Who would have thought that after only 5 episodes we would be this deep into the mysteries of ‘Westworld,’ or have invested this heavily into the characters? Honestly, when I realized that this was my 5th review of the series I was surprised as it felt like I had been writing about the show much longer, perhaps it just feels that way because of the story loops and the way the show’s mysteries have been swirling in my mind every since the pilot episode. Definitely a sign of good TV, and after last night’s episode, there are plenty more intriguing theories swirling around in my head, and definitely a lot more questions.
So, for the first time in a while, we do not open with Bernard speaking with Dolores, but rather with Ford speaking to the malfunctioning robot from the pilot, as this happens to be a rather Ford-centric episode. He tells the robot a sad story about a greyhound he owned as a child, that he once let free in the park even though his father warned him not to let the animal off its leash (the symbolism was rather heavy handed in this story). The dog proved much faster that young Ford thought and it immediately took off, pounced on a nearby cat, and killed the creature, and then did not know what else to do. It had spent its life striving to escape and have that moment, now that it had it, the greyhound did not know what to do next.
So clearly Ford worried the same would happen if he ever allowed the hosts their freedom. He pops up again later in the episode after William, Logan and Delores make it to the shifty town of Pariah after Delores follows a strange vision of herself into a kind of Dios de Los Muertos parade (good timing with Halloween here and everything). As she gets swept up in the crowd she hears Ford’s voice commanding her to sleep, and she wakes up in a “dream,” which is a debriefing with Ford himself, and unlike with Bernard, she is in a proper programming room and is nude. This scene flies in the face of the multiple timeline theory (check out my earlier article about this here) that has the William, Logan, and Delores story taking place much earlier than the Ford, Bernard, and MiB story, but it could still work if it’s just a slightly younger Ford, although Ford and Delores both mention in the scene that the Arnold incident occurred about 34 years ago, which fits with the MiB storyline timeline as well, so that whole theory could be done with for now, unless of course the whole scene is meant to throw us off and does not actually occur while Delores is in Pariah, but is a kind of flash forward.
The scene is intriguing as Ford asks Delores if she remembers Ford as he used to be, and we realize she is his oldest acquaintance in the park, and she alone knew both Ford and Arnold. I have heard some theories that based on this scene the show might be hinting that Ford himself might be Arnold but I think that’s crazy, I just think that Ford has a connection with Delores because of her age, and I also think she was deeply involved in Arnold’s death, and when she asked if they are “old friends” and he tells her they are not, I think he is hinting that they are actually old enemies, though why he chose to keep her around after all these years is beyond me. He clearly knows about the Arnold voice in her head, and the potential for disaster she represents, but he still has kept her active for all these years, unlike any other host. Clearly, Delores is special in more ways than one.
Ford’s final appearance of the night occurs when the MiB stops at a saloon with Teddy in tow and his “game” is interrupted by the man himself, who strangely the MiB does not seem that impressed by, hinting that Ford and the MiB have a past association. Ford just seems genuinely interested in what the MiB is up to and offers no resistance to the man playing the game however he wants. We do get to finally see the “good samaritan” programming in effect, as the MiB threatens Ford with his knife, which Teddy blocks, jamming the knife into the table, even though he is close to death, which impresses the MiB. They have a brief conversation about Wyatt, with the MiB wondering if Ford has finally created an opponent worthy of his time, and then Ford leaves him to his quest, and us to our questions, especially in regards to why Ford even bothered to have this conversation with the MiB.
Of course, there was plenty of other things going on this episode, but Ford’s stories were the most interesting to me. William, Logan, and Dolores head to the outlaw town Pariah where they meet up with the bounty’s contact, who turns out to be Lawrence. How does that work? Well, if you don’t believe in the multiple timelines theory, then the show conveniently enough just had the MiB kill Lawrence to give blood to save Teddy, so you can believe the park reset Lawrence and put him back in his loop in time to be in Pariah for William and Logan. If you do believe in the multiple timelines theory, then this was Lawrence’s loop long before he was kidnapped by the MiB, so there is no discrepancy.
