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 episode begins with Ford talking to Wild Bill, an old host he likes to drink with on occasion in the cold storage sublevel, where all the defunct hosts are stored. He tells Bill a story about a greyhound he had as a child. How one day the old dog ran after a cat, caught it, killed it, and then stood there, unsure of what to do next. Having spent all it’s life trying to catch that thing, now it was unsure of what to do. The question here is whether Ford is just talking about himself, and what he’s accomplished at the park, or if he’s also talking about the hosts. Ford has to know that there’s more to the hosts than meets the eye. That Arnold was onto something, and there’s a chance that things could go wrong in the park in a big way. So is he asking what happens when they do go wrong? What happens when they are free?
Ford is seen later talking to Dolores. During their conversation he asks if she remembers Arnold. She says no at first, but he knows she’s lying, that somewhere inside here, he’s there. He asks her if she would be the hero or villain of her story, but it’s rhetorical more than anything. She ends up asking if they’re old friends, and he tells her they’re not. He leaves and she speaks to someone, possibly the voice of Arnold in her head, saying that Ford doesn’t know. “I didn’t tell him anything.”
Slim, the bandit that Logan, William and Dolores caught, brings them into the town where his boss Elijah rules supreme. Logan tells William more about the park, that it gets wilder and more dangerous the further you go out. He also tells William that the park is hemorrhaging money and their company wants to buy it out. That it was built on a partnership and one of the partners killed himself. But that there’s no record at all of the dead partner. This helps put things in perspective a bit, as it means that definitively, there’s three timelines. There’s the Arnold story, the William story, and the “current” story with the Man in Black and Ford and Bernard.
The “William” storyline takes up most of the episode. Him, Logan, Dolores and Slim come into the town, meet the Confederados, Confederate soldiers who never surrendered. Dolores passes out in the middle of parade at one point. Slim introduces them to Elijah, who is known as Lawrence in the Man in Black storyline. Elijah sets them up with a new plan. Steal nitroglycerin from Union soldiers for the Confederados who are planning to take it across the border, to kill Mexican revolutionists. Logan agrees, during the heist, the Union soldiers and Slim all get killed. That night Elijah convinces the Confederados to celebrate, during the partying he swaps out the nitro for tequila and puts it in the dead body of slim.
After William and Logan fight about William’s character, with Logan stating he’s a pushover, Dolores see Elijah swap the nitro and warns William. They decide to leave Logan behind and head out on their own course, caught up in the moment, they share a kiss. As they leave the Confederados realize they’ve been had and grab Logan. He begs William to help him but he says no and runs off. Logan seems happy to see William finally take a stand. William and Dolores are cornered by Confederadoes and when William is overtaken by one, Dolores kills them all. They run off and catch a train, where Elijah is running off with the nitroglycerin filled body of slim. They agree to a truse and he tells them to call him Lawrence. On Slim’s coffin is a branding of the maze.
After finding Teddy, the Man in Black continues on his journey with Lawrence. Lawrence explains that Teddy and Wyatt used to be friends. He asks Lawrence if he knows why he kept him around so long, and he doesn’t have an answer. The real answer is that he’s probably sentimental. As we now know Lawrence was there for his first adventure with Dolores. They run into the young Ford host and doesn’t seem to recognize him. In a moment where he may think the kid is a real person, he tells him to go get them some water. He dumps out the rest of their water, and kills Lawrence, telling him that Lawrence has essentially served his purpose by leading him to Teddy. As the Man in Black leaves with Teddy, the Young Ford host examines Lawrence’s dead body.
The Man in Black and Teddy head into a bar where Ford is playing piano. Ford comes over to talk to the Man in Black. He tells Ford that he’s after Wyatt and asks if he’s finally made a worthy Adversary. Ford quips that he never had the imagination for creating someone like what the Man in Black has become. He tells ford that he’s searching for the maze and that he knows Arnold left something deeper in the park. A deeper meaning of sorts that can’t be found in the real world. He asks Ford if he’s there to stop him and he says no. Ford leaves and Teddy tells the Man in Black they have to start moving.
Felix and Sylvester examine Maeve again. Sylvester leaves to take a lunch break and Felix puts a tablet in a cabinet and checks on what appears to be a dead bird. Felix brings the dead bird back to life. Sylvester walks in and the Bird bites him. Sylvester asks what he’s doing, and he explains he wants to get bumped up to the behavior group. Sylvester tells him he’s an idiot and rolls Maeve over, taking out the bullet from the previous episode. Later, alone in the room, Felix goes to check on his bird. Maeve is there, in sleep mode. He turns the bird on properly and it flies around. He’s in awe. The bird lands on Maeve’s hand. She says hello. “It’s time you and I had a chat.” Aside from the fact that Maeve is stepping into more power as she enters the sublevel, the most interesting thing here is the bird. How did Felix get it, and why did it bite Sylvester? All hosts, even animals, aren’t supposed to be able to hurt the guests, or staff. It goes against their programming. So why would a bird immediately attack Sylvester?
Elsie is programming a host who can’t seem to pour water into a glass. She sees a few of the livestock management staff, same department as Felix and Sylvester, taking away the stray. She’s told that he’s going to livestock and then the incinerator. She gets angry and wants answers so she finds a livestock management staff member to give her time with the stray or she’ll expose that he’s been having sex with the hosts in secret. She examines the host and figures out that he has something inside his arm, a small box, with a long antenna attached. She takes it to Bernard and explains that it’s a laser based satellite transmitting data outside of the park, and it’s what he putting in his wood carvings.
This episode gave some good payoff to some things. Finally getting William and Dolores out on their own adventure. Discovering the satellite. Seeing Ford and the Man in Black come to face to face. But halfway through the season we’re still asking even more questions for each answer we get. There’s a lot more reveals and questions to come ahead as we move forward, and next episode we get a new addition to the cast.
Keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Westworld Season 1 recaps, leading up to the premiere of Season 2 on April 22nd only on HBO.