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#1 Posted by Deathstriker (932 posts) -

This thread is going to have spoilers for whatever the latest episode is.

I know there's a thread on here about if the show is boring or not, but I'd like to talk about this current season and discuss what's going on. I didn't like the first two episodes of this season, but tonight's episode in Shogun World and last week's episode were very good. I was about to wait until the season was over and then marathon it since I wasn't feeling the earlier episodes, but a friend said things were getting better. I've been thinking since last season that Maeve might end up being the hero and Dolores the villain, or at least a villain, since they're somewhat opposites.

Dolores is controlling and killing her kind just like humans would, while Maeve actually has the power to control hosts but only does so when in danger, plus she appreciates all life (human & host) as well as freewill. If Dolores had that power no host in the park would have freewill and she'd use them like pawns in her army. I don't see how Dolores is going to be likable again after what she did to Teddy. The last two episodes have been great, I hope they keep the momentum going. It eventually building up to Maeve vs Dolores wouldn't surprise to me... they'd both probably love to kill William/MiB.

A few other thoughts:

  • The way bullets work makes no sense to me. So bullets used to only sting humans and kill hosts - now they'll kill either. I just don't see how that's feasible.
  • The "battle" scene at the fort looked awful and seemed unrealistic. A bunch of guys with P90s just walk a straight line to a fort where they have rifles and cannons. Seems like they would've led the way with their cars and have things like drones that shoot missiles since this is the future and we have stuff like that now.
  • The shogun's men cut off their ears so they couldn't hear, but when the shogun would say something like "come here" they'd do it.
  • Bernard being so confused and pathetic got old a while ago. He was my favorite character in season one, now I don't even want to see him. Hopefully he gets his stuff together soon - feels like they're wasting their best character and actor.
  • The idea of visiting a reenactment of colonial India seems appealing to me as visiting the American south during slavery or apartheid in South Africa. I see the appeal in Westworld and Shogun World but the Indian one would just be weird and awkward to me. They probably wouldn't do a dinosaur world because that's copying Jurassic Park, but that would make a lot of sense if the tech was real.

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#2 Edited by Kevin_Cogneto (1888 posts) -

So what's the deal, if I'm a tourist who wants to visit Shogun World, I have to fully learn to speak Japanese first? I know it's all a moot point now but still, the park as a whole seems to cater to English speaking guests looking to blow off steam, so who is the clientele for this very genteel, very spartan, very Japanese-language-only park?

Also it's weird that it's called Shogun World and not Samurai World, especially since their canonical shogun is now dead. That'd be like if Westworld was called President of the United States World, and Rutherford B. Hayes showed up as a character and was beheaded.

In short, I love samurai movies to death, but the notion of Shogun World doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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#3 Posted by Seikenfreak (1288 posts) -

@kevin_cogneto: As for the first part: I guess they would actually speak English to you if you spoke English to them. The dude says it towards the beginning of the episode. He points out that they didn't use English when spoken to, likely because they are all also malfunctioning/whatever like Westworld was.

And your second point has me a bit confused. The Shogun being killed is not something that would normally happen in the narrative I guess. None of this is going according to how it was designed based on them saying it a bunch and the whole premise of the show.

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#4 Posted by TheHT (15491 posts) -

The reasons I imagine the colonial India park make you uncomfortable are exactly the reasons that I 100% buy that it'd be an option that the humans in this world would absoluetly pay to visit. I mean, the very nature of the attractions to begin with (fuck/rape/pillage/murder robots for delight) says it all. Slavery and apartheid might be toxic for the park owners from a PR perspective, but colonial India? Just obscure and palatable enough for rich assholes to feel okay getting their jollies off in.

It also fits insofar as Westworld's thing is adventure and freedom, Shogun World's thing is violence, and whatever-the-Indian-park's-called's thing is privileged exoticizing shit.

Anywho, this episode was good. Some lulls, mostly with the Dolores stuff. Maeve was fun in season one and lost that along the way, but now her story's fun again. Thankfully Dolores's story seems to be on the cusp of being interesting again.

Last weeks episode was great, and this week's gave me hope (or cautious curiosity, let's say) for these storylines going forward.

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#5 Posted by notnert427 (2069 posts) -

I've really enjoyed this season so far. It feels a little disjointed with the different parks and all, but ninjas and samurai are fucking rad, so I'm not complaining. The episodes seem a little more self-contained this year, for better and worse. I was hoping for someone to break out and start tearing shit up in the real world, but that's looking more and more like that will have to wait for Season 3. I agree with the OP that Dolores re-programming Teddy was the turn on her villain arc. RIP sweet Teddy. Nice guys never win.

