Westworld Recap: 1×01 “The Original”

 

Welcome to the pilot of Westworld. The opening credits for this show are pretty amazing. To the tune of eerie music, in black and white or diluted color, we see a skeletal hand playing a player piano, human pupils, instruments putting together robotic humans and horses, among other striking images.

“Bring her back online,” a deep male voice says as the lights come up on a naked blonde woman sitting in a chair. Her voice apologizes for not being quite herself in a Southern drawl, and the voice crisply tells her to lose the accent. The woman’s body itself stays motionless, even as a fly crawls over her face, and even onto her pupil. She tells him she’s in a dream, and that she’s terrified. He assures her there’s nothing to be afraid of, as long as she answers his questions. Has she ever questioned the nature of her reality? No, she says.

The next thing you know, she’s waking up in bed, her beautiful, perfectly curled hair splayed all about her. This is Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood. “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world,” she says in voiceover. “I choose to see the beauty.” Dressed, she emerges onto her porch and greets her father, who asks if she’s going to go “set down some of this natural splendor.” The camera pans over a wide, desert world, then over a player piano.

The male interrogator asks her what she thinks of the guests. Dolores’s voice gently corrects him, “You mean the newcomers?” We see James Marsden sitting on a train in a cowboy hat, listening calmly to people reminisce about the last time they came here. Dolores’s voiceover says something flimsily indulgent about the newcomers, saying they’re looking for a place to be free. Teddy strides into the center of town, holding his bag, past men on horses and women with parasols, and a sheriff putting together a posse to hunt a murderer named Hector Escaton. The score is excellent, by the way. It’s dramatic, with notes of triumph, but remains unsettling at even seemingly positive moments. Teddy declines the offer to join the sheriff’s band of enforcers and instead goes into a bar to order some whiskey. A prostitute offers him a discount since there’s “not much of a rind on you,” but he declines; he’d rather earn a woman’s love. Thandie Newton, as a fellow prostitute, does the oh-so-tired “I’m a prostitute so my attitude about heterosexual romance is jaded, yet sounds wise” thing as she interrupts that he’s always paying for it, one way or another [Janes: Such sage wisdom I’ve never heard before!]. But Teddy isn’t paying attention; he’s spotted Dolores out the window.

Just as Dolores is saddling up to go, he picks up a can she’s dropped. It’s not a meet-cute, though: they know each other. He has apparently promised her in the past that he would come back, and today is the day. So he asks to accompany her home, and they go for a romantic ride on the bare, shrub-covered landscape. At one point they stop so that Dolores can remind us with a hefty dose of Unsubtle Metaphor that we’re watching a prestige drama. Pointing to a herd of cattle, she explains that the one running in the opposite direction is the “Judas steer.” Every other animal will follow the Judas steer around, so you just have to control him and make him go where you want. Also, Dolores has some thoughts on paths. Namely, that everyone has one, and that Teddy’s leads to her. This is one optimistic lady.

They arrive back at Dolores’s house after nightfall, only to hear gunfire coming from the house. Teddy rides on, wielding a gun, and leaves Dolores behind. Meanwhile, Mr. Dolores is pressed under the foot of an outlaw in a fedora, who shoots him and then pours milk out of a jug down his own throat, and then on top of the body. With milk sloppily all over his face (it’s seriously gross) he hands the jug off to his apparent co-conspirator, who saunters back in the house, where we can just about see a second body. Everything looks pretty good for the criminals until gunfire blasts them both down, leaving giant puddles of milk and blood on the floor. Teddy’s the hero! He’s killed everyone!

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The man from the beginning has a voiceover telling Dolores that she was built to gratify the desires of the visitors, and so was everyone she knows. This makes little sense as Dolores runs up to shriek over her father’s dead body, but then all of a sudden there’s another white dude in an old-fashioned hat, this one played by Ed Harris. (The character has no name, and “Man in Black” is annoying to type, so I’m just going to call him Ed.) Ed greets her by informing her that her daddy gave in quick. How charming. Crying, she points a gun at him and hisses, “And you’ll be following right behind him, you son of a bitch.” He slaps her right down and reproaches her for not greeting him like an old friend, even though he’s been coming here for thirty years. But he thinks her newfound pluck is absolutely charming. Yuck.

