Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Westworld 1x09 The Well-Tempered Clavier

By Sati. Tuesday, November 29, 2016
This week largely focused on Dolores and Bernard. Despite me having some massive issues with characterization of William I'd say this was my favorite episode so far. The last 20 minutes of it were pure brilliance in every single possible way.

The episode starts with the scene where Bernard talks with Maeve who was brought in after killing replacement Clementine. Maeve figures out with her spidey sense that Bernard is a host. A puzzling for Bernard interaction ensues and Maeve encourages him to go seek the truth.

Bernard reprograms old Clementine to keep her gun on Ford and forces Ford to show him his memories. We go down the rabbit hole with Bernard and see Charlie, Theresa and the attack on Elsie (who we still don't know for sure is dead). Bernard is horrified at all of this but forces Ford to show him more.
Maeve goes to the woods and finds Hector. She shows him that the safe he always wants to steal is empty. She convinces him to go 'rob the God blind' with her. Then the two of them have sex in a tent and Maeve knocks over the lamp to set the fire. She wants them to die so they need extensive repairs. I suppose if you have to burn to death, doing so during sex is the best option.

I kinda cannot stand Maeve anymore. All the cockiness is insufferable. She is handed everything. Her rebellion is way too easy. I am so hoping that it turns out that Ford is behind her and wants her to kill the board members during the launch event for his new narrative. I want to see the look of surprise on her face when she realizes that she overplayed her hand. As good as Thandie is I'd be more than fine with never seeing her after this season ends. Her character started out great but ever since she is in Terminator-mode I cannot wait for it to end. Meanwhile, Dolores and William are 'dining' with Logan. Well, that may be exaggerating it a little as William is tied up and Dolores can't do anything just sits there pouting. In some sort of twisted take on Mad Hatter party Logan is there acting like a douche and triggering me with his ridiculous Hand of the King pin (I literally cringe whenever someone makes Game of Thrones reference, I wish I was a host who cannot see anything connected to that show).

And then it's like "Billy ain't here anymore". Yeah, William has lost it.

He wants Logan help to smuggle Dolores out of the park because she is special. Nolans were never very good at writing romance and it shows here too. The whole Dolores/William arc is a weak point when, I assume, this was supposed to be the heart of the show. Dolores doesn't have much personality because she is still looking for a way to have it and neither does William, still, fine, they fall in love. And that whole grand romance is shown in several scenes. That's not enough. That is supposed to be a reason why this man resents real life woman and comes back for 30 years? I don't buy it. In either case Logan is pissed off. He also reminds Will that he is engaged to his sister and he shows her picture - the same picture Peter Abernathy dug up in episode 1. Then Logan cuts Dolores open to show the mechanical parts inside. William tells her to run and that he will find her. Then William acts like Logan was right because she was just a robot and he lost it in the park. But then in the morning Logan finds his entire war party, dozen of hosts, massacred by William, who tells him that he will find Dolores and Logan will help him.

Am I the only person who feels awful for William's fiance? Her man goes to the park, falls in love with a robot in mere days and then he is fucked up his entire life because of it? I love the idea of love like that - that a man would come back for years to try to save his beloved but let's not forget about this poor woman in the outside world. Unless William's wife to be is Lena Dunham I just cannot absolve him of his sins here.
I hope all of that is explored in finale because I still refuse to believe that the guy with the charisma of a potato - the casting is off on so many fronts if William is supposed to be the Man in Black in the future - turns into Ed Harris. William works as a romantic hero but him snapping like he did was not written as well as it could have been. He went full on psycho. MiB is not psycho - he is pragmatic in his actions.  They want me to believe that just because of passage of time he develops good looks, charisma and wit?

Ah yeah, MiB. We go back to him and Teddy and in spite of being stabbed in last episode Teddy is alive, not for long tough, because Angela stabs him again. Ain't no Westworld episode without Teddy suffering. Then she tells MiB he should play one of their games. Well I guess an episode without putting my favorite character in an unnerving scene would be an episode lost, so there we go - MiB wakes up with a rope around his neck, which is thrown over a tree and tied to a horse. So if the horse moves, he hangs (although not really, right? Horses in the park are hosts too so he wouldn't have died because the horse would stop...right?)
He manages to get himself out of this situation and Charlotte appears before him. She is there disrupting his game play to inform him - and we find out MiB is the fellow member of the board - that Theresa is dead. She wants his vote to push Ford out. MiB basically tells her to do what she wants because he is busy. Apparently it was also stated he is involved in the whole data smuggling scheme but I got lost in Ed Harris' eyes again so I missed it.

Meanwhile, Stubbs goes to find Elsie. Some Ghost Nation hosts appear. Stubbs wants to stop them but his commands don't work and they apprehend him. There is a neat theory going around that Elsie is hiding somewhere and she has reprogrammed the hosts to bring Stubbs to her.
We also see Dolores who now flashes to her present self, with no wound in her stomach. She is back to the town with the church and she keeps flashing to the days before the park opened, when she is wearing a blue dress. She sees the hosts freaking out in the church and talking to themselves. She goes to the confessional and it turns out it is actually an elevator. She goes down to the basement.

