After a little bit of a slow-down in Episode 3, I’m happy to say that ‘Westworld’ came back full-steam this week, full of powerful scenes, amazing action, and of course, dozens of new theories and revelations. Being that we are only 4 episodes into the first season it is hard to imagine the depths this show is going to take us, but for now, I am content to sit back and enjoy the ride.
As has become the recurring motif, the episode begins with a Bernard and Delores discussion, this time about the loss of her parents (as we saw at the end of the last episode), and culminating with Bernard challenging her to find the Maze, which might just set her free. She then wakes up with William and Logan in the woods, which begs the question, how the hell did she get there? All along we have assumed that at night Bernard summons her to the mountain (or whatever) to have these chats, but now I wonder, could these Bernard chats be flashbacks? Could they be the inciting incident that set the events of Delores’s story in ‘Westworld’ in motion? She spends the day riding with the boys on their bounty hunting trip, confusing the operators who do not understand how she has strayed so far from the ranch, but she she is with William, a guest, so she is allowed to continue on her way. She comes across Lawrence the outlaw’s little daughter, who sparks a memory for Delores of a time in a church, and the little girl just so happens to be tracing the Maze in the dirt before her. She is like the Yoda of ‘Westworld,’ cryptic small, and full of puzzles. She follows the boys as they catch their outlaw, and watches as Logan turns on the lawman accompanying them as soon as the bounty offers them a better deal, not believing that William would go along with such mischief. But Logan somehow convinces William to walk with him on the dark side, and though William looks uncomfortable with it he does go along with his “friend”, and therefore so does Dolores, though at this point I suspect she is only along for the ride so she can explore and try to track down the Maze.
The Man in Black (MIB) returns this week, still dragging along Lawrence as he hunts for the answers to the riddle to the Maze. He encounters one of Hector’s hench-women who may hold the next clue, but she refuses to give it up unless he frees Hector from prison. In a clever prison-break involving exploding cigars (which somehow the MIB needed approval, in the moment, from the park people to use), the MIB frees Hector and saves Lawrence from yet another execution, and he gets his next clue, the villain Wyatt, who we last saw butchering Teddy and the gang sent to stop him. On the way to chat with Wyatt, the MIB finds Teddy, beaten bound, and left hanging on the side of the road for the vultures, and he frees the man-bot, and while Teddy does not die, he is in bad shape. I wonder if he will be joining the MIB posse alongside Lawrence.
Cullen has a meeting with Ford in which she is trying to push an agenda of her own (which we do not really know), which apparently runs in the face of Ford’s new storyline and his agenda (again, which we do not really know). But he is ready for her, inviting her to meet at a table in the park where she once visited as a child, which unnerves her. She is further unsettled when he freezes every host within sight with a small gesture from his finger, intimidating her with his power and reminding her that he has fought against the board and people like her for years, and has always won, as he is the ultimate power in Westworld. He has a plan, and it will not be stopped by her. Its an amazing scene, and Anthony Hopkins is phenomenal, and I sincerely hope he does not get Ned Stark-ed by the end of the first season, which is often the case when big name actors sign up to do a TV series (they only sign on because they know they will die in the first season, and therefore it will not be a long-term commitment).
Other happenings around the park include Maeve’s descent into “madness,” which is really her ascent into the realm of higher knowledge. She remembers the look of the workers of the park in their environment suits, and confirms that look when she notices an Indian doll that looks identical, and learns the natives consider these “beings” to be dream walkers, who walk between life and death. She gleans this information from Hector himself, who completes his loop after being freed by the MIB and comes to shoot up town, and finds himself being given the combination to the safe by Maeve in exchange for information about the Indians. Furthermore, she tells Hector that she remembers being shot, and feels the bullet beneath her skin. Together, they dig his knife into her stomach and find the bullet, which must have been left there by the surgeons, who were clearly rushed to finish her after she escaped and wandered around the facility a few episodes back. She now has proof that something odd is occurring, and ends the episode by proclaiming that “nothing matters,’ but unfortunately, she is also standing next to Hector when lawmen fire a hail of bullets at the outlaw, so she might be “dead” once more and return the next day with her memories wiped, meaning everything she learned this week might be forgotten when next week’s episode begins.
WORLD OF THEORIES:
- So it seems that Logan and William are not just tourists, and may, in fact, be the Board representatives Ford spoke to Cullen about. Definitely makes them more interesting, and paints the outside investors of the park in a very poor light if they all see it the way Logan does.
- And it seems the MIB in real life is a life-saving philanthropist, as mentioned by a guest who has joined up with Hector’s gang and told him “Your foundation literally saved my sister’s life.” Of course the man who makes the comment is instantly quieted by the MIB who tells the man “One more word and I’ll cut your throat. This is my f@#king vacation.” So the MIB might not be evil, just a really intense gamer who is obsessed with beating ‘Westworld’ the game.
- Based on this week’s revelations, it would seem that the MIB learned about Arnold and what happened, and has surmised that the “Maze” is a way of unlocking the true freedoms and consciousness of the hosts, making them able to act like real people, and actually hurt the guests (hence why Bernard instructs Delores to find the Maze to find her freedom. Hell, who knows, maybe Delores is the one who told the MIB about the Maze). Now the MIB wants to find the Maze and basically turn ‘Westworld’ onto “HARD” mode, fully knowing that it will probably kill him, but wanting to see how he fairs when the hosts actually have a chance and can fight back fairly.
- During their tense exchange, Ford reminds Cullen that they know “everything” about their guests, and about their employees. He tells her to be careful with Bernard, revealing he knows full well about their affair. How is he spying on everyone? Does this lend credence to the theory that Bernard might be a highly advanced host?
Definitely a lot to take in for one episode and I was amazed at how enthralling the story was while also containing so much action and spectacle. This seemed like ‘Westworld’ firing on all cylinders, making full use of all of the tools at its disposal that it has been setting up all season. I cannot wait to see where we go next with the story, and even though the answers are coming slowly, I appreciate they are being delivered, and the show does not feel like it is stalling at all. Everything feels deliberate, calculated, and well-plotted, much like the park itself, and I cannot wait to see where Abrams, Nolan, and Joy take us next. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.