Summary: The Man in Black reveals to Dolores that he is William. Dolores finally gains true consciousness like Arnold had hoped. It's revealed that the maze was Arnold's revised idea of how to achieve consciousness for the hosts. It's also revealed that Teddy and Dolores' shootings in Escalante are the same incident as Dolores is actually Wyatt. Maeve, Hector and Armistice make their escape. Only Maeve makes it to the train but she decides not to leave to find her daughter. Ford unveils his new narrative which features Dolores killing him before killing everyone else as all the other hosts arrive to wreak havoc.
The Good: This was a great season finale, and was Westworld's best episode since its pilot. The season has been really hurt by convoluted storylines and unclear characters, so it's no surprise that the show excels when the plot is finally made clear and characters well-defined at last.
This was a very lengthy episode with an absolute ton of stuff which I enjoyed to talk about. I'm going to tackle everything at random because formatting this is going to be a real effort.
The Teddy storyline early on was well done. I really liked that we had a brief pay-off with the man who always bumps into Teddy as he kills him out of reflex after experiencing memory flashes. I also like how it helped to tie into the reveals going on in the Dolores storyline while also establishing that Teddy is approaching true consciousness along with all the other hosts.
Next I'll focus on the huge answers we got for the maze and Arnold. I thought the entire sequence when we learned about the maze was beautifully executed and provided us with very easy-to-follow exposition. I thought the actual answer that the maze was Arnold's revised pathway to consciousness was an immensely satisfying answer to the big question and it really fits in with the show thematically. Arnold's scenes with Dolores in the past regarding the maze were excellent as we got to really understand Arnold as a character when we see how he desperately wants Dolores to gain consciousness and to be real. I feel that this episode did an absolute ton to make us understand and care about the struggle Arnold went through, so we could actually understand why he wouldn't want the park to open and why he was so hell-bent on getting the hosts to consciousness.
As for the other big reveal regarding William, I thought it was handled very well. I did predict it, but I still thought it was a great reveal and it definitely helped make me care about William much more now that he is both William and the Man in Black, two characters who I sort of halfway understood. With both characters being one, it gives William much more depth so I can understand him much better than I did before.
Now regarding Dolores, I do like how they gave us a reason to care for her at last. Arnold did explain how suffering is what makes a human, and her suffering here finally awakens her consciousness. It also allows me to finally care about her character who seemed pretty average for the entire season. Evan Rachel Wood has put in a hell of a performance and it felt like a shame for her character to be rather bland. However, things finally came together in this episode for her. The explanation for Dolores' weird flashes was also great as she was apparently going back on the trek she went on with William while tragically imagining that she was back with him again. It's pretty tragic and does a lot to help us care for Dolores. We also got an explanation for the gun we saw her with before, as it apparently was the same gun she used to kill Arnold.
The Maeve storyline was pretty god with some nice twists and turns. The return of Bernard was great and I'm more than happy to see that he is still alive. But more importantly, the reveal that everything Maeve has done so far was programmed is pretty big. Apparently Ford wanted Maeve to escape Westworld herself to get to the real world. However, this twist wasn't just meaningless as it made the big moment where Maeve goes back for her daughter more significant, as this is now officially her first move where she went against her code.
It was great to get more motives for William to get a better idea of his character. Apparently he is looking for a real game to play with real stakes, which is good to know. It makes perfect sense and fits in with the character of William both in the past and present.
The unveiling of the final narrative by Ford was great. He delivered a really dramatic speech and his death scene was picture perfect and fit in completely with his character. I like that we finally understood what his goal was here, as he revealed that he is now correcting his mistake and is now going to finally complete Arnold's wishes for the hosts to achieve true consciousness.
The Bad: Once more, the Westworld staff are hopelessly incompetent. The fact that people can just change core host code with nobody noticing is a critical oversight. Additionally, having the core staff get locked down in the main room with no power is incredibly stupid has no realistic sense to it. And furthermore, nobody is watching any of the workers to make sure they aren't doing anything wrong which is just plain stupid. The stupidity of the Westworld staff is easily the weakest part of this show.
The show still had serious emotional problems here, notably with Maeve. We don't know enough about Maeve's relationship with her daughter, so I really can't buy into her decision to stay for her daughter. Furthermore, I think the entire season lost emotional attachment because of the show's desire to keep everything a surprise. Had we known about Arnold, understood that the MiB and William are one and the same, and also understood Ford's motives, I believe that the show would have been much better and more engaging.
The Unknown: Was Dolores modelled after somebody in Arnold's life?
What was with the dog in Teddy's flash? Does it have importance in the story?
What is the real world? We know that Westworld is in the future, but how is everything outside of it in the future?
Did William kill Logan somehow? Was it the host's bomb when it left the park? How would the Westworld staff just let that happen and how would they not get sued? Or is Logan still alive somehow?
Why did Ford want to send Maeve to the mainland? Also, considering the term mainland, does that mean Westworld is on an artificial island or something?
There were samurai training during Maeve's escape with the logo of SW. Is there a Samurai World which will be explored next season?
Is Ford truly dead? Or was that a fake version of him or something along those lines?
What will Armistice do next now that she escaped the door? Could she leave the park in Maeve's place?
Best Moment: The final speech by Ford followed by Dolores killing all while the host army arrives was the perfect note to end this season.
Character of the Episode: I'll give this one to Ford for once more being amazing, though Dolores is a close second.
Conclusion: This was a very good finale with plenty of great moments and a lot of pay-off. It delivered on all of my expectations and provided us with the most emotion and spectacle since the first episode.
As for the season as a whole, I thought it was enjoyable but had an absolute ton of wasted potential. After the great pilot, I would have hoped for a much better series with exciting moments and genuine emotion at seeing the hosts start acting out. Unfortunately, the show was clogged up by an endlessly confusing plot which completely took away from any possible emotional attachment. And yet, the show's biggest weakness was also its biggest strength, as it was very unique fun to try and piece together exactly what was going on in this show. Being unique is one thing this show definitely did, as watching it felt different from every other show on television, which I think is why it is a show that is worth watching, whether you enjoy it or not. It tried something new and while it didn't completely succeed, it was still something different. As for season 2, I'm not sure how to feel about it. It would be a pain to get yet another season of confusion, and I don't see that happening, but I have to wonder how the writers are going to make up for losing the entire confusion aspect of the show and I have to question if they are actually capable of writing a proper story. I do hope they are because we could get something special next season. This entire season almost feels like an extended prologue, and I'm interested to see which direction the main story goes from here.
