What Caleb did in 279 builds and what Bernard did in 8 years in the Sublime, Frankie AKA C (Aurora Perrineau) only had one lifetime to learn. To her credit, she’s done a great job of taking on all the lessons her mother Uwade (Nozipho McLean) and (especially) her father taught her about surviving and thriving in a mind-controlled world. She does, rescuing outliers and teaching them how to fight, ever since she was little and Caleb went to war with Maeve (Thandiwe Newton). He never came back, but she never gave up hope, and that hope is what drives her to keep fighting alongside her friends and allies in the resistance, even when there’s a mole in the group. which works against their interests.
The parallels between Caleb and Frankie’s stories are done really well, with Andrew Seklir and the show’s editing team doing a terrific job of matching the two (and Bernard) while also breaking up Caleb’s reality in a cold white box and his basic memories of his daughter, running with him through a field. Her prominence became the defining element of her character, her hook, the same way Maeve’s daughter resonated with her throughout a few shifts in work and programming and the dead child and ex- Hale’s husband seem more like an afterthought. Sure, she mentions her loss — and it’s smart that screenwriters Jordan Goldberg and Alli Rock remember that little detail — but it sounds a little less important coming from her lips than it does for flesh-and-blood dad Caleb and Maeve. ; as Frankie told Bernard, Charlotte’s love for her children is only part of her programming, it’s not a foundational memory like it is for Caleb and Maeve.
Seklir and company make excellent use of the show’s vanities, especially during the rescue sequence which shows young Frankie (Celeste Clark) learning alongside her mother during an on-going training session. quite intense work. Whenever an entire group of people freeze in place, people pour wine that’s been spilled all over them and kids slowly come to a stop on a swing (a shot that lasts long enough for viewers to see that kids actually come to a stop mid-game), it gets to me. This works especially well in “Fidelity” because Frankie and his friends try to trick the host blanks sent to catch them by freezing themselves in place. It’s a very tense scene that rivals anything Caleb does, and surpasses the last scene in which Frankie has to fight off a host posing as one of his resistance group members while hearing snippets of the very sweet message from his father.
It’s a smart set up and a good fight, listening Westworld‘s third season in which the hosts regularly took over from the humans. Further back, he evoked memories of The thing, only without a flamethrower test to determine whether or not someone in a host. Frankie only has to rely on her own knowledge of the people around her and Bernard’s helpful suspicion (and less helpful clues) to expose the host in their midst, and she does so with minimal bloodshed for herself or her friends. All those years of pretending to be a dumb drone has apparently paid off, as she’s able to continue the act until the last moment before throwing the hammer at the electronic hazards she’s endangering.
It’s a very tense scene before it erupts into violence, and most of “Fidelity” is built for tension that pays off in a few good moments. Aaron Paul does a marvelous physical job as different Calebs in different stages of decay, and his final radio talk to his daughter is a great deal very well delivered by the actor. Ditto Aurora Perrineau’s MacReady impression while strolling through the spooky remnants of long-abandoned Delos Golden Age Park. The tease between the two potential replacements is very well done, with Frankie’s non-violent handling of this situation very well done once she realizes who the host’s replacement isn’t.