiley is an awesome actress. Yes, the story of what is happening in Gilead is important but I feel that ignoring the survivors who have PTSD from living in the Gilead and their escape, is shortsighted on the part of the writers. Moira's backstory begins with a conversation with June in which she relates that women are being paid hefty sums to act as surrogates for childless couples.  Moira sees this as an opportunity to be able to fund her dreams and after considering the cost of pregnancy - a cost June is more than happy to discuss with her, Moira decides to go ahead.

At the ultrasound, Moira absolutely refuses to look at the screen, even though June tries to insist that she'll be interested in seeing it later.  It's a direct inversion of the ultrasound that June experienced when she's had her ultrasound in the Gilead. At the lamaze class, June and Moira end up bickering when Moira believes June is holding her supposedly perfect relationship over her. Yes, June is acting as Moira's support but Moira is still going through this pregnancy by herself which is absolutely a terrifying thing.  June counters by bringing up all of Luke's faults and the two women end up laughing. 

Moira ends up giving birth to a boy whom she names Gavin and she gives him up for adoption three months later.  This explains how it is that the Gilead knew that Moira was fertile and could be a handmaiden. On her way to meet with Luke and June, Moira runs into Odette, who served as her OB/GYN during her pregnancy with Gavin. Now that Moira is no longer a patient, Odette feels that it is time for Moira to call her by her name. It's clear that the two women have some chemistry.

In the present, Moira spends over 24 hours going through the images of the dead and nameless women that the centre in little America has managed to amass.  The fact that these images even exist at all leads me to believe that the resistance is stronger than we have been led to believe. Not only did someone have to take the pictures of the dead women, someone had to ensure that the photos ended up in the centre and as we know, the borders of the Gilead are closed. Finally, Moira sees a photo of a dead Odette and collapses with grief.  

Not only did 31 handmaids die in the explosion, so did commander Pryce - the leader of the Eye and Nick's direct supervisor.  Power abhors a vacuum and so with Pryce dead and Waterford slipping in and out of consciousness, Cushing is happy to take his shot at running things.  Cushing is the reason that there are tanks in the street and that people are being indiscriminately killed.  In order to cement his power, Cushing knows that he has to do something about Waterford and so he chooses to interview June, in the hope that she will say something to incriminate Fred in her escape.  There's no doubt that Cushing is a very dangerous man and so June opts to spout the company line about being kidnapped while acting as demure as possible. Cushing tries to push again and once again, June repeats the lie that she's a handmaid and wouldn't know about anything subversive.  When Cushing leaves, it's clear that he doesn't believe June and is only biding his time until he can force the answer out of her that he wants.

Into the Badlands, Season 3, Episode 6: Chapter XXII: Black Wind Howls

Sunny and Bajie have arrived in a giant shanty town on the river which has lots and lots of gritty signifiers with lots of violence and dog fighting and dangerous gambling games. And a contact of Bajie’s who is playing said dangerous gambling game which involves impaling your hand because that’s fun. Her name is Lily, she’s accused of cheating which leads us to a whacky fight scene - which involves considerably more octopus than usual and Sunny letting Bajie fight his own battles at least for a little while

Which does remind us that while Bajie is no Sunny, he can actually fight

Eventually they end up on a boat sailing away and Lily is annoyed because she insists she would have been fine and got the money… it looked doubtful. But she’s ornery anyway, really not a fan of Bajie and not moved by sob stories of sick babies. She does want money to pay her considerable debts - so Bajie gives her a pouch of coins. Which is nice but that was the money she was winning at gambling he managed to steal so doesn’t exactly thaw her any

Oh, and the fact she’s Bajie’s ex-wife doesn’t help matters. They have unresolved issues: but during the night she does explain her history with Bajie to Sunny. How he was a pirate with her and cunning and devious and killed the captain and they managed to live a great life. Until Bajie heard a rumour about Asra, took all their money and abandoned her.

Yes she has some good reasons to be pissed. And it also very much shows how much this search for Asra has consumed Bajie’s life and why he was less than thrilled with his old mentor.

Sunny’s also having more childhood flashbacks of being on this boat.

Bajie tries to bury the hatchet with Lily with some booze - it doesn’t go well. I really like the acting here, there’s real chemistry and Lily does a great job of portraying ALMOST being sucked in and then ferociously pulling back

She’s also sold them out to the River King because the bounties on their lives are worth a whooooole lot of money which does a lot of paying down her debts. And the whole hating Bajie thing. The River King and Sunny also have history so, yep, it’s time for another pretty fight scene

I do so love these fight scenes.

With everyone properly dead and the River King now held at sword point - and Lily continuing to dance that complicated line on deciding which side she’s on by not stabbing Bajie and saving Sunny, the River King offers a deal: his life for help in getting to Pilgrim.

Back to the Widow’s territory and Odessa is furious with Lydia for becoming a baron and abandoning the refugees so they can be attacked by Chau’s forces. Lydia still holds that you need to be in the system to change it while Odessa has doubts about what real change is going to happen. She’s also out - she’s done with fighting

Monday, June 4, 2018

Siren, Season 1, Episode 7: Dead in the Water

Ryn has been taken to the police station - by two cops. Ok, I want to see the deleted scene where 8 or 9 police all have their limbs ripped off OR Ryn gets shot - because I don’t see her reacting to the THREAT of a gun being pulled on her (because does she even know what a gun is?) and I fail to see how any amount of cops could restrain her without injury given the whole super strength and hyper aggression.