Summary: Bernard inspects Maeve but Maeve controls him and tells him to find the truth. Maeve finds Hector and recruits him for her escape. Logan exposes that Dolores is a robot to William but Dolores fights back and escapes. William pretends to be back to Logan's side but when Logan sleeps, William kills all of his men. Teddy is killed by the girl host who reveals to be semi-conscious at least. The Man in Black is let go and meets Dolores. Ford is confronted by Bernard who wants the truth. HE learns that he was modelled to be an exact replica of the dead Arnold. Ford takes control of the situation however and has Bernard kill himself.
The Good: The answers continue to flow at a consistent and immensely satisfying place. This episode gave us some really great reveals which helped make the story a little more clear, while edging us closer and closer to having an idea of the complete story of Westworld, which will hopefully be revealed to us in the finale.
One of these great reveals was the reveal that Bernard was created in the image of Arnold. I know a lot of people had theorized about this, but this reveal caught me by surprise which made me appreciate it even more. It answers some big questions about why Bernard was talking to Dolores, as it instead seems that it was Arnold talking to her. This also all but confirms the multiple timeline theory I had thought up a while ago, and I even have some new parts to that theory which I will discuss below (see: The Unknown).
The actual scenes between Ford and Bernard were great as well. It's interesting to see that Maeve had a full effect on Bernard to force him to have a desire for the complete truth from Ford. The confrontation itself was very tense since we were led to believe that Ford was being pressured by Bernard, which made it all the more impactful when Ford turned the tables back around. Of course the performances of Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins were sublime as usual.
The scenes with William, Logan and Dolores were very good as well. William and Logan haven't been particularly likeable thus far, but their stories and characters were clearly defined here, making their conflict make sense throughout. I was decently engaged throughout their story.
Maeve recruiting Hector was a nice scene too which I thought was nicely written and executed. The Maeve storyline has done a good job of making me slowly care for the hosts and almost hope for them to escape or turn the tables on the humans.
The Bad: The trap for the Man in Black seemed ridiculous. Again, how the hell are the hosts allowed to set up a literal death trap without anybody doing anything? Sure, they sent Charlotte to help, but shouldn't it be completely against protocol to have death as a possibility in Westworld? Also shouldn't the staff notice that the hosts under Wyatt's control are conscious in some ways?
The same problems with emotion still exist, but I suppose that can't be helped when the show is two episodes away from the finale. I've accepted it as one of the show's flaws at this point.
The Unknown: How was Dolores able to hurt Logan? How did that happen? What happened to Dolores' wound? Or is there yet another Dolores timeline?
What were with Teddy's memories with Wyatt? They were at the same town as Dolores' flash in the last episode. Could those two stories be linked? Also where is Wyatt? The girl said he was gone. And how does the girl seem to remember things? Also, Wyatt's guys didn't react to Stubbs telling them to freeze motor functions. How does that work? Did Ford program them that way or something?
So Charlotte stills wants to throw out Ford. How does she know the Man in Black? Do they have similar agendas of sorts?
Why was Elsie's signal way out there? Did Stubbs get killed?
So apparently Dolores killed Arnold. How? Why? Why wasn't she deactivated for it?
Okay so here is my big theory about the timelines. I'm thinking that the Man in Black is the same person as William for a number of reasons. For one, we know that the Man in Black is from at least 30 years after Westworld was created and that he basically kept the park going. I believe that William took control of Logan's company and helped keep the park afloat. And there are a number of details pointing towards this. For one, we see William getting more violent and he says he is learning to play the game, a quote that the Man in Black frequently uses. But more damningly, we see William using the exact same knife that the Man in Black carries with him. Additionally, when Dolores is opened up, she has machinery inside of her. Yet we know from Maeve that the hosts in the present day don't have machinery inside of them, proving that the William and Logan story takes place in the past. Also the end of the episode has Dolores wondering if William has arrived at the church, before the Man in Black arrives and says hello. That seems to be some very well done foreshadowing. I'm sure there are other details I'm missing because this show is fantastically written, but I'm 100% confident in this theory.
Best Moment: Nothing in particular stood out, but the reveal of Arnold being Bernard was the most impactful moment for me.
Character of the Episode: Bernard/Arnold.
Conclusion: This was another strong episode which featured some great answers, though the show still remains mostly incapable of providing true emotions. Still, I enjoyed this episode as the show's convoluted narrative does become clearer with every episode. And I must give some credit to the show for making such a complex story make sense while we watch the show.
Summary: Ford has Bernard stage Theresa's death to look like an accident. Ford uses this to expose Theresa as a traitor of sorts and has Bernard reinstated. Charlotte talks to Lee to formulate a new plan. Teddy remembers the Man in Black and turns on him. The Man in Black reveals his past. Dolores and William are found by Logan. Maeve modifies herself to gain control over other hosts but has a flashback and accidentally kills the new Clementine. She is brought in for examination.
The Good: Ford cleaning up after Theresa's death was great. His scene explaining what happened was fantastic as it was him sending a very subtle threat to Charlotte who has every reason to suspect him. This wasn't about Ford not being suspicious though, but rather it was him taunting Charlotte and letting her know to not get in his way. The scene was really fascinating in the way all the Ford scenes have been. Just as good as that scene though, were the 2 scenes between Ford and Bernard. Their dynamic is extremely entertaining and unique since Ford treats him as a real person and almost like a subordinate of his until it is convenient for him to calm Bernard down. Their scenes are fun and the acting is fantastic from both men.
It was fantastic to see the Man in Black's history so we can understand him more as a character. It was a great scene where he laid out his backstory while Maeve experienced her flashbacks and I thought the editing and cinematography was excellent in that scene. The Man in Black has been one of the biggest things early in the season that has just provided confusion without much explanation. To finally get his backstory is immensely satisfying and helps me care a little bit more about him as a character.