Teddy comes blustering out of the house, but Ed just sighs and greets him by name, then asks if “they” have taught Teddy any new tricks, like sitting up or begging. He offers Teddy first shot, even. But as Teddy whips out his gun and shoots, the visitor just keeps advancing, unhurt, smiling widely. Teddy and Dolores look horrified, while in voiceover, the interrogator tells Dolores that she can’t hurt the newcomers. Meanwhile, Ed gives a little speech about how people in Westworld are paired off because winning is no fun unless someone else loses, and Teddy’s here to be the loser. Teddy presses the gun to Ed’s head and then sinks to the ground. Ed pats Teddy on the shoulder almost kindly, then drags Dolores off by the neck of her dress. As Teddy shoots ineffectually at him, the visitor stops, impatient. Dolores begs him not to hurt Teddy and promises she’ll do whatever he wants. But he says he didn’t pay all this money because he wanted it easy. He shoots Teddy in the chest and then drags her off to the barn as she screams horrifically. Meanwhile, the voiceover Dolores repeats that she’s lucky to be alive and “this world” can be beautiful.

The next morning Dolores wakes up in her bed in the exact same position as yesterday, and Teddy is once again riding the train into town. This time two girls are cooing over the realistic characters. One deems Teddy perfect; the other one giggles that she’s “more interested in the bad guys.”

Meanwhile, corporate types stand around a tiny model of the Westworld world. In glass-walled labs, people are building the horses and androids in different stages of finish; one very realistic-looking horse is walking around, and naked androids sit on stools. (With HBO being the class act that they are, they show a whole bunch of android boobs and female android butts, and spend barely any time lingering on the male bodies.) The set of the lab is a really good contrast to Westworld itself; it’s all modern plastic and glass, in black and red, as opposed to the muted brown tones and natural landscape of Westworld.

In one lab, a man and woman (whose names are Bernard and Elsie, according to IMDb—Bernard’s name is eventually used, but Elsie’s never is as far as I can tell) are examining a naked female android, the same one who propositioned Teddy in the bar (the frame is extending just low enough to see nipple, of course). They watch her touch her finger to her lip. Bernard announces that it’s a “whole new class of gestures,” and that someone named Ford slipped it in without telling anyone before the “update.” He calls them reveries—they’re tied to specific memories. Elsie can’t believe that, since the memories are purged at the end of each narrative loop. “But they’re still there, waiting to be overwritten. He found a way to access them,” says Bernard. Um, OK, I think these people need to encrypt their data better. He says it’s like a subconscious. “A hooker with hidden depths? That’s everyone’s dream,” says Elsie, who apparently thinks real-world sex workers actually are just robots with no actual memories or lives of their own. As soon as Bernard gets a phone call and leaves, she leans forward and kisses the android full on the mouth, then smiles to herself. It’s a good moment: it just reminds you once again that these beings are treated like objects by even the humans who fashion them with such care.

The call that Bernard received was apparently from a cold-looking woman, who informs him on his arrival that one of his “creatures” is restless. One of the ones in cold storage, sub-level 83. A second man there promises to take care of it with a response team, and Bernard says drily that they all enjoy playing dress-up as much as the guests, and that the “hosts” can’t hurt him. The other man—according to IMDb, which I had to consult frequently for this recap because the characters don’t bother to use each other’s names, his name is Stubbs and he is played by the Hemsworth brother you’ve never heard of, Luke—says all children rebel eventually. I read a review that compared this to Jurassic Park (both were written by Michael Crichton, after all), quoting “Life finds a way.” I think that notion, “all children rebel eventually,” is this show’s equivalent. Not quite as memorable, though.

