In the ‘Westworld’ recap, Bernard and Elsie investigate corporate espionage, Maeve learns at an alarming rate and one of Dr. Ford’s secrets is revealed…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There’s been a lot of chatter thus far on ‘Westworld’ about the times when certain events have taken place.
For instance the conversations that happen between Delores and Bernard or even Delores and Dr. Ford that occur almost simultaneously with the narrative she’s currently involved with alongside William and his asshole soon to be brother-in-law Logan. I’ve wondered the same — are these conversations happening days earlier or perhaps days later with Delores interacting with William down in the park? Are these conversations happening from several years ago and these were the pre-emptive stages of the hosts becoming self-aware?
Now a new theory popularized on Reddit has completely blown my mind.
The theory goes like this — the story that we’ve been watching involving William and Delores is actually from 30 years ago — the last time Westworld suffered a critical failure. The really mind bending part of this theory is that William is actually the Man in Black as he first experienced the park after entering this fantasy playground as a complete novice. Remember when William arrived, this entire experience was so foreign to him but in just a matter of days, he’s become a gunslinger and fallen for Delores, all while still planning his own wedding for the time when he returns home.
Perhaps William’s journey of self-discovery leads Delores to becoming self-aware in some sense and that’s what ultimately cause the critical failure in the park. William then becomes so obsessed with Westworld that he consistently returns over and over again for the next 30 years until he become the Man in Black — a man determined to stay in the park forever. Remember, William was just promoted to “vice president” at whatever company he’s working with alongside Logan.
The theory became even more popular after William and Delores ended up entangled in a storyline with “El Lazo”, who is actually Lawrence — the soon to be hanged outlaw rescued by the Man in Black several episodes ago. The Man in Black ultimately killed Lawrence and then he popped up almost immediately in the story with William and Delores, leading some to believe that these are two different stories from two different eras inside Westworld. Of course, that theory can also be debunked based on Lawrence being killed and a whole day passing before he ended up in the town of Pariah meeting William for the first time.
Either way, it’s a very interesting theory to keep in mind as the show moves forward because we haven’t seen William interact with any of the human guests that we’ve recognized throughout this first season. Maybe ‘Westworld’ is perpetuating it’s own rumor by keeping him separated or perhaps there really is something to this alternate timeline where William finds himself in this park and eventually gets lost there for the next 30 years.
Oh one more thing — the musical selections this week appeared to be an all Radiohead buffet with orchestral versions of “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Motion Picture Soundtrack”.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Westworld’ titled ‘The Adversary’…
Behind the Curtain
As this week’s episode begins, Maeve is back in her brothel keeping an eye on the customers while also watching her girls earn a living with all manners of elicit behavior. When one particularly rough looking gentleman walks in, Clementine is primed to let him have his way with her, but Maeve decides to intervene and keep him for herself.
Upstairs, Maeve quickly seduces the burly guest before prompting him to play rough with her. The sadomasochistic twist ends with the guest wrapping his hands around Maeve’s throat and choking the life out of her.
A few moments later, Maeve wakes up on the table of her old pal Felix — the butcher shop technician who has sex with the hosts after they’ve been brought to him for some body work and who witnessed her transformation into self-awareness a week ago. It seems Maeve was put back into rotation like always, but then died on purpose to get back to Felix’s capable hands.
It appears Maeve is now remembering everything that’s happening to her between narratives and she’s looking for answers and Felix is the one to give them to her. He begins by trying to explain how she’s a robot and he’s a human. The concept escapes her but Maeve is quickly picking up the nuances of this world and how she’s not like anybody else.
She finally asks Felix to take her on a tour of the facility where she witnesses her fellow hosts being hosed off and cleaned up after being shot to death. She sees hosts being transformed from white plastic goop into living, breathing creatures. She watches as hosts have sex and get into fights, all with humans wearing lab coats standing nearby as it all unfolds.
Finally, Maeve sees an advertisement for Westworld — a commercial that teases a tagline for the park reading ‘Live Without Limits’. At the end of the advertisement, Maeve spots herself running through a field with a child. These are the “dreams” she’s been having, but Felix has to explain how she’s just been reprogrammed over and over again while put into whatever story the park wants her for that day.
