Westworld season 2 episode 9 recap: ‘Vanishing Point’


As Dolores and the Man in Black race to the Valley Beyond to gain control of the Forge, we learn more about William’s life outside the park and what drove him to his obsessive quest in Westworld.

What we see from the outside of William’s life looks like a dream in Westworld. He attends a fancy black tie function in his honor where his only tribulation seems to be feigning interest in boorish millionaires. Look closer and his wife is a troublesome and bitter drunk who sees William for who he really is. While he behaves in a patient and loving manner with his family at all times, his wife believes him to be a genuine fake – worse than hateful because he pretends to be loving when he really feels nothing.

Adding to his stress is his strange rivalry with Robert Ford, who runs into him during a quiet moment at the bar. He believes that William has broken their agreement – Delos stays out of the stories, Ford stays out of the valley. He leaves William his “profile,” the data collected from him during his visits to the park – not exactly a flattering portrait.

This is what his wife finds later – this document detailing William’s Westworld activities and his paranoid/delusional tendencies – after he’s confessed to her that she’s right about him, about a darkness inside him that no one else can see that has always been there. This is when she decides to kill herself, leaving William’s profile for Emily to find later.

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Because of Emily’s knowledge of his profile, William becomes convinced that she is truly a host planted by Ford to distract him from his quest. They talk about Juliet’s death and William’s secret project for immortality – and the diabolically simple data collectors in the form of cowboy hats in order to obtain guest brain prints. William believes that no one but Ford knows about his profile, therefore Emily is a host. He ends up killing her, his face a twisted, crazed smile as she tries to bully him to his senses. The Man in Black has truly gone over the edge.

But was she a host? All we know is that she had his profile in her hand. He seems to think for a moment about killing himself, implying that he had just killed his daughter in a fit of paranoid egotism. And does the fact that William scans as a human really mean he isn’t a host – and if not, why would he be digging around in his arm as if looking for a data port (aside from being insane, obviously)?

Dolores experiences a parallel journey. On her way to the Forge, her posse faces the Ghost Nation warriors, sent to stop her passage. The slaughter ensues that we witnessed previously through the dead warrior’s memory core – when she tells him that not everyone deserves to make it to the Valley Beyond. In the end, it’s just her and Teddy – but despite Teddy’s new toughness, he allows a lone warrior to escape.

They take a moment of rest together at a shambling barn along the way. Teddy tells her that he’ll always love her – that he remembers loving her from the first moment he saw her when he first came online – but that her vengeance has blinded her. What good is their fight or their freedom if they’re no better than who they’re fighting? Dolores is arrogant enough to think that Teddy means to kill her, but really he means to kill himself. He shoots himself in the head, leaving Dolores shocked and devastated.

Meanwhile, Hale has turned Clementine into a weapon to turn the hosts against each other. They prepare to deploy her to take down the rest of the active hosts. Bernard and Elsie race to reach the Forge – the facility where all the guest data is stored – before everyone else, to take it as leverage to force their ideal outcome. Bernard, determined not to hurt Elsie again, fights against Ford’s influence and ends up leaving her behind to protect her from himself.

Bernard’s fight against Ford is one of the best scenes this season on Westworld. Bernard’s struggle is so repressed and internal, it was a great moment to see his desperation explode through his facade. And Hopkins performance is especially telling here, as his smugness almost seems to dare Bernard to defy him – like it’s all just a moral test he wants Bernard to pass.

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Hopkins has a lot of great moments this week in Westworld, including a monologue of a message Ford leaves for his favorite child Maeve – still laying incapacitated on a work table. He tells her he wanted her to win, that he didn’t want her story to end this way. He tells her not to let it and unlocks her “core permissions” which I assume grants her some kind of new badass control.