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'Westworld' Grapples with the 'Voice of God'

By Lord Castleton | TV | October 22, 2016 | Comments ()

By Lord Castleton | TV | October 22, 2016 |


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Okay! Episode three. Are you guys ready to dish about \W/estworld, yo?

LET’S DO THIS!!

Okay so we open up with the ‘previously ons’ and what I think could be either a horrible spoiler accident or a mistake by a transcription service. I usually watch the episode twice and then a third time with the captions on so I make sure I’m getting the dialogue right.

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Okay, so it’s probably nothing. I mean, there are very clearly two different actors playing Logan and Hector Escaton. I’m sure they’re not the same person. It must just be that someone messed up.

Anyway, not much else to report from the previously ons. A bunch of time spent on Maeve discovering the body shop.

Secret Meeting Room

We open in the place where Dolores and Bernard meet. It’s becoming clear that Westworld is above them and the Ops center is underground, directly below the park. So there must be a series of doors and entrances where the Hosts are pathed away from, which lead right downstairs. It’s a line of code: like weapon privileges or “do not kill guests” mandates.

Bernard has clearly modified Dolores’ programming so she’ll enter one of these doors and wait for him at a predetermined time. She’s the only Host we see clothed during an interview of this nature.

But how far below the park is she? If you look at the map below, the control room is really far down the chute from the surface. So, where is this room? In the Living quarters level? Is it a maintenance room attached to the park? It’s tough to say, but it seems to be walking accessible for Dolores.

In a way, that makes it make a lot more sense to the viewer. We’ve been wondering where the humans are and where the control room is in relation to the park. But when the bots eventually learn to bypass that line of code? Um…look out! They could be in the control room in no time. But not before they breach the LIVING QUARTERS.

Yikes.

And what about the cold storage bots below the control room? That’s going to be one hell of a colonoscopy for the creators. Then again, if you believe the Delos Destinations website, this structure is HUGE.

Click it to make it go big

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The lights come on as Bernard enters the room. Dolores is in a stasis or offline mode and Bernard tells her to bring herself back online. He opens with a question about whether or not anyone has run a diagnostic on her. She says no. She’s been “cleaned and serviced” (ugh) three times but no diagnostic. Bernard then asks if she has told anyone about their conversations.

You told me not to.

“Good.” He says.

I always note that she doesn’t say ‘no.’ Just that he told her not to …

Now we enter Bernard’s backstory of a lost son. It’s probably just a coincidence that in an episode where Teddy’s non-backstory backstory was filled in, we magically have a backstory to explain Bernard’s generally morose affectation. No matter.

Bernard presents Dolores with a book, and there’s some chatter about change, and then Dolores asks about the whereabouts of Bernard’s son. He asks her to enter analysis mode and explain why she asked about his son.

We’ve been talking for some duration and I haven’t asked you a personal question. Personal questions are an ingratiating scheme.

An ingratiating scheme.

Bernard smiles, a bit disappointed. It sounded so real. Maybe the subject matter made it feel more real to him than it should have felt. But it was just programming. A machine defaulting to its standard lines of code, and nothing more.

Dolores continues to read from the book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and it talks more about change, and if you’re not the person you were before then it begs the question: who in the world am I? Shades the Paradox of Theseus’ Ship here.

We smash to black there, and time cut out into Delores in bed in the morning. An interesting editing choice, and one that I don’t remember seeing before on this show. The black-to-same-character time cut.

Abernathy Ranch

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We’re back at Dolores’ house. New Abernathy, (now played by the Host that started the season as the Bartender in the Mariposa Saloon), looks right as rain as he tends to the herd.

Kind of amazing and Trinity-learning-to-fly-a-helicopter-ish that they can just upload entire skill sets to these bots, or in the case of New Abernathy, give one Host’s entire life to someone else. With the push of a button. Kind of cool in one way and kind of icky in another.

While Pa tends the herd — the herd, incidentally that he’d ‘never let roam so late’ which is then magically re-penned the very next Groundhog Day — Dolores is going through her daily routine of putting clothes away when she finds a revolver in a drawer.

She stares at it, confused, and then tucks it away. Looking up, she catches herself in the mirror and it triggers her memory sickness, where a voice says:

Do you remember?

Then we see her dragged into the barn by The Man in Black and thrown into the hay pile. “Why don’t we re-acquaint ourselves, Dolores?” He asks, unsheathing his fearsome Bowie knife. “Start at the beginning.”

Then WHOOOOSH

She’s back in the room, looking at herself in the mirror.