“Every time your team rolls out an update, there’s a possibility of a critical failure,” says the woman, who according to IMDb is named Theresa. Bernard says that they don’t update the ones in cold storage and that there hasn’t been a critical failure in the park in thirty years. Then he leaves to go help the response team with “his” creature. “They’re only yours until they stop working, Bernie. Then they’re mine,” says Theresa. Which is apparently intended to be chilling, but just sounds a bit silly.

An elevator opens on what is apparently sub-level 83, filled with people in army gear and Bernard in his suit. Water pours in. “The cooling system’s been down for weeks,” remarks Stubbs. He tells Bernie to hang back, and they all walk through a damp underground area, which has basically a waterfall pouring down from an upper level. “Livestock management’s got other priorities. Besides, no one’s complained,” says Stubbs when Bernard complains. They open a door to a giant room full of naked, utterly still androids. Bernard mumbles something about a lady with white shoes who drank and stole a lot. The response team guy pulls out his gun, but Bernard points out that “the boss” is in the back.

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Indeed, in the back, here’s Anthony Hopkins himself, as the aforementioned Ford, having a drink with a very stilted cowboy android, toasting to the lady with white shoes (I’m looking forward to meeting this lady in some future episode; she sounds like a kick). Then Ford says that they should drink to a “deep and dreamless slumber,” and the cowboy sinks into suspended animation. Ford reminisces about how the old ones were less realistic, and tells Bill to put himself away again. Bill lies down in what is essentially a crypt, and zips himself into a plastic bag. Creepy! Bernard takes his chance to suck up to the boss, complimenting the reveries as “beautiful.” Then they leave Bill to his slumber.

So… let’s review. Basically the whole response team was deployed 83 levels underground because, in this giant fancy lab in a place at least, say, fifty years in the future, where they have hundreds of still-functional androids in storage, they have… motion sensors for security, instead of actual cameras? So they didn’t realize the android was moving because Ford was down there?

I’m just saying.

Meanwhile, Dolores and Daddy are having their usual conversation, but it’s extended: he warns her about the “bandit” in the hills. Then he tries to give her a story about when he was a lawman, and she teases him about bringing that up every time a boy visits her. He says he stopped being a ne’er-do-well when he became her father, and that he wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t tell if this scene is clichéd on purpose—since everyone loves a Western with a mildly incestuous vibe between a rugged man and his beautiful, innocent daughter—or because they didn’t bother fleshing out this character enough to make us actually care about him. I think that’s going to be a general problem with this show, that the entire world of Westworld is by necessity and design somewhat of a fantasy and thus a cliché, and so the show will need to come up with ways of examining what psychological needs the various tropes fill in us, instead of just lazily using them without subverting them [Janes: I think Daddy is supposed to be somewhat unimportant, considering he’s unceremoniously replaced by the end of the episode, and that Dolores is supposed to be the more relatable android with the burgeoning consciousness. But I agree that any show that comments on clichés needs to be careful to avoid becoming one].

Meanwhile, Teddy walks by the Wanted posters for Hector again, but this time, a man and his wife, both visitors, decide to join the sheriff’s posse because it might be fun to hunt down a bandit. We see that Teddy’s once again in the bar being propositioned by the hooker, only when he tries to cross the square to see Dolores, a visitor recognizes him from a previous visit and yells jovially, “What’s the good word, Teddy?” Meanwhile, instead of Teddy picking up Dolores’s can, we have everyone’s favorite Rapist in Black! Dolores smiles at him and thanks him. He calls her sweet, and then says, “I’m afraid I’ve got other plans tonight, Dolores. Have a pleasant evening.” I guess there are always other rape victims in the sea! Ed leaves and Dolores smiles, without looking particularly unsettled. So it seems none of the androids remember visitors from previous cycles, but they do understand that there are visitors so they’re not alarmed when the visitors remember them. Clever programming, there.

Ed goes into a bar and sits down with a man who looks mildly frightened of him. Ominous music plays. Nothing happens.

