Westworld Season 3 Episode 2: The Winter Line | Review
On episode 2 of the already-brilliant season 3, Maeve’s world is not what it seems to be.
Nolanism prevails. The Winter Line presented a much anticipated return to form in terms of style in setting, after the previous episode seemingly presented us an entirely new show from the mind of Nolan. In what seems to be a transition stage, this episode basically sets the pieces in motion for the show moving steadily from two seasons closed in the park to something in a much larger scale- a much welcome transition indeed. Eagle eyed Nolanists couldn’t ignore the similarities between what the show is becoming to Jonathan Nolan’s older show, “Person of Interest”, only this time he has the means to unleash His creative ideas on a much more ambitious manner.
The Winter Line was a series of 3 German and Italian military fortifications that were constructed during World War II to defend a western section of Italy. That seems fit for episode 2 of the third season Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s brilliant HBO series — Westworld. We start the episode — in Nazi-occupied Italy. Maeve is living the dream. It surely feels like one, because it is the same world she knows — it’s a Delos park (and later, the lab which she already knows so well) — but some things are different, and the mystery prevails. That’s the thing about Nolan, though. It feels like NOLAN. You feel that something is off, right along with Maeve, but the twists are right around the corner. Of course I won’t talk about what they are, but the two plots that cross in the episode, help us understand each one of them somehow.
Every viewer familiar with the Neo-realistic Sci-Fi genre the Nolan brothers basically created with their films such as the mind bending space film “Interstellar”, can see this episode has Nolanism written all over it. Adding one twist on top of another constantly, while presenting amazing concept of science fiction much rooted in reality is exactly what you can expect from an HBO high-end fantasy epic. The moment Maeve decides to mess up system by overloading its complexity is sheer brilliance and it proves that despite visiting some old territories of the genre, the writers still have a few tricks under their sleeve.
On the musical side, Composer Ramin Djawadi keeps changing musical styles and genres like a girl changing cloths- varying from strong electronic composition to his regular orchestral melodies, and even some old-fashioned basic WWII march music to fit into Isabella and Etore’s little dress up game. On the technical side there is style dripping all over this episode, with Visual Effects from the highest order, stunning scenery and cinematography and a few beautiful gimmicks like the screen ratio changing one Maeve realises her reality is a mere Fugazi, nothing more.
One simply cannot write about this episode without addressing the brilliant, yet ever subtle nod to HBO’s previous hit series, Game of Thrones, that the writers chose to put inside the episode much to our amusement. Paradigm-shifting screenwriters Benioff and Weiss, the 7-times Emmy winning writers of Game of Thrones made a surprise appearance in a cameo that had fun with a years-old internet joke about the possible connection between the two shows. People do need to realise it’s merely a joke, though. No, GoT did not take place in a Delos theme park, like a few highly stressed twitter users tried to suggest.
By the end of episode 2 we are pretty much all set to go on a journey that reaches far beyond the walls of the Delos theme park. As we’ve seen in the brilliant first episode, written and directed by the mastermind Jonathan Nolan Himself (seeing that “Written/Directed by Jonathan Nolan” title is a much welcomed thing to any Nolanist who’s eager for more Nolanism in his heart) the show is now moving to LA. No more parks? Because as we understood, the Delos theme park is in shambles and none of our main characters seem to be there anymore (William? Where is William though?). The show is now looking at this thing from a much larger stand-point. It’s no longer just about the park, the hosts nor the visitors. It’s about the advancement of tech, the tech world, competitions inside the tech world and, of course, more philosophical questions about what’s human and what’s not in a world where you can’t really tell the difference.
Another great surprise by the end of the episode was Vincent Cassel. The brilliant French actor from great movies like Black Swan and Irreversible joined the show for a major key role I’m sure we’ll come to understand more as the season progresses. Right now, he’s a mysterious, yet bored, tech giant who’s concerned about the future, or his vision of the future. We don’t know yet if he’s “good” or “bad”, because non of our main characters are neither this or that! Dolores was the ultimate good-guy on season 1, but then went a little nuts on season 2 and now, we don’t really know if we’re on her side anymore. Were we ever? And how will Cassel’s character stir the pot? All this remains to be witnessed as Nolan and Joy unveil the story for us.
Episode 2 was a great double-centric. The two plots seemed non-related, but one helped us understand the other. They episode presented top-notch quality entertainment, much needed in these harsh times. For it is known that Nolanism shall endure any turbulence. With only 6 episode left of the bite-sized season, we have to savour every moment we have — and for now the first two episode didn’t only live up to the expectations but also promised the best is yet to come.
This story was published originally on HBOWatch.