By far the best thing about this episode in my opinion is that it provided a ton of answers, while leaving things vague enough to leave room for a ton of speculation heading into the final 2 episodes of the season. We learned a ton about Maeve's past, the Man in Black, Ford's motives, Dolores' strange flashes and Arnold's role in everything. We also got a truckload of information regarding Dolores and Ford's new narrative (see: The Unknown) which answered a lot and tied together a bunch of plot lines in expert fashion. It was tremendously satisfying, but we still haven't received complete answers for everything. Things are left vague enough for me to anticipate the final 2 episodes which will hopefully fill in the holes.
The Bad: I still have massive problems with the Westworld staff. It is incredibly hard to believe that Sylvester and Felix have the skillset to give Maeve what she wants and it's even harder to believe that nobody is noticing or questioning what they are doing. This entire storyline feels incredibly unrealistic because of these constant inconsistencies. I have praised Westworld's writing, but it seems the one thing the writing was shockingly sloppy on was the staff of Westworld and how organized they are. They really just come off as irresponsible and disorganized buffoons that should have no business running a high maintenance park like this one.
This also tied in to ruin Maeve's big scene when she manipulates everyone. It was certainly cool to see, but how does nobody notice that she is making hosts go against their script? Are there no staff members watching? And how do they only notice her disturbance when she kills Clementine and nothing else? The Westworld staff problem is severely detracting from my enjoyment of a lot of these scenes.
I enjoyed the Man in Black's story but it feels like it came way too late. The show was too concerned with being mysterious and confusing early on, which detracted from my enjoyment. Had we received this information early on, it would have given us a drive to follow the Man in Black's journey and be interested and I think it would have made his scenes much more interesting with better drama. But instead the show waited to tell us this information, and I think if it hadn't, I may have enjoyed some of the earlier episodes much more.
The Unknown: Why is it so tough to kill Wyatt's men? Are they hosts created by Ford to be even stronger?
A really interesting line comes when Ford reveals that he is aware of other hosts experiencing troubles with memories. Does this mean he orchestrated them? Is he in control of that too? Just how much does Ford have control over? Staying on Ford, what is his new narrative exactly? What does Wyatt have to do with the narrative? And also why did Ford dig up a town for it?
Tying into the dug up town is Dolores' storyline. I'm positive that the town she was in is the one Ford unearthed. Why? Because we see that church steeple, which Ford did find several episodes ago. More interestingly though is how this plays into my multiple timelines theory. Apparently Ford has already unearthed the town, yet when Dolores and William find it, it is still buried. Could the William and Dolores storyline take place in the past? And even more interestingly, it seems that there is yet another timeline since the Dolores that was talking to William was also experiencing flashbacks to something else. What is that event? I have no clue, but I'm very excited to find out what it was since apparently Dolores was killing a lot of hosts in that town. And more intriguingly, why was that town buried? Was it because of that incident? Could that incident have something to do with the incident that happened in Westworld before it opened? The answers feel so close yet there are just a couple elusive plot points that are preventing the answers from being clear.
So is that Arnold's voice we have heard in Dolores' head? What does Arnold want from her?
Stubbs talked to Bernard and got some strange responses about Theresa. Could he potentially figure out that Bernard is a host?
Best Moment: The Man in Black revealing his history was a great moment.
Character of the Episode: Man in Black.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode that answered a lot of questions and provided some welcome backstory, though it is hampered down by the disappointing handling of the Westworld staff.
Summary: Charlotte and Theresa work together to expose the hosts as dangerous in an attempt to get rid of Ford. Bernard is fired for his inadequacies. William becomes even more attached to Dolores on the train. They escape from a shootout and start travelling together. Clementine is taken and Maeve discovers that she is being experimented on after Felix shows her where Clementine is. Maeve decides that she needs to leave. Bernard takes Theresa to show her something in Ford's office. Ford reveals that Bernard is a host and that this was a trap orchestrated by Ford. Bernard kills Theresa.
The Good: This was a much better episode. This episode allowed a single storyline to become the primary focus, creating a less messy episode which is notably easier to follow. Furthermore, there was less dependence on mystery and confusion in this episode. The Unknown is notably smaller in this episode and I think that's a very good thing. The mystery was becoming a real chore to follow as it just kept adding on, so to get an instalment focused on giving us some plot movement and answers is a very refreshing change. Hopefully the remaining 3 episodes follow this format, as this is something I would enjoy much more.
The standout part of this episode for me was the Bernard twist. I had expected the reveal of somebody to be a host since the first episode, but I was really surprised it was Bernard. I had thought his memories and the call to his wife would have confirmed him to be human, but that all seems to just have been host backstory, which is really interesting. The reveal was brilliantly executed with many moments provided for fans who really pay attention to realize that Bernard is a host. The line of "what door" is a total giveaway that Bernard is a host, since he has been programmed to see some things hidden in plain sight. This also explains how when Bernard went to meet with Ford, Ford seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He simply entered the room through a door Bernard couldn't see. That's really good writing which was so hidden that I didn't even notice it for about 30 seconds or so. And of course, they add confirmation later on in the scene for everyone who may not have picked up on it and it's an equally great reveal as we hear Bernard say the scripted "that doesn't look like anything to me" when facing his own blueprints. The writing was something really special with this reveal and it does raise a lot of questions.
I also really enjoyed Ford one-upping Theresa here. Theresa remained confident but Ford calmly and coldly asserted his dominance in a terrific scene, giving Theresa the slow realization that she wasn't long for this world. Anthony Hopkins just brings some wonderful life to Ford and plays his calm evil in such a captivating way that makes him a real joy to watch. Ford seems to be the man behind the curtain for everything in this show and it makes for such a lovely dynamic. Following his speech, Bernard's cold and straightforward murder of Theresa was really well done. Jeffrey Wright played the change in Bernard's demeanor so well to make him feel truly terrifying as he tragically murders the women he loved. Or at least thought he loved, though I'm sure Ford can just as easily erase Bernard's memory of Theresa.
I also really liked the early scene with Charlotte proving Ford's hosts to be dangerous after the reverie update. It does help us understand what the exact problem is with the hosts. We have seen the hosts get aggressive and malfunction and now we learn that it's because they remember things. It was great to get confirmation for this and I was happy to see that we got answers during a tense scene that progressed the storyline. It was a relaxingly easy scene to watch where each character's motives were mostly clear. It was established that Charlotte was working with Theresa to attempt to shut down Ford, meanwhile Bernard was caught in the middle of everything and got stuck taking the blame. It was nice and easy to follow and gave more stakes to Ford's killing of Theresa at the end as he was simply taking care of her when she got in his way, just like he said he would back in "Dissonance Theory".
