Last night's episode of Westworld is hailed as the best one yet by majority of the reviewers but since I am shallow as hell I did like the pure old Western fun and the jail break sequence of last week a little more than Contrapasso. That said this episode took us perhaps the furthest down the park and ironically we didn't spend a moment in the main town of Sweetwater.
The episode opened with Ford talking to Old Bill about the old dog he had. The moment he mentioned that dog me being me got so nervous something will happen to the dog. Ford story was about his brother letting the dog off the leash and the dog chasing after a cat, ultimately ripping it to shreds. The dog sat there after killing it, confused. Now that was a story that parallels a number of things - Man in Back chasing the Maze for whatever reasons, the hosts chasing freedom (what will they do if and when they have it?) and Ford creating that park, but to what end?
Then we see Dolores, Logan and William along with their host companion standing in front of a city of Pariah, which is essentially the Las Vegas of the park. Dolores is hearing voices again. Inside the city we see a bit of debauchery going on as Logan explains to William that this section of the park is the most elaborate one and drops few hints about Arnold, a guy who made the park happen and how there isn't even a photo of him. That's interesting since we did see a photo, Ford claimed to be Arnold but who knows anything anymore?
Meanwhile, Man in Black notices that Teddy is close to dying so him and Lawrence stop. A little boy, I think the same one Ford saw few episodes back, shows up and MiB sends him to get water. He then empties their water sack, slits Lawrence's throat and hangs him up from the tree upside down so that the blood gets into the sack. I was so damn confused.
We check in with the two technicians that Maeve woke up on in episode 2. One of them, Felix Lutz (took a while for me to figure out that his name is Felix, I was like why he was called that in the episode when the character is Lutz on imdb? Felix Lutz, duh, Sati) is clearly less douchy than the other one who mentions he has some VR fun waiting for him. In new EW interview Lisa Joy mentioned how the wealthy people can go have their fun in a real place like the park but those less wealthy have VR at their disposal.
Meanwhile, it turns out that MiB put some of Lawrence's blood into Teddy to keep him alive. He mentions that Wyatt men have Dolores so Teddy is immediately interested in going with Man in Black, thinking that their mission is to get Dolores back.
Back in Pariah Dolores is having a conversation with William asking him what he means by saying 'real world' and showing him incredible amounts of depth for a host. William starts noticing that Dolores is far more human than he was led to believe by Logan when he was telling him about the hosts. Dolores then sees herself walk with the parade. She follows her double until someone whispers the sleep command and Dolores faints.
We then see Dolores in the corporate headquarters being questioned by Ford. Ford asks her questions about Arnold and she responds the last time she had contact with Arnold was 34 years ago. She says Arnold told her she will help him bring an end to this place. Ford is clearly clueless and in desperate need of answers and it seems that Arnold is outsmarting him, especially that after he leaves Dolores says that he knows nothing and she didn't tell him anything, and she is clearly speaking to Arnold.
Meanwhile Felix is working on an artificial bird trying to bring it back. The other technician walks in on him and freaks out about Felix doing that, making fun of his ambitions of being something more than just 'a butcher'.
In Pariah our group meets the big boss....and it's Lawrence, only going by the name of El Lazo. He recruits them on a mission - the robbery of a stage coach to get an explosive liquid. Dolores finally gets a change of clothes and a gun and her, William, Logan and accompanying host rob a stagecoach during which a fight occurs. Logan is getting strangled and William shoots a whole bunch of hosts to save him. The host who accompanied the group is dead too. El Lazo is happy and invites the group to stay and party in Pariah.
Back in the headquarters Elsie is teaching a host how to pour water. At one point of a scene this dude's junk took half the screen (HBO, man. I almost spat out my tea. That's right, tea. I'm too dumb to comprehend this show sober so I cannot be drinking watching it). Elsie sees the body of a host who tried to kill her being taken away and she finds out he is about to be incinerated. She then blackmails one of the technicians with a photo of him having sex with a dead host. Elsie examines the body of her attacker and finds a wire in his arm. She goes to Bernard and tells him that someone is using the hosts to smuggle data out of the park.
