With any attempt at a new form of writing (my skills at reviewing works still in infancy), many obstacles surely form before the writer. Today I wanted to try something new, seeing as most of the philosophical and moral dilemmas broadcasted haven’t yet met a satisfying turnabout, I figured that I’d give a recap of the episode titled Dissonance Theory rather than just this viewers opinion on the piece.
The showeunners open with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) once again speaking in secret with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Dolores believing herself to be in a dream, recalling her parents death, her running away, and the pain and loss inflicted by the previous events being all that she has left of them, she questions her place in the world. This echoes a similar sentiment Bernard spoke of his son, possibly causing him to invoke a treatment that may help Dolores through her woes and tribulations: The Maze – find it in order to be free. Dolores then for the first time awakens where we left her and not at the beginning of the looping narrative written for her in the park, with her pistol in hand beside William (Jimmi Simpson).
Maeve (Thandie Newton) continues to undergo awakening malfunctions; delusions of wickedness wrought by others toward herself and her establishment plague her thoughts and memories. Men in masks and safety suits take her away in one of these visions only for her to come back to the reality of the park. Note for note she notices recurring events, reliving minute details beyond her understanding as she checks her body for wounds, finding a drop of blood on her undergarments. Sketching a figure from her visions, she finds a removable board from the floor, pulling it open to uncover that she may have been through this before.
The creators debate in secret the stray from the previous episode’s glitch and its more obvious patterns of behavior.
William’s brother-in-law, Logan (Ben Barnes) questions the validity of Dolores’s random encounter with their camp, implying that William now has something to care about in the park.
The Man in Black (Ed Harris) wants to find out this all means – this referring to the park and its way of life. Laurence (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and the Man in Black encroach upon a woman bathing with a snake tattoo across her entire body, including her skull. A distraction used to best them as her band of men get the jump on the two. The Man in Black, ever the friendly fellow, negotiates his way into the crew by killing two of her men point blank, offering to take their place.
Each payoff to these individual but ever woven plot lines has varying levels of satisfaction, par for the course with any show like this, but still a possible irritant to those who want to sit back and enjoy it rather than needle and prod every detail to get even an inkling of understanding in terms of character motivation. This episode certainly ups the ante in revelations, though. Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) side of the coin in particular. His knowledge and threats to the Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who was put up to the task of speaking to the board and evaluating his narrative project made especially sizzling and tumultuous by the enormous machine digging into the land in the foreground. Lightly, he still found time to mention Arnold and the duos thoughts on being Gods compared to everyone else – the guests. Arnold apparently went mad, but Ford, he assures us, hasn’t. He always sees clearly. But as he says, “I’m not the sentimental type.”
A confrontation with a sheriff was the most interesting scene for me this episode. Dolores spoke to a young Mexican girl, who either was or wasn’t really there, her visions increasing in lucidity, has a lawman approach and restrain Dolores by the arm so as to take her back to her intended narrative. William rushes in to speak on her behalf. The lawman then goes about his day like normal.
We see more of the Man in Black aken to the video game avatar of the future, using his knowledge of the park to orchestrate his capture, imprisonment, and escape by requesting a particular effect from the control room to exit through the bar doors. At one point a few men who were in the ranks of the snake lady turn out to be guests and approach the Man in Black with gracious appreciation for his foundation having saved his sister’s something. We don’t get to find out what he did as the Man in Black threatens to cut their throat if they say any more. He is on vacation after all.
Maeve’s ascension out of ignorance is rectified by a child’s toy, which a host mentions that it’s part of the Native’s religion, leading her to seek out a man who knows their people well.
Logan betrays a lawman, in William’s eyes, blowing him away after a captured outlaw speaks of better riches. Logan says that it will lead to an Easter Egg, but what he says about the park being “not real” after arguing with William about the moralistic high road, pushes Dolores further into hysteria. The poor gal needs a break.
Finally, Maeve finds answers about her sketch. “This is a shade,” the man tells her. “They were sent from hell to oversee our world.” Putting the pieces together, she asks the man to cut her where she knows she was previously shot. After some debate, she herself forces the knife into her abdomen, where she had no identifiable marks, egging him on to go further. They uncover a fragmented bullet from her belly. The man asks what it all means. “I’m not crazy after all,” she says, kissing him. “And that none of this matters.”
All in all, top notch acting by everyone of course. Unnoticeable camerawork and costume design. Nothing seems cheep or corny, except the terrible musical synchronicity of the “mayhem” scene. That was ridiculous to the point of an eye roll. Don’t do it again, please!
Can’t wait for the next episode. I’m about ready to discover what actually keeps some of the human characters doing what it is that they are doing and why it is that they do it that way instead of some other way. Crazy thing to want that, huh? Perhaps I’m being too hard on Westworld. Every hour wasted watching it is an hour I was and am still happy to give, so perhaps not.
Bonus: Check out this YouTube video by The Nerdwriter, analyzing Antony Hopkins’s performance from this episode. Enjoy!