Well, as they say, the plot is certainly thickening. This week upped the ante for all of the characters (minus Delores, William, Logan and Lawrence who were oddly absent), and shifted how we saw a lot of characters, which of course makes for some fascinating drama, but also makes you wonder, who exactly are we supposed to be rooting for? Should we be cheering for Maeve as she coerces the tech guys to enhance her intelligence, allowing her to control them even more? Should we be rooting for Elsie to root out the Arnold problem so the hosts cannot rebel? It’s a fascinating problem and one that clearly we will not be able to figure out anytime soon, especially not with how this episode ended.
As stated earlier, no Delores this episode, a first for the show, though we did get to see some of her “cousins,” i.e. other early hosts that Robert apparently keeps hidden in the park, robots that Arnold built for him fashioned after Ford’s own family, including a young Ford himself (yep, we guessed it, the young boy from earlier in the season is a younger version of Ford). Bernard finds out about these hosts while he and Elsie are investigating the new anomalies uncovered by her research into the stray and the corporate espionage, and he is not happy that Ford is keeping unregistered hosts in the park, especially ones who can only he controlled by Ford himself. And it gets even more dangerous once we realize that these hosts are also susceptible to the Arnold virus, as at the end we learn the young Ford robot killed his beloved greyhound at the urging of the Arnold voice, a fact which adult Ford does not seem to find nearly troubling enough. As for Bernard and Elsie, they continue their investigation, which leads Elsie into a spooky abandoned theater in the park where a relay has been hidden, and we are all too aware that she should not have gone there alone, and is unlikely to leave the place without something going wrong. She finds the relay and realizes that “Arnold” has been hacking hosts and changing their programming so they can potentially hurt guests, and that Cullen is the one who was sending corporate secrets out of the park. She warns Bernard just in time, as he has just gone to visit his new “ex” girlfriend (she broke it off with Bernard at the beginning of the episode because with Ford knowing she does not want anyone to feel her job has been compromised) and right before he reveals the conspiracy to Cullen he gets a phone call from Elsie warning him that she is the leak. He leaves Cullen’s apartment to further investigate and we cut back to Elsie, who finds that she is not alone in the creepy theater. And yep, as we guessed, someone jumps out of the shadows and grabs her, though I highly doubt she is dead, as she is a fan favorite character (and one of my favorites) and since we did not see her die, most likely she is just being held somewhere.
In other stories, the MIB and Teddy are trying to get to Pariah but find their way blocked by Union soldiers, so they try to infiltrate but Teddy is recognized, for he was once part of Wyatt’s gang. The duo are taken captive, but Teddy escapes and goes on a killing spree (somewhat understandable, he is trying to get to Delores and save her, and they were about to brand him), ending with him with a gatling gun mowing down every Union soldier in the camp, much to the shock, and almost amusement, of the MIB. Lee the writer also makes his return this episode, where we learn he has been on leave, drinking and pissed off at Ford as he is now “creatively impotent” after his ideas were shot down. Cullen orders him back to work but he ignores her, flirts with a pretty girl, then gets so hammered that he makes his way down to the map room late at night, opens his fly, and pisses all over Westworld, while everyone watches. At that moment Cullen introduces him to the executive Board member sent to oversee new additions to the park, and it is the woman he flirted with earlier. Things are not looking good for Lee.
As for Maeve, she is back in the park, and it is a little disappointing as we do not see that conversation between her and tech guy Felix. But then she lures her client upstairs and basically convinces him to choke her during sex, which leads to her “death,” which is just her way to get back to HQ so she can wake up and have another conversation with Felix. She forces him to give her an eye-opening tour of the Westworld facilities after he explains everything to her, and she seems to grasp the concepts of the park and her creation fairly quickly, though how much of it she truly understands I am not sure. She almost breaks down when she sees a PR trailer for the park and sees herself and her “dreams” and first begins to understand that her dreams are past “loops” or lives that the park has had her work in. It’s a mesmerizing series of scenes, and clearly will be a touchpoint of the series when she rallies other hosts and explains what they are, what the company is doing to them, and why they should rebel. Eventually, the other tech guy is blackmailed into helping her as well, and she fairly quickly controls both of these men, demanding that they increase her intelligence and decrease her ability to feel pain, both things that sound like big red flags. Once her intelligence go up, you can see doors opening in her mind, and she turns back to the guys for a new conversation, and suddenly we worry for the future of Felix and his partner. And once again, right before that conversation starts, the episode ends.
- I loved how often in this episode people asked “Arnold?” every time they met a new person. It’s basically the same question the audience asks every time we see a new character, and its great to have the show’s characters and the audience on the same page that way.
- Felix and the other tech guy get blackmailed by Maeve really easily, and I cannot believe their stupidity in raising her intelligence and ability to handle pain. Those seem like the two things you NEVER want to give the robots around you. It just happened very fast and very easily for Maeve, and I would have hoped ‘Westworld’ would have made Maeve work a little harder for it.
- What is the significance of that little town Ford and the construction workers visit? Ford was clearly reluctant to have it destroyed by his new canyon, and it is the place where Delores had those flashes of memory, and it is where Lawrence’s daughter (the one so knowledgable about the Maze) lives, so I wonder if it is somehow important to the Maze and/or the endgame of Ford and/or Arnold.
- Ford’s family is creepy. Anyone else think for a moment that the older brother in the family was Arnold, and that Ford and Arnold were brothers?
- Theories on who attacked Elsie? Knowing how TV works and how sometimes stuff like that is done just for suspense in one episode, there’s a chance it might just be Stubbs, who scares her then laughs it off. It would be a huge let down, but at least we would still have Elsie.
- Very strange the lack of Delores in this episode. I cannot decide if it plays into the multiple timelines theory or not, especially when they keep hinting about issues in Pariah that could have been caused by what Delores and William just went through there.
Show is picking up a lot of steam, but they better get a handle on this Arnold situation before the season is over. We need some answers to who he is, if he is alive, or if someone is impersonating him soon. Revealing that he is alive at the end of the season would be pretty epic, but then again ‘Westworld’ marches to the beat of its own drum, so who knows. I do wonder if next week will almost exclusively feature the Delores, William and Logan story to balance out their absence from this week, but that would kind of make me sad as I enjoy the Ford and Bernard story beats as well. Either way, we’ll 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 (@starfro67)