If you didn’t stick around through the end credits of the first episode of Westworld’s third season, then you may have missed the reveal of Maeve wearing a 1940s burgundy dress overlooking an Italian town occupied by Nazi soldiers during World War II. Turns out the second episode picks up right there in a stark contrast to the real world of 2058 that dominated the season premiere.
If you were worried about the lack of actual Westworld the park in last week’s episode, well you were rewarded tonight. The second episode had a bit of a plot diet, but gave us two meaty main storylines. One follows Maeve and the other follows Bernard. And there are a number of things that get paid off from the end of season 2 as well as hints of where season 3 might be going and let us not forget that giant Game of Thrones Easter egg that will surely make George R.R. Martin smile.
Season 3, episode 2, titled The Winter Line, was written by Matt Pitts and the show’s co-creator Lisa Joy. It was directed by one of the show’s producers Richard J. Lewis — no relation to the comic Richard Lewis on Curb Your Enthusiasm. But before we jump into the second episode,, who explains what happiness might look like for Bernard. Read our or if you need a refresher on the first two seasons, .
Before we bring you back online, know that spoilers lie ahead.
Maeve and Hector reunited in War World
First thing is first, Maeve is back and so are many of our favorite characters — kind of. She awakens in an Italian villa during World War II and within moments is reunited with Hector. They kiss and plot their escape except they are fleeing two very different things. They are in what we later learn is called War World, another one of Delos’ parks. He’s trying to rescue Maeve from the Nazis.
Now the show Westworld is famous for playing with timelines and mixing up when things are exactly taking place. But if we are in 2058 only months after the Westworld massacre it seems odd that any Delos park would be up and running full steam. And if that doubt didn’t cross your mind, perhaps when Hector and Maeve get caught and she can’t control the other hosts should have tipped the hat that something was off. Of course that does give us one of the coolest uses of a mundane object used as a weapon since The Godfather Part III when Licio Lucchesi is stabbed in the neck with a pair of his own glasses. Maeve does a literal “You can take this pill and shove it” move to gouge out a German soldier’s eye with a pill that Hector gave her earlier.
They escape via a fancy red convertible, but there’s one problem: Hector thinks Maeve is Isabella meaning he doesn’t remember her the way Maeve remembers Hector or whoever is now in Hector’s body. This parallels Caleb’s mom not remembering him in the first episode. And for me, this scene provided some of the most genuine emotion I felt for the show in a while. It was wonderful having Maeve and Hector back together. And it was absolutely heartbreaking realizing they actually weren’t. Westworld has got to Westworld!
I like Maeve’s response one she fully realizes the situation, “It’s alright darling because none of it mattered. Because none of it’s real.”
And that’s when she grabs Hector’s gun and shoots herself in the head. Was she trying to “erase” who she was now that she didn’t have powers versus shooting herself somewhere else? It’s as if Maeve wouldn’t want to continue with her own free will if that meant still being imprisoned at a Delos park.
Lutz, Sylvester and Lee Sizemore are back
She wakes up in the lab, where we see Lutz and Sylvester, but they don’t recognize Maeve, which seems odd. Lutz is cleaning out the “brain” pieces from the bullet hole in Maeve’s head.
Later Maeve grabs a drill and says, “So let’s just call the whole thing off shall we?” She doesn’t want to be in another game created by humans, She shoves the drill up her nose and is stopped by none other than Lee Sizemore. He explains that he has a plan to reunite her with her daughter which involves putting her in War World which is near the Forge where her daughter and others are.
I loved what Sizemore says about the lack of depth to the storylines in War World. “The most nuanced [story] arch is of the goddamned Panther tank.”
We see the two ride horses (a very Westworld thing to do) to the Forge and that’s when the facade literally starts to break. Maeve realizes that Lee is a host, and that everyone including Lutz and Sylvester are hosts hence why they didn’t recognize her. She figures out that she is in a simulation and wreaks havoc trying to get out.
What is the square root of negative one?
Within minutes Maeve is able to break the simulation by asking its simplistic code “what is the square root of negative one?” This occupies the brains of the lab hosts who try to solve the problem. Then Maeve wreaks havoc in War World which basically causes the simulation to freeze. Maeve even has a Quicksilver-like from X-Men moment moving a frozen bullet in the air inches away from Lee’s head. She is able to use a Westworld tech tablet to communicate with a drone robot in a server room, in which her “brain” is plugged in.
By the way, the drone robot’s head reminded me of the GoPro VR rig that was developed in partnership with Google back in 2015. The drone robot gets Maeve’s brain bulb but is shot down in its attempt to escape.
Maeve meets Serac
Maeve awakes in a white dress in bed. She meets Serac, played by Vincent Cassel, in the real world. He wants to recruit Maeve to kill Dolores. I always felt that if Dolores was the brain of the show that Maeve was Westworld’s heart. Maeve doesn’t like this idea and goes to stab Serac who is able to freeze her mid action with a remote control.
So we now have Serac, Bernard and possibly Maeve going after Dolores who, in Bernard’s words, is out to destroy the human race.
Stubbs is a host ‘no shit’
Bernard returns to a charred Westword and makes his way to Ford’s house to find Stubbs in the room of Bernards. Stubbs is motionless and holding a gun. It looks like he’s tried to kill himself. Stubbs comes back to “life” and admits that he is a host and that Ford gave him the job of protecting the hosts.
Stubbs says to Bernard, “It was my job to protect every host in the park. It’s the last job the boss gave me. Cover your tracks and give you a fighting chance.”
Ford didn’t write Stubbs with a tragic backstory. He had a job to do and when his job was over he shot himself. Bernard helps heal Stubbs and they team up for the rest of the episode looking for Maeve, who Bernard thinks is the only one capable of stopping Dolores. Bernard thinks that Dolores brought him back as a check to herself.
Game Of Thrones Westeros World exists
While buddy cop team Bernard and Stubbs search through the labs, we overhear two techs talking who are played by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the creators of the show Game of Thrones. They play Dan the tech and Dave the tech respectively and have the following conversation.
Dan: “The buyer is a startup in Costa Rica.”
Dave: “How are the fuck are you going to get that to Costa Rica?”
Dan: “In pieces, man.”
Dan starts up saw as we cut to a wide shot revealing a dragon host. The dragon moves its head. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to actually be one of three GOT dragons but it looks like Drogon.
This isn’t the first GOT Easter egg, in season 2 the gyroscope from the opening credits of Game of Thrones (also seen in the Citadel library) appears beside some bookshelves in the Forge.
Back in 2016, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin suggested a Medieval World or Westeros World to Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy over dinner. The room Bernard and Stubbs ends up in has Medieval costumes and photos of castles and architectural details on the wall.
While Bernard is scanning himself for answers, Stubbs sees a court jester playing the Westworld theme song on a lute for a King and Queen. Now that is even meta for Westworld.
At the end of the episode, we see Bernard give Stubbs a new directive: Protect Bernard Lowe at all costs. I really like having these two as a team and I’m excited to see what’s next.
There are no Marvel post-credits scenes
There’s nothing to see here after the credits. But the closing credit music sounds like Blade Runner. You know, the movie about someone who may or may not be a replicant hunting down other replicants. Kind of like how Maeve has been asked to hunt down Dolores.