**One Watch. Everyone knows the rules.** After the first paragraph expect SPOILERS. These are my thoughts and takeaways after one watch of WESTWORLD season one, episode nine.
"Freeze all motor functions." The penultimate episode of Westworld season one did not disappoint. I'm sure not everyone will agree with me. I'm sure there's plenty of people scratching their heads after Dolores' quest for the 'town swallowed by sand'.
Live look at fans after episode nine......
I'm sure there's plenty for people to complain about in a show as dense and constantly detailed as Westworld. However, I couldn't have been more pleased with the plot development and all the twists and turns of episode nine 'The Well-Tempered Clavier'. The episode answered some very important and long awaited questions. It also gave even MORE clues to another popular theory. As usual, the acting is sensational and the convergence of old western and modern worlds is very fun to watch. I'm going to make this much more explanatory. One episode to go. Can't hold anything back.
Let's dive down the rabbit hole! "MOST EVERYONE'S MAD HERE!!"
Lightning Fast Recap
- Bernard sees that Maeve's code is totally changed thanks to Felix and Sylvester, the lab techs. He doesn't know who changed the code but it ain't good.
- Meave tells Bernard he's a Host so he gets upset about it and questions Dr. Ford. "That's quite enough Bernard."
- Maeve shows Hector (the outlaw or Karl from Love Actually) that the safe he's always trying to break into is empty. He never knew that because his story is designed to end before they get into the safe. And it always works the way it's designed. They make sweet passionate love in a burning tent.
- Head of Westworld security, Ashley Stubbs (Short Thor, Luke Hemsworth) responds to a signal from Elsie's device in the park and gets knocked out by some Ghost Nation Hosts that aren't responding to commands. "Freeze all motor functions."
- Logan (William's future brother in-law, resident 80's movie bad guy) has William (Jimmi Simpson, Liam McPoyle) and Dolores (Rachel Evan Wood, the girl from Thirteen, the original Westworld Host) tied up in a camp with Confederate soldiers. But, Dolores escapes after a few MAJOR clues to the all but confirmed (tri?) dual timeline theory.
- William goes black hat and cuts up a bunch of hosts and tells Logan he will help him find Dolores.
- Angela (Elon Musk's double ex-wife and another one of the old Hosts) kills Teddy because he's not ready to join Wyatt yet. But first Teddy has a serious flashback.
- Angela tells the Man in Black that the Maze isn't for him. But, not before he figures out where to go. "Town swallowed by sand."
- Dolores wanders to the Town with the White Church and has a major revelation (more later). There we see the Man in Black and Dolores reunited for the first time since episode one or two.
Time for some explanations and revelations......
The Man in Black is a Board Member
Something I've always loved about this show is the blend of old western and modern or futuristic imagery. We get that again here when Charlotte Hale, Board Director of Delos (Or something like that) struts up to the MIB in her black heels and LBD as he's freeing himself from the noose. Even recommends he take up golf as a more leisurely activity. She needs the MIB's vote on the board to push Dr. Ford out as the head of Westworld and MIB is happy to oblige. We always knew the MIB was powerful, wealthy, and influential. But, we didn't know if he had a direct professional connection to the Park until now. In my opinion, the best part about this reveal is that Charlotte confirms the MIB saved Ford's Park years ago. This could mean he financially kept it afloat or that he literally saved the Park from disaster. AKA Dolores going all Inglorious Bastards on everyone.
Maeve and Hector are Heading Back to 'Hell'
Again we see how controlling and conniving Maeve has become. She's says a few times in this episode she doesn't want to simply control the Hosts and make them help her. She wants them to do it because they're truly on her side. Her and Hector look like they're about to stage their own rebellion back in the lab. It seems like the plan here was for Maeve to make Hector realize the reality of his situation. Give him sentience (I'm going to use that word a bunch). When they're dead/back in the lab for repair that's when the real work starts, according to Maeve. Still not sure if she is just trying to get herself out of Westworld or wants to free all of the hosts. Either way, she seems to be playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. Only Dr. Ford has shown this level of control and manipulation thus far. Interesting to see what happens when they go head to head. Maybe there's a back door to the Host code....hmmmm?
William Goes Black Hat
William sees that Dolores is different somehow. He recognizes her humanity or sentience, but Logan isn't on board with that point of view. He just thinks she's broken. To remind William of the reality of his situation and the reality of...ummm..reality, he cuts open Dolores to reveal the gears and mechanics underneath her skin. He reminds William that he's engaged to his sister; a point that Logan didn't seem to care much about till now. After Dolores escapes the camp William reconciles with Logan. They hug it out and drink some whiskey. However, when Logan wakes up we see that William got real stabby during the night and cut up every Host at the camp. There's Host body parts all over the place and it looks like Wolverine, Cyclops and the gang took out a bunch of sentinels. The knife he used looks a lot like the giant knife MIB has been carrying around, no? William's killing spree works to ever so subtly convince Logan that he should probably help him find Dolores. A guy that was uncomfortable with any type of violence toward Hosts when he got to the park is now totally okay with butchering an entire camp. The Man in Black is born?? TBD Either way, it seems like William is about one day away from putting someone's liver in the mailbox.