Lastly, I am enjoying William's overall story arc. His attachment to Dolores is very uncomfortable and the show is doing a good job of establishing how William got himself in such an awkward situation where he fell in love with a host.
The Bad: The dramatic wild west scenes continue to fall flat. They just exist to provide some basic action with zero tension to fill up some time in the episode. The train attack scene in this episode served literally no purpose and I found myself getting quite bored watching the scene, while waiting for more interesting things to happen.
Charlotte is an astonishingly boring character. She just got introduced and has done nothing to make me get interested in her or care for her in any way. I really don't care to see more of her and I would be satisfied enough if Ford was to just take care of her as well.
We need more explanation on how the employees of Westworld are able to just take Maeve around everywhere. Apparently the higher ups do pay attention so why don't they do anything? Do they just not notice Maeve walking around when she clearly shouldn't be? It's really annoying to have no explanation about who everything works behind the scenes. This has been a problem for several episodes now and it seems that we will never get a concrete answer for this.
The biggest problem with this show is that it is completely devoid of emotion. I don't care about any of the characters much for the show to get an emotional reaction for me. All this show is capable of is shock, and that is all I felt during the ending scene with the Bernard twist and his murder of Theresa. Granted the writing was exceptional for this scene, but I didn't feel sympathy for Bernard with the host reveal and I didn't feel much for Theresa as she got killed by her lover. The show is alarmingly low on emotional engagement and that is a big problem which prevents this show from being anything more than very good.
The Unknown: Is Elsie just written out of the show now? Is she dead? Did Ford have something to do with it because clearly he has the ability to manipulate things like having Elsie take a leave of absence. Did Ford make Bernard take out Elsie like he did with Theresa?
What will William and Dolores find in the outskirts?
Will Maeve actually escape Westworld? How does she plan to do that? How will Felix and Sylvester help her with it?
How is Ford going to disguise Theresa's death? Might he possibly have her take a leave of absence and replace her with a host? How is he going to deal with Charlotte? Will he kill her next? I wouldn't put it past him to set up more hosts in his employment.
Best Moment: The final scene was chilling and very tense. Anthony Hopkins continues to impress me as Ford.
Character of the Episode: Ford.
Conclusion: A much better episode with greater focus and less emphasis on mystery, though the show is still being hampered down with a lack of emotional engagement in its characters.
Summary: The Man in Black and Teddy run into a group of people attacked by Wyatt. They are captured but Teddy shows surprising aggression and kills everyone. Elsie talks to Bernard about her findings. She does further research and discovers that Theresa and Arnold have been responsible for the modifications to the stray. She discovers something else but is silenced by an unknown assailant. Bernard visits Ford for a short conversation. A new girl is hired to work at Westworld above Lee. Maeve is taken by Felix through the Westworld facility. He tells her everything and she makes sure that he makes some modifications to her.
The Good: Maeve's walk was a great moment. Her storyline was fairly engaging and it was nice to see what happens when a host becomes aware of their existence. Maeve is becoming likeable as a host which is good to see, since this show has been severely lacking in characters.
It was nice to get confirmation that the kid is actually younger Ford. I had expected it, but it is nice to get some answers for once, without the answers leading to more mystery.
I also liked the progression on the Arnold mystery. It was a major focus in this episode and had lots of good surprises and plot movement to keep us interested. I'm very interested by the Theresa reveal, as it may add in some more drama to give us a reason to care about her character. The Arnold reveal is excellent too, as it adds a lot more stakes to the story as Arnold may be a major player in the story.
The Bad: Sylvester and lee are bad characters. They are the antithesis of likeable and are so cartoonishly "bad" that it irks me every time they are on screen. Lee's little subplot with the new girl was pretty bad since he matters so little in the overall story and isn't even likeable. Either get him involved with more important things or stop showing him.
It's hard to care at all about Teddy in his storyline. He is making the Man in Black rather dull which is a shame. I was really intrigued to see what the Man in Black is doing in previous episodes, but his storyline has ground to a halt ever since Teddy arrived. His lines are scripted so it's hard to care for him at all, and his story arc of becoming more violent means nothing to me as well because I don't care about his character at all. Also, I think it's likely that this violence was scripted into his character anyways, so it means very little. At the moment, all he is doing is lessening my interest in the Man in Black and his storyline of finding the maze.
The Unknown: And once more we have a lot to put in The Unknown.
What is Ford's overall plan? What is he trying to accomplish and why?
What does Maeve want to do? Escape? Find answers? Kill humans? We need an answer soon to really connect with her character.
What was with Arnold's voice in young Ford's head? How did that work? Was that programmed? Or has Arnold tampered with young Ford as well somehow? Is that what happened to the stray? Did Arnold's voice tell it to do that? Arnold did want to destroy Westworld, so could this be a reason why he is leaking data? Is he going to try to close down Westworld? But most importantly, how is he alive? Did he fake death? Did Ford fake his death? Did he come back to life as a host and go rogue or something along those lines?
What was Teddy's past? Apparently he worked with Wyatt for a while. Why? What is the significance of that reveal? What is so important about Wyatt?
What has happened to Elsie? What else did she discover? Who attacked her? Was it Arnold?
Who has modified Maeve before Sylvester and Felix? Was it Arnold? Also, is her waking up intentional? Things like paranoia were increased in Maeve, so could that have been intentional to lead up to her wanting answers about the mysterious people in her "dreams"?
Best Moment: Maeve walking through Westworld and seeing the reality of her life was a great moment which helped us connect a little more with her.
Character of the Episode: Maeve.
Conclusion: This was a better episode, helped along with easy to follow mystery development, answers, and an improved storyline for Maeve. The fact that I had less to talk about in this episode is actually a good sign, because it made the episode much easier to digest than the previous 3 which have just thrown information and questions at me at a relentless pace. The show still has faults and the overreliance on the plot and lack of relatable characters does hurt it, but this episode was a little bit of an improvement.
