“Sweet Christmas.” A simple phrase, and yet, it goes a long way to define a lovable character like Luke Cage. Season Two of Marvel’s Luke Cage released on Netflix on Friday, June 22, and it does not let go of its Season One grip on tough characters.

These violent delights have confusing, excessively glutted, unnecessarily complicated ends.  

Welcome, True Believers, to the penultimate episode of season two. The phrase “Vanishing Point” means two things.  The first is the art term (shades of “Les Écorchés,” two episodes ago), in which in a perspective drawing (an invention during the Renaissance) it is the point at which receding parallel lines appear to converge.  In other words, it is an art concept that allows three dimensions to be viewed in two.  The second is the more general conceptual definition: the point at which something that has been growing smaller disappears altogether.  Both definitions apply to this week’s episode.

Not gonna lie, compadres – this might be the best Westworld episode of all time.  One day after airing, and it has a 9.4 on IMDb.  Avengers: Infinity War (the highest rated film in the franchise) has an 8.8.  The Shape of Water, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, has a 7.4.  The Handmaid’s Tale, which won the Emmy for Best Prime-time Drama series, averages 8.6.  Not that scores mean anything much, I just bring this up to show how much this episode is already becoming a fan and industry favorite.  And count me in on that.  My reaction when the end credits ran was a combination of shock and joy and for the first time in my life (or so I think), I stood up off the couch and just stood there looking at the television, knowing I wanted to do something and not knowing what.  Yeah – I want to marry this episode and have a million of its babies.  It’s that good.  But I don’t want to oversell it.

Welcome back, True Believers!

Howdy, pardners.  Before we git to this week’s hootenanny, some corrections and apologies must be shared.  Last week, the person I called James Delos is actually Karl Strand, which kills me a little, because that name is so rich in meaning.  “Strand” is German for “beach,” as in the place where they found all the dead hosts, and “strand” is English for either “land bordering water,” “to leave behind or abandon,” or “a fiber or filament twisted together to form a unit,” OR “one of the elements interwoven in a complex whole.”  You could not have done more if you named this character “Karl Metaphor.”  He is, after all, the one who said, “How did all these disparate threads come to create this nightmare?”  Karl Strand wants to know the manner in which the strands came together!?!  Damn, people.  

And welcome to Shogun World.  Mata Irasshaimase!  歴史的な詳細のいくつかは間違っているかもしれません。 私たちのホストはあなたを殺すことをうれしく思います。 私はあなたのニーズに応えることを意味します! (All those years of Japanese in college and grad school are finally paying off!)

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?”

Is everyone sitting comfortably?  Good.  Let’s begin.

I think the showrunners of Westworld binge watched a lot of Game of Thrones during their time off, as Season Two, Episode Two seems like a GoT episode: lots of exposition, four or five running plotlines, nothing resolved, and pawns being moved into place for some crazy stuff three to four episodes from now.  But precious little actually happens.

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