Boy, I would have preferred that her memory was actually shot from her perspective, but it is what it is.

Dolores is clearly and noticeably shaken, and she yanks open the drawer only to see that the gun is gone. Kicking back into the comfort of her programmed subroutines, she places folded clothing in the drawer and heads off.

Where did the gun go? Well, there are lots of ways to look at it, but in general, I’m guessing that Dolores is memory surfing several different iterations of her memory at once, and either learning how to access them differently or popping between them as a defense mechanism.

It’s a very competent spot of acting from Evan Rachel Wood, to turn on a dime like that, so we can see the machine take over. But still, for some reason, I feel like I should be more invested in Dolores and I’m not quite there for some reason. I’m more interested in where McPoyle is.

Sweetwater

It doesn’t take long to find out. William is bumming around Sweetwater as Logan is sexing up the bots. There’s a designed narrative where a bad guy escapes and William has to kill him to protect an innocent woman — Clementine from Mariposa — and he does it.

That’s what you get for borrowing your hairstyle from the band Hanson, I suppose.

So Logan comes walking up, literally zipping his fly again, (a bit of an anachronism as the zipper wasn’t invented until 1893 and wasn’t widely used until just before World War I, so…) and when he sees that William has ‘popped his cherry,’ he cheers William on.

William is fired up, and he’s more than a little bothered that Clementine was actually terrified.

That’s why they exist, man! So you get to feel…this.

It’s a sobering realization. That’s why they exist. If they truly ‘exist’ at all.

Despite the fact that Logan wants him to do something spank bank related to celebrate, and he suggests that William will eventually thank him for it, especially “after you’ve been married to my sister for a year,” William has other plans.

(So….William has either just married her or is about to. Okay.)

Despite Logan’s protests, though, the incident done made William go pluuuuuuuum bounty-crazy! As William reaches out to claim the nearest bounty, Logan has another great line:

I’m waiting for the good stuff. This bounty is….JV shit.

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I roared laughing at that. So two weeks and two anachronistic references, but it was funny and Ben Barnes killed it in this episode as Logan and his character was much closer to the “experienced gamer bored with n00b shit” that a lot of you were suggesting in the comments last week. I have to be careful or I’ll accidentally end up on #TEAMLOGAN.

This, by the way, marks the first time William has taken any real initiative on the show.

Control Room

After Logan rolls his eyes and follows his level one buddy to pick up twelve sacks of grain, twelve wooden saucers and kill twelve womp rats, we’re in back on the nearly lightless Lido deck of this amusement park and Captain Steubing is getting chewed out. The board is worried, says the formidable woman in charge of QA.

Yawn. Who gives a shit? Tell them to go stick their dicks in a fire hose. We don’t know them. We don’t believe they actually matter at all except to people like Sidse and Lee Sizemore. A.K.A. characters we have no vested interest in whatsoever.

Certainly Ford has outthought them and done whatever he damn well pleases for an eternity. He just allowed god knows how much money to be wasted on Red River Odyssey™ just so he could set up his storyline in peace and without corporate oversight. So NO ONE CARES ABOUT THIS MAGICAL “BOARD”, LADY. Don’t come up in this humpy bumpy and tell me jack shit about ‘the board’ again, Sidse, or you’ll be on a slow boat back to Denmark faster than that Westworld entry room changed from bar to locomotive.

Also, I love you so much, Jeffrey Wright, but don’t try to smile. It just diminishes us both.

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The only important information in this scene is that Bernard’s team is still pulling droids for analysis.

Control Room: Narrative

So we hop over to where Elsie is screening Rebus, played by Steven Ogg. Let’s just put a halt to all of this to stake a moment to appreciate Steven Ogg’s fucking kick ass body. Yes, he’s playing a disgusting pig of a rapist on this show, and doing it with verve, (like he played Trevor in Grand Theft Auto V) but will you look at those goddamn collarbones, people? Do you know how many motherfucking lateral pulldowns or shoulder rolls with dumbbells or dips or whatever it takes to get delts like that? And how everything is nice and proportionate? The arms aren’t overlarge, the pecs are so symmetrical that even Wes Anderson couldn’t say boo about them. And that light dusting of animal fur over everything? Like it was painted on by Alejandro González Iñárritu while he was still on a testosterone high from The Revenant. I mean come on! Who designed this bot? David Hasselhoff?

