‘Westworld’ Season 2, Episode 9 Recap: The Memory Card
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
- William’s wife’s backstory is revealed.
- The Man in Black reaches his breaking point.
- Teddy takes drastic measures to protect Dolores.
Throughout the second season of Westworld, the Man in Black/William (Ed Harris) continually proves that he’ll stop at nothing to make it to the Valley Beyond. In season two, episode nine, titled “Vanishing Point,” we’re finally introduced to the unfortunate chain of events that led to his fascination with the park, and it all makes sense now (sorta). Here’s what went down.
The first scene opens on a bathtub overflowing with water and a voiceover by the Man in Black, saying, “No one else sees it, this thing in me. Even I didn’t see it at first. And then one day, it was there. A stain I never noticed before.”
Cut to suit-clad William sipping Champagne at a philanthropy event. When he’s approached by his daughter, Grace/Emily (Katja Herbers), and his wife, Juliette (Sela Ward), he continues to ponder how this darkness crept over him. Is it all a dream?
In Westworld, the Man in Black wakes up to find Emily caring for him. Although she knows that he doesn’t want to leave because he’s punishing himself for Juliette’s death, she called for help anyway.
Emily dives into a story about her 16th birthday and reveals that her mother gave her a jewelry box “for her little ballerina.” She threw it back in her face because she hadn’t danced in years, and when she went to retrieve it, the trash had already been emptied. She realizes she pushed her mom away when it was too late, but that doesn’t mean the Man in Black should do the same to her.
He demands to know how she found him. Emily suggests it was a matter of fate, and he scoffs at the idea. She calls him a hypocrite, considering he’s trying to find life beyond mortality. William seems shocked by her knowledge of “the project,” but Emily assures him that she’s not going to stop him. Instead? She wants in.
Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Teddy (James Marsden) and their followers are stopped by a group of Native Americans who warn them about the Valley Beyond.
“There’s no stopping me getting there, not even you,” she says. Teddy responds with gunfire and—in true Westworld form—a bloodbath ensues.
Dolores realizes they’re the last hosts standing and instructs Teddy to search for survivors. When he spots a Native American trying to escape, he aims his weapon and then lowers it in confusion. Why so serious angry, Teddy?
At the Mesa, Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) transfers Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) mind-controlling powers to Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) and corrals the leftover hosts for an experiment. They beat the crap out of each other à la The Hunger Games, and Charlotte is elated.
Meanwhile, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) can’t seem to get Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) out of his head from last week’s episode. “I warned you not to trust them, Bernard. They’d rather the hosts were destroyed than freed,” he says.
When Bernard meets up with Elsie (Shannon Woodward), she seems pissed that he took so long and demands to know what he’s hiding. Although Dr. Ford reminds him that he can’t trust her, Bernard disregards his warning and dishes on what he discovered during his auto extraction in episode six. He says that if they want to stop the creators from duplicating guest profiles, they need to retrieve the data before the hosts do.
Later on, Dr. Ford is trying to convince Bernard to kill Elsie, but he isn’t having it. So, naturally, he responds by deleting Ford’s data file in his software to get rid of his persuasion, and it appears to work. Nevertheless, Bernard decides to leave Elsie stranded in the desert. (You know, just in case.)
The Memory Card
In a flashback, William and Emily are concerned about Juliette, who is struggling to stand up straight at the cocktail party. Although Emily offers to take her home, William brushes it off and heads to the bar.
He orders a Macallan (straight, natch) and then discovers none other than Dr. Ford sitting at the bar. He congratulates William on his philanthropic efforts and tells him to be careful what he wishes for before passing him a memory card.
Across the room, Juliette bumps into a waitress, spilling an entire tray of drinks. William takes the hint and says goodbye to Dr. Ford…for good.
“No, William. I think perhaps one…final game,” Dr. Ford says. Dun dun dun.
In Westworld, William asks Emily if she’s trying to bring her mother back. She denies his accusations and reveals that she wants to know why that night was different from the rest.
Cut to a flashback of William, Juliette and Emily returning home from the party. Juliette clearly had too much to drink and accuses her husband of being a “liar” and a “phony” in a drunken rage. When Emily enters, she suggests that her mom go back to rehab to treat her addiction. Juliette becomes emotional, refuses to return to “that place” and says she just needs to sleep it off.
After William puts her to bed, he sticks the memory card in a book and heads downstairs. Emily is telling him about Juliette’s options when they notice water dripping from the ceiling. William runs upstairs only to find Juliette laying in the bathtub with an empty bottle of pills next to her.
In the park, William (yet again) accuses Emily of being a decoy host created by Dr. Ford.
She says, “I’m not a host pretending to be a human, dad. I’m your daughter pretending to give a s--t about you.” Touché.
Right on cue, help arrives. While Emily obeys their orders and puts her hands behind her head, William is in a complete daze and proceeds to kill every single one of them using an automatic weapon. Emily tries to bring him back to reality by telling him that he just killed real people, and when she realizes he isn’t buying it, she threatens to expose his project and lock him up just like her mother.
“F--- you, Ford,” William says before shooting her several times. When he approaches her lifeless body, he rolls up her sleeve in the hope of proving she’s a host. To no surprise, he doesn’t find a plug. Instead, he finds the memory card in her hand. Whoops.
The Jewelry Box
The Man in Black is walking through the desert when he stops, retrieves his gun and aims it at his temple.
In a flashback, we hear the same voiceover from the beginning of the episode. Only this time, William is sitting next to Juliette and telling her about his “darkness.” He apologizes for belonging to another world, kisses her goodnight and places the memory card in a book before exiting. When the door clicks shut, Juliette gets out of bed, grabs the card and plugs it into a tablet. Horrified, she puts the memory card in Emily’s jewelry box and draws herself a bath.
Back in Westworld, William reminds himself that a person is a collection of choices. But were any of these decisions truly his to begin with? Just then, he rolls up his sleeve and cuts into his arm, searching for a plug.
Elsewhere in the park, Dolores knows that Teddy isn’t acting like himself and presses him for answers. This prompts him to get philosophical and say that he’ll always love her no matter how much he changes or—wait for it—she changes him.
That’s right, he remembers everything. Teddy’s memories are not only coming back to him, but they’re also making him realize that his destiny is to protect Dolores.
“Which is why this is so hard,” he says, before firing a bullet through his skull.
Welp, we’ll never let go, Jack Teddy. The season two finale of Westworld premieres on Sunday, June 24, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on HBO.