Westworld Season 1 Recap: Ep. 3 “The Stray”

Leading up to the start of the second season of HBO’s hit sci-fi drama Westworld, we’re taking a look at the first season of the exceptional show. We’re going to dive into some Major Spoilers, so be warned now, because we’ve got a lot to talk about.

The second episode of season one is a hard thing to crack. The episode shifts back and forth frequently between the past and the present through Dolores’ point of view. It begins with her talking to Arnold, and ends with her collapsing in William’s arms. And at this point, MAJOR SPOILERS, we don’t know that Bernard is a host version of Arnold, or that William is the young version of the Man in Black. The episode uses that information to it’s advantage. We are essentially put into Dolores’ shoes of not knowing exactly where we are or when we are.

Dolores finds the gun in her dresser from the previous episode. She talks to Teddy about leaving Sweetwater. She sees her parents killed. She remembers being shot in the gut. She is taken into the stable by a random man, and separately by the Man in Black. She finds the gun hidden in the stable and aims it at the host that brought her in. She can’t shoot at first, and is then told by a voice to kill him. She shoots him, something she shouldn’t be able to do. We don’t know the exact timeline for any of it, but we know that these things all happened at some point. And by the end of it, we would probably collapse in Jimmi Simpson’s arms as well.

Image via HBO

During the scenes where Dolores talks to Arnold, he sees that she is evolving, that she’s becoming something more than what was intended. He wonders if he should change her. Reset her back to some previous programming so that he can prevent her from being more than the robot host she was intended to be. But he realizes that he can’t. This is evolution. And if he’s going to create her life, he has to let her live it.

This episode truly begins to introduce us to Arnold. Elsie discovers that one of the malfunctioning hosts was talking to a voice in his head named Arnold. She tells Bernard, who then goes to Ford and asks about Arnold. Ford explains that Arnold was his partner, and that he died in the park. That the investors helped cover it all up. He shows Bernard a picture with two men in it, and a clear empty space on the right side of the photo. Empty because Bernard can’t see Arnold as it would not make sense to him. Hosts can’t see or comprehend things they aren’t programmed to know. The belief is that the two men he sees in the photo are in fact Ford and Arnold.

Ford explains to Bernard that Arnold was on the cusp of figuring out how consciousness can be created. That he had created a pyramid system, Memory, Improvisation, and Self Interest. But there was one more part that he just couldn’t crack. Ford tells Bernard that Arnold became consumed by his search for this. That it led to his death. He asks Bernard not to follow the same path. He tells Bernard that the death of his son should help him not fall into what Arnold did. Which may be some sort of vocal queue that Ford is giving Bernard. We learn that Bernard does have some semblance of a life. He was married and talks to his ex-wife on occassion. He had a son who died due to some sort of illness. Things that may have also been part of Arnold’s backstory.

Image via HBO

Ford begins setting up his new narrative, giving Teddy a legitimate backstory. The backstory consists of Teddy looking for an old soldier he fought with that turned bad. When Dolores and Teddy meet up and go through the usual steps of their storyline, Teddy leaves her and joins other hosts to find this man, Wyatt. Teddy tells the other hosts that Wyatt came back with strange ideas. That the land didn’t belong to the settlers or old natives. It belonged to something that had yet to come. It belonged to him.

We only get brief looks at William and Maeve this episode. William stops a criminal from potentially harming Clementine, and is motivated to head out on an adventure. Logan isn’t interested, but William argues that after hyping up the park, all Logan has done is get drunk and have sex. We also learn from Logan that each day spent at the park costs 40 thousand dollars. As for Maeve, she’s only featured in a few short scenes. But in that time, we see that she’s still remembering things from her time in the sublevels. When Teddy walks into the saloon, she remembers seeing him in the room where they hose off the hosts who have been killed. While we don’t see William or Maeve much this episode these moments are important as they help push them both forward in their storylines.

Image via HBO

Throughout the episode, Elsie is beginning to discover that there’s more going on then what they originally thought. Walter, the host that was “talking to Arnold” only killed other hosts that had killed him in previous narratives he was a part of. A host ends up straying from his storyline and Elsie goes with Ashley to find him. She discovers that “the stray” had been making wood carvings and putting constellations on them. She also realizes that the host is straying from his storyline to head out and look at the stars, something not normal for the hosts to do. They eventually find the host stuck in a large hole in the ground between some rocks. Ashley heads into the hole to try to cut the hosts throat. The host attacks him and ends up climbing out, then smashes his head with a large rock, killing himself.

This episode helped set up a lot of things that will be influential moving forward. From Dolores beginning to question things, to William starting his real adventure. Things are evolving, and the path ahead is dangerous for our beloved characters.

Keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for our Westworld coverage leading up to the premiere of Season 2 on HBO, Sunday April 22nd.

Image via HBO

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