Westworld season 3 episode 2 review: Maeve’s return brings more questions

Rodrigo Santoro and Thandie Newton in Westworld Season 3.. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO
Rodrigo Santoro and Thandie Newton in Westworld Season 3.. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO /

As Westworld season 3 continues, we head back to the park – sort of. “The Winter Line” takes us to Warworld, and brings back a couple of favorites.

After a premiere installment that was firmly situated in the real world – or at least as close as this show comes to that – Westworld is on much more familiar ground in season 3’s second episode. “The Winter Line” takes us back to the park – sort of – and brings several familiar faces back to the story.

The decision to follow up last week’s premiere with an episode in which neither Dolores or Caleb appears is an intriguing one. Likely it wouldn’t work at all if the show didn’t have fellow renegade host Maeve to hang the story around – and even in an hour that doesn’t necessarily move the plot forward in huge amounts, Maeve’s journey of discovery is entertaining to watch.

Is there any world or park she wouldn’t suss the truth out of eventually? It doesn’t seem like it.

Warworld, the newest area of the park to be revealed, is a recreation of World War II-era Italy, and features Maeve – known in this storyline as Isabella, – waking up and being reunited with Hector, only to become thwarted each time the duo try to escape the park. Other problems include the fact that none of Maeve’s previous host-controlling powers appear to be functioning any longer, and Hector no longer remembers who he is or any part of what the two of them have been through together since regaining their consciousness.

There’s something particularly heartbreaking in the fact that Hector insists that Maeve is a woman named Isabella, who happens to be the nonexistent character he chased through every one of his loops in the original park. Perhaps that should have been our first hint that something was very off.

Of course, this all makes sense by the episode’s end when it’s revealed that this version of Warworld is imaginary, an algorithmic recreation of the true park that’s being used to house Maeve’s consciousness while her “pearl” is kept in a mysterious real-world server rack. (Questions we should all be asking – what or whoe else, exactly, is in that rack??)

It turns out that the mysterious Serac – remember the guy Dolores learned last week was controlling the mysterious Rehoboam AI system – is on the hunt for the information Westworld stored in the area known as The Forge, the secretly gathered data on all the guests who visited the park. (As well as potentially the details on all the hosts that passed into the Valley Beyond at the end of last season.)

He wants it so much he created a virtual copy of Warworld in the hopes that Maeve would be able to lead him to or otherwise reveal that data in her attempt to escape, but what Serac didn’t realize was that Maeve doesn’t know anything.

The only host that knows anything about the information in the Forge is Dolores. And I don’t think she’s going to be too eager to tell Serac – or anyone else – about it. But Maeve is going to have to try and make her – or risk her own permanent destruction. (In case anyone was wondering how these two women end up on opposite sides of what looks to be a battle in the season 3 trailer; well, this is why.)

Much like the brief introduction of India-themed world The Raj last season, the details of Warworld are fascinating and detailed. (I’m operating under the assumption that Serac’s false Warworld is just a digital copy of the original and that that park still exists on the Delos property.) It’s not Nazi World, thankfully, but rather is set in a very specific moment and place – the titular Winter Line. A series of German and Italian military fortifications in Italy, it was initially designed to defend Monte Cassino and the road that ran to Rome.

It’s the sort of place I wish we had any hope of spending more time this season. (The very specific loops that run through it are fascinating, and oddly romantic.) But it’s doubtful we’ll see it again anytime soon, given that so much of this season appears as though it is or will take place in the “real” world.

Especially now that Maeve and Dolores appear to be set on yet another collision course with one another. World War II will likely seem tame by comparison.

Next. 5 questions we have after the Westworld season 3 premiere. dark

Westworld season 3 continues Sunday on HBO.