Making Sense of This Week's Episode of 'Westworld'
Last night’s episode gave us a lot of answers, with a heaping dose of timeline fuckery to boot. Even more impressive? The entire thing focused primarily on the experiences of just two characters: Bernard and the Man in Black (Dolores and Maeve were both MIA). But since this is Westworld, focusing on two characters doesn’t mean things are being streamlined in the least. Instead, the biggest reveals of the night were reserved for the people Bernard and the MiB interacted with — which is why I’m going to start today’s recap with…
Elsie update: SHE’S BACK, MOTHERFUCKERS! Clementine drags Bernard to a cave and leaves him there, which presumably means this is happening shortly after the shootout at the fort last episode (which, again, happened shortly after Ford’s death). There he finds Elsie chained up with some supplies, and she’s none too pleased with Bernard for trying to kill her last season (understandable). He sets her free because he needs her help with his whole robot brain meltdown problem, and he manages to convince her that everything he did before was because he was under Ford’s control. And now that Ford’s dead (which was news to Elsie, obvs), he is finally able to be the robot he wants to be. Or rather, that’s what he tells Elsie. As we know, Ford may be dead but he isn’t really gone — he’s still talking to the MiB and has set some sort of new game in motion.
If you thought you were having trouble keeping track of the timelines on this show, then you’ll probably have some sympathy for Bernard. His memories are just data points with no address, drifting out of order through his, I dunno, CPU? Elsie diagnoses the issue as she works on him, which explains why he seems to keep reliving past events and can’t tell whether he’s in the present. But thanks to Bernard’s memories, they realize that the cave is in fact the entrance to — yup, you guessed it — yet ANOTHER hidden secret lab (number 12, according to the door). Inside they find the remains of a massacre, and Bernard begins to remember what the lab was working on: something like building hosts, only with different code. Also, there’s a door that Elsie is intent on opening…
But let’s put a pin in that for now. The Man in Black’s storyline is also disjointed in time this week. In the present, he’s confronting the same soldiers whom Teddy released from the fort last week (including Major Dickbag… er, Craddock). And that’s a fun, explodey affair that mostly builds up to MiB calling himself “Death” and killing everyone. Fun times! And then Lawrence’s daughter does the whole “speaking as Robert Ford” thing and cryptically tells the MiB that he doesn’t understand the game and if he’s looking forward, he’s looking in the wrong direction. Maybe he needs to look back… at his past?
Which, coincidentally, is when the far more interesting MiB storyline is taking place, as a younger William meets with Papa Delos in a fancy apartment. This sequence happens over and over throughout the episode, with Jimmi Simpson getting aged slightly each time… until the final encounter, when it’s Ed Harris that walks through to door to meet Delos. Basically, Papa Delos finally succumbed to his disease, and William has taken over his company while also trying to perfect the technology to download Delos’s consciousness into a host body. Each meeting is an elaborate test conversation, to measure Copy Delos’s responses against a control. And over the many, many years they’ve worked to create a suitable Copy Delos, William’s team has hit the same roadblock: the copies all eventually hit a “cognitive plateau” where their minds start to reject reality and degrade… so the copies are incinerated in their fake apartment/cells and the process starts over from scratch.
(Question: Why light the whole thing on fire? Can the hosts be killed any other way, without ruining the apartment as well? Seems like replacing all those fancy tchotchkes would be costly… but that’s just me.)
After 149 times, Ed Harris/William decides that maybe trying to grant Papa Delos immortality isn’t worth it. At this point Delos’s wife is dead, and his daughter (William’s wife) committed suicide. Also, apparently Logan overdosed (SAD FACE). Other than William’s daughter, Delos has no family waiting for him. Also, Delos is kind of a piece of shit, and the world would probably be better off without either of them. “Some men are better off dead,” as he puts it. And he would know, since he’s DEATH!
And speaking of things coming full circle… remember that door that Elsie was trying to open? It leads to the chamber that housed Copy Delos’s fake apartment. Turns out Lab 12 is where the project to combine human consciousness with host bodies was taking place… and the last copy of Papa Delos isn’t dead. He’s scratching-his-face-with-broken-glass cuckoo crazypants, and still stuck in the chamber. He attacks Elsie, Bernard jumps in to save her, and together they put him out of his misery. It’s a beautifully horrific scene, and it’s capped off by more memories returning to Bernard. He’s the one that killed the technicians, after having a control unit made (but for whose consciousness?). So even though Elsie has made Bernard promise not to lie to her or hurt her ever again, it’s not really clear whether he can live up to his end of the bargain.
But wait! There’s more! The final revelation of the night is reserved for the Man in Black, who encounters a familiar face on his ride west: Grace, the woman who was captured by the Ghost Nation tribe after washing up on shore with that tiger last week. Turns out the tribe is killing hosts but keeping the humans alive. They even have the Lesser Hemsworth in their grasp! And then they let him go free, along with all the other human prisoners. But Grace doesn’t know that, because she escaped too soon, and eventually ran into the Man in Black …
… who is her father. Which explains why she knows so much about these parks! And since she apparently hates her dad, I imagine the MiB’s adventure is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
But not next week, because it looks like the next episode is gonna be all about the sexy/dangerous fun that Maeve is having in Shogun World!
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