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 4th episode begins with Arnold talking to Dolores. She feels pain as she tries to come to terms with her family’s death. As she describes the pain of losing them, it gets to Arnold. Having lost his son it’s clear that she’s tapping into something he understands. He tries to fight the connection, asking if her statements are her own, but she explains they are variations of script they wrote for her about love. That helps, but overall she’s created an opening here. If Arnold wasn’t sold on helping her truly live, he is now. He tells her he has a game he wants her to play, a maze, and if she can win, she can be free. She states that she thinks she wants to be free.
The next scene is of Dolores waking up next to William at their camp site. The timeline throughout this episode bounces around frequently, from William to the Man in Black. There are a few moments where it’s hard to tell what’s going on when. At one point Ashley, the head of security, is told that Dolores is going off narrative. But the scenes around that featuring Dolores, all seem to take place in the past with William. So it’s hard to tell what’s going on there besides just a deliberate move by the writers to throw off the audience.
There’s not much to William’s story this episode, and it’s mostly used on occasion to help throw viewers off of the timeline. After deciding to head out with a lawman to find a criminal, they find the man in a house. William ends up killing a few hosts in a shootout alongside Logan and the lawman, and they capture the criminal. The criminal tells them that his boss will give them even more money if they return him safely. So Logan kills the Lawman and they head to his boss.
The Man in Black stops in the desert with Lawrence. He finds a woman with a snake tattoo that wraps around her body, Armistice. A snake referenced in the clue given by Lawrence’s daughter. They make a deal that he will help her with her next mission and she’ll tell him about the tattoo. The mission is to break out Hector and the rest of their men from a prison. Another guest comes up to him and says that the Man in Black’s foundation saved his sister’s life. He yells at the young man and says to leave him alone. The Man in Black asks Armistice only for Lawrence and one match. The two men get brought to a prison and Lawrence is set up for execution by firing squad.
The Man in Black is put in the same cell as Hector. He tells Hector they’ve never met as he always viewed Hector to be too cliche. Too much of the “classic western villain.” But when Hector says he views this world as a mess, as a place where nothing matters, and they’re all doomed to hell, he agrees. He uses the match to light a cigar and blow up the lock for their cell. In a sublevel Ashley “approves the pyrotechnic.” Another interesting insight to how much the park is controlled. He gets Hector out of the jail, and they save Lawrence. They take everyone back to Armistice and she explains that when she was a child men came to her town and killed everyone. She’s been filling in the snake tattoo with their blood, but the head isn’t colored yet. It’s saved for their leader, Wyatt. The Man in Black and Lawrence head out to find Wyatt, and they find Teddy. He’s been torn to shreds by Wyatt’s men and left for dead, tied to a tree.
Elsie, Theresa, Bernard and Ashley meet to talk about “the stray.” They don’t know what caused the issue. Theresa decides that her team will take over the investigation and Bernard agrees. Elsie gets upset that the host is taken away from her. She tells Bernard that it’s not fair for him to agree to this when they both know something bigger is going on. He tells her he’s not worried about things, that she’s creating something out of nothing. He shows her one of the carvings the stray made with “Orion’s Belt” in it and he tells her there’s an extra star in it.
Theresa gets dressed after sleeping with Bernard. She tells Bernard she has to speak with Ford as his new narrative is making things difficult. Bernard gives her advice for talking to him. She says he’s charming for once, despite his best efforts. Which is true. This isn’t the regular Bernard. It’s very uncharacteristic of him. And you could argue that it’s a man potentially in love. But as he’s a host, made by Ford, it’s clearly manipulation. She meets with Ford the next morning. They sit and eat at a restaurant in the park, and it becomes clear that Ford is manipulating everything.
It’s a restaurant she came to with her family when she was young. She’s even sitting in the chair she sat in when she first dined there. The hosts stop what they’re doing, as ordered by Ford without even a vocal command. Ford is flexing his muscles, his god-like abilities and honestly, it’s a little frightening. He reveals that he knows about her and Bernard. (No surprise there, given what Bernard truly is.) He tells her not to get in his way. She says the board will agree with her, and send a representative. He says there’s already one there, and the board must not have told her. He also explains that his narrative will be completed on schedule, and won’t be a retrospective, as he’s not sentimental.
Maeve remembers a story where a guest shot up the saloon and killed her and Clementine. She knows something is wrong, that these memories mean something. She finds drawings she’s made of the men that clear out the dead hosts, their uniform is a white hazmat style suit with a visor and lights on the side. As a group of Native Americans walk through Sweetwater, A little girl drops a toy that looks like the staff that clean the hosts out. She learns that the natives worship those people as Gods, and that Hector, who has lived with the natives, knows more.
Hector comes into Sweetwater to steal the vault from the saloon. Maeve gets Hector to tell her about the men. The natives call them a shade, men who walk between worlds and come from hell. Maeve tells Hector that she remembers being shot in the gut, but there’s no wound or scar there. The techs that cleaned her up rushed to get her back on the floor, so she asks hector to stab her there. He can’t so she does it and he pulls out a bullet from her gut. He asks her what it means and she says that it means she’s not crazy, and none if it matters. She begins kissing Hector passionately as the lawmen fire through the door to get to Hector.
This episode is a pure example of the good ebb and flow of the series. For every question we have there is some sort of answer in the episode or in the following episode. But each answer leads to more questions, and each step forward is more intriguing than the last. We know Dolores broke her narrative before the park opened and killed another host after her family was killed. And Arnold may not have done anything about it. We know he told her about the maze. But we don’t know what the maze is, or why William didn’t find it in the past with Dolores, if she was searching for it then.
There’s plenty more set up, questions, answers and WTF moments ahead. And we haven’t even gotten to Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte Hale yet! Keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for our Westworld coverage leading up to the premiere of Season 2 on HBO, Sunday April 22nd.