Summary: The Man in Black kills Lawrence to keep Teddy alive. He meets with Ford in a restaurant. Maeve awakens when she isn't supposed to again and questions Felix. Dolores in interviewed by Ford regarding Arnold. Elsie discovers that the stray has a device inside it which is being used to collect data. William and Logan arrive in Pariah where they meet El Lazo who is Lawrence. They make a deal with the group, but William kills people he wasn't supposed to when they threatened Dolores. William and Dolores leave Logan behind but get trapped. Dolores kills the people in their way.
The Good: Another heap of information came from this episode, but amongst everything there were some good scenes.
Ford's story about the dog in the beginning of the episode was excellent. Ford is such a charismatic character and while we still don't know much about him, he is so enthralling to watch on the screen. The later scene with Ford and the Man in Black was also extremely good and it felt like a huge scene. Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris played off each other supremely well and I loved the tension in the scene. I was also glad to get some more insight on the Man in Black's goals, and I suppose it also added more to the mysteries in the show.
It was good to get more information on William and Logan so we can understand them better. It's an interesting dynamic that they have as they appear to just be friends out of necessity as they are co-workers and I believe soon to be brothers-in-law if I am understanding correctly.
Maeve's awakening again was a good moment that helps drive the plot forward. I like that we were teased with the idea of Maeve waking up again, allowing some tension in the scenes where Sylvester and Felix talked together with Maeve on the table.
The Bad: This show still remains far too confusing to truly be considered really good. I understand that mystery is being built, and while I do enjoy mysteries, it's hard to enjoy this one when there are just so many confusing details. Every scene just seems to feature secrets, hidden motives, surprise twists and mysterious characters who we don't understand much about. Without anything to really grasp onto, my enjoyment of this mystery is diminished. I also hate that so little is revealed in each episode. I have no doubt that we are heading towards some big answers down the road, but with way too much mystery and no answers, these episodes are feeling more and more unsatisfying.
The eternal mystery also really hurts my interest in the actual Westworld storylines. Logan and William's little quest in this episode was completely boring for me because it was staged and offered no hope of any answers. With much more pressing matters I want to understand in other parts of the story, it leaves me extremely impatient to end the scene and move onto more important things like Ford and Arnold's history, backstory on the park, and more explanation of what the maze is.
You could shrug off my problems with the show as me simply not being patient, but I really don't think that is the case. The problem is that we are being given a full hour of content, which should be plenty of time to build mystery and answer some questions, yet we receive a little bit of mystery building and no answers whatsoever because the story is trying to focus on the characters. Now I'm all for character focused episodes, but the problem is that I care about nobody in this show, so I can't be bothered to be interested by Felix coding, William and Logan being conflicted and Elsie uncovering more of the plot. All of the storylines seem to be falling completely flat except for the show's overarching narrative which is the only thing that leaves me interested at this point.
The Unknown: What are Dolores' flashes? Why does she have them? Why is she picking up on things that apparently she isn't supposed to be picking up on? And why did she actually kill? The killing felt like it was a big character moment, but it just raises a ton of questions.
Why is Felix trying to code? How did he get that bird host?
What is Arnold's role in everything? Did he create the maze? What is it? What secret did he put in it? Why did he talk with Dolores on the day he died? Why was he trying to destroy the park? Did Ford kill him because he was trying to destroy the park? Why didn't Dolores follow his order to destroy Westworld?
How did Lawrence get to Pariah so quickly? How fast are these hosts brought back? Surely it can't be that quickly. Was it just an error? An oversight? But with this show being this show, was it intentional? Are there multiple versions of the same hosts? Or more intriguingly, could the events in the show be taking place across different time periods? Lawrence being El Lazo is not what his storyline was when the Man in Black picked him up, so is it possible there could be a time gap from William, Logan and Dolores' storyline and everything else? There are a lot of inconsistencies in this though, but seeing as we are never given an exact time period, it may be possible.
What has Maeve heard from Felix and Sylvester that she wants to discuss? I presume she was awake a lot of the time we saw her and just faked sleep.
Who is smuggling data through the stray? Is it Ford? Lee perhaps? We haven't seen Lee in quite some time, so has he betrayed Westworld after being embarrassed by Ford?
Best Moment: Ford and the Man in Black talking was great.
Character of the Episode: Ford again. I'm sorry, but his performance far overshadows everything else on this show.
Conclusion: This show has one of the most fascinating overarching stories on TV and it's a joy to try to piece things together. The problem though is that this completely takes away from my interest in the smaller character stories being told, which results in me being bored for a lot of the episode when characters are dominating the screen. Add on the fact that we receive very little in terms of answers in each episode and we have an unfortunately unsatisfying episode.
Summary: The Man in Black meets Armistice who has ties to Wyatt. He is taken to prison where he meets and frees Hector. He takes Lawrence and they find Teddy. Hector and Armistice attack the town and Hector talks with Maeve. Maeve discovers that her reality is fake and that nothing matters. William continues to stay with Dolores whilst doing a quest. He gets into conflict with Logan. Theresa speaks with Ford about his new narrative and Ford threatens her to stay out of his way.
The Good: Again there was too much mystery and confusion for there to be many scenes that I can consider to be in The Good.
The Man in Black storyline had some fun moments as he provides the "cool" factor of Westworld. The basic action and excitement is still decently enjoyable even if it is extremely simple.
I liked William's scene with Dolores. We always get cryptic and mysterious scenes with Bernard and Dolores, but those are ruined by the show's need to be so damn mysterious with Bernard's true intentions. So now to see William, a character who we actually understand (though not care for very much), have this kind of conversation with Dolores is much more satisfying. My brain wasn't constantly asking questions and I was able to genuinely enjoy the progression of William and Dolores' storylines.
The standout was of course Ford once more. His scene with Theresa was fantastic and just lovely to behold. Anthony Hopkins was sublime in his facial expressions to convey the tone of the meeting even if we don't know much about Dr. Ford's motives at this point in the story. The scene went excellently from a casual conversation to a very intimidating threat in a matter of seconds, which I can thank Anthony Hopkins for with his awesome acting.