Sheriff Bishop interviews her, apparently taking her obvious cognitive and communication difficulties to waving her right to a lawyer and Sheriff Bishop needs a swift kick in the yin-yangs for this one. Either he thinks she’s impaired by drugs (his obvious theory) or he is mentally disabled either way she at least needs a competency check not questioning for murder.

Unsurprisingly Ryn confesses everything but doesn’t understand when Bishop asks her who helped her - because he doesn’t believe a tiny woman like Ryn could have done the damage she did (again making me question why she didn’t use her strength when she was arrested). She says Ben and Maddie helped her because they did - albeit not with murder

So Sheriff Bishop calls in his daughter so they can have a serious discussion about how they swore to always tell the truth to each other and how he’s really hurt by her lies and their deep and profound

Also she’s an accessory to murder. Just, y’know, in case anyone was interested? No? Ok

Maddie realises that they need to tell her dad the truth especially since Ben has gone out in the boat with Xander and Ryn is worried that Donna will murder them all as is her plan. First we have Maddie drawing upon her and her dad’s Native American heritage to tell stories about shapeshifting people. And they even have panpipes and drums behind it - really? Oh the cringe the cringe.

Thank gods her dad doesn’t just decide to believe in shapeshifters because he’s Native American - so Maddie dumps some salt water on Ryn to make her arm turn scaly. I think terrible skin conditions are more convincing.

Of course “I wasn’t covering for a murderer, I was covering for a murderous alien sea-creature who responds with violence in the first instance, is super strong, can mind control people and also I may be on the hit side of a military conspiracy” may not necessarily be better?

But back to that boat. So Xander is obsessed about finding and catching a mermaid. Ben isn’t really in for that but he is for stopping the military trawler from catching any mermaids. His plan is… Look, as I’ve said before the characters of Siren are not known for their decision making. He intends to do something which doesn’t involve the military shooting them or the mermaids eating them

Westworld, Season Two, Episode Six: Phase Space

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This episode is really about the choices that the hosts and the guests make and the consequences and rewards that result. In Sho Gun word, a heartbroken Akane cuts out the heart of her daughter. It's graphic and painful.  Hosts die all of the time on Westworld but because the game is always moving and there's a limitation in the programming, there's never time allotted to grieve. Maeve and crew return to Akane's brothel where Musashi, having created a distraction in the previous week is now waiting for them as a captive.  Maeve is determined to get the hell out of dodge with Akane but of course what's left of the Shogun's men won't let them leave. Rather than Maeve using her secret power, Musashi duels the leader of the Shogun's men and emerges victorious, freeing them all to leave for good. For the first time, there are no humans with enough power to limit where the Hosts go. The group travels through Westworld until they reach a hidden entrance to the back of the house so to speak. Akane pauses to burn her daughter's heart and she and Musashi decide to end the journey with the others right there. For Musashi, there is no freedom if he cannot defend his own home and therefore he sees no sense in running and attempting to create a new world.

William meets up with his daughter and because Hosts can be so lifelike, he believes that she isn't real, even after she kills a Host who almost shot him.  They finally sit for the night and William listens as his daughter reveals that her mother never believed that this place couldn't actually hurt someone and as we can see from the park's current state, it would seem that William's former wife was absolutely right. Firmly believing that Emily is a Host, Williams asks her a series of questions designed to ferret out her identity, which Emily easily passes. Emily apologises to William for blaming her mother's death on him and makes it clear that she wants him to return home with her. Though Emily is willing to forgive her father this much, it's clear from the fact that she was visiting pleasure palaces at the age of 12, he was at best an absentee father. Williams eyes seem to fill with tears though none fall as he realises that this is a chance for a fresh start and so promises to leave with his daughter in the morning, rather than going out in "blaze of bullshit glory". Of course, when Emily awakens, not only is William gone but he has taken her horse so that she cannot easily follow him. It seems once again, William has chosen to get lost in the park and avoid reality, even if it means hurting someone who loves him.

Dolores hasn't been interesting to me as a character for much of this season. Her burn it all down attitude leaves very little room for nuance. Westworld actually opened this week with something we have become familiar with - a conversation between Dolores and Arnold. It's only when Arnold doesn't repeat the conversation verbatim that the action stops. It turns out that Dolores was not engaging with Arnold but with a host built to look like Arnold/Bernard and was actually testing for fidelity, a concept we became familiar with when William tried to bring back his long dead father in-law. Because timelines are constantly shifting on Westworld, we don't know if Dolores actually helped Ford build Bernard, or if she built herself her own Bernard. If it is the later, it means that Dolores just might get a little more interesting because there will finally be something about her plot line more interesting than setting the world on fire.

Last week, Dolores made some alterations to the words kindest cowboy Teddy, which means that he is hyper confidant and generally speaking lacking empathy for others. The first indication that Teddy has changed occurs when he kills a man in cold blood simply because he is irritated with him. While this is what Dolores wanted, it's clear that she misses the host that she used to know and for his part, Teddy has no interest in discussing his former vulnerable self. Teddy sees his former self as someone who was born to fail and he is quite right in that assessment. This new Teddy may very well challenge Dolores for leadership of the hosts based on his ease in telling Dolores to forget about his former self. Teddy even goes as far as to snark about his new desire to leave the park, making it clear that this is Dolores's work. The only time Teddy does show a little mercy is when he leaves the human tech a gun and a single bullet, when the hosts decide to unhook part of the train on their journey inside the mountain. Things are about to get real.