Episode 2, entitled Reunion, is a good representation of my relationship with the show. At times I absolutely love it, other times I’m bored and I’m almost always confused. This episode brought me all of those but the scales tipped more in the direction of love than anything else. That is due, almost entirely, to Dolores and Evan Rachel Wood’s performance. Dolores is the character I am most interested in and it has been that way from the start of the show. Her evolution in Season 2 is the storyline I am most interested in and care the most about. A large part of that is due to Evan Rachel Wood. She is nothing short of incredible. She brings this character to life. Watching her work is astonishing at times, especially in Reunion. She moves through different emotions with grace, while still maintaining the almost innocence and wonder of an A.I. that is experiencing everything for the first time. This is encapsulated beautifully in the opening scene.
The opening scene doesn’t appear to be anything new at first. It’s just Dolores talking to Arnold (maybe Bernard) as they often do. As the camera pans out you see that Dolores is in the real world and not the park. First of all, the implications of this are incredible! It brings forth so may questions, but they all fall to the side at the sheer wonder on her face as she takes in her surroundings. There was a lot going on in this scene. We learn a little about Arnold’s son and family, we get more of an idea of where the park is in relation to the rest of the world, but all of this falls to the side because Evan Rachel Wood’s performance was breathtaking. The state of awe she was in and the amazement she was experiencing, jumps through the screen. Her performance makes this scene. That can also be said for the rest of the episode, Evan Rachel Wood owned Reunion.
This episode features Dolores. It follows her though a couple of different timelines; the events after Ford’s party and how the park was created. The best parts of the episode are here, with Dolores. Seeing her evolution from a doe-eyed innocent that is amazed by everything to the fierce badass rebellion leader is incredible. Both are interesting on their own but it’s equally as interesting to fill in the middle. We may not get an episode that is this focused on Dolores again but she shows that she could carry this story if she had to. I’m also really into her recruiting followers. Watching her bring in humans and hosts was entertaining and, at times, thrilling. The idea of a host army, led by Dolores that is going into the real world is exciting. It seems like we are on the ground floor of that and that too is a lot of fun. This timeline also allows us to see Maeve and Dolores cross paths. This felt like a teaser for the future. The juxtaposition between the two of them is clear and it was cool for the show to let us see that. It was also interesting that this scene appeared to kill the idea of Maeve joining the revolution before it could even start. One of my biggest takeaways from this episode is that I would like to see more of the two of them on screen at the same time.
Where the episode falls short, is everything not involving Dolores. Last episode I was interested in what the Man in Black was doing. His game seemed intriguing and his excitement was definitely intriguing. However, this week I was significantly less interested. He gets paired off with Lawrence, who is a character I don’t really care about and I don’t really care too much for the pairing. I still think there is a lot of value in this story but I’m quickly losing interest. As for all of the creation of the park stuff, it just fell flat. The show moves at a pretty methodical pace in general but in these scenes it felt like it came to a halt. The motives behind the creation of the park and how this relates to Dolores can be interesting, but it wasn’t here. I’m sure there is some big thing that I’m missing but there are just more interesting things than Westworld’s creation.
Questions After: Episode 2 “Reunion”
- What exactly is Dolores’s end game? I know she wants war but is this a suicide mission? She can’t possibly get enough hosts to legitametly have a chance against the humans, can she?
- When do Dolores and Will (The Man in Black) cross paths again? And what impact will that reunion have on Will’s game?
- How long will Teddy stay around? It doesn’t seem to be to committed to the cause but he’s still there. When does he turn on Dolores? Or when does Dolores see that he’s not fully committed?
Image Credit: HBO