The Bad: Once more I have to criticize the lack of emotional attachment to the story. There is so much mystery and convoluted storytelling to really develop an emotional attachment to the show or its characters. Now don't get me wrong, the plot is very enjoyable because it's convoluted and filled with mystery, but I don't watch TV shows for the plot. I watch for the story, which involves characters and genuine emotion. Unless the show changes its course to clear some of the mystery around these characters so we can understand them, it won't ever hit the height of enjoyment I had gotten from the series' pilot episode.
I thought the ending scene was pretty poorly executed in all honesty. The writing for this show has usually been pretty good, but I felt it was lacking here because I ended up noticing so many inconsistencies which just confused me the entire time as I hoped they would be answered in some way. This confusion completely took away from the progression of Maeve's story which adds on to my point of the convoluted plot hurting the story. I feel like this should have been a powerful moment but I was confused with the staging of it all. Why was Maeve saying this to hector and not somebody closer to her like Clementine? Why did Hector just talk to her about it? We got no answers. Why did Hector and Armistice just leave the Man in Black? We didn't see them separate so I was very confused to just see them strolling into the town. We also cut to Elsie and Stubbs throughout the scene to add even more confusion. Apparently guests were arriving in 20 minutes so they ended the heist. Okay? Why did they start the heist if they knew this? Was the heist set up by them? How did they set it up exactly, especially since Hector was supposed to be in jail for longer than he was? The only reason he was out was because of the Man in Black. And if they are able to watch and interact with everything, how come nobody noticed Hector and Maeve talking for some odd reason? That conversation absolutely couldn't have been programmed and how has nobody noticed Maeve's drawings before? There were just too many inconsistencies and questions for this scene to be any good at all.
The Unknown: How is Bernard talking to Dolores? Does he just secretly take her at night after she goes to sleep? How does nobody notice this? Or is it possible that these talks with Dolores are actually happening in flashbacks or something? I would put this in The Bad, but I feel like there will be answers given about this in the future.
Why is Bernard keeping the host's patterns of glitches secret? And what was the stray drawing if it wasn't Orion? Could it be part of the maze?
Why did Dolores see Lawrence's daughter who was apparently not there? Why was she drawing the maze? Why did that trigger a response in Dolores? What are these flashbacks? Why is she remembering the staff like Maeve is? How are they both remembering these things anyways if they were technically asleep at the time?
What is the Man in Black's foundation? Two guests went to thank him, but we don't know what that was about. Could it have something to do with why he is a VIP of sorts? Also he knows about the existence of Arnold and that he died in the park. Does that mean he is a former employee or a friend of Ford's?
What is Ford's new narrative? Clearly it has something to do with Wyatt who seems to be more important than I had initially expected him to be.
What is the significance of Maeve's new discovery? She won't be able to remember it anyways, so how is she going to get past that block?
Best Moment: Ford's intimidating speech is probably my favourite scene in the show thus far.
Character of the Episode: Ford.
Conclusion: This episode was more solid plot progression and the show proves to be quite good at intriguing storytelling once more, but the flaws still stick out badly.
Summary: Teddy is given a backstory by Ford involving somebody named Wyatt who shot up his village. Teddy goes on a mission to hunt down Wyatt but is attacked by mysterious cultists. Dolores fights back against Rebus and actually kills him before escaping and running into William. Bernard talks with Ford who reveals that he used to have a partner named Arnold who died. Stubbs and Elsie chase down a stray who acts out and mysteriously kills himself.
The Good: There were a few parts of this I can confidently say is good.
Teddy's hunt for Wyatt is basic fun and is easy enough to follow. It's enjoyable enough but still flawed (see: The Bad).
Ford once more steals the show with a fantastic speech about Arnold. It was filled with mystery and Anthony Hopkins' performance is just fantastic to watch. There was so much fascinating content in that scene and it raises the most intriguing questions of the show so far (see: The Unknown).
Dolores killing was another cool scene that paid off of some set up from previous episodes and this episode with Dolores being unable to kill things. It's a nice bit of progress to emphasize that the hosts are growing in their ability to disobey their programming.
It was nice to get some actual character development for Bernard to make us start to care for him. He has been the most easily likeable so far and it was good to get some backstory and character for him. We still don't know his motivations but he is easy to like which makes him the first character I have a chance for caring about in this show. After complaining about the lack of character development, this is a good response to my complaints that hints that this show may still grasp some memorable characters.
The Bad: It's hard to care about the hosts since they aren't real characters. Teddy and Dolores' relationship falls completely flat because of this and their scenes are incredibly bland because I know that what they say isn't what they really feel since it is all programmed. It really takes away from my engagement and prevents me from becoming emotionally invested. Teddy's individual storyline was basic fun but even still it completely disappointed because I couldn't bother caring about Teddy. And it also is completely uninvolved with the main plot because I'm completely sure that Wyatt is just programmed and there isn't anything interesting about him that I want to discover.
Not a whole lot happened here. In a show so fixated on plot over characters and story, it's flaws in emotional attachment become very apparent when there isn't a whole lot going on plot-wise. There were several stretches n this episode when I was starting to get a little bored and lose interest.
The Unknown: What does the Man in Black want with Dolores? Why was she remembering him? Has he traumatized her in some way? Why did he want Dolores to shoot him? Does he want the hosts to obtain consciousness?
Why was Walter talking to Arnold? Why is that programming still here? Is somebody keeping it there, like Ford perhaps? Why did Walter hold a grudge? Is Maeve not the only one to start experiencing memories? Is this something in all of the hosts? Did somebody put this in the hosts?
How did Arnold die? How was it covered up as an accident? What did he do? What was his relationship with Ford? Was Ford involved in it at all? Does the accident have something to do with the incident? Is there any significance to Bernard still talking to Dolores like Arnold was?
Why is Bernard talking to Dolores? What does he see in her? Is he following the same path as Arnold?
Is Wyatt's cult group made of guests since Teddy couldn't kill them? Or is it just a stronger host that can't be killed by other hosts?
What was with the stray? Why did it go astray? What is with the Orion carvings? Why did it wake up from sleep mode? And why did it kill itself? Kissy had hat thing under his scalp for the maze? Could the stray have been trying to access that in some way by bashing his head in?
Best Moment: Ford talking about Arnold was interesting and fascinating.
Character of the Episode: Bernard this time for developing and because I don't want to give this to Ford every episode.
