If ever there was a week where I felt it necessary to warn about ‘Westworld’ spoilers, this would be it. Definitely do not continue reading if you have not seen the game changing 7th episode of Season 1!
For the rest the of us, what an episode. From the minute that Bernard asked “What door?” I knew things were going south for our favorite human programmer, but I did not think they would spiral so quickly.
The meat of the episode focused on Bernard and the characters behind the scenes of the park. In what now seems an obvious foreshadow to the eventual reveal, the episode opens with Bernard in a flashback reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to his son, and we get some of the painful details of end of his son’s life, ending with Bernard awakening in bed, remembering the pain from his supposed past. Thus begins his day, which includes looking for a missing Elsie (who was abducted at the end of last episode, yet strangely the system now has her “on leave” meaning whoever abducted her has access to the system and was able to doctor her vacation days), dealing with Cullen and Charlotte, whose coup includes reprogramming poor Clementine to attack a host pretending to be a human to prove that the reveries modification was a reckless failure resulting in Bernard being either fired or revealing the reveries were a program installed by Ford (but he is too loyal to ever betray Ford), and lastly, leading Cullen down to Ford’s retreat to reveal to her everything he learned about the park’s master. Along the way he reminds her why the host surveyors never found the house, as they are programmed to ignore it, and how they could not see if even if it is right in front of them. At which point Cullen points out a door right in front of Bernard, that HE CANNOT SEE. At this point, I literally rewatched the scene to make sure I heard/ saw everything correctly, as I honestly did not want to believe it, but there it was. Irrefutable proof that Bernard was a host. And I thought they would leave it at that, letting it sink in for the audience what that meant. But no, it got so much worse for Bernard, for us, and frankly for Cullen. They take the secret door and discover a host creation station used secretly by Ford to make his own hosts, including Bernard himself, as Cullen discovers when she finds plans for Bernard, plans which Bernard cannot see as he is programmed to ignore anomalies like that. She points this out to him and as he struggles to comprehend the fact that he is a host, Ford appears, and all is revealed. He shuts off Bernard for the moment, and speaks to Cullen, explaining that he knows everything, that her power play with Charlotte will fail, that he had Bernard lead her to that house, and that he will remain in control of the park no matter what. In this moment, it becomes clear that Ford is the ultimate villain in the park (though not one without some redeeming qualities), and that his iron hold is what every host will be fighting against eventually. He orders Bernard to kill Cullen as his “blood sacrifice” (quoting a conversation between Cullen and board member Charlotte earlier where they said they needed a blood sacrifice to take down Ford) and Bernard obeys implicitly, taking off his tie and his coat and methodically striding over and smashing her head against the wall. It is a chilling scene and one of the darkest moments of ‘Westworld,’ and I am sure the consequences will be felt for the rest of the series.
We also returned to the Delores and William story, where they continue along in the train with Lawrence, heading through dangerous Ghost Nation territory, marked by heads on spikes as they pass through. William confesses to Delores that he has a finance in the outside world, but somehow feels that the world of the park is more real to him, so he throws caution to the wind and he and Delores make love, awakening the next morning with neither of them entirely sure where to go from here. He feels the world of the park has awakened his true self and he is clearly coming to love it there, she just wants to get out and be free. Not exactly the best case scenario for either of them. Meanwhile, the morning after they sleep together the Confererados ambush the train, and they escape after Lawrence sends out one of the explosive bodies on a horse with white flag, tricking the enemy into letting it get close enough for the ensuing explosion to cause a great distraction so our heroes can escape on horseback. As they flee the Confederados give chase, and almost get them, but are halted by a timely attack by the Ghost Nation, who all but ignore Lawrence, Delores and William and focus their hatred on the Confederados, as convenient as that may seem (almost as though someone is telling these native americans to leave Delores and company alone, Arnold maybe?). Eventually they reach a canyon that Delores oddly enough had been seeing in her dreams and sketching just that morning, and Lawrence parts ways with the pair, telling them no one has ever returned after going down that canyon. Delores is very excited, and I have heard rumors that the canyon leads to the ocean, though if Westworld connects to an actual body of water I would be surprised. We leave their story as they head down into that canyon.
Still no sign of Elsie.
Maeve is pissed that Clementine was used in Charlotte and Cullen’s coup against Ford, and is even more upset when she learns that because of her behavior in the demonstration the techs are forced to “retire” Clementine after driving a drill into her hard drive brain, thus destroying the woman Maeve once knew. Maeve decides she wants out of the game/park and Felix and his friend are going to help her, and she threatens to kill them if they refuse.
WORLD OF THEORIES:
- I have been adamantly against the theory that Bernard is Arnold, but now that they have revealed that he is a host and under the control of Ford, and that Ford appears to be the villain of the series, I guess there’s a chance that Bernard might just end up being the host version of Ford’s old partner, though the man’s surprise at being a host plays against this theory somewhat.
- I read online that the Elsie mystery might be solved now, Ford might have sent Bernard to grab her as she was learning a lot of information she should not know just yet.
- If William is indeed the young MIB, he is definitely hitting all the right stops on the road to becoming the man. He is beginning to love the park, is playing the game better and better, becoming more violent, and even has a little obsession with Delores.
- I don’t think Clementine will be out of the park forever, she will probably be lobotomized and brought back with a new personality/ role to play, which is how they can keep a lot of characters “alive” after they have been killed, even Cullen if you think about it. Ford could just make a host version of her to cover his tracks, which would be brilliant, although I have heard the actress playing Cullen was actually only signed on for 7 episodes, so that theory sounds a little unlikely.
- Will Bernard remember any of the events of this episode, or will be remain blissfully unaware? And if Ford is able to see everything through his hosts (we assume he knew about the “blood sacrifice” comment because he was spying on Cullen and Charlotte through the frozen Hector host in the room with them) is he aware that Bernard was having those conversations with Delores? I.e. Could Delores be the new storyline Ford is working on? Could his massive construction project be building the canyon she is going toward, and a simulation of the ocean beyond that?
- If Maeve does manage to escape, could she be the character that gives us a glimpse of the world beyond ‘Westworld?’ Finally letting us know why people would want to escape into this Western fantasy, and what kind of world mankind is currently living in?
Phenomenal episode, giving us EVEN more to think about, and finally giving us a villain for the series, and even more reason to root for the hosts and against the humans (except for Elsie and Stubbs). Not sure exactly where we are going with the William and Delores story but I am have more than enough faith in the show to know it will be interesting, though I am far more intrigued by the goings on with Ford and Bernard now, and to see how exactly Maeve plans to escape the park, and where the hell she would even go. 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)