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Westworld Virtu e Fortuna review

Welcome to our weekly recaps of HBO’s Westworld. This Westworld review takes a look at the third episode of season 2, “Virtù e Fortuna.” Be warned: spoilers follow.

westworld grace

The Raj

Westworld is finally ready to head into the much-hyped Shogun World. But first…let’s head to yet another park. That park would Park 6, mentioned in the previous episode as a place that features Bengal tigers. It turns out this park is devoted to re-creating a 1930s India under British rule. Just why anyone would want to create and/or visit this (and I’m sure several people are already penning some think-pieces) will have to be a story for another day. In the meantime, we’re introduced to a brand new character: Grace (Katja Herbers). She’s chilling in Park 6 – which is officially called The Raj – and soon hooks up with a handsome fellow (played by Neil Jackson).

Grace is clearly a mysterious, and possibly important character. The show wouldn’t devote so much time to her if that weren’t the case, and Grace is granted a very lengthy cold open in which she and her hunky new friend engage in some violence, sex, and elephant riding. Then everything goes to hell, as it turns out the host revolt happening in Westworld is happening in The Raj as well.

Grace’s male companion ends up doomed while Grace runs for her life, chased by one of those robot tigers. The only way she can truly get away is to dive off a cliff into the ocean. Don’t worry, though – she’ll be back. In fact, she returns near the end of the episode – washed up on the shores of Westworld, where she’s instantly greeted by members of the Ghost Nation.

westworld episode 3 bernard

Bernard

The rest of Westworld season 2 episode 3, “Virtù e Fortuna”, is devoted to more familiar characters, who are once again constantly on the move (this is a very, very peppy episode – almost no one slows down here).

First, we get a brief sojourn into the present – or at least what I’m assuming to the be the present. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and the Delos clean-up crew are continuing to scour the wreckage of Westworld. They eventually bump into Charlotte Hale (welcome back, Tessa Thompson! Never leave us again!). Charlotte quizzes Bernard as to the whereabouts of Dolores’ father, Peter Abernathy ( Louis Herthum). As you may recall, Charlotte uploaded something into Peter’s robot head last season, and now she very much wants to get it back.

The question about Peter’s location triggers a big flashback that takes up the rest of the episode. In said flashback, Bernard and Charlotte are still traveling together, and they come across Peter. He’s being held captive, along with some humans, by a band of outlaws. Bernard and Charlotte are able to rescue Peter after (hilariously) reprogramming the leader of the outlaws to be a noble, chivalrous character (“The most virtuous, quickest gun the west,” Bernard says). But the rescue is short-lived: some Confederados swoop in and take Bernard and Peter captive, while Charlotte escapes.

Bernard and Peter are bound for Fort Forlorn Hope, which is also where Dolores and her new mini-army are headed.

dolores episode 3

Dolores

Revolution leader Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Teddy (James Marsden) and the band of Confederados she enlisted end up at Fort Forlorn Hope, where even more soldiers join their cause. Dolores says that the Delos security detail will be coming, and coming soon, and she needs an army to fight them off.

But first, she reunites with her father. Peter’s robot brain is overloaded with the mysterious info Charlotte uploaded, and he’s beginning to twitch and act very, very crazy. Dolores tries to reconnect with him by reminiscing about their lives before everything went to hell, and once again, Evan Rachel Wood’s acting is phenomenal – there’s so much weighted emotion in her voice that we almost forget that these fond memories she’s recounting aren’t even really real since they were all part of some programmed storyline.

Distraught at how badly Peter is deteriorating, Dolores enlists Bernard’s help. Before he examines Peter, Bernard takes a shot in the dark and asks: “What do you want Dolores?”

Dolores’ answers: “To dominate this world,” says Dolores. “This world is a speck of dust sitting on a much, much bigger world,” says Bernard. Dolores then counters with more of her cryptic, florid nonsense that really doesn’t make much sense but sounds good mainly due to how well Evan Rachel Wood delivers it, so let’s all just go along with it for now.

