‘Westworld’ Recap ‘The Winter Line’: The Man Behind the Curtain

In the “Westworld” recap, Maeve finds herself in new surroundings with several people seeking her help and Bernard runs into an old friend after returning to the park…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Following a multitude of timelines and stories that kept viewers confused for the majority of “Westworld” season 2, it appears the creators behind the series are determined to walk a much straighter line in season 3.

Last week’s episode involved a few twists and turns but ultimately revolved around Dolores beginning to wage her war against humanity but not in the matter we first thought. Instead, Dolores was seeking out an artificial intelligence machine that may be the true enemy, even more than mankind.

The new episode returned to Westworld as we catch up with Maeve and while her storyline started with a few eyebrows being raised, it all made sense before the hour was over. At the same time, Bernard returned to the island where the park resides as he looked for backup to take on Dolores after he was convinced that she needed to be stopped.

By the end, the newest big bad was introduced and it sets the stage for the fight to end all fights between man and machine.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “Westworld” titled “The Winter Line”…

Warworld

As first witnessed in the bonus scene from last week’s episode, Maeve awakens in a new narrative where she’s playing a dame in a World War II recreation taking place in Italy. When we pick up this week, Maeve wakes up from her slumber with a gun in her hand, a hostage tied up and she has no idea how she arrived at this location.

The good news is Maeve remembers everything — from her ability to control the other hosts to rescuing her “daughter” and sending her to the Valley Beyond, but she has no idea how she ended up in this new part of the park. She’s soon reunited with Hector, who Maeve believes has arrived to help her escape but it doesn’t take long for her to realize that he’s been reprogrammed and he’s just following along with the new narrative like every other host in the park.

Finally fed up this never ending story, Maeve puts a bullet in her own head so she can return to the lab to find out what exactly happened.

Laid out on a slap, Maeve is reunited with her old pal Felix but there’s only one problem — he doesn’t recognize her. She finally decides to take matters into her own hands to look for answers but security gets a call that Maeve is loose yet again.

That’s when she’s reunited with another blast from the past — Maeve comes face to face with Lee Sizemore — the narrative creator, who gave his life after deciding to help the hosts escape to the Valley Beyond a season ago. Lee explains that he was wounded after being hit by six bullets but ultimately survived.

Now he’s determined to help Maeve once again and Lee tells her that she was placed into Warworld because it was the closest location to the Valley Beyond. He wants to reunite Maeve with her daughter but first they have to visit the Forge, which is where that mythical heaven for the hosts once resided.

When they arrive, Lee and Maeve see the aftermath of Dolores’ handiwork along with the bloodstain on the ground where Bernard shot her dead. As they talk, Lee finally decides to confess his love for Maeve and that’s when she realizes something isn’t quite right.

The real Lee Sizemore didn’t help the hosts because he was in love with her — he did it simply because he was a good man. Maeve then figures out that she’s not locked inside a new part of the park — she’s been stuck inside a simulation and perhaps someone is testing her to see if she can still escape.

Because this is all a computer program, Maeve deduces that the best way to find her freedom is the short circuit the system from the inside out. She devises a plan and first asks the hosts in the simulation to solve a math problem that immediately confounds them. Maeve then adds a wrinkle to the World War II narrative she keeps reliving over and over again and when her strategy comes to fruition, the entire simulation begins to freeze and fail.

In the middle of all this, Maeve is able to find the location where she’s really hiding inside the park — or more accurately where the memory globe that contains her entire file has been stored.

She takes control of a maintenance robot to break the glass and steal her memory globe and then attempt to make an escape. It’s not clear what her agenda was in this moment because that memory globe then has to be returned to a host so the two can assimilate together but Maeve never gets that far after the maintenance droid is gunned down by security.

When Maeve wakes up the next time, she’s no longer in a simulation but it appears she passed the test she was taking with flying colors.

Prime Directive

Realizing that he needs to go after Dolores, Bernard returns to the island to seek help in his conquest to prevent her from dooming all of humanity to death.

His first stop is the basement where all the old hosts go to die and that’s when Bernard is reunited with his old friend Ashley Stubbs, the head of Westworld park security. We learned at the end of last season that Stubbs was actually a host after he allowed Dolores to escape the park (while living inside a body that looked like Charlotte Hale).

It seems after allowing Dolores to escape, Stubbs went to the sub-basement and pulled a trigger to kill himself. The only problem is the bullet missed and so now Stubbs has just been sitting down here glitching for the past three months.

