Title: Westworld e04 – Dissonance Theory
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: based on a story by Michael Crichton, (created by) Johnathan Nolan, Lisa Joy Nolan, written by Jonathan Nolan, Ed Brubaker
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Simon Quarterman, Louis Herthum, and more
Run Time: 60 minutes
Another chapter in the dark odyssey has ended, once again providing us with a pile of mysteries and a few cryptic clues, leaving us to wonder “What the hell is going on in Westworld?”
If you are a fan of mysteries and the fun of trying to figure out where the story is going next based on a few scanty and cryptic clues, then you are probably loving Westworld, because that’s exactly what you’re getting. Fans of GOT who were expecting more in the way of nudity and sexual romps will be disappointed if that’s why they are watching the show
Westworld has no shortage of mysteries, chief among them the Man in Black. What exactly is his role in all of this, besides the obvious of playing satan’s advocate, his statements and deeds seem to only serve his whims and dark self indulgences, but I’m pretty sure there’s more to him than that.
Chief among the questions surrounding this character are, is he human or host? What is his relationship with Arnold and the park, and why is he given special privileges as a guest? (I have had a theory for a couple of weeks now, that he is Arnold who somehow transferred his consciousness into the form we see him in now, or something along those lines), and what about the maze? He is obsessed with finding it and it represents the goal of his journey.
Unlike the original film, this is more than a story of technology gone wonky, I strongly suspect it’s about the birth of artificial intelligence, the evolution of Delores and Maeve leave little doubt in my mind about that. It’s interesting to me that the show’s creators chose female hosts as the first to show signs of grasping the true nature of their existence and the dream-like quality inherent in it.
This was another great episode full of the stuff I have come to expect from this series; violence, action, some dark humor, a few surprises, and, oh yes, more mysteries. One thing this show seems to also have as an agenda is to be a constant reminder of our mortality, the fragile nature of our existence, and the thin line that separates life and death.
Here’s a recap, laced with some comments (*warning, spoilers follow*)
The episode begins with a closeup of an eye, even before the few moments it took to figure it out for sure, I suspected it was the eye of Delores, and sure enough it was. Thinking along the lines of the timeless expression regarding the eyes being the windows to the soul, it immediately raises questions about the nature of these androids at their most basic levels of existence and begs the question do they have souls?
The more we see of Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) , it leaves little doubt she is indeed in possession of a soul. Wood’s performance as delores is exceptionally good. The show begins with another rewind of her conversation with Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) and in it she demonstrates she is introspective with questions only a human would ask about their existence. She questions whether she is going insane. Really, do you think there are any introspective lions or other animals that ponder the nature of their relationship with the outside world?
This time around, in their conversation Lowe brings up the maze and tells her it might be something she would benefit from that might actually make her free. Delores seems to think being free would be a good thing. I get the sense Lowe suspects what is going on with Delores and views it as a happy accident, one he doesn’t wan to share because he fears the others will interfere in it happening somehow.
Delores also raises questions about what makes us who we are. The uninvited memories that are part of the evolution she is going through are both cause and effect as part of the situation, which begs the question ‘are our memories what make us who we are?’ The memories of our experiences and our emotional and psychological responses to them would seem to be a paramount part of of what shapes us into what we become, how we interact with reality, and how we treat others.
Next Dolores wakes up in the camp she stumbled into and fainted, in last week’s episode and William (Jimmi Simpson), Logan (Ben Barnes) and the bounty hunter are still there. Delores wakes up and remembers where she is, one gets the impression the whole of her existence is like a dream from her perspective, her true nature emerges here, she seems to never hunger or thirst, and she’s the first person I know of that doesn’t need to answer nature’s call upon rising. She responds to William’s kindness when he offers her his coat when she seems as if she is feeling cold
An argument begins between William and Logan when William wants to take her back to Sweetwater, and abandon the bounty hunt. Logan threatens to kill her on the spot thus eliminating the problem. The scene once again serves to define the differences between William and Logan.
After they encounter and kill most of the bad guys they are hunting, the sole survivor tries to talk his way out of being turned in by promising to take them to a most rewarding alternative, and something he says makes Logan think he is referring to the real wonderful part of the game he has been waiting for. he kills the bounty hunter and goes off with the bad guy.