From here, Bernard examines Peter, and says that the old man is becoming very unstable, and adds that there’s a huge, encrypted file in Peter’s head. Bernard – who is a bit twitchy and glitchy himself – eventually cracks the encryption and sees something on his iPad-like device. We’re still not sure just what it is, but it’s clearly a big deal, because Bernard greets the info by whispering, “Oh my god…”

While this is going on, the Delos security team arrive at Fort Forlorn Hope, and a big (and surprisingly boring) battle ensues. I can’t stress how strange this is – this battle, which involves old West characters facing-off against futuristic storm troopers – should be thrilling. But it all looks kind of dull, and poorly staged. In the ensuing chaos, Peter gets captured, which sends Dolores into Terminator mode – she tries to rescue her father by shooting her gun while getting shot repeatedly herself – and not even flinching. She’s unable to rescue Peter, though, who is whisked away by Charlotte Hale.

Clearly distraught at the loss of her father, Dolores orders Teddy to tell some of the troops to split up in every direction to find her father while they head to Sweetwater. Then she turns cruel and allows the rest of the troops to be slaughtered. Why? I’m honestly not entirely sure. It seems that this was all a distraction to buy some time, but it doesn’t really make much sense. She boils it all down by saying, “We don’t all deserve to make it.” No matter what her real reasoning, it’s clear that we’re dealing with a much more brutal, much less forgiving Dolores. She orders Teddy to execute the surviving troops, but Teddy – good natured sap that the is – lets them go.

Bernard, meanwhile, finds himself knocked unconscious by Clementine (Angela Sarafyan). Clementine then drags Bernard away. Where are they going? Tune in next week!

maeve shogun world

Maeve

While Dolores is engaging in warfare, Maeve (Thandie Newton), Lee (Simon Quarterman), and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) are on the move.

They come across some members of Ghost Nation. These Native American characters want to take Lee prisoner, for some mysterious reason (seriously: who would want to spend time with Lee?). Maeve tries to use her robot powers of persuasion to talk the Ghost Nation members down, but it doesn’t work. So the trio flee, and end up hiding out underground.

There, they add even more people to their increasing party. First up is Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), who makes a killer entrance by setting some Westworld technician on fire with a flamethrower. (“She has a dragon!” Hector exclaims, impressed).

Westworld techs Felix (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) turn up as well – a reveal which elicited an annoyed “Ugh” from me, because these characters stink. But I guess we’re stuck with them for now.

Maeve, Lee, Hector, Armistice, Felix and Sylvester leave the underground and continue on their journey. Said journey takes them to a snowy forest, where they begin finding corpses. Lee is instantly petrified, and with good reason: out of the shadows, a samurai warrior comes charging, sword raised. Welcome to Shogun World! Time for the end credits! Sorry, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer before we enter Shogun World proper. This show sure does like to tease.

westworld episode 2.3 review

Stray Observations and Questions

  • Westworld isn’t the only park with some sweet cover tunes. The Raj has a sitar-based cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” playing in the background, performed by series composer Ramin Djawadi. You can hear it here!
  • Even though Charlotte captures Peter Abernathy in the episode, in the future we already know she’s lost him again. This also implies that even though the revolt has been mostly put-down and a lot of the hosts are dead – drowned in that mysterious body of water – there’s still a lot of loose ends to tie up.
  • Grace is kept very mysterious. In fact, we don’t even learn her name in this episode – “Grace” is just what she’s called in press materials. So who do you think she really is? Start guessing.
  • Lee freaks out because Maeve and Hector are clearly very cozy and holding hands at one point. Lee whines that Hector has been “programmed” to love a character named Isabella and he shouldn’t have feelings for Mave, and really, I’m sorry, but who gives a shit about any of this? Can Lee go away?
  • Charlotte, annoyed while trying to rescue Peter Abernathy: “Fuck it, let’s just cut his head off and go.”
  • You might recall the bandit leader that Bernard re-programmed being gunned down on the beach in the future – or rather, present? – timeline, trying to protect a female host in the first episode of the season. R.I.P.
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