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Fucking Bra-vo, Steven Ogg! I’m already enjoying what you’re doing on the show acting-wise, but holy hell, I admire the shit out of what you’ve built in the gym. Unless you’re one of those Bo Jackson people who was just born with an amazing body and never lifted a weight in his life, in which case I think I speak for everyone when I say that you can eat a bag of dicks, Steven Ogg.

So Elsie is in CSI:WW mode, trying to figure out what the hell is going on with these bots and she shows Bernard some damning footage of Walter walking around talking to an unseen person he calls ‘Arnold.’ Bernard has an answer pre-packaged for her. I hate that. Ford does it too, like everyone around them is too dumb to know they’re bullshitting because they sound intelligent.

But Elsie is no dummy. She rubs some viewers the wrong way, but I’m guessing it’s because as a civilization we’re still so mired in archaic values systems that a whip-smart, non-blonde who doesn’t dress to be noticed by men and is amazing at her job might just be the most terrifying thing about this show for a lot of people.

Before it can come to a head, one of the livestock - whew, that’s tough to write - goes wandering off and it’s part of Elsie’s job to go a-roundin’ up them strays!

Look at the hairy eyeball she gives ol’ Bernie when he tells her to “do something that’s actually in her job description.”

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OH I’M SORRY I’M NOT JUST AUTOMATICALLY FEELIN’ THE BERN HERE WHEN YOU LIE TO MY FACE, FELLAH! YOU THINK I’M A FUCKING IDIOT? YOU THINK THIS DROID RANDOMLY EXECUTING ONLY THE OTHER DROIDS WHO HAVE KILLED HIM IN PAST NARRATIVES IS A FLUKE? YOU THINK I GOT MY MASTERS OF BOTBUILDING AT TRUMP U? GET FUCKED BERNIE. YOU HEAR ME? YOU CAN GET FUCKED!

Brolevator

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Elsie heads to the Brolevator where Head Bro in Charge Ashley Stubbs can’t wait to do a line of coke and shotgun a Budweiser and brain some fools. The producer in me sees this thing and wants to cry over how much it probably cost to retrofit this lift and set dress it and especially all the wet downs of all that concrete in the back between takes just for a four second establishing scene. Ugh.

We’re supposed to see some spark of playful snipping between these two but unfortunately the only way there could be less chemistry in this elevator is if you put James Lipton in the middle of them, smiling and giggling. At least that would be funny. This scene was roughhhhhhh.

But the notable takeaway: the only thing stopping Hosts from going buck wild with their robot strength and eating old people’s meds for fuel is one line of code. That’s it.

One line of code.

Sweetwater

We arrive as Teddy is leading a Newcomer toward a showdown with a dickless wonder. Is that true? Yes, this man has no dick. Teddy insults him, he draws, Teddy smokes his two lackeys and then the Newcomer woman ends ol’ Samuel.

So, yeah, um…point of order…can we um HAVE MORE OF THIS LADY? The character name is ‘Marti’ and her name is Bojana Novakovic, (pronounced Boy-ah-na). No! Don’t you dare just read that name. Say it. SAY IT AND FEEL THE POWER. Her name is Bojana Novakovic. She was born in Serbia and moved to Australia when she was seven. She runs her own theater company. She hangs out in Nepal. And her name is Bojana Novakovic. That’s not a name, people! That’s a song! Anyway, all she did was kick ass this whole episode, even when she nopes the fuck out of dodge later.

So Marti and Teddy head to The Mariposa Saloon to cel-e-brate and we finally see Clementine’s “not much of a rind on you” line actually work. Such a gross line! Rind. Phlegh! But she’ll give Marti a discount and Marti’s like OH HELL YES. That’s absolutely my favorite sex-related thing on the show so far. Marti was just so healthy and fun about it. Loved that.

Teddy offers Maeve some money to thank her for allowing him to handcuff the corpse of a wanted outlaw to the porch of her establishment, and when she sees him, Maeve kicks into a brief memory of seeing him dead in the body shop.

Weird, because I kind of thought the pattern was that reflections triggered memories.

Teddy then notices Dolores through the window and we’re back on his can-picking, chivalrous loop. Here’s Dolores’ full loop, for those that are interested.

Open Range

Which takes us out to the open range where we remember that Judas Steer conversation. And we remember Dolores saying that Teddy dressed like a cowboy but that’s about it, even though we’ve seen him defined as a deadeye shot and a gunslinger since then. Hmmm. But that’s not the chatter here. This time we’re establishing that Dolores has a drive to leave and Teddy keeps her at bay, promising that they’ll run off ‘someday.’

They play at that word for a bit, and I’m guessing Dolores will eventually use it in a sick burn at the end of season two.