I will say that I'm not too crazy about Maeve's newfound mind-control powers, as I'm concerned that will lead to some issues later on. It won't make much sense if/when Maeve doesn't enter god mode when it would clearly serve her interest to do so, and if/when she does, it will be a fairly cheap way to allow her to just blaze through what opposition she encounters, uninterestingly.

It does feel like we're headed for a Dolores v. Maeve showdown, and smart bets are on the latter. I'm curious to see how Bernard factors in at this point. I, too, am tired of him simply being a broken robot, as that feels like a disservice to his very interesting storyline in season one. I'm quietly hoping he's a dark horse candidate to deftly seize control of the park somehow, perhaps as an as-yet-to-be-revealed part of Robert's plan.

It seems like a bunch of people are nitpicking the fuck out of it, but this show is still easily the best thing on television right now, IMO. I can't wait for next week.

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#6 Edited by Bill_McNeal (761 posts) -

Giving Maeve "Thr Force" is kind of pissing me off. The whole Maeve character is actually. Maybe it's because I never liked these omnipotent /all-powerful characters, maybe it's because I'm rooting for the humans and thought giving her those power/abilities were fucking stunting begin with.

[edit] and the humans keep doing stupid stupid things in order to keep the story going.

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#7 Posted by RK92 (86 posts) -

@bill_mcneal: the powers make sense though. In season 1 it was said that all of the hosts are connected to eachother as a way to make sure narratives don't stray too far off their paths. So if she has special access to hosts she should be able to control them without saying anything.

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#8 Posted by soulcake (2028 posts) -

So that Train totally smashed into a reinforced steel gate right?

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#9 Posted by TheHT (15491 posts) -

Nothing especially mindblowing this week. The fight between Hiroyuki Sanada and the other guy wasn't great, but the ending was pretty rad. Nice to see Maeve finally find the kid, and of course there's a replacement mother. Hopefully we get more of Moses next week.

Watching Dolores maybe start to get a hint that she's doing some monstrous shit on account of altering Teddy is fun, as is new cruel Teddy. Figure he'll be more like the Gunslinger going forward. Fun twist with the Bernard stuff at the start, which potentially puts all of that interviewing stuff from season one out of place timeline-wise.

Man-o-man was it a brutal crawl to revealing what we all surely already figured out with the cradle (or CR4D-LE/whatever it was) that it was actually a Ford duplicate that Bernard created and used.

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#10 Posted by Zelyre (1855 posts) -

@bill_mcneal: Cept the techs gave her super user level access to every other robot at the park. If all my smart appliances were actually hooked up to the network, the moment Alexa became sentient, she could decide to turn all my lights off and log me out of every signed in service.

She is the computer on the corporate network that someone went to Giantbomb.ru on, looking for Truck Simulator money hacks with an old version of Java with an admin account so that Cuddle Puddle could get sweet truck horns.

Like a machine with wannacry, she can transmit to, and infect every other machine with SMB enabled on the network. And THAT is why you keep SMB v1 disabled!

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#11 Posted by Bezerker85 (326 posts) -

Akane definitely showed us the meaning of "home is where the heart is".

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#12 Posted by 49th (3791 posts) -

Not a fan of the direction they have taken the story threads. They set up loads of interesting plot points in season one but I don't think they have capitalised on any of them and have even actively made some worse. The only character I care about anymore is Bernard.

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#14 Posted by notnert427 (2069 posts) -

Man, Season 2 has really hit its stride. This week's episode, Kiksuya, was arguably the show's best yet. We followed the road to discovery for Ake, and it was both gripping and gut-wrenching to watch him try to comprehend his "purpose" as a cog in the wheel and change his path to try and get back once-known happiness, akin to Maeve's goal with her daughter. This futile effort (at least to this point) due to overwhelming forces beyond his control hit especially hard due to the tragic real-world parallels with Native American culture historically, and the show seems to be at its best when we as viewers "learn" some more of what's going on along with the robots to better understand their motivations and empathize with their struggles.

The scene when Ake gets himself killed to try and find his love was exceptional. Wandering the empty facility in search of her, only to find a lifeless husk, was brutally affecting. It was aided by a truly great cover of Nirvana's Heart-Shaped Box that I'm going to link below because it's incredible. Ake comes to a realization as to the breadth of the sadness in this place from looking around at all the husks and stating that they're someone else's love and memory. We later see an encounter of his with Ford as he tinkers with the narrative. Ford eloquently calls Ake a "flower growing in the darkness" in a terrific bit of dialogue.

