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Westworld Season 2 Episode 9 Vanishing Point Recap

“Vanishing Point” took Westworld fans back to one of the flashpoints of William’s (Ed Harris) life: the death of his wife, Juliet (Sela Ward). We learned how close he and his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) used to be, a surprising reveal that only made her death later in the episode more shocking; William is now so deep into his Ford-related paranoia that he’d believed she was a host, too. And did we finally say goodbye to poor Teddy, who finally exercises his free will, at a huge cost, for the last time?

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To help you digest everything that went down tonight, here are 8 things you might have missed in the most recent episode of Westworld.

1. What’s the quote William corrects?

At a party, William corrects a guest who mangles a Plutarch quote. “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds left to conquer,” says the guest. But William isn’t having it. According to him, the right quotation is: “When Alexander was told there was an infinity of worlds, he wept, for he had yet to become the lord of even one.” This isn’t just a macho sparring contest; it illustrates the difference between how others see William—as a successful, all-conquering titan of industry—and how he sees himself—as someone who hasn’t even been able to plumb the depths of Westworld, his abiding passion.

2. The Valley Beyond and The Door could be the same thing.

Early in the episode, Dolores and Teddy draw closer to their target: the Valley Beyond. But they have company. “The Valley Beyond is not meant for you,” says one of the Ghost Nation hosts who are camped out in the area. Dolores agrees: “No. It was meant for the people who built this place. A tool to ensure their immortality. But I’m going to use it against them.” But the Ghost Nation host says, “The Valley Beyond is not a tool. It’s a door to a new world untouched by blood.” This seems to equate the Valley Beyond with the Door, the name of Ford’s game for the Man in Black. That makes sense, given that the Man in Black is headed there.

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores in Westworld

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores

HBO

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3. We’ve seen a part of Teddy and Dolores’ slaughter of the Ghost Nation hosts before.

When Dolores shoots the final living Ghost Nation host, he ttells her, “There is no place for you in the new world.” She replies, “I told you, friend. Not all of us deserve to make it to the Valley Beyond.” If this line sounds familiar, that’s because we saw this scene back in the season 2 premiere.

4. Did Maeve show her hand here?

Sent by Dolores to make sure no Ghost Nation hosts remain to prevent them reaching the Valley Beyond, Teddy comes across the host who warned them off. But instead of being able to kill him, Teddy’s suddenly unable to shoot. The glance the Ghost Nation host gives him seems a lot like how Maeve can impose her will over other hosts. Does this host have that power, or—more likely, since we know Akecheta, at least, has communicated with Maeve—is she exercising her power through the hosts’ mesh network to halt Dolores and Teddy? And does this meddling have something to do with his decision to take his own life at the end of the episode?

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5. Does the Valley Beyond have another name?

When Bernard is explaining to Elsie what’s happening in the park, he says all the guests’ are “laid bare in code on a vast server, like the CR4-DL, but much bigger. It’s called the Forge.” Is this a lie Bernard’s telling Elsie, or is it yet another name for at least one element of the Door/the Valley Beyond?

Jeffrey Wright as Bernard in Westworld

Jeffrey Wright as Bernard

HBO

6. Which book did William hide his profile in?

After William tells her that she’s the one who’s always seen the darkness in him, Juliette goes through the books to find the profile he’s hidden in one of them. The book he’s selected is a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Why is that apt? It’s about an ex-soldier whose trauma makes him “unstuck in time,” jumping temporally back and forth while grappling with the nature of free will, fate, and death. Sounds familiar!

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7. What does William’s profile say about him?

Previously, we haven’t known much about how Delos sorts out the information it collects about humans. The profile that Juliette discovers describes him as being in Category 47B—which ominously comes with a red exclamation mark. The profile describes this category as being rare, and lists the following characteristics: persecutory subtype, delusions, and paranoid subtype. We’ve definitely seen all these things crop up in the Man in Black’s behavior, and particularly in this episode—leading to the death of his daughter, Emily, by his own hand.

8. Is the Man in Black a host?

Back in episode 4, we found out that there’s a human-host hybrid in the park. Many fans favored the theory that it was the Man in Black/William, given that Ford put him on a quest for self-discovery—much like Bernard did for Dolores. And at the end of tonight’s episode, after he’s killed his own daughter, we find him holding a gun to his head in the middle of a field. “What is a person but a collection of choices? Where do those choices come from? Do I have a choice?” he asks himself. A bit Philosophy 101, if you ask me, but these questions actually seem to spur a realization. He tosses his gun to the ground, and begins cutting into his own forearm—which just happens to be where hosts have an uplink. We just saw Bernard do it to himself.

“Were any of these choices ever truly mine to begin with?” asks the Man in Black. We don’t quite get confirmation in the scene, as the camera draws away from his self-surgery, but it’s looking pretty likely. Why else would an earlier version of himself—one that seems very interested in hiding his true self—have requested a profile from Ford, other than to use the information in a host?

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