Teddy then shuts the conversation down when he sighs that he has to get her back home before her dad starts loading his shotgun.

James Marsden has been note perfect on this show from the second we first saw him, but I’m still having trouble connecting to either of these players. Maybe because you know they’re on a loop so it feels like there’s nothing to grab on to? I don’t know. At least with a show like Lost the goal that everyone had in common was survival and to get off the island. What is it here? This is a fiction inside of a fiction. 98% of the players aren’t real and the ones who are paid to be there. I don’t know. I’m still super into-it, but I’m having a difficult time latching onto a storyline that I can believe in.

Abernathy Ranch

Anyway, we land at the ranch where we’re back in the bandit-cum-milk loop. Cows are a-roamin. Daddy Abernathy apparently hasn’t loaded his shotgun fast enough. “Stay put, Dolores!” Teddy says as he rides to his destiny. Shots fired. A woman screams. We cut to black.

We know what happens from there, one way or another.

The Dippery

We establish more procedure: this time needle-weaving an iris. Which was fucking amazing to watch, by the way.

The we move to see what Ford is doing there: talking Teddy through his core drives.

Ford asks him what he aspires to.

There’s a girl — Dolores. Better than I deserve. But maybe, someday soon, we’ll have the life we’ve both been dreaming of.

“No.” Says Ford. “You never will.”

OOF.

He says that Teddy’s job isn’t to protect her, it’s to keep Dolores here. And also in the event that a newcomer wants to take down the stalwart gunslinger and ‘have their way with his girl.’

Man, Ford doesn’t pull any punches. Good lord.

Then Ford explains the reason he dropped by…because of Teddy’s backstory, which was a “formless guilt you will never atone for.” What a great line.

A formless guilt you will never atone for.

Something tells me entire religions and governments and relationships and suicide pacts have been built on that simple but powerful concept. Whew.

But Ford is ready to give it a form. Whoosh, he uploads a backstory to Teddy and in one second, Teddy has it down cold. The feelings, the wavering in his voice, the anger. It’s all based around an old soldier buddy of Teddy’s who turned into a butcher and cult leader and a demon. Also, Teddy gets a surname: Flood.

As a writer, watching Ford watch Teddy instantly accept, imprint and begin to flawlessly act through his story? That was one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen. Maybe it was the power of playing god or the hyper-competence and near omniscience it would take to seamlessly weave these narratives, or maybe just the veteran glow Ford had as Teddy started speaking. But it was awesome. Accent on awe. What a power to bring story to life like that. Instantaneously. To make the history of a fiction you create come into existence before your eyes. It was cool to watch. And you don’t have to coach your actors. They’re already programmed. Because to them it isn’t a story. It’s what really happened.

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Ford listens as Teddy relates the story of Wyatt, a story that he believes is his with every fiber of his being. Teddy recites the lore: Wyatt “claimed he could hear the voice of god.” Wyatt was a sergeant who went missing and came back a few weeks later with “some strange ideas.”

Sweetwater

Dolores is strolling on her loop when she’s stopped by Steven Ogg’s Rebus and a couple of his goons, leading a creepy blonde Newcomer dude through a scenario. They block Dolores’ path and suggest a roll in the hay when Teddy walks up out of nowhere. He’s ready to draw with the creepy Newcomer who goes all chickenshit and faced with the confidence of an about-to-draw Teddy, says to Rebus “I told you I wanted somethin’ easy.”

Rebus and his crew turn tail and go. For now.

Teddy walks up to Dolores and they share a knowing look: holy shit. What if I hadn’t been here?

Shootin’ Range

Teddy takes Dolores out to show her how to shoot a gun, but when he puts it in her hand, she literally cannot pull the trigger.

She can’t.

Teddy makes a comment about how some hands aren’t meant to pull a trigger, but we know it’s about weapon privileges being granted from on high. Dolores doesn’t have them. She cannot just will herself to supersede her programming.

Just then, Marti — who we love and who kicks every kind of ass and is fully invested in this story line the way we would be if we played Westworld — and the sheriff ride up to enlist Teddy.

They found Wyatt.

And Teddy bein’ the only man to ever live to tell of fighting Wyatt and coming out alive? Well, he’s surely itchin’ for a little payback.

Teddy pulls Dolores aside and we get one of the lines that has really stayed with me more than any other from this week’s episode:

You know if I could stay right here with you I would.

