Whose virtue and fortune is Westworld‘s third episode of season two referencing with the title “Virtù e Fortuna”? It seems that most of the key players believe themselves to be the virtuous one in their own narratives, and they’re all hoping for good fortune in their quests. But is anyone really virtuous here?
This week we leave the Man in Black (Ed Harris) behind to follow Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), with glimpses of Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and a new player, Grace (Katja Herbers).
Let’s start with Grace, who holds the key to the stray Bengal tiger we saw in the season premiere. Grace is a guest at another park– one designed to look like Colonial India. She seems bored and guarded when she’s approached by a man who presents himself as a fellow guest during afternoon tea.
Grace and Nicholas (Neil Jackson) are both there to hunt Bengal tigers, and they’re interested, like the Man in Black, in something with more stakes than the hosts offer. Although a host tries to separate them, inspiring Nicholas to make a comment that implies that part of the parks’ structure is dissuading inter-guest hookups in the experience areas, they make it back to Grace’s room for some afternoon delight.
She has a condition before she’ll let him go all the way: he has to let her shoot him to prove that they’re both human. (How this would prove anything more effectively than the ways they proved/disproved women being witches in the 1600s is beyond me, but…) She surprises him by firing a blank, which means that somehow he passes the test and they get to have sex.
Later they ride elephants to a primo glamping setup where they’re joining a hunting party. As soon as they disembark, Grace recognizes that there’s something wrong. There’s nobody else there.
They look around and find a bloody curtain concealing the corpses of other guests, and one of the hosts who just took their things to their lodgings shows up to kill them. Nicholas takes a bullet, but Grace manages to find a gun and shoot her attacker in the head in time to escape.
Grace’s escape is short-lived. As soon as she’s away from the camp and in the jungle, she spots a Bengal tiger stalking her. She shoots the beast once, then runs away. The wounded cat is hot on her heels as she moves outside the experience area’s boundary and into a backlot area. She finds herself precariously close to the top of a cliff overlooking a body of water, and she’s able to shoot the tiger as it leaps to attack her.
She survives the attack, the fall off the cliff, and the plunge into the water, and she crawls ashore feet away from where we saw the tiger’s body washed up. Again her escape is short-lived. She coughs out water, then notices that someone is there watching- the natives of Westworld are looming above her.
Grace’s activities seem to be happening at the earlier end of the two-week timeline this season is jumping back and forth between.
Bernarnold’s (Jeffrey Wright) are at both ends.
When we last saw Bernarnold, he was with Charlotte Hale, hiding the glitches his lack of “head juice” is causing and helping her track Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum). This week we find out that almost as soon as they find Abernathy, they’re separated.
Bernarnold and Abernathy wind up in the custody of the Confederadoes, and they’re taken with a handful of human captives to Fort Forlorn Hope, where Dolores and Teddy (James Marsden) have successfully joined with the resident forces (by demonstrating and offering the guns of the outsiders).
As soon as the captives are led inside, Dolores is overcome with emotion at seeing her father disguised as a human and in terrible shape. Teddy takes him to the infirmary so Dolores can talk to him alone. She recognizes Bernarnold, but initially has him taken to the jail with the other prisoners.
Although Dolores knows that Abernathy isn’t truly her father, and that they’ve both lived more than one life, she holds a daughterly regard for him and the lost simplicity he represents. She can tell by talking to him that something is amiss, and she springs Bernarnold from the clink to help her fix him.
Bernarnold cannot use his easy-to-conceal iPad thing to wirelessly connect to any hosts because the network is down, but with a little slice into Abernathy’s arm he can hardwire connect and run diagnostics. He’s able to see that someone has jury-rigged a thin persona to mask a huge file stored within Abernathy, but the file is encrypted and Abernathy is shifting back and forth between his previous roles in a most unstable fashion.
As Bernarnold sets about decrypting the file, Charlotte is teaming up with the Delos security personnel to regain Abernathy, and Dolores is waging her first big battle with the Delos forces.
Dolores has commandeered a large number of Confederado troops, and as the battle takes shape, it becomes clear that she always intended to use them as, essentially, human shields. Her “men,” who are evidently the wild things who follow Wyatt, kill both the Delos assailants and the Confederadoes.
Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) calls out Dolores for betraying him, and she tells him that not everyone deserves to move forward with her. Then she tells Teddy to take him, and the remaining Confederadoes, out back and shoot them. Craddock shames Teddy for following a master he doesn’t totally believe in, and Teddy sets him and the others free, which deeply disappoints Dolores.
While the battle is raging, Charlotte and a handful of Delos personnel infiltrate the fort through the back. Two Delos men find Abernathy and take him away, but not before Bernarnold cracks the encryption. Dolores sees what’s happening, and she leaves her post to pursue the kidnappers, killing some, but not stopping them from taking her father.
(Before he disappoints her), she tells Teddy that they’re going to Sweetwater, because she needs to get something there.
Bernarnold, who hid when the kidnappers came for Abernathy, leaves his hiding place as soon as the threat seems to have passed. He is falling apart physically as he emerges from the infirmary. He stumbles to the ground, and sees Clementine (Angela Sarafyan), who is part of Dolores’s army, coming towards him. He calls out to her, but she clocks him, leaving him unconscious.
Roughly two weeks later, Bernarnold (who has washed up on an ocean shore and been traveling with Delos as they secure the park) is reunited with Charlotte in the HQ building, where she expresses some surprise that he’s survived so long.
Finally, Maeve, Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) are forced to go literally underground when they encounter an unfriendly band of natives. They get lost in the maze-like bunkers below the park, and Lee is no help navigating. Fortune smiles, though, and they come upon Hector’s old friend Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), who has Maeve’s human flunkies Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) and Lutz (Leonardo Nam) tied up while she pillages an armory.
Maeve absorbs them all into her party, and they re-emerge into the park on a dark and snowy mountainside. Lee believes they’re not too far from the homestead area where Maeve’s daughter should be, so they move through the frosty night without planning to stop.
Their defenses go up when they come across a campfire in a clearing, with no people evidently nearby. Most of the troop moves towards the flames on high alert, but Lee falls behind to see what something sticking out of a snowbank is. It is a head! And before he can warn his compatriots about it, a samurai flies out of the forest at them, sword drawn!
One last thing: If you were confused to see Sylvester alive, you weren’t alone. When Maeve slit his throat last season, it was non-fatal. She had Felix Lutz fix him up right then.