Title: Westworld Season 3 Episode 2: ‘The Winter Line’ Review
Release Date: March 22, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
In the second episode of Westworld, season 3 had quite a different tone than the first. That’s really kind of a first for a show that has followed disparate characters quite a few times but never really set an entire episode separate from another. Whether or not this is a one-time or the approach for the whole season won’t be known for a while yet. While the first episode focused on Delores and her battle out in the real world, as well as meeting a character we’ve been told is going to be essential to the story, episode 2 was back in the park. Or ‘a’ park at the very least.
She awakens in “War World” to people she thinks she knows but soon finds out some of them don’t know her. There is, of course, the question as to why some of them don’t seem to know her. And then the question of how and why is she back there at all. She soon figures out she’s in yet another game and needs to find her way out once more.
The other storyline running through the episode is the bromance between Bernard Banner (the Hulk doesn’t show up this time around) and Ashley Stubbs. In one episode of Westworld season 3, Stubbs has become a much more interesting character than he was in the first two seasons combined. He got even more interesting when he teamed up with Bernard as the two characters play off each other well. This is especially the case since Stubbs has no idea there’s a whole other Bernard personality that could probably take Ashley out if he wanted to.
Westworld Season 3 is also different from the first two seasons because it appears we finally know everyone who is a host and who is a real person. It took a while to get there for sure. Stubbs finally being shown to be a host, rather than merely someone who was receptive to the plight of the hosts was the final shoe.
That he plays a tragic character is even more interesting in that he was once thought to be one of the jerks who cared little to nothing for the hosts that were under his charge. His change in tone from someone who looked at the robots as a means to an end, to those he is supposed to protect as his life’s mission has been a fun ride. Stubbs has been one of my favorite side characters for a while now. His stoic honor has played great when looking at everyone else in the show, either being cowed or killing everyone.
That he’s still a big enough threat to everyone that he chases away a couple of guards provides not only a possible look into the future of the season, but also some good comic relief. One of the things this show truly lacks is any real friendships. People tend to help each other because they are going to get something out of it. That’s planned, and it’s written well. Stubbs and Bernard actually being friends, what seems to be real friends, at least as much as anyone possibly can be in Westworld, is just nice to see.
It certainly helps two of my favorite characters who are involved in this particular “plot twist” is just an added bonus.
Maeve and Lee
While Stubbs and Bernard are busy holding their own personal caper, we’re getting a more in-depth look into how the dividing lines between Maeve and Delores are going to shape up. We also got to meet a guy who looks like he’s going to be the big bad of the third season. This episode was actually filled with my favorite characters. Lee or pseudo-Lee as I guess he is in this episode had a nice turn from just being the pompous writer who got caught in the middle, into a guy who honestly just wanted to help.
His interactions with Maeve, even after he realized he was really just a computer program, was almost as fun as Stubbs and Bernard. That might have been the one big flaw of this particular episode. Yes, Lee initially has a rather harsh reaction to finding out he’s a computer replication of his actual personality. At the same time, once he has the little stutter that shows Maeve where she really is, he seems to be “pretty ok” with it.
If someone were to tell you, you weren’t really you, would you have coped entirely in a matter of minutes? I feel like even living in a world where that’s actually possible would be difficult to accept. Even worse is that it’s not as though he’s a copy of Lee who is going to walk out in the world and live a life. This is a character that is trapped in a computer-generated world. He has no idea what will happen when Maeve leaves. And He’s ok with it all.
That seems hard to take and seems to have been done in the interest of time. It’s only due to the talents of Simon Quarterman that makes Lee coping as quickly as he does, that makes it not hamper the episode.
Verdict: So far, the first two episodes of Westworld Season 3 have been some fantastic television. They’ve been standalone little novellas and have played off each other well. I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy it if the entire season is two separate stories, but episode 2 reintroducing us to Maeve worked and worked well.
- Stubbs and Bernard are a hell of a bromance
- Lee and Maeve are the 'ship we wish could go on.
- Not loving how easily Lee handled being told he was a computer program
- Not sure how I feel about the new big bad.