I think a lot about how the world has changed since I was a kid and this is something I often come back to: a sense of duty or higher purpose. It’s all but vanished from the world. In today’s society, we so frequently do what we want to do rather than what we should do that seeing someone sacrifice for a higher purpose is noble and rare. It’s why Pat Tillman was such a modern day hero. It’s why it’s nearly impossible to dislike Teddy. He has a code. He has a sense of honor.

He promises her he’ll come back…someday soon.

And he touches her face. I’ve never seen a show where more people touch other people’s faces. This show is face-touchin’ keeeee-razy.

Logging Camp

Bro Stubbs and Elsie roll up on a camp where all the bots are stuck in a loop. The woodcutter is the stray and has walked off. So the rest of them are sitting around complaining and waiting for a fire to be made with wood that hasn’t been cut.

We get a quick lecture on how weapon privileges need to be doled out with scarcity and a little exposition about backstory when we find the woodcutter’s carved figurines. Bro Stubbs says they look like shit, but they looked pretty damn good to me. Elsie notices they have constellations carved into them. She pockets a turtle and leaves.

Trail to Wyatt’s Stronghold

We’re riding, with Teddy in front. The Sheriff says the way he heard it Wyatt forces his men to wear the bones and flesh of his enemies.

Teddy says they’re just masks. That Wyatt’s men are terrified of him. That they think they’re already in hell. That they’ll kill anyone and do anything Wyatt tells them.

He says that Wyatt said the land doesn’t belong to the old natives or the new settlers. That it belonged to something that had yet to come.

I think we may revisit this speech before long.

That’s when they roll up on the tree where Wyatt’s men have lashed a bunch of fresh corpses for the flies to have at them. Marti goes up to look at one of them, festering and covered with flies, and BURGHHUGH he coughs. He’s alive!

Holy hell!

We hear the roar of a devil or a T Rex or the sound of ultimate suffering from The Princess Bride. Hard to say what it is or where it’s coming from. But the scene is instantly filled with sound of gunshots as Wyatt’s men rain lead down upon them from their strategically superior position in the hills.

A few of the Sheriff’s posse are cleaned out right away. One Newcomer laments aloud that he didn’t opt for “the riverboat thing.”

Deputies are getting felled like five year saplings as everyone scrambles for cover.

Teddy knows they’re cooked. He sends one of the deputies back to town to scramble some backup. Riverboat guest goes with him. They offer for Marti to go and she’s like fuck that! “I’m not backin’ out now!”

LOVE HER.

Teddy lays down some covering fire as the deputy and the Riverboat guest scoot away. As the pace of the gunfight picks up, we——

Cut away.

Awwwww!

Stray Hunt

Goddamnit! We’re back with Bro Stubbs and Elsie. They’re using a manipulative hologram (which is pretty fucking amazing) to hone in on the Stray.

He’s vectoring, according to Bro Stubbs.

They follow. Bro Stubbs and Elsie have more flirty talk which feels as hot as an ice pack and where he tells her that the constellation on the turtle is Orion.

What are you, Galli-fuckin-leo? Elsie asks.

I know that this is a cute little writing trick. Abso-fuckin-lutely. But I didn’t like it. I’m sure I’m in the minority.

As they trudge off, we’re back in the Control Room, where Ford is deeply studying a bot.

Control Room

Bernard interrupts him and Ford excuses himself for being so deep in thought. They make sure Ford snaps to and looks very surprised. Hmmm. He says he was “chasing inspiration.”

Let’s make sure we get a look at the bot he was using to do that. Something tells me he’s going to matter at some point.

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Bernard asks to speak to him and now we begin possibly the most important scene of Westworld to date. We get to see where the wizard lives.

Before we get there, though, Ford notices that one of his techs is working on a covered-up host.

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Ford scolds him. He pulls off the drape and takes a scalpel and CUTS THE FACE OF THE HOST.

It doesn’t GET cold. It doesn’t FEEL ASHAMED. It doesn’t feel a solitary thing we haven’t told it to. Understand?

Whooooooweeeeee! Ford is no joke.

Ford’s Office

So now we get to see Ford’s lair. I feel like this was SO full of clues that I nearly OD’d. I feel like it will all matter at some point. Someday. Wink wink.

So the opening shot is a mockup of heads. Faces I’m guessing we’ll come to know as the show goes forward.

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Then we see a bunch of figurines.

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Then as the light kicks on, a Bot piano player automatically starts to play. “Reverie,” by Debussy, for what it’s worth.