Three things worth pointing out from this sequence: A, the picture of William's fiancé, Juliet, is the SAME picture that Dolores' father, Peter Abernathy, glitches out to in episode one. At some point the picture ends up at Abernathy Ranch. 2, when Logan cuts open Dolores and William dices up a bunch of Hosts we see the internal mechanics of the earlier Host models. The older models we know are now upgraded or swapped out for more human internals. These two things point to the highly probable timeline theory that William and Logan are actually in the Park 30 years in the past; not the present day where we are seeing Bernard, Ford, the MIB, and Maeve. The MIB even explains in an earlier episode how he cut a host open on his first visit to the park and saw all the robotics. And D, William's fiancé's name is Juliet, as in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare has been a central theme throughout the series. "These violent delights have violent ends" is a line from Romeo and Juliet that seems to have a serious impact on the Hosts thus far.
The Arnold/Bernard Reveal
Bernard is Arnold! Arnold is Bernard! Well, not exactly. But Bernard is a Host VERSION of Arnold. He was modeled off of Arnold's appearance and mannerisms. It even seems Bernard was modeled after the Arnold's intellect and his way of thinking. I can't stress enough how fantastic of a creation Bernard is in terms of this series. Meave explains it as "set a thief to catch a thief" but it's so much more than that. Overall, this reveals some very key plot details. We discover that according to her own memories, Dolores killed Arnold. Arnold set the hosts off an a quest for sentience. And it appears this quest was successful. We've now seen sentience in at least three hosts: Dolores, Maeve, and Bernard (possibly Hector). Arnold had a different idea for the Hosts than Ford and it seems that one way or another it killed. Thanks to the Backdoor in the code created by Bernard himself Ford is able to eliminate any threat from Clementine or Bernard. Bernard ends up turning the gun on himself and pulling the trigger. Obviously, this could easily just be a roll back for Bernard. Stitch him up, erase the memory, and get back to work on the new narrative. However, it seems like Ford is calling this the end of his relationship with Bernard. His lines all seem fairly final and absolute on the matter. He says they've had this conversation before, he only hoped Bernard would finally willingly become his partner.
Dr. Ford remains incredibly devious and mysterious. He only wants to tell his stories. He doesn't want sentience or humanity in the Hosts because humans are flawed and filled with mistakes. The Hosts are supposed to be better than that. Biggest takeaway from the Bernard and Dr. Ford scenes is that Anthony Hopkins is still able to be totally terrifying without even raising his voice a little bit.
The Tale of the Three Doloreses
Hopefully this will be the most explanatory portion of our recap. In this episode we see three different Doloreses from THREE different time periods in the park. There is the Dolores of 35 years ago in the blue dress, the Dolores of 30 years ago in the gunslinger getup with her stomach slashed open by Logan, and the Dolores of the Present in the gunslinger getup with no stomach slash. All three timelines see Dolores on a quest for the Maze, or 'home', or the White Church which she has been on multiple times before. It seems the purpose of the quest on all accounts is to find the Maze, which it seems is not truly a physical location but actually the acquiring of Host sentience. And to prove they remember their past and they can recall things that have even been wiped. Dolores of the Present has been living out her journey with William of 30 years prior in almost side by side occurrences. She is flashing back and forth from past to present as she experiences the same things again and again. As the viewers we see this as simple scene cuts, like the one of her running from the camp in the dark and wakening up with nothing on her stomach anymore. No more slashed stomach equals no more 30 years in the past Dolores. We also know this because she gets to the Town with the White Church and it is NOT buried or "swallowed by the sand". The Town with the White Church was the original park that Arnold and Ford lived in while perfecting the hosts. It was then buried after an incident that seems to have caused Arnold's death 35 years ago. It was still buried when William and Dolores got there in their timeline, 30 years ago. It has recently been dug up by Ford for his new narrative in the present and this is why when the Present Dolores with no stomach slash arrives to the church, the town is not under sand. She goes down to the bottom level of the church to speak with Arnold and flashes back to the original time she was there 35 years ago. Again, we realize that she was not speaking with Bernard in all of those clandestine conversations, but actually with ARNOLD! When she comes back to ground level of the church the MIB saunters in and we have borderline confirmation that this is a present timeline. I say borderline because despite about two dozen clues to the matter, we haven't had concrete proof yet of two primary timelines.
Questions and Possible Conclusions
- Is Elsie still alive? Very possible we see her and Stubbs being held together at the same location by the same people. Who took them and why? They were both doing their jobs a little too well.
- The MAZE: I think the host Angela confirmed the Maze is only for Hosts, not humans. But, is it a physical place or more of the mental path to sentience for the hosts. Sick of the word sentience yet?
- Who is Wyatt? It seems more and more like Wyatt is more of an idea than a man/host. Teddy had another brutal flashback to himself blowing people away in the town with the white church. Wyatt could be pretty much anyone, but the safe money os on Teddy or Dolores.
- What is Maeve's plan?
- Why is William such a cry baby?
- Is Charlotte Hale related to Arnold? Bernard's fake son named Charlie is very close to Charlotte.
- True identity of the Man in Black? William? Logan? Neither? It seems like the heavy money is on MIB as William. But, who knows?
- How many more hosts are there that we think are human?
- Is Bernard dead for good or just fake dead?
- What is the new narrative and has it been playing out all season long?
The season one finale is slated for 90 minutes. Not 90 AMC minutes, but 90 HBO minutes (I'm looking at you Walking Dead with your 45 minutes of commercials). That's basically a short movie. I'm predicting and hoping for a solid season wrap up with clarity and power. Can't hold anything back now!
Till next time, "May you rest in a deep and dreamless slumber".