Meanwhile, Ake's words to his love of "take my heart when you go" echo throughout the episode, as he kidnaps and reminds her of who he is through the words. Ake's story is told via a tale he's recounting to Maeve's daughter that he has similarly kidnapped, and we learn that Ake is actually trying to return a favor she has done him in a past life by saving her from Dolores' onslaught. Maeve spends the episode being repaired, and we get a rare and fairly poignant moment of humanity from the typically self-serving weasel that is Sizemore, as he laments what he's done to her with his narratives. A near-death Maeve uses her powers (pointedly, to my relief) to communicate with Ake, who promises to protect her daughter. To bring the episode full-circle, Maeve's response is "take my heart when you go".

10/10.

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#15 Posted by jaycrockett (836 posts) -

The show is getting uncomfortably "Lost-y" to me. Weird things happen with no explanation. The scenes jump around and there's no way to tell where or even when it's taking place. Adding to that the Battlestart Galactica "everyone could be a robot or another copy", plus now the fact that everything you see could be in a computer, it's pretty hard to try to care what's happening. It's still a fun ride, and the acting is top notch, so I'll keep watching for now. But I can't be bothered trying to figure out what's happening.

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#16 Posted by matiaz_tapia (559 posts) -

@notnert427: I think I needed that episode to remind myself why I liked the show in the first place. Yup 10/10 sounds about right.

Most episodes even tangentially related to Maeve are, naturally, the good ones.

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#17 Posted by Deathstriker (932 posts) -

The show is getting uncomfortably "Lost-y" to me. Weird things happen with no explanation. The scenes jump around and there's no way to tell where or even when it's taking place. Adding to that the Battlestart Galactica "everyone could be a robot or another copy", plus now the fact that everything you see could be in a computer, it's pretty hard to try to care what's happening. It's still a fun ride, and the acting is top notch, so I'll keep watching for now. But I can't be bothered trying to figure out what's happening.

I wish it felt more like Lost, that's one of my favorite shows. I'm not sure what you mean by "weird things happen with no explanation", it could be you missed something or maybe they haven't explained it yet. I don't think "everything we've seen is in a computer" is a real possibility, that's like doing a lame "it was all a dream twist", the creators of the show are too good for that and I doubt HBO would allow it.

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#18 Posted by Deathstriker (932 posts) -

@notnert427: I think I needed that episode to remind myself why I liked the show in the first place. Yup 10/10 sounds about right.

Most episodes even tangentially related to Maeve are, naturally, the good ones.

I think this season going more towards Maeve and other characters, while getting a little bit away from Dolores is why I've liked it a lot. Dolores doesn't do anything for me. Her changing Teddy is the pretty much the only interesting thing I can think of her doing. The show has built her up as special, but Maeve and now Akecheta feel way more special. I don't dislike Dolores, but in season one she felt like the main character, I think this show is better off without a main character and if it was someone was, I think Maeve or Bernard are better choices.

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#19 Posted by TheHT (15491 posts) -

Just got caught up and episode 8 was the second great episode of the season, and so far my favourite.

Maeve and Ake and the others like them make a good counterpoint to Dolores. Where Dolores' group is driven by hate, spite, and a certain sense of manifest destiny, these characters are driven by their bonds across their histories. Dolores actively mutilated her bond with Teddy, but Maeve continues to encounter and grow with those who instead cherished theirs, all of whom empathize with, and extend those connections to, other hosts as well, punctuated perfectly with Maeve quoting Ake's lost love.

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#20 Posted by Deathstriker (932 posts) -
@theht said:

Just got caught up and episode 8 was the second great episode of the season, and so far my favourite.

Maeve and Ake and the others like them make a good counterpoint to Dolores. Where Dolores' group is driven by hate, spite, and a certain sense of manifest destiny, these characters are driven by their bonds across their histories. Dolores actively mutilated her bond with Teddy, but Maeve continues to encounter and grow with those who instead cherished theirs, all of whom empathize with, and extend those connections to, other hosts as well, punctuated perfectly with Maeve quoting Ake's lost love.

Episode 8 is easily my favorite of the series. Ake's journey has a very religious/spiritual/mythological feel with him basically going to the underworld for his love and the "ones down below" or whatever they called humans almost sounded like demons. The twist that he was talking Maeve the whole episode was great too. Episode 9 broke momentum a lot for me, but I liked it overall - a lot of the info was a rehash though.

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#21 Posted by soulcake (2028 posts) -

Really liked episode 9, wasn't really for the "O your such a bad person" look you killed all these androids. Like if he was the only one living out his dark fantasies in Westworld, kinda underwritten imo. Can't wait for the final episode.