WarningMight contain spoilers.

I’ve heard a lot of grumbling online, but for me, this season worked. There were stakes. There were interesting new characters. There were old characters I was happy to see again. And there was a complex dialogue throughout the eight episodes about a subject that had no clear answer.

That’s not to say it was perfect. Others have already brought up the show’s focus on the white male saviour (Caleb), practically relegating our protagonists of colour to supporting roles. I’m personally weary of seeing people onscreen solve all their problems with fists and guns, but I suppose that comes with the territory. I didn’t like that Hiroyuki Sanada and Clifton Collins Jr. came back just to be Doloreses (Doloresi?).

The things I did like, though? Evan Rachel Woods’s brilliant rendition of Dolores’s somewhat opaque but clearly delineated arc. The cameos (especially Lee Sizemore—I can’t believe I actually felt a little bad for him, and I laughed out loud at ‘Do I look real to you?’). The futuristic vehicles. Luke Hemsworth as Stubbs. William’s group therapy session. So many other things I can’t explicitly list, big and small.

People complained about not knowing whom to root for, but I really liked that aspect of it, confusing as it was. This was a narrative constructed around battling ideologies where none of them was a caricature. Every participant had a valid perspective, more or less. Speaking of which, Vincent Cassel as Engerraund Serac was superlative. He brought an astoundingly immense humanity and sincerity to a character who could so easily have been a third-rate villain. Though his defeat was justified, and I was rooting for Dolores &c. by the end, I felt his pain when he cried out for Rehoboam to listen to him, and I found myself wishing it could have been otherwise.

On an unrelated note, as someone who has a lot of anxiety about the functioning of his body, the scene where Caleb was tortured by raising his heart rate was the most physically uncomfortable sequence I’ve ever seen.

Next in series: (#4 in Thoughts & Spoilers: Show: Westworld (2016))