William and Delores end up in the little town that served as Lawrence’s home earlier in the season, and she encounters Lawrence’s daughter who speaks to her in the same strange voice we have heard her use before, She tells Delores to remember, and she has drawn a picture of the maze in the dirt at her feet. The the local sheriff identifies Delores as a missing woman who has been reported, he tries to get her to go and get back on script, but she refuses saying she will never go back, and when he grabs her by the arm to take her, the look in her eyes is fierce in her determination.
Next we visit behind the scenes with Elsie (Shannon Woodward), and the stray that crushed in his own head with a rock in the last episode. Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Lowe are there and the question is raised whether any data regarding his malfunction can be extracted from what remains of his head. The stray’s mouth is moving in a bizarre and disquieting manner showing he is not entirely dead. Once again comnfirming they build these things to last and suffer all kinds of abuse before they are rendered inoperable. Another thing about these androids I think their creators may come to regret.
Thresa decides her own personal crew will take over the investigation of what happened to this host, and Lowe agrees, partly because they have enough work already, and partly because Cullen thinks they are hiding something and he wants to calm her fears. What Lowe knows and Elsie doesn’t is Cullen is right.
Next we join the MIB (Ed Harris) who is still in search of the next clue that will lead him to the maze, he is till traveling with Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) who still carries all the hanging rope around his neck that makes him ironically almost seem like a holy martyr of some sort.
They come across Armistice and her gang who are on the way to break Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) out of prison. They come across Armistice bathing in a river, and seeing her tattoos the MIB thinks she might be the snake clue he’s been looking for. He offers to go break out Hector himself in exchange for her telling him about her tattoos, and he does it, using the darkly amusing device of some exploding cigars to effect his escape after intentionally getting himself and Lawrence captured by the law.
This was interesting because it shows that when you want to set off explosions it has to be cleared by the park’s staff and while it was not shown how he did it it seems the MIB somehow let them know what he was planning on doing with the exploding cigars,
During his interaction with Armistice and her gang the name of Wyatt comes up again, deepening the mystery of how all of this is connected, because connected it obviously all is. The MIB also also brings up his connection to Arnold and describes his journey through the park, and his search for the maze as having read the whole book except the last page and he wants to know how the story ends.
There is also the very strange an mysterious moment when one of the gang approaches the MIB and begins to profusely thank him for the work of his foundation and how it helped his sister, He is rudely interrupted by the MIB and threatened with death unless he shuts up, because the MIB says he is on vacation, implying the MIB is human after all, and a wealthy one at that.
We are treated to a flashback of when the park was being created with a scene of Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Cullen having a conversation about the park, Arnold, and the future of the enterprise regarding their relationship going forward. In the background is an enormous earth mover approaching their location on the veranda of an idyllic hacienda type dwelling. Ford describes himself and Arnold as gods and everyone else as their guests.
Back In Sweetwater Maeve (Thandie Newton) is sill having problems with memories that are causing her to be distracted from her script. She is plagued with the memory of the techs that service the hosts, and she is growingly obsessed with the image of them in her mind.
The arrival of Hector, Armistice, and their gang signals the beginning of a replay of the town slaughter scene we have seen before, except this time with a twist. Maeve captures Hector and in exchange for the contents of the safe she wants a favor in exchange, She questions him about the figures in her dreams and he explains they are called shades of native indian lore who walk between the world of the living and the dead.
As they talk things are not going well for Armistice and the rest of the gang this time around and she goes out in a blaze of glory. Maeve asks hector to cut her open where she remembers being shot nd eventually they dig out a bullet that is still inside her, just as the lawmen outside the door of her room open fire through the door. His instinct is to fight back, but she stops him. She is exuberant about being right and she says this doesn’t mean anything as they are killed in a hail of gunfire.
So things are moving along faster than i expected they would. We are still left with a bagful of mysteries, but I came away from this episode with a feeling we won’t have to wait much longer before we start to get some answers to all of the questions this series has hanging that are begging for an explanation of how they are all connected, and even though I was left just as confused I thought it was one of the best episodes yet.