The ominous music starts up again as we see the two visitors with the sheriff’s posse out in the mountains. They find a dead body lying on the path and remarks that it looks like Hector’s been this way. The wife rubs her nose, and the husband asks how long this is going to take. The sheriff is mid-answer when a fly lands on his face, and he suddenly starts stuttering and then freezes altogether except for weird gurgling noises. “Something is wrong with it,” says the wife and demands to leave.

Cut to the lab, where a British man we haven’t seen before is demanding “what the fuck is wrong with it.” (“It” being the sheriff, who gets to keep his clothes on while he’s being examined, because he doesn’t have any boobies for HBO’s lascivious audience to stare at.) The actor is clearly having a great time being as obnoxious as possible. Bernard keeps his patience and says they haven’t finished the diagnostic yet, but it’s “aberrant behavior.” Very helpful, Bernard. Good thing they have your science smarts to diagnose the problem. Theresa asks if it’s about the update, and Bernard says that it’s unlikely. But Theresa wants to pull all the updated hosts just in case, even though ten percent of the hosts have been updated. Obnoxious British guy protests that it will ruin all the storylines to pull two hundred hosts (so there are 2,000 hosts altogether, if anyone’s counting). He’s yelling about issuing gift certificates to make up for it when Bernard interrupts to geek out about the way that Theresa’s eyebrow arches when she’s angry. He wants to record it. Theresa is like, um, no. The sheriff, who’s been gurgling on and off this whole time, gurgles again. Bernard promises that he can’t hurt even a fly, and all he can do is that weird gurgle. Theresa gives him permission to continue with the diagnostic, but tells him to let her know about anything else weird that happens.

Meanwhile, if you were wondering where the boobies are, they’re all hanging out with a couple guys, friends who are visitors and have decided to stop for a little frolic in the brothel. One of them is the one who greeted Teddy before. The other is black—presumably Westworld glosses over the whole part where slavery still existed in the Wild West so that people can fulfill their fantasies of the good old days without having to examine why exactly they think those days were so good. Anyway, the white man promises that Teddy will show them “the real demented shit.” The black one says the guy creeps him out, but they agree if they get bored they can just use “it” for target practice. Teddy is sitting outside in full earshot, letting a fly crawl across his face.

Out in the mountains a family of three comes upon Dolores painting a lake, some horses grazing nearby. She offers the little boy a closer look, giving him a slice of apple to feed to the horse out of the palm of his hand. “You’re one of them, aren’t you? You’re not real,” he whispers. She smiles kindly at him and says she has to go, warning the family about bandits with an angelic smile on her face. It strikes me as painful, but it’s not clear whether she is actually pained, or just avoidant.

As the sun sets, a herd of horses return to Dolores’s family’s farm, under the watch of Daddy himself. He stoops, seeing something buried in the ground, picks it up, and looks perturbed. Cue a lens flare. And that’s how you know J. J. Abrams was involved.

Dolores returns to the porch and teases Daddy about waiting up for her, but he wasn’t: he was staring at this photo of what looks like a woman standing in a large modern city. “It doesn’t look like anything to me,” Dolores says twice. She says she’s going to help her mother put supper on—the mother who gets literally no lines, by the way [Janes: I totally thought she was dead.]—while Daddy keeps staring at the photo.

Theresa is standing on the roof of what’s presumably the lab building, smoking. The British guy—whose name is Lee, according to IMDb—approaches her, braving her knee-jerk hostility to ask her a question. Why does the park keep making the robots more lifelike? No one actually wants to think their husband is really cheating on them with a nineteenth-century hooker. He’s got a point there. He suggests they stop updating the characters and maybe even roll back some previous updates, to make everything more manageable. “Lobotomies tend to do that,” says Theresa, an odd moment of anthropomorphizing the androids compared to her usual attitude. Lee says he’s worried that Ford is going to “chase his demons” until he ruins everything, although “no one respects him more than me.” Theresa crankily corrects his grammar. But he presses on and offers her his support in whatever the corporation is really doing, which is clearly not just making a fantasy world for rich people. “You’re right, this place is one thing to the guests, another thing to the shareholders, and something completely different to management,” she says coolly. But when she asks him what the bigger picture is, he has no idea. She tells him his support means “fuck-all” to her, stubs out her cigarettes, and leaves him.