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The lights flicker on and we see Ford and Bernard enter his office. Ford is a little irritated. He thought they had agreed to put these concerns, specifically the glitches in the Hosts, to rest. He’s already given Bernard a bullshit explanation like the one Bernard gave Elsie! Why isn’t that enough?

As they enter, they walk by either a bust of John Waters or Sander Cohen from the Bioshock series. I read somewhere that Bioshock was a huge inspiration for the show creators and it got me so excited. Because I absolutely loved loved loved that series, especially the first few minutes of gameplay. (If you haven’t seen it, here it is.)

I remember being just blown away by the scope and imagination of the world they had come up with. It was huge and gorgeous and powerful and it struck a chord inside of me like few games have. So I’m leaning toward Sander Cohen, bad guy from that series, as the bust.

Bernard says that he thinks they’ve treated the symptom instead of the disease. He gives examples of why. Ford again tries to wave it off. Bernard persists. They were all talking to the same person he says. Someone named Arnold.

“With due respect, sir, I’m not sure you’ve told me the entire truth about this situation.”

Here’s the “are you calling me a fucking liar?” look from Sir Anthony.

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That’s when we get one of the most important speeches to date. Ford says he has told Bernard the truth, and then he says that what they do is complicated and he reveals that in the beginning, he had a partner.

A man named Arnold.

Now we get a FASCINATING flashback of the first three years. We see how it all began. We can see the clothes the techs wore and how the Hosts were developed. We get to see a young CGI Ford.

All the while we get a memberberries voice-over from Ford about how those days were all “pure creation.”

The hosts began passing the Turing test after the first year.

But that wasn’t enough for Arnold. And now we see some key hosts that we’ve met before.

Notably: Armistice.

Who’s Armistice, other than the character with the fucking coolest name on the show? Well, remember in episode one when Hector Escaton comes into Sweetwater to gank the safe from The Mariposa? Remember the cool blonde badass with the face tat who just started fucking unloading and killing everyone on main street? That’s Armistice.

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But in the flashback, she’s in a gown, learning to dance, and later she’s all scratched up.

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And remember Angela, the guide bot who offered herself to William in the bespoke dressing area? Here she is with a parasol.

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Ford says that Arnold wasn’t satisfied with the mere appearance of real beings. He wanted the real thing. He wanted to create consciousness.

Ford illustrates how Arnold intended to do this. Using the theory of the bicameral mind. Memory on the bottom, then improvisation and then self-interest. But the top of the pyramid? Ford leaves it blank. He just taps it and says Arnold never got there. We have a sense that Ford knows what should go there, but is withholding it from Bernard, the way he seems to withhold anything he can from Bernard and everyone else until he’s pushed.

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Arnold never got there.

Bernard says “the idea that primitive man believed his thoughts to be the voice of the gods.” Interesting that just a few scenes ago we heard that Wyatt claimed he heard “the voice of god.”

Hmmmm.

Ford talks about how Arnold tried to use this method to bootstrap consciousness.

But, Ford says, Arnold hadn’t considered two things:

1) That in this place the last thing you want is for the Host to be is conscious.
2) The other group, who considered their voices to be the voices of the gods.

This would seem to comprise Ford’s position on the situation back then. Whether he felt that then or has just arrived at these conclusions now, we don’t know. But he makes this list with absolute certainty.

Bernard labels the “other group” lunatics. The ones who consider that they hear the voice of god. Ford agrees.

So they abandoned the program. (This is when we see Armistice all scratched up.)

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The only vestiges of that program that remain are the voice commands they used to control them, says Ford.

Then, he says that he doesn’t think that Arnold, despite his brilliance, understood what this place would be.

Bernard asks what happened to Arnold, and Ford says that Arnold withdrew and refused to talk to anyone but the Hosts. And then he died in the park. The “search for consciousness consumed him entirely.”As he stares at his bot piano player, (making us think that it’s possibly a replica of Arnold?) Ford says that Arnold saw something in the Hosts. Something that wasn’t there.

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Ford says that they called Arnold’s death an ‘accident,’ but Ford doesn’t buy it. He knew Arnold and he was very, very careful.

There is almost certainly more to the story that Ford isn’t sharing, but he’s shared enough for one day. He brushes the rest off, and says casually that the new update will take care of any anomalies. And he opens the door for Bernard, because in no uncertain terms, it’s time for Bernard to go. He’s abided being called a liar, and he’s pulled back the curtain enough to appease the head of Narrative.

But as Bernard heads out, Ford makes sure he gets one good zing in.