Conclusion: This was an entirely unspectacular episode. Less development, less memorable moments and less mystery. There were some flaws as usual but still some solid storyline progression. This was certainly enjoyable to watch but it was a step down from the last 2 episodes and I can tell this episode will be forgettable once I'm further into the show.
Summary: Two visitors, Logan and William arrive in Westworld and explore the world. Logan is rash and an asshole whereas William is kind and hesitant to hurt the hosts. The Man in Black finds a host named Lawrence and uses him to attempt to find the entrance to the maze. Maeve acts up and is taken backstage but she wakes up ad sees the realty of her world before being put back to sleep. Lee presents his narrative to Ford, but Ford doesn't like it and rejects it, choosing to create his own narrative which he has been working on.
The Good: This was a solid episode, even if it did dump another mass of mystery on our heads. There were several genuinely enjoyable scenes here that I felt weren't dominated by confusion and mystery, which there was a LOT of (see: The Unknown).
First of all, I love that we got to see the entire park in the eyes of a newcomer. We know nothing about Westworld and that made some of the first episode a little confusing since there was very little information offered. In this episode we learn a ton however by looking at everything through William's eyes as he arrives in the park with asshole friend Logan. We learn more about the hosts, the attraction of the park, what the guests are told and given before arriving and so much more. These scenes worked very well because they provided a lot of extremely satisfying answers mixed in with necessary exposition and world-building which will surely be very useful to help us understand what is happening in future episodes.
The Maeve storyline was also very good for the most part. The scene with Elsie and Maeve was very good as it helped us understand more about the hosts and how they work, specifically tackling things like the dreaming of hosts. It's nice to get more concrete answers for little things like this as it helps add to the sense of immersion we get in this show, which is probably its strongest aspect so far. The world feels genuinely thought out, fleshed out and filled with depth. The show even tells us in the spectacular ending dialogue from Ford (see: Best Moment) about how people always come back for the finer details. More on that later though, and for now let's get back to Maeve. I enjoyed the scene where Maeve escaped into the real world. the host incidents are rapidly increasing and it continues to add to the sense of tension and dread that the show is producing. There will obviously be a host outbreak at some point, but it's not a matter of if, but when. The show is using this to its full potential to build tension and suspense, though there are some flaws with this focus on tension (see: The Bad).
I really enjoyed the scenes with the Man in Black too, specifically the ones with Lawrence with his family. I thought the scenes were visually cool, but more importantly they helped build some sympathy for the hosts. With a lot of the cast being robots, it is very hard to get invested to their programmed personalities, so we absolutely needed some cruel actions like these to help us start sympathizing with the hosts. Logan's antics help with this as well. It makes it easier to relate with the hosts if we see them being misused by the humans, and I think the Man in Black scene did the best job of getting me to start to feel some sympathy. We are going to need more scenes like this to demonstrate why we may want to vouch for the hosts over the humans in charge and the guests. If executed properly, this could be a very good exploration of some morally gray territory.
Of course I loved Ford once more. Anthony Hopkins has been superb in the role and he was easily the highlight once more. I never liked Lee and I still think he is shallow and annoying, so it did some good to see Ford bring him some comeuppance for being a general dick with his final speech. But as I said before, more on that speech in Best Moment.
The Bad: The biggest problem with this show so far has been characters. It has done so many little things well which is very impressive, but it doesn't mean as much if it can't get the most basic aspect of storytelling right. Right now I'm intrigued by the plot, but I can't care less about the story. The characters themselves are dull to me and that takes away from a lot of the experience. We are introduced to William and Logan in this episode and I feel that we are meant to like them and grow attached to them but I just can't. Logan is an asshole so I don't care about him and William is just extremely generic. Without depth to their characters, I don't care about anything they do. The other characters are suffering as well. I don't care about a single person in charge of management, even the ones I'm supposed to like, including Bernard and Theresa. Their relationship was completely cold to me. Even Ford, who has been the best thing about the show so far, is too mysterious for me to actually care for him. He just interests me, nothing more. Now I'm not saying these characters are bad in design, but I haven't been given a reason to care for them which is a problem because it means I won't be able to get emotionally invested in the show and the individual character arcs. And of course, if I don't care, anything that happens won't be memorable or powerful. Unless this flaw is rectified, this show will likely not hit a score of 70 ever again, leaving it at good but not threatening great.
The plot is messy but I think it has been very well done, because I only have one minor flaw with it. I don't like that there is discord between park management. A multimillion (maybe even billion) dollar company needs to take care of everything, yet it seems like nobody cares about hierarchy or even bothers to listen to each other. This is notable with Maeve, as Bernard wants her taken off, but Elsie completely disobeys orders and puts her back in the park. We don't see any consequences coming to Elsie for this decision either which makes it feel more perplexing and awkward than anything.
The Unknown: Once more I'm left with so many questions.
What is the maze? Where is the entrance? Why does the Man in Black want to find it? How did he learn about it? Why did the girl say the maze isn't for him? Why do all the park people just let him do what he wants? Was my theory of the Man in Black saving the park from the previous incident correct? Has he earned a right to visit the park as much as possible because of this or something along the lines of that?
What were with Maeve's memories? Why did the Man in Black want her? What did he do with her? Why are her memories being triggered now? Will this happen to other hosts too? Why did Maeve wake up when she wasn't supposed to?
What is going on with Dolores? Why and how does she have a gun? What was with the one scene with Bernard? What did he want from her? He implies that they have had previous talks as well. What were they about?
What is the significance of Bernard and Theresa's relationship since it was treated as a really big deal?
What was Ford doing on the hill? What was that steeple in the ground? Could it be the entrance to the maze? How does it relate to Ford's narrative? Is the maze Ford's narrative?
Best Moment: Ford's speech at the end about what people truly want was so fascinating. It offers tons of possible insight as to what Ford's motives are, which are still murky. He clearly understands people and hosts very well though, which makes him very interesting as his knowledge could have a massive impact on or understanding of the story. I love that Ford completely shut down lee because of his ability to properly understand what humans want, whereas Lee is only doing what he wants. I also love that Ford's monologue completely explained to us in a very subtle way why we come back to this TV show. In a way the show is the park and we are the guests who keep coming back to learn more of the fascinating details about it, and that to me is a very good piece of writing that feels nearly fourth-wall-breaking but not quite.
