Title: Westworld: “Virtù e Fortuna”
Air Date: May 6, 2018
Check out our reviews of previous episodes from season two here:
Now we’re cooking with gas. This episode of Westworld stepped on the gas right from the beginning and refused to let up: providing answers, posing questions, and throwing in all manner of hurdles along the way. This season has not been lacking, but “Virtù e Fortuna” gave us the best episode of the season and was a true nail biter through and through.
One of the striking choices of the episode was to start in a world outside of the “cowboy” realm of Westworld, but not to start in the “Shogun World” that has been teased since the end of the first season. Instead, we began in a world that seemed to be based on British rule of India somewhere in the late 1800s. The rules seemed to be about the same, however: two sexy park guests wanted to shoot each other before… “shooting” each other, proving that the thrills of the park were wearing thin everywhere. Unlucky (lucky?) for them, they discovered that the hosts in this world were also starting to go berserk, firing guns at guests, quickly dispatching one and wounding the other.
To make matters worse, a tiger chased one of the guests to the edge of a cliff, eventually pouncing on her and sending both careening over a cliff… just outside of a massive, out of place building and into a huge sea that looked suspiciously like where the tiger had washed up on the shore at the beginning of the season. There are supposedly six parks under the control of Delos, and we now know of three of them – Maeve (Thandie Newton), Lee (Simon Quarterman), Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), and the rest of their merry band looked to find a bit of trouble in Shogun World as the episode concluded.
However, that just raises questions for next time. Maeve’s story got to make some headway this week (the bit where Lee proved that Hector’s free will of loving Maeve was still just programmed lines was especially nice), but this week was all about Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her father-bot, Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum). Let’s break down just how the episode went for them, even if that requires a bit of time-hopping.
Dolores picked up right where she left off, bringing more of the Confederate army under her control. She demonstrated the power of the munitions the Delos Corporation would be bringing into the fray and came up with a plan to lure them in before blowing them up. She did not inform her newly acquired army that she would be sacrificing them to do so. Teddy (James Marsden) was none too pleased about Dolores tasking him to “put down” some of her loyal soldiers, and may have shown us why he wound up floating in the lake at the end of “Journey Into Night.” The fact that Craddock (Johnathan Tucker) unleashed a “We aren’t so different, you and me” speech on him played nicely into the question of free will that season two of Westworld seems to focus on.
As we’ve discovered with Westworld, it’s the details that make the journey fun, and “Virtù e Fortuna” had a bunch of good snippets. We still don’t know why Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) wants Peter Abernathy out of the park so badly, but we know she’s willing to strap on a Kevlar vest and ride out with a team of mercenaries against Dolores to get him. We also still don’t know what is happening to Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), but we know Dolores is still not a fan of his but is willing to use him to fix her “father.”
In fact, Bernard’s tremor seems very similar to whatever is happening to Abernathy – they both shake and lose track of their thought process. Bernard has not started reverting to his prior stories, most likely because he was not used in other stories in the park; Abernathy used to be a preacher in a prior storyline, demonstrating where his fire and brimstone lines came from. He seemed to discover something in Abernathy just before Charlotte came in and stole him away, uttering a classic “Oh, my God,” before hiding in the corner. We still have plenty of time to try to fill in before the “present day” of the show and where this current storyline is currently, including why Charlotte was so… disappointed to see Bernard.
Verdict: There was a lot going on in “Virtù e Fortuna,” and it juggled the storylines and dramatic beats like the best episodes of Westworld tend to do. The director of the episode, Richard J. Lewis, was a producer on a few of the best episodes the show has had to offer thus far; he clearly knows how to keep things moving without giving too much away. Season two may be taking its sweet time, but “Virtù e Fortuna” was the best episode yet. Westworld still has plenty of cards in its deck, especially considering the show was just renewed for a third season.
- Acting is still nuanced and excellent.
- Interesting misdirection in the opening.
- Teddy's crisis.
- It isn't next week yet.