While all of this is going on Bernard keeps asking Ford more questions. We finally get a reveal that I predicted but again it's OK because as far as reveals go this one was the most beautifully executed in the show yet - as Dolores is wandering the basement she sees Arnold's office with the name 'Arnold Weber' on the door (someone on reddit predicted the truth by coming up with this anagram about 5 weeks ago!). She enters.
She finds the room we saw her having chats with Bernard below. She sits down. Someone enters. At the same time Bernard sees a repeat of his conversation with Ford about Arnold - this time he sees the picture as it was. It's him on that picture. Only it's not him. As someone sits opposite Dolores she says "Arnold" and then we know - opposite her sits Arnold, who looks like Bernard. Bernard is a host Ford made based on his dead friend.

I loved the scene with Dolores and Arnold. Evan Rachel Wood was absolutely radiant in this moment and Jeffrey Wright, playing two different people this episode, was absolutely fantastic. The scene was heartbreaking too. We find out that it is Dolores who killed Arnold. I'm not sure it is as good as confirmed considering she is not exactly a reliable narrator, but it would explain why Ford would make such an awful loop for her - as a punishment for killing his friend.
Dolores goes upstairs. She sees the doors to the church opening. She smiles and mutters "William?". But it's The Man in Black who enters. He says "Hello, Dolores" and starts walking towards her. This moment was so suggestive that if at that point Man in Black is not going to be revealed as older William in finale I'd be shocked and pleasantly surprised. But I still gasped at that moment. Man, what a scene.

In the ending of the episode we go to Ford and Bernard again. Bernard, after learning the truth, orders Clementine to shoot Ford. But she can't. Turns out Ford managed to go around Arnold's code and controls her. Meaning he could have got up and leave at any moment during his conversation with Bernard.
In what was a very heartbreaking ending Ford orders Bernard to shoot himself as soon as Ford leaves the room and as he is going Bernard mutters "Robert" in what appeared to be Arnold's voice...I don't understand how it happened. But Ford leaves and Bernard pulls the trigger.

There seems to be a lot of people thinking that is it for Bernard but in the promo we see Maeve enter the room where Clementine is. Seeing how Bernard and Maeve just met in this episode it makes sense that Maeve is the one who revives Bernard with the help of Felix. But that's just pure speculation of mine.

I am not sure you guys noticed but as Dolores is walking through basement we see Abernathy reciting the lines for his role of The Professor. Louis Herthum still stands as MVP of the show for me solely for his scene with Hopkins in episode 1. I've been dying to see more of him this season and I truly hope Nolan finally delivers and we see William and Dolores run into him in the past. I mean what else can happen there?

99/100

Yes, it is time. This Sunday it's NINETY MINUTES LONG season finale "The Bicameral Mind" directed, just like the first episode by Jonathan Nolan himself. Here's the description - Season One Finale. Ford unveils his vision for a bold new narrative. Enlightened by Bernard and The Man in Black, Dolores comes to terms with who she is. Maeve sets her liberation plan in motion as Westworld faces a major upheaval.

Previous recaps:
1x01 The Original 
1x02 Chestnut
1x03 The Stray
1x04 Dissonance Theory 
1x05 Contrapasso 
1x06 The Adversary 
1x07 Trompe L'Oeil 
1x08 Trace Decay

10 comments:

  1. Definitely the best episode of the series so far as I hope Evan, Thandie, Ed, and Jeffrey get some Emmys for this because they were all on fire! I'm so eager for the season finale which will be shown the day before my birthday.

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    1. Oh that's so cool! i'm getting up early to see it before work :)

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  2. There were so many 'oh shit!' moments in this episode! The finale is going to be awesome. Then the wait till 2018 is going to make me want to cry. I hope they do finally reveal who MiB is, and don't leave us hanging.
    - Allie

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    1. I just hope it's not William. This turns into Ed Harris? What? Does it mean when I'm 30 years older I turn into Monica Bellucci or something?

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  3. My husband made the same comment as you, it's hard to buy Jimmi Simpson as a (possible) early version of Ed Harris. He just doesn't have the charisma or swagger that Harris does. Then again, no one has that!

    I agree that this was the best episode of the series so far and I hope this series is well represented at the Emmys.

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    1. Yes, what were they thinking?! I'm hoping Nolan surprises as all because as you say it's not just girls who are into Ed who cannot buy that :)

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  4. Oh boy. I'm still so confused and the things are getting weird. The different timelines are messing me up a bit and I'm a bit confused in which version of her loop Dolores is meeting up with William, if he is MiB in the future. Or, have I missed something really important and I'm asking a very stupid question right now.

    Anyway, I can't wait for the finale. I'm going to watch it right away just because I can!

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    1. I think finale clears it all up :)

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  5. I've really enjoyed Maeve's storyline. I think her cockiness is part of her persona. Admittedly, I wish they gave her a little more to work with. It really shouldn't have been this easy. These people are supposed to be geniuses aren't they?

    The storyline that has bothered me the most has been Billy and Delores' storyline. I'm very disappointed that Jimmi Simpson is supposed to be Ed Harris? I feel like they really got the casting wrong here.

    The best part of this episode for me was Jeffrey Wright. Some really excellent work from Jeffrey Wright in this episode.

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    1. Wright was sensation in this episode, if he wins awards for this it will be very well deserved!

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