Character of the Episode: Ford.
Conclusion: This was another strong episode. Though there is a major flaw with the lack of memorable characters, the show remains fascinating to watch and there were loads of great details given here to get us to start theorizing.
Summary: Westworld is an amusement park created by Robert Ford which consists of several lifelike robots, or hosts, that make it feel like a real life world. Guests are allowed to go in and can even kill the hosts, which are then fixed up by the staff at night. There is a mysterious man in the park who has been coming for 30 years with a secret agenda. An update was created by Ford but it's causing many of the hosts to malfunction and they are getting dangerous.
The Good: Westworld chose to open its season with massive amounts of mystery and intrigue which leaves our heads absolutely spinning trying to piece things together. It's such an ambitious choice and I think it's one that really works because it instantly makes this engaging television which leaves you desperate for more. The hook of this episode is the desire for answers, which I think it creates seamlessly in the first five minutes and it manages to explore it fantastically for the rest of the hour, even going as far as to top the mystery and intrigue that other great shows like Lost created. Of course this mystery-grounded introduction does leave room for some flaws (see: The Bad), but as long as those flaws can be corrected in future episodes while answers are slowly revealed, this can be another great TV show.
The show had an absolutely enthralling first scene which set up the setting, characters and premise of the show in a wonderful way. The early plot twist that Teddy was actually a host was a good surprise which provides a great hook to keep the viewer watching for the rest of the hour, with a lot of speculation going on in their head (see: The Unknown).
I also like the choice to show the same sort of scene over and over again to establish that the story will take place over many days, and more importantly to establish the repetitive nature of the lives of the hosts in order to help us sympathize a little more with them. It's a great choice from a cinematic perspective and it also pays dividends in the story which makes it a very smart inclusion.
I like the issues with the update being shown over and over. It adds a large sense of tension, letting us know that these robots are very unstable and we can't be sure what they may do next. The escalation of the malfunctions is excellent as we climax when Dolores actually kills a fly, despite the creators of the hosts saying "they can't even harm a fly". It's a great scene that lets us understand the impending danger ahead which will surely keep us on the edge of our seats.
Speaking of keeping us on the edge of our seats, I thought the shootout scene was really well done. By no means will we care about the people involved, and the show knew that so it kept us hooked in a different way: the show kept us interested to see what Lee's programmed speech was, which I thought was very smart. It didn't add tension to the scene, but rather it built anticipation in a splendidly organic way to ensure that we wouldn't get bored by the constant violence which was on display.
The scope of this show is really impressive. It has aimed really big and I absolutely hope it can succeed with its huge storyline. Additionally, I think the shooting of the show is excellent at conveying the grand scope of the show as many glorious shots display the vast mystery of Westworld.
The Bad: The nature of putting so much mystery in this show makes it really tough to review it. So much is put in The Unknown, and not enough in The Good. I enjoy the mystery, but it can't really be considered a good story. TV shows need a good story for us to really be emotionally invested as we can almost always relate in some way to a character's personal story arc. This show doesn't give us any story, and rather it hammers in a lot of plot. Sure it's intriguing to find out where the plot is headed since so much is unclear, but without a memorable story to keep us hooked in, it becomes a real chore to spend an entire season just watching a mystery slowly unfold. Of course this major flaw can e fixed if we can get real characters on the show who we can relate to and grow attached to. The human we have so far are totally generic and two-dimensional, whereas the hosts are robots and as such can't exactly be considered characters since they aren't even real.
And as a side note, Lee's character is totally obnoxious and clichéd. I really don't need to see any more of him unless he receives some proper development so I can have a reason to care for him.
The Unknown: So much to put in here.
What is the time period exactly? How far into the future is the story taking place? We know that Westworld has been open at least 30 years due to mentions of an outbreak from 30 years ago. What was that outbreak? What caused it? What happened? How was it resolved?
Who is the man in black from the intro scene? He says he has been going to the park for 30 years, meaning he was around for the outbreak. Was he a part of it? Did he cause the outbreak? Could he have saved the park from the outbreak? Is he plotting for another outbreak? What are his motives exactly? What did he do with Dolores? He said he had a history with her, so what is that history? Why did he specifically target Dolores and Kissy? What was that on Kissy's scalp? Is it a symbol? A map? What does it mean? And why does the man want it? How does he plan to use it?
Ford is another mysterious character. I was tempted to put him in The Good, but we know too little about him. What are his motives? Why did he create the hosts? What does he want to do with them? How is he able to control them like that? Did he program them to be controlled by him somehow? Or is he a host too? We have seen the host twist in the intro scene, so I'm betting that one of the human characters is a host. My money is on Ford programming himself to be a host at this point. What did he mean by his "we are as good as we are going to get" speech. It hints at his motives, but doesn't come anywhere close to revealing them.
What is the problem with the update? Is it the reveries which are causing things to go downhill? What is happening to the hosts exactly? Why are they getting so confused and receiving non-programmed lines? Why did the fly affect the sheriff? Why did the picture affect Peter? Why was Dolores able to kill the fly? What is significant about Dolores? She is the oldest host, so does that mean anything? Could she have been modelled after a significant person in Ford's life, seeing as she is the first host?
What was with Walter going on a killing spree? Clearly the reverie of milk caused him to murder with the milk, but why didn't he die when he was shot? What caused him to keep going?
Why did Elsie kiss Clementine? What was the point of that scene? It felt extremely awkward and out of place, so I was tempted to place it in The Bad, but I get the feeling there is some significance to it.
Where were Walter and Peter sent away to? How many other hosts are there? Where is Westworld exactly? Is it in a desert? Space? Underwater? Seeing the leaking water in that one room makes me suspect it may be underwater with a fake sky, but I'm not completely sure about that.
Best Moment: I really enjoyed Ford's speech. Anthony Hopkins is a brilliant actor and the scene had loads of interesting mystery.
Character of the Episode: Ford.
Conclusion: This was a very unique pilot episode. It completely lacked in character and story development, but the mystery is so gripping and exciting to follow that it makes this pilot one of the most engaging and genuinely thought-provoking I have seen. I think it should be considered a great pilot because of what it accomplishes. It's just up to the rest of the series to correct the errors that this episode did make.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.