He reminds Bernard, like he did with the tech in the previous scene by cutting the face of the bot, that the Hosts aren’t real. He knows Bernard’s loss of his son weighs heavily on him, but he “mustn’t make Arnold’s mistake.”

Hmmmm.

So Ford knows, then? He must know about Bernard’s meetings with Dolores. How else would he know about Charlie?

Comm Room

We’re pre-lap on Bernard’s voice as he apologizes to his wife via…what? Sat link? Future Skype? Where is she? And where is he? Why a comm room instead of everyone just having a personal phone? Hard to figure out the why’s of this.

The pleasant surprise is that his wife is Gina Torres, and if you’re a Firefly fan (everyone should be), then you’re thrilled to see Zoe Washburne. Man, if any member of that cast beside Mal belongs in WW it’s Zoe.

zoewasburn87468648ww.jpg

They spend most of their time, almost all of it, talking about the child they lost. Bernard says that some mornings, he forgets “where” he is and “when” he is. Maybe that’s a clue. Maybe it’s a feint. I’m not sure.

She asks him if he ever wishes if he could forget, and he says that “this pain is all I have left of him.”

So, when given the choice. This conscious being chooses NOT TO FORGET.

Stray Hunt

And we’re back to Bro and Elsie. Like a teenage couple forced to dance with each other at a wedding. There is still less than zero there chemistry-wise. I’ve eaten cheese with a more genuine connection than these two have.

Elsie goes “vectoring” to take a bathroom break, and she finds the Stray, stuck in what…a deep ravine? A crack from an earthquake? His fingers are bleeding and he’s messed up. She calls Bro Stubbs over. And as the music kicks in, we cut to:

Wyatt’s Camp Area

So Teddy and Marti and the Sheriff are in the dark now. Presumably, they “got away” from the barrage of gunfire from the hills. But are they continuing their mission? The Sheriff did take an oath, after all. Or are they trying to just get a better position to regroup?.

We never find out.

Teddy says that Wyatt’s men could be anywhere. “If you see anything shoot and don’t stop shooting.”

They proceed cautiously, until Teddy gets to a place where he has a bad feeling. He slows it all down and scans the area, and waves Marti over. And then Marti trips and makes a bunch of noise. Oh Marti! You!

We hear the sound of eternal suffering again, and now the horror of Wyatt’s recruits takes shape. They just sort of appear out of the darkness, stabbing the sheriff in the gut. He drops his lantern to reveal that they’re cloaked in black, faces covered, and more jump out with blades to hack the sheriff to pieces as his lantern oil alights the ground around them.

Marti freaks.

OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!

Teddy pulls her to go but they’re surrounded.

THEY BOTH OPEN FIRE LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. But the bullets, like Teddy said, don’t even slow Wyatt’s men.

They’re coming. Cruel figures in black, honing in on their prey.

Teddy gives Marti his knife and says “Take this and go. I’ll hold them off as long as I can.”

Now, why the knife? Did Teddy realize that she was in actual trouble because Wyatt’s men were attacking with blades? Did a bot protective measure kick in where he realize that the enemy was unaffected by bullets and that the Guest was in actual danger? No idea.

Marti grabs the knife and runs off in true terror.

Teddy is surrounded. He waits until they’re close and fires so fast you can barely see it. It’s amazing.

But it does NOTHING. The bullets have no effect on Wyatt’s men. They close in and start to bludgeon Teddy. I listened for the sound of blades, but I didn’t hear any.

Stray Hunt

Now Bro Stubbs is showing off for his little lady. Elsie complains that she could have a retrieval team come get the bot, but Stubbs cites “policy.” All he needs is the head for analysis anyway.

Elsie leaves a message for Bernard, who is not by his future iPad. Where is Bernard, anyway? Why would he leave his future iPad?

Secret Meeting Room

Bernard is meeting with Dolores.

He’s having doubts. He thinks maybe he should put her back the way she was. She starts with a scripted response, and he turns that off. Lose the scripts. Improvisation only.

He asks her to imagine two versions of herself, but she says she can’t because she’s only one version.

He asks her to analyze where that response came from and she says “I don’t know.”

This is what Bernard was looking for. Not an ingratiating scheme. Something real.

“Have I made a mistake?” Dolores asks.

Then Bernard quotes Ford’s line about mistakes, and how it’s the ultimate tool. She asks if he’s going to put her back the way she was and he says no. He likens it to an example of him teaching his child to swim, and how, at some point, you have to let go of them and just let them swim.

He asks if she’ll tell anyone about their conversations.

She says “no.”

He asks if she’ll stay on her loop.