Either way, he sends the team off to rob a stagecoach of explosives, even outfitting Delores with some cowgirl gear and a gun, and though the robbery is supposed to be without killing, Logan is bored and gets violent, and starts a fight that ends up getting all 4 union soldiers involved killed, most of whom are killed by William who is defending his “friend” and Delores. He feels awful about it and cannot enjoy the orgy scene that comes next, even with Logan and the Confederados enjoying the hell out of it in the background. Plus, he notices Delores doesn’t like it either, and she wanders off and has a weird vision where she pulls at her skin and discovers she could be easily pulled apart. Afterward, she discovers Lawrence double-crossed the Confederados and stole the explosives and replaced it with tequila, and she tries to escape with William before the double-cross is discovered, but it is too late. The Conferderados figure it out and attack, taking Logan prisoner shortly after he and William have a huge fight about how pathetic Logan thinks William is. William decides to leave Logan behind and flee with Delores, but they are cornered. Fortunately, Delores is evolving quickly, and she manages to shoot down all the Confederados attacking them, and they escape on a train heading out of town, only to find themselves in the caboose with Lawrence and the explosives, making an uneasy alliance with the man.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes. Elsie has broken her promise and investigated the roaming Host and discovered someone has hacked him, and that he wandered off to find a high enough post to send out a message to someone outside the park with confidential information, a fact which she reports to Bernard in his only scene of the episode. We also return to the surgeons who botched the Maeve surgery a few weeks ago to find them fixing her up again, only this time we learn one of them, Felix, is an amateur programmer who is trying to fix a broken bird from the park. When he finally gets it to work, he watches it fly around the operating theater and then land neatly on a now awake (and nude) Maeve’s outstretched hand, who clearly and calmly tells him that they need to talk, ending the episode.
WORLD OF THEORIES:
- The MiB talks about how the original Hosts had perfect bodies, perfect insides, and only the newer, “cheaper” models are more human on the inside. Could this mean that Delores, being the oldest host, still has one of those perfect bodies? What does that mean for her physical strength? Healing? If the multiple timeline theory is correct, is there a chance that the MiB is William? Hence how he knows about the Maze (from his adventure with Delores) and how he knows Ford (since he works with the board of directors)? We know the MiB is a good man on the outside, as is William, and has a fondness for Delores as seen in the pilot, and his “villain” nature could be the result of 30 years of coming back to the park.
- Logan looks genuinely frightened as he is beaten by the Confederados. I understand that the further from Sweetwater you get the more dangerous the game (hence why he can be beaten and “strangled”) but he still cannot be killed, right? The park would never allow that. But what happens if he is taken prisoner? If you pay $40,000 for a week in Westworld, go to the outskirts, get thrown in a prison on day one, does that mean you could spend the next 7 days in prison? Wouldn’t people complain that they did not get their money’s worth? Or is that the point? They mentioned this week that the “real world” outside of Westworld is too soft and easy, so maybe the harsh world of Westworld, the actual consequences and culpability is why people come there, so maybe 7 days in an actual prison would be worth spending $40,000 on. Or maybe the park would just find some elaborate in universe “prison-break” type way to get the guest out of that jail so they don’t spend their vacation in prison.
- Was Maeve awake the entire episode, listening to the two idiot surgeons talk, figuring things out? How smart is she actually? She is way too calm in that final scene, it is kind of disturbing.
- How involved was Delores in Arnold’s death? It’s been referred to as a tragedy, and also as a suicide, but I have always suspected that it was weirdly both but with a host involved. I think he ordered Delores to kill him, to test to see whether a Host could hurt a human after his modifications (to see if they were truly free). Hence the “suicide” aspect, hence Ford’s dislike of Delores, and the tragic aspect of it all.
Definitely A LOT to think about at the end of this episode, especially with the Maeve storyline, as it was set-up the whole episode, and left a huge cliff-hanger for next week. And Delores just gets more and more interesting as she breaks out of her loop, breaks out of her pacifist programming, garners attention from Bernard, Ford, William, and keeps having those visions, and we struggle to piece together her backstory. I cannot wait to see more about this church that she keeps seeing in her visions, and to hear more about Arnold, and I sincerely hope that as we have officially hit the back half of the season we start getting some more answers, as I would hate to finish season 1 and feel like it was all set-up and no climax. Looking forward to next week, see you back here then!
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 (@starfro67).