It’s not entirely clear what transcendence is, but it seems to be something Hale thinks the average host should love, only to find hosts prefer to wallow in the pleasures of the flesh by merging with People frolic and make the most of their walled garden for eternity. William, who understands the appeal of games both in the real world and in the parks of Delos better than most, says that after a few centuries of messing around with people, they will lose their appeal. After a bunch of beings made in the image of their hedonistic, violent, petty creators, what else can one expect? True transcendence would mean giving up the eternal party, and who wants that?
Every episode of western world that bookends with scenes of Ed Harris talking to people about the nature of reality and free will will probably be good. With his sonorous, dry voice and his whimsical, slightly amused delivery, he can make any dialogue sound good. It’s perfectly done when he upsets the two people he sits down to dinner with; He is a cat who plays with mice who are too stupid to know they are mice in the presence of a cat. It’s even better at the end of the episode when he talks to his freeze pop human self about the beauty of the order in the world and how Hale and her kind worked hard to make sure the world was beautiful, orderly and absolutely perfect is .
It’s no wonder he’s questioning his place in this world, especially after spending most of the episode contemplating free will and whether or not it’s just the sum of its code. Lost, William the Host is wandering, looking for something that might indicate if he is as free in Hale’s world as he thinks he is; William the human simply enjoys watching him suffer the horns of a dilemma and relishes the thought of possibly pitting one of his prison’s wardens against the warden who holds all the keys.
The script, written by Wes Humphrey and Lisa Joy, doubles down on all that deliciously philosophical western world Things. The whole show was about the search for meaning, about being a square peg in a world with round holes, and nowhere is that reflected anymore when Ed Harris talks to Ed Harris about whether the host William is such a real person is or is not like the human William. As Human William says, that’s the center of the maze, isn’t it? This journey from a simple host to a truly intelligent artificial being, able to rise above programming and find true sentience, whatever that means? This is the journey Dolores and Maeve took, and they found wildly different answers to what it means to be human.
For all the fun with multiple Ed Harris (there’s a reason “Decoherence” was probably my favorite episode of western world Season 3) the head screwing was also seen during the Christina/Teddy portion of the show. It’s not quite as dramatic as William’s awakening or Hope’s (Nicole Pacent) awakening from the beginning of the episode, but it fits. Dolores tried everything to awaken Teddy to the truth, only to have to reprogram him to serve a purpose rather than join her in sentiments. Now, some 30 years later, he is the one introducing her to the world and she is the one struggling to accept the information given to her. The chemistry between James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood is so good even when they’re at odds, and Wood’s face is bright as she shows first disbelief, then shock, at the discoveries Teddy is leading her to. It’s a nice, happier parallel to their sad ending in “Vanishing Point,” and Craig William Macneill does a solid job playing up our history with these two characters throughout the episode, weaving in familiar little moments between the two.
Everyone discovers all sorts of things they shouldn’t as Stubbs and the desert rebels stalk New York City in search of the very runaway William is tasked with killing. Every time the hosts use their control to stop everyone, like the police investigating the massacre at the beginning of the episode, Charlotte Hale’s bored dance routine in the middle, or the scene where everyone turns to attack the rebels Detect outliers? These scenes hit me hard, and Macneill makes sure they’re effectively creepy by showing little touches like the piano player’s ragged, bloody fingertips, or the way everyone moves or freezes in unison under the control of the hosts .