She says “yes’ with a facial expression that makes it feel like a lie.

Good, Bernard says. You should be getting back, before someone misses you. He never tells her to switch out of improvisation mode.

Sweetwater

Back in town, Dolores runs into the deputy who came back from Wyatt’s. There’s no sign of Teddy. When Dolores asks the deputy, he says that if they’re lucky, those men are “dead already.”

Something tells me Teddy wasn’t so lucky. We didn’t see him die. We didn’t hear him die.

Oh, man. Poor Teddy.

Abernathy Ranch

Dolores stays on her loop, like she promised. When she gets home she sees the cattle. “Daddy wouldn’t let them roam-” she begins her canned response and then stops and catches herself. Interesting.

Reaching the house, she screams as sees that her dad has been gunned down.

Rebus appears with spiteful relish and grabs her. Who’s gonna protect you now? He hisses with malicious glee.

Then he offers her, like property, to one of the guests, who declines because “she seems a little crazy.”

Yeah, seeing your father killed will do that to a person, you asshole.

Dolores looks down at her dad. Two images flash. Her first dad, the Louis Herthum dad, and the new bartender dad. She stops screaming momentarily, trying to process it. The guest offers her to Rebus as a reward. He drags her, screaming, into the barn as the others look on.

Goddamn, shows like this are tough to watch sometimes. Deep breath…deep breath…

Rebus tosses her into the hay and stands there, admiring his handiwork. That’s when Dolores pulls a revolver from the hay.

Rebus is still standing over her, mocking her, when she switches to another memory, and now it’s the Man in Black standing where Rebus was.

“Why don’t we reacquaint ourselves, Dolores.” He says. “Start at the beginning.”

He starts to move toward Dolores and a voice inside her head…the one we’ve heard before…perhaps the voice of god, says:

KILL HIM.

And just like that: Dolores, pushed to her very limit, grants herself weapon privileges.

BOOM! BOOM!

She pulls the trigger twice, and shoots Rebus through the neck.

Running out she hears her mother screaming.

“Mama?” She calls.

But before she can do anything, another bandit appears around the corner of the house and says, “Hey! Get back here!”

He pulls his gun and SHOOTS DOLORES IN THE ABDOMEN.

She pulls her hand away, to see blood pooling there. She’s a goner.

And then FOOOOOOM we’re back a just a couple of seconds, like Justin Long just tapped the Omega 13 device from Galaxy Quest somewhere, and the same bandit reappears.

“Hey! Get back here!”

But now Dolores knows what’s going to happen. She GETS THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. Before you can say Hi Ho Silver, she’s gone, into the night, the bandit firing off shots after her.

But none of them land. The darkness engulfs her.

Dolores gets away.

Stray Hunt Ravine

Bro Stubbs rappels down by the Stray and pulls out a blade. Something too reminiscent of the blades of terrorists who have beheaded people in the middle east for my liking. Serrated. Man. Bad mojo.

So you had this sense that something bad was about to happen. Elsie switches the Host into sleep mode and Bro Stubbs starts to saw his head off at the neck. Blood pours out.

Then the Stray opens his eyes.

Elsie yells a warning but it’s too late. The Stray knocks Stubbs down and starts pulling himself up Stubbs’ rope. Elsie is hammering buttons on her pad. Stubbs is yelling for her to get out of there. I don’t know why she doesn’t yell “a deep and dreamless slumber” but she doesn’t.

She’s toast.

Elsie falls and the Stray stands over her, a boulder above his head. Crushing her would be child’s play.

And then, either a failsafe protection for humans kicks in or a modern cyanide pill. Maybe he just doesn’t want them to get any information. He drops the boulder on his own head, several times, protecting Elsie and/or eliminating evidence. We just don’t know which.

The Stray falls, dead or unconscious, to the ground as JV Matt Damon climbs to the top of the ravine just in time to be spattered with bot blood.

Campfire

Logan is BORED AS FUCK as he wastes time away from the action of town, chasing a low-level bounty with William. They’re just sitting around talking when they hear something in the darkness.

“Thank fuck!” Says Logan. “Anything to relieve the boredom.”

Then Dolores stumbles out of the darkness and into William’s arms.

therealstray.png

And with that, a new day will dawn on Westworld.

One where Dolores, the real stray of this episode, is well and clearly off her loop.

Whoooooooweeeee! Lots to process. Let’s figure it all out in the comments. Thanks again to all of you self-hating souls that made it all the way through. I hope it added some fresh ideas to your personal yarn wall.

Until next week!


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