In the brothel, Maeve (the Thandie Newton character) cleans up while a customer lies around passed out in a deserted room. The Native American man who was playing a card game is there too. His name is Kissy; he is played by Eddie Rouse, who died, apparently, shortly after shooting the pilot. When a white man arrives, Kissy bids him goodnight, but the white man insists on patting him down, leaving him with a genial pat on the back. Angrily, Kissy stalks out onto the porch, only to have his throat slit by a waiting Ed, who drags him away. He likes dragging people away, that Ed.

In the lab, a now-naked sheriff whose butt is conveniently hidden by a piece of equipment smoothes his mustache, and Bernard deems him good as new. But he’s called away to deal with a problem with one of the hosts.

There is indeed a problem. A saloon is filled with lying corpses, and a man with a dramatic Southern drawl is stomping around pouring milk on top of them, talking to himself, saying that no one can kill him. A couple clutches each other in fear on the edge of the room, but the killer looks at them and just declares that they “can’t have none” of his milk. Then he pours it down his throat, only to have it come out of the various wounds on his torso. It’s more gross than scary, despite the ominous music.

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Milk Man strolls out onto the porch, to yet another man lying dead on the ground. He straddles the guy and pours milk down his open mouth, calling him a “growing boy” in progressively louder shouts until he suddenly freezes. Stage lights flick on, and the response team arrives. Stubbs directs Bernard and Elsie to fix “this” and says he’ll go talk to the guests.

Left alone with the murderer, Elsie muses that the characters are supposed to turn on each other, but that Walter always “buys it.” “I guess Walter got tired of buying it,” Bernard says.

Theresa arrives, and he says now that they know the update is the problem, he’s going to roll it back and put Walter back in service. Theresa is like, are you crazy? Bernard points out that the hosts are supposed to kill each other. “I’ll admit the method here is a little… unconventional,” he concedes. Theresa reminds him that the hosts are supposed to stick to their scripts with minor improvisations, which this was not. She orders a recall of all updated hosts, and wants to decommission all of the defective ones. As far as the narratives, she’s going to distract everyone by making the saloon heist twice as bloody. And he gets to talk to Ford about it, since it was his fuckup.

In the lab, androids-in-progress are being dipped in a weird milky substance as Ford watches. Ford is being pretty calm. He wonders why Bernard hasn’t identified the bug—or has he identified it, but is too embarrassed to say? Bernard admits that the code Ford added is at fault. Ford points out that evolution is also a series of mistakes. “Of course, we’ve managed to slip evolution’s leash, haven’t we? We can cure any disease, keep the weakest among us alive…” So this is way in the future. “It means that we’re done. That this is as good as we’re gonna get. It also means that you must indulge me the occasional mistake,” Ford muses ungrammatically. Bernard smiles and leaves.

Morning arrives over Westworld again. Turns out Kissy is still alive, although he’s surrounded by buckets full of his own blood and it’s still gurgling out of the cut in his throat. Ed has him tied up in a deserted area of the mountains. He remarks that he’s only left three litres of blood in Kissy’s body, and he’ll die if he loses anymore, and says he wants answers. Kissy tries to run away, and then falls down as Ed laughs patiently. “What do you want?” he moans. “There’s a deeper level to this game. You’re gonna show me how to get there,” says Ed. Then he whips out his knife and starts to scalp the guy, who screams horribly as the camera (thank God) cuts away. Yikes. I don’t know how Kissy’s going to show him much of anything now that, you know, he doesn’t have a scalp.

