I’ll start this review of the fifth episode of the first season from Westworld, titled “Contapasso” off to say that it genuinely felt good to see the despicably smug character of Logan (Ben Barnes) catching so many punches to his emotive bits up to the point where his future brother-in-law, William (Jimmi Simpson), along with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), abandon him – he pleads for help from William as the “confederados” drag his bleeding self away, where he bastardly chooses to not let the viewer enjoy it by proudly smiling before cutting to the next scene. This betrayal suddenly lends a little credence to the multiple fan theories suggesting that William may in fact be the Man in Black (Ed Harris) on his first visit to the park, that is, the interwoven stories are actually separate timelines. Nothing substantial yet, but the show does indeed enjoy sprinkling a kind of tasty seasoning atop the metaphorical steak that can only be described as circumstantial. We won’t know until we know, I suppose. Will we ever know?
Dolores’s visions proceed to send her on particular quests for validation and empowerment, something that seems to be of interest to Ford (Anthony Hopkins), taking advantage of her enlightening malfunctions as he takes her away, having her awaken for the first time that we see without Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) questioning, under the guise of yet another dream, leading to further revelations about the late co-creator of the park, Arnold. Attempting to find a better understanding of her relationship with the infamous creator, Ford releases this nugget from his tongue, “Someone under all those updates, he’s still there, perfectly preserved. Your mind is a walled garden. Even death cannot touch the flowers blooming there.” Once he leaves, having questioned Dolores about her knowledge of Arnold, of which she admits to having no memory, Dolores, sitting there emotionless and bare, reassures an unknown figure, telling it that she hasn’t said anything about them, purposefully withholding from Ford.
The Man in Black does but one truly evil deed this episode (deeming the child – getting to that – “too small”) , so that’s different, slitting Lawrence’s (Clifton Collins, Jr.) throat to use his blood to help Teddy (James Marsden) continue to “live.” The Man in Black mentions to Teddy that he was beautiful once before they made the hosts more human-like – “used to be beautiful… a million perfect pieces” – what he implied to be a cost-effective measure. How is that cost-effective? What a bizarre thing to say. “So is your suffering,” he says. Poor Teddy. Poor anyone speaking to the Man in Black. He certainly isn’t letting up on what he’s seeking, let alone will he discontinue speaking in vaguely-factual riddles about it. Did the Man in Black know that the little boy who he had fetch him water was a young version of Ford? He didn’t mention it when they met in the saloon. His attempt to threaten Ford’s life thwarted by Teddy, to Teddy’s own confusion afterward, was striking in the urgency of how it was filmed. Poor Teddy. Ford’s finger snap implicitly suggesting that they move along as the music tempo from the piano sped up.
- Can’t wait to see what Maeve (Thandie Newton) has in store for the guy who was working on the bird.
- What terrible end is going to happen to the “creepy necro-perv?” Will terrible ends ever happen to the people working on the hosts? My girlfriend want him dead. What is so different about this and any of the other people having sex with the hosts? Isn’t it all technically rape if they don’t really get to choose?
- An unknown camera or laser-thing was found in the stray’s (from episode 3) arm. Who is stealing information from the park? Logan mentioned something similar to William earlier about their company’s attempts to discover data.
- Are there two Lawrences (differing timelines, perhaps?) or did they really fix him up so quickly in between reanimating lifeless birds and acne-ridden, nonconsensual sex?
With only five more episodes to go, I will be anxiously awaiting the conclusion to many of these plot lines, whichever ones the show runners don’t leave up in the air for until the eventual second season. The battle playing out between the hosts (and to a lesser extent, the guests) destiny and their struggles with freewill has been on hell of a scintillating ride, filled with excitement and plenty of travesties – downers all ’round, y’all! – and I find myself more able to relax now that I understand the basic premise of the show, even as one answer from an episode leads to multiple questions that get no validation on the next.
But finally, the most pulsating scene has Dolores, after saving William by gunning down multiple “confederados,” tells him, “You said, ‘People come here to change the story of their lives. I imagined a story where I didn’t have to be the damsel.”
BOOM. Hell yeah, girl. Get it.