Monday, October 17, 2016

Westworld 1x03 The Stray

By s. Monday, October 17, 2016
New episode of Westworld was definitely the most confusing one yet. I sit here, feeling dumb, waiting till someone responds to my questions on reddit or our board.

We open with another one of the secret chats between Dolores and Bernard. Bernard has a gift for her - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He asks Dolores to read several passages and wants to know what she thinks about them. He also tells her he used to read this book to his son. We then see Dolores wake up and start her daily loop.
While Dolores stares in the mirror she opens the drawer and finds a gun there. The second time she looks, gun is not there, when the mysterious voice asks "do you remember?" Dolores has a memory of Man in Black in the barn but we still don't know what exactly happened there.

We move on to William who has his first heroic adventure as he saves Clementine from an outlaw by shooting him. Important take away from that scene was that William was shot by an outlaw and he was knocked on the ground due to impact of it. In the first episode when the Man in Black was shot he had no reaction to it. It's yet another clue to William's scene happening earlier...I think.
Back in the control room Elsie talks a bit to Bernard. Turns out the crazy milk guy was talking to someone who was not there called 'Arnold'. He also killed only those of the hosts who killed him in previous storylines. Bernard seems confused by all of this and sends Elsie and Stubbs in pursuit of a missing host.

Back in the park we see Teddy and a new girl (a host? a guest?). They gun down some folks and Teddy has a brief conversation with Maeve who has a memory of seeing him in the room of horrors she saw when she woke up during her surgery.
Teddy then meets up with Dolores who wants to go away with him. He responds they will run away 'someday', with which Dolores takes issue. Then we see Ford talking to Teddy. Ford really started showing his villainous side in this episode - he told Teddy, callously, that no one ever bothered to give him a proper back story because there was no point of it. Ford introduces a new story - Teddy is to hunt a villain called Wyatt who "claims he can hear the voice of God".

On another loop we see Dolores approached by guests who wants to have their way with her. Teddy appears and they back off. Teddy then teaches Dolores how to shoot...but she cannot squeeze the trigger. A group shows up with the girl who accompanied Teddy before and they tell him they are hunting for Wyatt. He leaves with them, leaving Dolores alone.
Meanwhile Stubbs and Elsie approach a group of hosts and in one of the tents Elsie finds carvings, one of them captures her attention. She later realizes she is seeeing the carving of Orion constellation, which makes no sensed because hosts don't really know what stars are. Stubbs and her finally find a host, who is covered with blood. He lifts a huge rock and instead of attacking Elsie he bashes his own head in.

Back in the headquarters Bernard wants to have a talk with Ford. He witnesses Ford scold a technician for covering one of the hosts. Ford tells the technician that the hosts don't feel or think. Bernard tells Ford of new glitches. We are now in Ford's office, with one host playing on the piano, and a wall of faces in the background, one of them being Dolores. Ford tells Bernard of Arnold - his associate. We find out Arnold wanted to make the robots "real" - he wanted them to be like people, feel, think, be conscious. Ford says that given the nature of the park it is mercy to make the hosts forget. We also find out that Arnold died in 'an accident'.
We did get to see a brief flashback with a very impressive shot of de-aged Anthony Hopkins. We also saw Armistice and a host who greeted William in their previous roles. I found it quite strange that we didn't see Arnold in the flashback. We only saw him on a picture Ford showed Bernard but who knows if that picture was real? Ford tells Bernard to not make Arnold's mistakes and remember that the hosts aren't real. He tells Bernard he knows his son's death is still causing him pain.

We then see Bernard having a video chat with his wife, played by Gina Torres. It was a very heartbreaking scene when they remember their dead son. It really does seem like Bernard will go into Arnold's footsteps not just because of his scenes with Dolores but because we also leanred from Ford that Arnold's life was too marked with tragedy.
Meanwhile on his new quest Teddy is killed by the masked dudes who don't seem affected by him shooting at them, which leads me to believe they are some sick, sadistic guests.

Back to Dolores, Bernard tells her that he thinks he made a mistake having those chats with her and he asks her who would she want to be - someone who can think for themselves and ask questions or someone who is safe. Dolores has trouble answering but tells him she needs to discover who she is to be free. This conversation leads Bernard to abandon his notion of resetting Dolores and he decides to continue on their path of evolving.
Back in the park Dolores finds out that Teddy is most likely dead. She is back at her farm now, alone. And this is when things started to become really trippy.

Dolores sees her father dead on the ground, but suddenly his face chances to Peter, who played the part of her father previously.
The guests and the accompanying hosts are there, waiting for Dolores. One of the drags her to the barn. We see Dolores discover a gun hidden in the hay - no doubt she herself took it out of the drawer and hid it there - and this time...she hears someone say "kill him" and she shoots the approaching host. She runs out and one of the other attackers shoots her. Dolores sees a wound in her stomach but then the scene slightly rewinds and when she sees the attacker approach with a gun again, she manages to run away. In the end of the episode she collapses into William's arms.

This has given me legit headache. I have several ideas hear so bear with me:

1. I believe Ford is well aware Arnold is messing with the hosts, somehow. His new Wyatt narrative is some sort of a weapon against that. Wyatt is someone who 'hears the voice of God' and that would be the voice of Arnold.
2. Dolores actions - shooting the host - may not be triggered by Bernard. It may just be Arnold's voice saying 'kill him'. Her doing that and running into William still allows the possibility of two time frames.

3. Figuring out how does the change of her father actor and dozens of different things fit into this is impossible to grasp for me at the time. Don't ask me how Man in Black fits in here. But at this point I'm more inclined to believe he is Arnold then William. MiB says 'he is never coming back'. He is also human.
Help me, I know nothing.

This episode was directed by Neil Marshall who directed the best Game of Thrones episode - Blackwater. The episode was surprisingly light on action given how this is Marshall's strength. We got an episode centered around Dolores again which was surprising but we also got several big mysteries here the main one being Arnold and the fact that the hosts can hear the voice, which I think it's safe to assume is his.

I also have to praise Evan Rachel Wood's performance here - her acting when she is a host outside of the narrative and when she is Dolores in narrative is so different and on point. The episode was also highly unnerving and disturbing with Ford showing his ugly side of treating hosts like objects and the confirmation that Dolores exist so she could be raped by the guests, even by the hosts, simply because the narrative calls for it.

With all the loops and questions no wonder the finale of the season will be 91 minutes long, the longest finale ever to the series on HBO.


Next episode - Dissonance Theory. Dolores joins William and Logan on a bounty hunt; The Man in Black finds a critical clue in his search to unlock the maze; Dr. Ford and Theresa discuss the park's future; Maeve is troubled by a recurring vision.

Previous recaps:
1x01 The Original 
1x02 Chestnut


  1. An absolutely incredible episodes with great performances from Wood, Hopkins, Wright, Hemsworth, Woodward, and Marsden. The scenes with Woodward and Hemsworth were fun to watch as you could tell there's an attraction between the two but they're both trying to be professional.

    1. Yeah Stubbs and Elsie had awesome chemistry!

  2. I didn't know Marshall directed this episode. That's awesome. Blackwater is easily in my top 10 of Game of Thrones episodes.

    I thought the voice Dolores heard was the Man in Black himself. I also think Dr. Ford likely killed Arnold, and more sinister - maybe turned him into a host himself if that's possible? The way the scene cut to the piano player made me wonder if that WAS Arnold or just a host created in his image?

    1. I think this wasn't the voice of anyone we heard before. I think it's very possible Ford killed Arnold too