Dolores arrives on the porch and finds her father sitting on the chair, almost in tears. He says he has a question they’re not supposed to ask. She kneels before him as he starts to stutter about his question more and more incoherently. She screams for her mama, then wipes his face. He becomes alert again and grabs her by the arm and tells her she needs to leave. “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here,” he says, then leans forward and whispers something in her ear. She tells him she’s going to go for the doctor, and gallops away on her horse. The phantom Mama still hasn’t shown up. Come on, this is HBO: they couldn’t have afforded one more speaking role for Mama?

In town, Dolores runs into Teddy and gives him a giant hug. She tells him to come with her because her father’s ill. But now they can see some robed, hooded men arriving on slow horses, and everyone looks afraid. Teddy says they should stay put.

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Lee, back in the lab, announces that he’s inspired Hector to come to town a week early. He promises Theresa he wrote a very chilling speech for Hector after he robs the saloon. “I can barely contain myself,” Theresa agrees sarcastically.

Back in Westworld, the horses stop outside a saloon. One townsman points a gun at them and accuses them of riding the sheriff’s horse, and they shoot him dead. This is presumably Hector, wearing a black jacket and a black hat. He strides into the saloon, while behind him a blonde woman and another accomplice unwrap some more guns. They shoot everyone who emerges from the saloon. Inside the saloon (slash brothel), everyone freaks out but Maeve, standing at the bar with Hector. “All the fucking banks and trains around here and you choose to rob us,” she says acidly. “Why not?” Hector says. He says he’s just indulging his own vice, the way everyone else here is.

Outside the saloon, Teddy and Dolores peep around a corner as the carnage continues. Dolores decides that now is a great time to get back to her father, and runs out into the open. Teddy is then obliged to come out too and take a bullet for her. “Just trying to look chivalrous,” he gasps as she cries. Nice going, Dolores.

Inside the brothel, Maeve calls Hector a son of a bitch. He says he and she are the same: “No matter how dirty the business, do it well.” She stares back at him, unafraid. I have to admit I care very little about this, although I suppose we’re supposed to think Maeve is super cool and tough and brave. Thandie Newton has too few facial expressions to be a compelling actor, in my opinion. Meanwhile, the reverie-having hooker huddles by the piano. Some bandit or other has the bright idea of taking her along, but Maeve shoots him in the face, causing an extremely gross explosion of blood all over the player piano.

Outside, Hector stares at the Wanted poster of himself, as the lab workers all look on in excitement and glee, thinking their plan is going great. Hector starts his speech, only to get shot through the neck just as he’s about to tell everyone what lesson they should learn from all this. Then the blonde woman drops too, both shot by the chubby tourist with the fearful wife from a couple days ago. In the lab, Lee puts his hand to his forehead, exasperated. Inside Westworld, the visitor and his wife start to laugh and gloat about how great a job he did. “Look at her wriggle!” they say, pointing at the female bandit. The wife goes off to fetch a photographer. “Maybe you’ll get to your speech next time,” Theresa tells Lee smugly in the lab.

Meanwhile, Teddy is totally dying, and Dolores is crying over him. “We’ve only just begun!” she wails. Meanwhile, the visitors are finishing up their triumphant photo session, complete with one of the host corpses propped up beside them. Elsie, now dressed in Westworld gear, approaches Dolores, who begs for help because her father is sick at home. “May you rest in a deep and dreamless slumber,” Elsie says softly, and Dolores flops down on top of Teddy.

Theresa watches as the hosts who were updated are rolled into the lab. Bernard tells her that most are checking out fine, but one is definitely not. Daddy and Dolores are waiting naked on stools just a couple labs apart. When they wake Dolores up, she is terrified and hyperventilating, but they tell her “no emotional affect” and she calms down immediately. [Janes: She doesn’t show any emotion anymore, but she still says she’s terrified! That really got me.] Then we’re in the scene from the beginning, but with much more context. The man examining her is Stubbs. He assures there’s nothing to be afraid of if she’s honest, and she says she’s never questioned the nature of her reality. They ask about the picture, but Dolores repeats that it didn’t look like anything to her.

