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Review of 'Westworld' 2.17

Maeve vs. Delores

Lots of powerful, profound, more or less scrutable threads in Sunday's Westworld 2.7, but the one I'd like to focus on, just a tad more than the others, is Maeve vs. Delores.

We've seen this contrast between the two most sentient, woke hosts before, and that's what it mostly is—a contrast—rather than a battle, even though the contrast almost ends tonight with Delores killing Maeve. But the contrast survives, and it's one of the most telling in the series, even though it's between two hosts, not host vs. guest.

Maeve, as we've already seen many times, beginning with her going back into Westworld rather than escaping in the finale of the first season, is determined above all else to save her daughter. Delores is sure that Maeve's daughter is just another part of the story that was woven inside Maeve, and therefore just another way of the programmers to control her. Delores puts this to Maeve, who either rejects it or doesn't care—all she knows is she loves her daughter and won't abandon her. Delores offers to put Maeve out of her misery—or, to be more precise, the misery that Delores perceives Maeve to be in. Delores could have ended Maeve, whatever Maeve may have wanted. But in a rare act, not so much of mercy but ethicality, she respects the free will that Maeve has, and leaves her to make her own choices. Note that she did not so the same for Teddy—as Maeve notes—and did her best to impose her will on his, by converting him into a killing machine.

So we're still left with no answer as to exactly who or what Maeve's daughter is. We can't even choose the proper pronoun. That's what I call good story telling.

The close second for best story thread in Westworld 2.7 is Ford vs. Bernard —or, rather, the part of Ford that's inside Bernard's head. That part is apparently so strong that it can change roles and start giving direct commands to Bernard, as Ford did to Bernard tonight. In terms of hosts, Bernard represents a third and very different alternative (definitely based on a human being) to Maeve vs. Delores (unclear whom if anyone they're based on)—with Delores, by the way, now revealed as loving her host father Peter more than ever, even though he's apparently just part of the story woven for Delores, which makes her a little more like Maeve and her devotion to her daughter, if that's what's going on with Maeve, than Delores may realize or acknowledge. (Hey, I just had an idea—could Maeve's daughter really be a young Maeve, a guest, and that's why adult Maeve needs to save her—to in effect save herself? Very hard to say at this point, and I'm not even sure how that would work.)

And last and not really least, The Man in Black came close to being killed tonight. Regarding which, I'll just note, isn't it interesting that MIB has nearly the same resistance to death as do the hosts, even though he's presumably a guest par excellence?

See you here at the player piano that is my laptop's keyboard after next week's episode.

Read next: The Race
Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

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Review of 'Westworld' 2.17
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The Race