Bernard gets him back online after repairing the damage done and Stubbs tells him that Dr. Robert Ford programmed him to protect the hosts at all costs. After Dolores escaped and the hosts were all uploaded to the Valley Beyond — the virtual world that allows the hosts to live free in a never ending computer simulation — Stubbs’ job was finished. Unfortunately, failing to hit his power source, Stubbs has been stuck in this glitch pattern ever since.

Bernard repairs him and tells Stubbs that he’s returned to the island in order to retrieve the one host he believes might be able to stop Dolores.

He came back for Maeve.

A search through the host graveyard finally leads them to find Maeve’s body but her memory globe has been taken, which means this is nothing but a shell. Of course we all know where Maeve ended up but Bernard doesn’t so his options are now rather limited.

Before leaving the island, Bernard decides to first run a diagnostic on himself to find out if Dolores was secretly controlling him through his embedded programming. She made him a new body and helped reprogram Bernard to become Bernard again while telling him that he was meant to be her counterbalance.

Dolores wanted to end humanity and Bernard might want to find a reason to save them.

Still, Bernard can’t quite understand Dolores’ reasoning — perhaps she was ensuring that her plans never went too far because he would always be there to stop her. Either way, Bernard needs to know if he’s working against himself because of Dolores’ programming.

As Bernard and Stubbs are headed to the lab, “Westworld” manage to throw in a nice little homage to “Game of Thrones” as showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss appear as a pair of lab geeks working in Medieval World. The two are joking about cutting up a robotic Drogon that sits just behind them and perhaps selling the dragon to a new start up that just began in Costa Rica. It’s a nice tribute not only to “Game of Thrones,” which ended last year, but also a tribute to Michael Crichton, who wrote the original “Westworld” film but he’s also responsible for “Jurassic Park” and that’s where Benioff and Weiss were thinking of sending Drogon.

Back to the story ­— Bernard runs the diagnostic on himself but in the middle of his download, security forces show up to try and stop them. Stubbs intervenes and protects Bernard before finally helping him to escape back to the shore and a boat that will take him safely away from the island.

Because Bernard is safe and sound, Stubbs’ original mission has now been fulfilled again and he’s preparing to actually kill himself this time. Bernard decides Stubbs is far more useful to him alive than dead so he reprograms his prime directive — he’s no longer meant to protect all of the hosts.

His new job is protecting Bernard Lowe.

As Stubbs comes back online, he tells Bernard that he could have just asked for his help rather than reprogramming his entire system. The two of them are now headed back to the United States where they will hope to find a way to stop Dolores before it’s too late.

The Man Behind the Curtain

Following her adventure to escape the simulation where she was locked, Maeve awakens yet again except this time she’s wearing a gorgeous white dress and she’s in someone’s home. When Maeve steps outside, she’s introduced to a stranger, who tells her that he had to take some liberties when selecting the clothes she would wear.

His name is Engerraund Serac and he’s one of the founders and creators behind Rehoboam, the artificial intelligence machine we met last week.

As Serac explains it, humanity was doomed to fail — a faulty bit of programming that kept bringing mankind back to the brink of extinction. But through Rehoboam and the machine’s ability to predict and strategize any situation for a human being, Serac thought the found the perfect way to help humanity to survive its many flaws.

Unfortunately, Rehoboam recently started experiencing problems and Serac traced the code back to Westworld. He thought that Maeve was the problem after discovering that she had gained actual consciousness, which means she knew exactly what was happening to her and those around her while also controlling hosts with a simple flick of her wrist. After some thorough research and locking Maeve in that simulation, Serac discovered that she wasn’t the issue after all.

Instead, it was Dolores interfering with Rehoboam from the outside and now he wants to find a way to stop her. Serac tells Maeve that he wants her to be his weapon to go after Dolores and put her down once and for all.

Rather than be anybody’s slave for another minute, Maeve picks up a knife to kill Serac but just before she can strike him, she freezes dead in her tracks. Much like the little button that Bernard carries around to switch personalities, it seems Serac had a system built that would allow him to freeze Maeve no matter what she was actually trying to do to him.

Serac tells Maeve that he’ll give her some time to think about the offer before asking again. He’s obviously hell bent on getting to Dolores and Maeve may be the only creature on Earth powerful enough to stop her.

“Westworld” returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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