Westworld ‘Phase Space’ Review

“Hello, old friend.”

Damn, what a final shot. Even though I’d always half suspected the return of Ford ever since his death at the end of season 1, I was still shocked to see Anthony Hopkins finally return. And I didn’t even figure it out when we saw his much spoken about greyhound run into the saloon where he was playing the piano. Although it’s only been a handful of episodes, and a few days in-show-time since his suicide by robot, its been close to a year and a half real time since we saw him last. However, Ford is dead. Absolutely and unequivocally dead. Hopefully the showrunners won’t push his return too much. As it stands though, it’s good to have him back.

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The bulk of the episode wasn’t even really leading up to this reveal. That came at the end of Bernard and Elsie’s search for something called the cradle, a server bank with as of yet unknown purposes. No, the A plot of the episode followed Maeve and her rag-tag group of hangers-on as they navigated Shogun world on their way back to Westworld to locate Maeve’s daughter. After last week’s bloodbath, Maeve & co return to Shogun World’s version of the Mariposa to rescue her captured compatriates. This leads to perhaps the episode’s highlight; a samurai sword showdown between Musashi (the fantastic Hiroyuki Sanada) and the goon holding the gang hostage. It’s a short but wonderfully choreographed and fantastically brutal fight scene – almost making me forget about my usual bias towards the cowboys over samurais. The hand chop and subsequently attempted seppuku had me maniacally grinning in a way few shows manage these days. Shame then that it seems like the end of Musashi and Akane’s storylines, as the two of them stay behind in Shogun World as the gang travels back to Westworld. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of them though; we still haven’t gotten a proper cowboy vs samurai fight.

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Back in Westworld, Ed Harris’ William – AKA The Man in Black – has met up with his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) and they have a conversation about why it is William keeps coming back to the park. It’s a great scene, Harris really gets to show a more damaged side of the MiB and Katja Herbers holds her own against the acting legend. William’s decision to leave his daughter behind puts her back at square one but it tells us a ton about his character. Namely that, even after the heart to heart and reconnecting with his daughter, absolutely nothing will get in the way of him completing Ford’s game. Also in Westworld; Dolores and Teddy’s storyline is getting spicier by the minute. I still love Dolores, although her story this season did start a little slow. But that looks as it’s about to change as her and her newly brainwashed bodyguard, Teddy, are cutting a violent path right into the heart of Westworld; the control centre known as ‘the Mesa’. Lucky then that this seems to be where most of the rest of the cast has congregated. Bernard and Elsie are there investigating the aforementioned cradle while Stubbs, Hale, and Abernathy are there awaiting extraction by the Delos security forces (led by the comically Irish Coughlin, played by show newcomer Timothy V Murphy). I’m not sure what this will lead to in the upcoming episodes but I’m sure it will be delightfully violent.

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In episode 7, it looks as if we’ll have a showdown of some sort if the next time is anything to go off. And truthfully anything could happen. I’m curious to see where the shows goes with ‘the cradle’ and whether it’s got anything to do with the weapon at the heart of the park. But with 4 episodes left, I’m sure whatever happens next week won’t be the end of it. And there’s plenty of time left to introduce the other parks…

Reviewed by Tom

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