In Pariah, during a party filled with nudity and sex Logan taunts William and William finally snaps and has enough of Logan. At that time Dolores is wandering around the building and finds a room with a woman holding cards. She picks a card - and it has a maze on it. When Dolores looks up she sees herself sitting opposite of her telling her she needs to find the maze. Dolores then finds the wire in her arm (a vision), freaks out and runs.
Dolores then sees El Lazo pouring the contents of the stolen explosive liquid into the body of a dead host. She then finds William and tells him they need to run. She tells him of a voice telling her she needs him and the two kiss. Meanwhile the guys who hired them to dothe robbery find out that explosives are not in the bottle and start to beat up Logan. Dolores and William see it but William decides not to help him. As they run away, Logan smiles.
Dolores and William are ambushed. William is getting beaten up and tells Dolores to run but instead...in a matter of seconds she guns all of the attackers down. William is stunned and asks Dolores how she did that and she responds that she imagined a story where she wasn't a damsel. That was such an amazing moment. I think everyone watching cheered at Dolores doing all of that.
Dolores and William manage to board a train and escape from Pariah. And there they find El Lazo with a coffin - inside a host, filled with explosives. The group decides not to kill each other. Dolores sees a maze drawn on the coffin and says "I'm coming". And we see William and Lawrence not being there behind her...what is going on?
Then we see Main in Black and Teddy enter a bar. Suddenly Ford joins them. Man in Black is clearly surprised and asks Teddy if he knows who this is and Teddy of course doesn't. Man in Black and Ford clearly go a long way back. MiB informs him that he always thought this place lacked a proper villain and MiB wants to fill the role. MiB asks him if Wyatt, a new character, is a worthy adversary to stop him from finding the center of the maze.
We find out something really interesting - Man in Black says that when Arnold died 35 years ago he almost took that place with him but he stopped him. Man in Black and Ford talk some more and Ford 'heals' Teddy just by touching his arm. He lets Man in Black know he is not there to stop him and he should continue on his journey. But at one point of the sequence with these two MiB wonders what he would find if he opened Ford up and pulls a knife on him. Seemingly that scene was there to show us Teddy's reflex to protect a guest from harm. But that is a very weird moment - why did MiB threatened Ford like that?
In any case that scene was such a treat - there were many intense scenes this episode but this one was the best. Seeing Hopkins and Harris simply sitting there, talking was just so much fun and joy. They both clearly have fun playing those characters and it's not the first time they shared the screen (Nixon, The Human Stain, maybe I'm missing more?) but I haven't seen them in an intense showdown like that before. Hopefully they will meet in the series again.
In the episode's wonderful final moment we are back to Felix who is working on coding that bird again. Suddenly the bird is awake and starts flying around to Felix's delight. Felix spins around watching the bird until he stops - upon seeing Maeve, sitting there, with bird on her hand. She knows Felix's name and tells him they need to have a chat.
In the episode filled with confusing moments that final scene was perhaps the one that was the most confusing - and I am referring to how calm Maeve was. Last episode she was still very much clueless - she knew there are some weird people in hazmat suits visiting her world and that she has been shot but that was it. Here we see Maeve completely calm - the kind of calm she could be only if she understands her entire predicament and has a plan of escaping.
It was suggested by the fans that perhaps Maeve, having the ability to wake herself up, pretended to be asleep. It seems from the future episode's summaries that she will blackmail Felix and that creepy technician to help her out. We also see her, Armistice and Hector attacking...it's very interesting how Maeve is trying to break the barrier physically, while Dolores is breaking it mentally.
(Cover song in this episode: Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have)
Next episode - The Adversary. Lutz is charmed by Maeve; Elsie discovers evidence that could point to sabotage; the Man in Black and Teddy clash with a garrison.
Below you can see the trailer for all the remaining episodes and here is my breakdown of screencaps from it.
1x01 The Original
1x03 The Stray
1x04 Dissonance Theory