Maeve finally starts to see the pieces of the puzzle coming together when Felix shows her the interface where a computer can literally predict every single word that will come out of her mouth. Maeve is both exhilarated to learn more, but also horrified to know that she’s been treated as somebody’s property for her entire existence. She actually shorts out and has to be rebooted after her system overloads with all this information flooding in at once.
Unfortunately the session is broken up when Felix’s co-worker Sylvester walks in and catches the two of them in action together. He decides it’s time to report Felix to quality assurance, but Maeve acts quicker, puts a scalpel to his throat and “convinces” Sylvester to play along as she begins learning more about the inner workings of Westworld.
Of course this part is a little strange because the hosts are supposedly unable to hurt humans, but Sylvester certainly seemed to fear that scalpel at his throat. Also why don’t Felix and Sylvester just knock Maeve unconscious and damage her beyond repair in a way that she could never be a threat to them again? If the theme of Westworld is “live without limits” — the hosts do nothing but live within limits. Yet somehow these two technicians are worried about what this host may do to them.
Regardless, in the end Maeve convinces them to upgrade her “traits” through the control pad. Her intelligence is increased exponentially as well as some other characteristics and the look on Maeve’s face is akin to a Windows 95 user suddenly upgrading to a Macbook Pro. She’s sifting through abilities she never knew existed.
But while upgrading the software, Sylvester notices something else strange lurking in Maeve’s file. Someone has already been tinkering with the settings in an unauthorized session — meaning somebody or something was already adding things to Maeve that shouldn’t have been there.
Perhaps this is how Maeve “woke up” in the first place?
A New Narrative
The Man in Black continues his quest to find Wyatt while traveling through the country alongside Teddy Flood. While riding along the trail, Teddy spots the scalp on the Man in Black’s saddle that has a picture of the map on the underside. Teddy decides to tell the Man in Black about the old Native American story about the maze:
“The maze is an old Native myth. The Maze itself is the sum of a man’s life, the choices he makes, the dreams he hangs onto. And there at the center there’s a legendary man, who’s been killed over and over again — and always clawed his way back to life. He returned for the last time, vanquished all his enemies. He built a house, and around that house he built a maze so complicated that only he could see his way thorough it. I reckon he’d seen enough fighting.”
It’s an interesting analogy given that the hosts are certainly people who cannot technically be killed. Or maybe this is a secret origin for park creator Arnold, who died inside the park, but seemingly still haunts every inch of it from beyond the grave. One of my biggest theories all season long is that Arnold found a way to upload his consciousness into a host and he’s been living inside the park ever since — maybe the same way the Man in Black hopes to stay there forever as well.
Regardless, Teddy and the Man in Black end up running afoul of some Union soldiers. One of the soldiers recognizes Teddy from a bloody encounter during the war and they end up capturing the two travelers. Before much of anything can happen, Teddy wiggles free of the ropes as does the Man in Black and they both start shooting their way out of the camp.
Rather than run, Teddy jumps on top of a wagon and loads up a Gatling gun — and he fires off dozens upon dozens of rounds, mowing down every Union soldier who was camped at this location. Simultaneously, Teddy also has visions to his time at war alongside his former commanding officer Wyatt. It seems Teddy not only watched Wyatt slaughter people — he was a willing participant alongside him. When Dr. Ford updated Teddy’s story several weeks ago to give him a bad guy to chase in Wyatt, it seems he also gave the doomed gunslinger his own haunted past. One complete with a serial killer hiding underneath that squeaky clean demeanor. Then again, maybe Teddy is having a few additional items added onto his persona the same way Maeve had done to her.
Either way, once the soldiers were dead, Teddy and the Man in Black continued forward in pursuit of Wyatt.
The Real World
As it was discovered a week ago, Elsie is still investigating the strange anomaly where the host known as the “Woodcutter” was climbing atop a mountain in an attempt to send a signal out of Westworld to give somebody on the other end crucial information about the park and its technology. Elsie immediately brought this to Bernard, who joins her in looking into the matter to find out who is stealing from Westworld.
Bernard’s research ends up taking him to a sub-basement — a long forgotten part of Westworld complete with a brief look at “The Gunslinger” from the original 1973 movie — where he accesses a much older computer system to interface with the Woodcutter to try and find out where he was going or what he was doing. Remember, the Woodcutter bashed his own brains in with a rock — perhaps a self-destruct mechanism of sorts if he was ever discovered.