In another room, Theresa insists to Ford that since Daddy breached, he should be put down. But Ford wants to discover why he breached first, so she’s forced to leave Ford and Bernard to it. Bernard tells Ford the results of the diagnostic were confusing. Ford asks the robot gently what happened to his program. Daddy says something rather nonsensical. Ford asks if he has access to his previous configuration, and tells him to access that. Daddy still looks freaked out, but is able to answer questions. He says his name is Peter Abernathy and his three drives are tending his herd, looking after his wife (he doesn’t use her name, even), and Dolores. He even repeats the bit about how he wouldn’t have it any other way. But he can barely finish the sentence, and then he announces that he has to warn her about the things “you” do to her, and that he has to protect her. He starts crying. Ford tells him “that’s enough,” and he freezes. Bernard says helpfully that this is “miles beyond a glitch,” like, thanks for that insight, Bernard.

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Ford tells Daddy to go back to his current build. In his current build, he refuses to answer questions directly, instead spouting poetic nonsense. He says his itinerary is to meet his maker, and to tell him, “My most mechanical and dirty hand, I shall have such revenges on you both. The things I will do! What they are, yet I know not. But they will be the terrors of the earth.” It’s pretty scary. Suddenly he grabs Ford by the arms and tells him he’s in a prison of his own sins, and everyone rushes back in to save Ford. “Turn it off,” Theresa says and Daddy goes quiet for good. Ford realizes that he’s been quoting Shakespeare, and asks about Daddy’s previous roles. Apparently before being Daddy he was sheriff, then before that, the professor from a horror narrative where he led a cannibal cult. Uh, awkward. Talk about a prison of your own sins! Anyway, Ford realizes that it’s just previous narratives haunting him.

Meanwhile, Stubbs asks Dolores what her father said to her. She says he told her not to tell anyone, but Stubbs insists. “These violent delights have

violent ends,” she quotes, and says it means nothing to her. Then she says she’s never lied to him. His last question is, “Would you ever hurt a living thing?” She says no, of course not, and stares up at the ceiling. Meanwhile, some technicians are drilling up into Daddy’s nose.

Back in Dolores’s lab, a woman says the wipe’s complete. Stubbs says Dolores will be fine: she’s been repaired so often that she’s basically brand new, and she’s the oldest host in the park. He prompts her to tell what she thinks of her world, and she repeats the line from the beginning about how she sees beauty in it, instead of disorder and disarray.

We see Dolores waking up yet again again in Westworld, and going downstairs to the porch. She greets her new daddy, a mustachioed man with a distinctly less aristocratic aura than Daddy: Original Flavor. Daddy: OF is now being walked into the cold storage room full of decommissioned androids. Tears in his eyes, he walks slowly forward. Meanwhile, Teddy wakes up on the train, clutching his chest, but smiling. And somewhere out in the mountains, Ed is staring proudly at his very own freshly-harvested scalp. As Dolores stands on the porch, she smiles beatifically—but then slaps a fly that lands on her neck.

Sooner or later, children will always rebel!

HBO’s obsession with gratuitous female nudity aside, I’m really excited about this show. The cast is talented and Evan Rachel Wood in particular does an excellent job, the visual design is stylish, the storyline’s compelling, and the violence is gritty but not pornographically over-the-top. And I like how they use the motif of the player piano, that early human advance in automation.

We’ll be covering this show regularly, so check back for another recap of tonight’s episode later in the week!

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5 Comments

  1. […] Previously on Westworld: A lot of things, but just to run down the cast of characters: Dolores and Teddy are androids living in a park that caters to rich visitors who fantasize about the Wild West; the Man in Black, or “Ed” as we’ll be calling him, totally scalped a dude to find out the deeper levels of the game; Bernard is a mild-mannered scientist who works on the androids under the direction of fierce corporate exec Theresa and the scientist who apparently started it all, Ford. Also, Dolores’s dad has just been seamlessly replaced by a new android after the last one started to question the nature of his reality, and Dolores just slapped a fly, which she’s not supposed to be able to do. […]

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