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Westworld, Ep 2.03: “Virtù e Fortuna” Introduces The Raj

This week Westworld finally invited us into another of its six mysterious parks, revealing The Raj: an oriental dream of colonial India, spangled with Bengal tigers, Darjeeling tea, and towered elephants to ferry around the guests. With worlds colliding, episode three picked up the pace of Season 2’s ponderous beginnings, climaxing with an all-out battle between the Confederados and park security, and ending with a glimpse of Shogun World’s ancient Edo samurai. Things are about to get messy.

A First Glimpse of The Raj

Our first look into The Raj introduced a new world set in the jungles of India, reminiscent of the pomp and power of the East India Trading Company. We descend upon a glamorous tea party, hookah pipes smoking to the soft lull of sitars, and peacocks roaming the lawn in a scene which undeniably references 1967s The Prisoner.

Grace, our newest character, is a guest at The Raj, but her suspicion of the hosts, and quick-action as we realize the robots have also begun to malfunction in World 6 marks Grace as more than your average pleasure-seeker. A brief shot of her notebook betrays that Grace is hunting something more than Bengals, and as she ends the episode crossing the park border into Westworld there’s hope that she will find a way out of the Indians’ clutches.

It’s a shame to say goodbye to The Raj so soon, but with the end of the episode and the arrival of samurai from Shogun World on the border of Westworld it’s clear that the collision of the different parks is only going to continue. So far each confirmed park has appeared on Westworld’s official site Delos Destinations, but three parks remain unknown, and if Westworld’s previous use of Easter eggs and hidden clues is anything to go by it won’t be long before fan theories have uncovered what lies in store.

“We Don’t All Deserve To Make It.”

Back in Westworld the narratives have finally come to bloody fruition, with an all-out siege of Fort Forlorn Hope by staff security that ended with death on all sides. The hunt for Peter Abernathy, Dolores’ father, intensified with his capture by Charlotte heading up the security team SPEC OPS mission, but not before Bernard discovered something in Abernathy’s code. It’s possible that both sides now know why Peter Abernathy is such highly valued ‘insurance’ for the park that the shareholders are happy to let hundreds die while he is being secured, and perhaps next episode: “The Riddle of the Sphinx”, will spill the secrets.

Meanwhile, the Confederales war and the capture of Abernathy wasn’t without its effects on Dolores. Westworld has constantly challenged its viewers with a dense web of philosophical quandaries, but now more than ever we are faced not only with seeing the cruelty of men, but also the cruelty of the hosts. Dolores is on a warpath that rivals every entity in the park as she admits her plans to dominate the world, as men have dominated Westworld, yet her empathy for her fellow hosts has all but vanished. “We don’t all deserve to make it”, she says, as she orders Teddy to execute the hosts who protected them in the attack.

It does Westworld credit to see it expand upon different hosts moralities, with Dolores, Teddy, and Maeve evolving a different approach upon their awakening. Yet even Dolores, who is fast hurtling towards becoming utterly amoral, is shown in another light as we see her mourn the damage West World has wrought upon her broken father. We can empathize with her vengeance, but it’s possible the other hosts have begun to see more clearly as they struggle to awaken to a new consciousness.

Still Following The Same Old Script

Maeve, Hector, and Lee, the park’s lead narrative writer, got up to frustratingly little this week. The search for Maeve’s daughter currently seems to be the slowest plot point on the show, despite Lee, played by Simon Quarterman, bringing fantastic British humor as the third-wheel in Maeve and Hector’s romance.

The slow subplot can be excused, however, for returning to us Armistice, the bandit with the red-snake tattoo, complete with a new bionic arm. (Admittedly, her previous arm was also bionic.) Their journey will doubtless pick up again next week, however, with the show ending as the group stumble across a snowy forest, and the remains of a Shogun battle.

Bernard, too, is on a ponderous trail as he toes the line between keeping up his human appearances and dealing with full body corruption, or, as you might otherwise describe it, a moral crisis. This episode saw him switching hands no less than three times, but his path remains unclear until he can discover where his loyalty lies, and how he can deal with his duplicitous role as jailer and prisoner combined into one.

In all this action we haven’t heard any more about the park’s data-harvesting agenda, and The Man In Black was mysteriously absent from this week’s action. But with worlds colliding and the riddle of Abernathy set to unfold, it feels like Westworld is just getting started.

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