When Bernard starts digging for information he finds out there are actually five unregistered hosts operating in a part of the park that’s not open to guests. These five hosts aren’t on the grid or in circulation with current stories — they just exist in a part of the park where no one is supposed to be allowed.
Bernard goes to check out the unregistered hosts and he finds a family living in a cottage off the beaten path. He walks into the home and starts nosing around when the father of the group demands to know why he’s in their house. The man then grabs Bernard and the host doesn’t respond to his verbal commands to stop.
Thankfully, Dr. Ford emerges from the shadows and stops the host from harming Bernard just in the nick of time.
Dr. Ford goes onto explain that these unregistered hosts were part of the first generation of robots built by his former partner Arnold and he just didn’t have the hear to decommission them so he cares for them himself. Arnold also made these particular hosts as a gift to Dr. Ford because each one is a mirror image to the family he grew up with in England. The little boy we met several episodes back when Dr. Ford was out in the park and ran into the rattlesnake — that’s the little Robert Ford created by Arnold as his doppelganger.
Dr. Ford explains that this is just his own way of remembering his family in a happier time from their lives. It’s much the same way Bernard would probably revel in spending a little more time with his son if he could, even if it was just a copy living as a host inside Westworld. This is the second time Dr. Ford has used Bernard’s deceased son against him — there has to be more to that story.
Meanwhile upstairs away from the park, Lee Sizemore — the man in charge of creating narratives for the hosts and the guests — is drinking away his misery after his latest story got shot down in favor of Dr. Ford’s park renovations. Theresa Cullen, the head of quality assurance, tells him that it’s time to get back to work. Dr. Ford is uprooting more than 50 hosts with this new addition he’s building in the park for his narrative and Lee needs to put those robots back to work with new stories.
Lee is resistant until he meets a gorgeous newcomer at the bar. He introduces himself but then starts ranting and raving about Dr. Ford’s lunacy and his own irritation with the park. Finally, Lee decides that it’s time to quit and so he goes inside and pisses on the massive hologram like map of the park as a final “fuck you” to the people in charge.
That’s when Cullen arrives with the same woman who he hit on earlier — her name is Charlotte Hale and she’s been sent here from corporate to take a look at how Westworld is being run and operated.
And finally there’s Elsie, who has started to find out even more information about the leak and finding the person responsible for stealing it from the park. Her end goal is to get a promotion but what she’s uncovering could be the first sign that Westworld is about to unravel from the inside out.
She tracks down the source of the signal that was sending and receiving messages to a Delos Corporation owned satellite (the parent company that owns Westworld). Once she starts digging into the computer, Elise finds quite a bit of information.
The person who set up the hack to commit corporate espionage in the first place was Theresa Cullen — the icy quality assurance leader. Second, Elsie finds out that in addition to receiving information, this signal was also beaming out messages to some of the first generation hosts who are still operating inside the park. In other words, “the voice of god” theory from a few episodes ago — the robots are hearing a voice that’s telling them to do things and they react as if it’s the voice of god. Over time, the robots realize that this is their own voice and that helps them become self-aware. It was a program Arnold worked on extensively before his death.
Well now somebody else is trying the same thing.
Finally, Elsie discovers that there’s an update being sent out into some of the hosts, which changes their programming that allows them to veer off course from a particular narrative or in some cases even switch off the safety mode to where they could actually hurt a guest. Maybe even more disturbing is the fact that the code written into the programming was from Arnold — a guy who has supposedly been dead for 30 years.
This is frightening stuff so Bernard tells Elsie to copy everything and return back to his office, but before she can finish, a hand wraps around her mouth and the scene fades to black. Bernard tried to warn Elsie not to go alone but she did anyways.
Finally, Dr. Ford is back in his personal fantasy land with the faux-Ford family when he finds his younger self with their dog and he’s dead. Dr. Ford begins to question the boy robot about how the dog died and little Robert Ford actually lies to him at first. When he finally gets the truth, the boy divulges that a voice inside his head told him to put the dog out of its misery.
When Dr. Ford asks what voice, the boy responds — it was Arnold.
‘Westworld’ returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO.