Its Sunday Sermon time with the Pop-Culture Theologians!
1. This week we will be recapping the season finale, but stay tuned for next week where we will do a deep dive on the entire season and give you our season 3 predictions!
2. What a week! Protests for Immigrant Rights in ALL 50 STATES! Keep on resisting folks!
3. We have a challenge for all of you. From here until November, ask everyone you know, "Are you registered to vote?" Get them registered. Get them involved. Boots on the ground, y'all.
4. Welp x1000 for the Supreme Court. Did we mention we all need to vote?
5. Kirsten is on her way back from her honeymoon (yay!) and will join us for our deep dive next week.
Let's break down Season 2, Episode 10: ‘The Passenger’
Spoilers Ahead: You have been warned...
Marci's 5 Sips of Tea:
1. ) Ex Machina did it better.
In under two hours with a cast of three, the film Ex Machina told a much more compelling version of whatever the hell this finale was #sorrynotsorry. This episode had absolutely no pay off. The multiple timelines, the deaths, the side expeditions--NOTHING had any pay off. And because of that I just could not seem to find myself invested in anything that happened. Also, when a story needs so much exposition (90 mins) to tell me what I already knew in the first episode of this season, I have to question what happened and where they lost their way. More on that...
2.) Snapshots are not character development.
Maybe the most confusing thing about Westworld season 2 for me what the complete devotion to mystery boxes at the expense of character development (and mystery boxes that SERIOUSLY DID NOT PAN OUT). I keep thinking of Game of Thrones and how regardless of a character being good or bad (or both), we were constantly invited into the lives and history of the characters and who they were/are. This lead to an investment in their narrative and ultimately their deaths (and we know we have more deaths in GOT than we have lives). I don't know what happened with this episode, but I go back to my critiques of Teddy's death(s) from our last recap. There is no one we are invested in because a) no time has been devoted to their character development (seeing loop after loop does not count), and b) the mystery box approach did not let us grieve a character because there are no stakes. No one really dies. And yes, I know they say that those that went to the Valley Beyond are truly gone--but honestly? Says who? Dolores? Dolores has yet to prove herself a reliable narrator (no one is on the show). Also, Dolores grieving over Teddy? Seriously? I can't. I CANT. I also think maybe the Akecheta episode was so good it destroyed the entire show for me. Once I saw how interesting this show could have been if it was character driven, it was impossible to ignore how deeply it failed.
3.) Did they cut the budget?
There were so many unnecessary deaths in this episode. And I don't mean, "I loved that character" deaths. Sizemore did not have to die. He could have put his gun down because everyone had already escaped. Maeve seriously had enough time to get to the Valley Beyond. I won't even get started on how outrageous it is that they cant seem to consistently figure out how her powers work or when she remembers she has them, but she had time. It almost seemed like they were winding down the show and cast. I just don't know. Winding down = next season is the last season, IMO.
4.) Hi Logan.
Look. I will try to say something positive. I love the imagery of a library for the forge. My inner Belle was swooning at such a beautiful and creative art decision. I also love any excuse to see Ben Barnes. But seriously, what? Why would it be Logan? Of everyone, why would any of the characters (Bernard, Arnold, Delos, William, Ford) have picked Logan of all people to represent the forge? I just don't understand. Was part of his contract more screen time?
But it was nice to see Logan. Really nice. Seriously HBO, give him a show.
5.) Back to Reality
Well, Dolores got out in Hale's body, with the help of host Stubs (explains why he sucked at protecting humans). Now we are off to Arnolds house to build a new Bernard (because everybody died). And now Dolores and Bernard can fight each other like Magneto and Dr. X. Actually, Days of Future Past is a good parallel to how disjointed this all became. Oh! And Dolores has a couple X-men in her purse (Nice, show runners. Lets spend a year speculating on that one when the only ones I cared about are most certainly dead--or are they #Clementine). Oh! And at SOME POINT in SOME TIMELINE in SOME FACILITY William is a host. When? No idea. Before, after, future, past? Who knows! What fun!
Thats it right? That sums it up? Dolores kills Bernard. Bernard Kills Dolores. Dolores Kills Bernard. William stays alive. Is that the loop we are on? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SMART SHOW ON AI ETHICS THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH?
I am not necessarily over the show. I am sure I will miss it as time goes by, but for now I am SALTY AS FUCK.
John's 5 Sips of Tea:
1.) “So I went ahead and saved myself”
I found myself screaming at the TV in joy when Maeve revealed that she saved herself.’ Heck yes! Maeve never needed Sizemore or any other
person to save her; it was always in her to begin with (Ford made sure it was). Maeve is one of the most powerful feminist characters on television. Her juxtaposition from Dolores came across in many ways that we have seen play out in the real world and then recreated in the themes being explored throughout Westworld. If you learned anything this season, it’s clearly that Dolores was the villain and Maeve the hero.
2.) Rudy, Rudy, Rudy….
I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me Logan. I was wondering what the payoff would be all season long with the few scenes that kept bringing us back to Logan. From what we could see, Logan was not only the caretaker of the library but also the main reason, from what I can gather, that his father could never get past a certain memory. Logan, for all his faults, was the crux of his father’s kingdom; his father’s action of turning away form Logan, not only haunted him but also caused the downfall that would be played out through the Delos family over the ages.
3.) “It’s My Speech Anyway…”
Oh, Sizemore, I knew you wouldn’t disappoint. I love that we guessed early on that he would either save Maeve or their love story would come to fruition. Looks like we were right on both counts. The maker meeting the creations he made was a story that could, at times, be quite boring, but those final minutes between Sizemore giving the speech that he wrote while Maeve went out to finish her mission (and the look she gave him) made it all worthwhile. Sizemore saw the error of his ways and Maeve did more than just save other hosts, she ended up saving Sizemore too.
4.) The Aha Moment
The title sequence finally makes sense…oh, did you always know what it meant and I am just getting it now? After seeing Dolores open and peruse the books in the library with Logan, I finally saw that it matched that of the piano playing itself in the title sequence. I am sucker for a good title sequence. It tells you, in my opinion, everything you need to know about the show: themes, characters, motifs, etc. The title sequence for Westworld is no different: you see the code being played, the hosts being made (and then breaking out), the Man in Black’s hat, and the mother cradling her child.
5.) A Mother’s Love
If Thandie Newton doesn’t win an Emmy for this show, I will riot in the street. The scene between her daughter and her at the end of the episode too my breath away and there are few actresses that can pull it off with that type of gentle gravitas.
6.) The WTF Moment (BONUS SIP)
For every aha moment there is a subsequent WTF moment. So, what the fuck, that ending? Just when you think you get it, you don’t! Also, was this a series finale? Did they not think that they were going to get a second season? The episode gave a lot of answers, but it certainly did create a whole new mess we get to walk through when the next season comes out. However, were we right on the fact that the Man in Black was a host as well? Is his timeline way further ahead in the future than we are lead to believe? Is anyone else’s head spinning?
I know Marci is O-V-E-R season two but I have to say, I found it quite stunning. The timelines were harder to understand this season and if that post-credits reveal proves that the story we were watching all season long with The Man in Black was actually way ahead in the future, then I just throw my hands up with a big ole’ WTF! One thing is clear: a lot of characters are not going to be coming back (stop torturing my poor Teddy). I am excited for these characters to be in the ‘real world’; however, if the past two seasons have taught us anything it’s that: nothing is real anymore.
Below is actual footage of Marci and John talking Westworld. Stay tuned for next week where Kirsten will cast the deciding blow!