This week’s episode is full of some major reveals that hint at the larger game started by Ford at the end of last season.
A quick recap and SPOILERS!!!
Ford (Anthony Hopkins) arranged his own death at the end of season one at the hands of Dolores/Wyatt (Evan Rachel Wood). Her killing of Ford appears to have been a signal to the rest of the hosts to go against their programming and take down their human masters. This season we have seen that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) who was revealed to be a host based on Ford’s long dead partner, Arnold, is having cognitive issues that have him flashing backwards and forwards in his personal timeline. William (Ed Harris and Jimmi Simpson) continues to play Ford’s game, but we get some new details of his past.
The episode starts with Grace being taken to a Ghost Nation camp. She is thrown in with a group of guests who have also been taken prisoner including Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth). Grace refuses Ashley’s offer to help her escape as she wants to venture deeper into the park. She doesn’t seem concerned as the Nation only seems to be killing hosts. The prisoners are taken to Akecheta, a Ghost Nation elder, who prepares to sacrifice them. Grace manages to escape and runs away but when Ashley thinks he is about to be killed after her escape, he suddenly finds himself alone with the guests. The hosts all disappeared into the night.
Clementine abandons Bernard outside a cave in Sector 22, an isolated corner of the park. Inside he finds Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), whom he abducted and left in the cave early in the first season. Elsie threatens him until Bernard collapses. He reveals that he is a host, that Ford is dead and that all the hosts are now free. Elsie turns off his systems reactions to injuries and pain so that he doesn’t fully shut down.
He remembers that the cave is camouflage for another hidden bunker where they find the dead bodies of technicians and drone hosts. Elsie stabilizes Bernard with an injection of cortical fluid and warns him that the system shows his memories are bleeding together.
Exploring the bunker further, they discover a locked room and an insane host resembling James Dellos. James is William’s father-in-law and bought into the park at William’s insistence after the events of his first trip to the park in season one.
A series of flashbacks reveals that William and James tried to implant James’ consciousness in a host body to create a human-host hybrid and achieve immortality. The experiment was terminated when the hybrid became unstable upon learning of its nature. After a hundred and forty-nine failed attempts, William shut the program down, reasoning that humans were meant to be mortal and that the world is better off without James. Without both of them. He did, however, leave the most recent hybrid alive so they could chart it’s malfunctions.
Elsie destroys James’ hybrid as Bernard recalls being sent to the bunker to retrieve the control unit of a second human-host hybrid, though he cannot remember who it was intended for. The most obvious person that the hybrid could be created for would be Ford himself. After all, his death started the mayhem of this season. All season long we have seen hosts suddenly become Ford to make some point to William. Is this Ford speaking from a preset recording or is it the control unit at work?
Elsie agrees to help him further on the condition that Bernard does not lie to her. Bernard accepts, but in a subsequent memory realizes that he ordered the drone hosts to kill the technicians and destroy themselves once he recovered the control unit. Not only did Bernard order the killings but we see via flashback that he killed the last living technician himself while he was begging for his life.
In the park, William and Lawrence return to Lawrence’s home town, Las Mudas. They find it has been overrun by Confederados that Teddy spared in the previous episode. The leader of the group is Major Craddock. He demands to know the location of a hidden cache of weapons and proceeds to torment and kill the townspeople. Lawrence tells William if they can escape, he can get the cache themselves from the unmarked grave in the cemetery. William reveals the location of the cache and offers to lead Craddock and the Confederados to Glory. Craddock accepts, only to continue tormenting the townspeople by forcing them to play games with nitroglycerin for his amusement.
Craddock claims that his experience of having been killed and then revived by Dolores means that he is favored by death. William dismisses this as delusion, countering that if Craddock knew death as well as he thinks he does, then he would have immediately recognized William for what he is.
William overpowers Craddock and kills his men, then force-feeds Craddock the nitroglycerin. Lawrence shoots him, causing Craddock to explode. Speaking through Lawrence’s daughter, Ford reminds William that one good deed does not redeem him. William dismisses Ford, telling him that he was never looking for redemption. William, Lawrence and a group of men from the town head west until they encounter a lone rider, Grace. She greets William as “dad”, revealing herself to be Emily.
The reveal that Grace was William’s daughter was not as surprising as Bernard being a host last season. Watching her actions and style it was kind of obvious that she might be the previously mentioned daughter.
The surprise this episode was that Elsie was back. Her “death” in the first season episode “Trace Decay” was sudden and the reveal that Bernard had done it was a shock at that time.
They did a good job in hiding that that bunker was the lab where the Dellos hybrid was created. It was only after that final flashback that the viewer realizes the door Elsie is trying to open was the one into that lab. There is still a story to tell there as we have no idea how that technician died inside his cage.
This episode did a good job of ramping up the tension and showing the very real danger to those still in the park. But it also left a lot of questions unanswered. Why did the Ghost Nation leave the guests alive? Did William and Grace plan to come together or did she surprise her dad? Is Ford the new hybrid control unit? Who is behind the attempt to smuggle data out of the park?
Hopefully, these and other questions will be answered as the season progresses.