Previously on Westworld, “The Original”
Westworld – S1E2 – “Chestnut” | Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rodrigo Santoro, Simon Quarterman, Luke Hemsworth
“Chestnut” immediately answered a few of the questions we posed on last week’s podcast. We got a glimpse of what it’s like for the newcomers when they first arrive. Like the behind-the-scenes working of the complex, it’s all sterile and shiny with a sleek shuttle that ushers guests to the Hosts waiting to get them situated. We follow William, a first-time visitor, as he’s told the rules and guidelines (there are none) and warned that the center of town is the safest, tamest part of the experience. It’s when you travel further towards the fringes of Sweetwater that things get interesting and dangerous. It doesn’t appear that William is looking for that kind of experience though, since he chooses a pristine white hat to complete his cowboy attire.
He seems determined to travel the good path in Sweetwater; he’s kind to the Hosts, enjoys a meal, and turns down Clementine’s advances at the brothel while his friend/future brother-in-law, Logan, stabs a Host in the hand and screws anything that moves.
Through The Man in Black we visit another area of the park. He saves a Host named Lawrence from being hanged only to drag him to his town where he threatens Lawrence’s family if he doesn’t reveal the entrance to the maze. He kills the bartender, Lawrence’s cousins, and finally Lawrence’s wife before the daughter tells him where he needs to go, but not without warning that the maze “isn’t meant for you.”
What he’s after is definitely more interesting than what he’s doing to get there. Last week, he was terrifying, but this week his actions are boring; like watching someone play a video game they’ve clearly mastered. He kills everything with precision because he’s been to the park so many times. We also learn that whoever he really is, he’s allowed to do whatever he wants in the park so it’s not like we expect him to face any real opposition any time soon.
More of the park is also revealed through Ford, who heads out to the desert where he encounters a young boy who might be a younger version of himself. We later learn his plans for the area when he shoots down Sizemore’s new narrative and takes Lowe out to the same spot: It will be the site of a new narrative Ford has designed.
The most intriguing part of Westworld is, hands down, the Hosts. We expect people to use such a place to be their worst selves. That’s sad, but true. However, what these hosts know, what they feel, what they remember, and what they may do if they ever learn the truth is what will keep us coming back each week. This episode it’s pointed out that the staff would be fucked if the Hosts ever remembered what the hosts did to them. Well…
Delores has an encounter with Meave and repeats the words of her father: “These violent delights have violent ends.” This seems to trigger something in Maeve who begins to have flashes of memories of herself with a little girl. She’s not pulling in customers like she used to, so she’s reprogrammed to be more aggressive. When that doesn’t work, she’s scheduled for decommission. Programmer Elsie decides Maeve just needs further reprogramming and a physical to repair some wear.
While she’s on the table, Maeve “dreams” of being attacked by the Man in Black. She forces herself to wake up mid-exam. With her abdomen still sliced open, she holds the techs at bay with a scalpel and makes a run for it. Thandie Newton perfectly sold the confusion and fear a person would have in such a scenario, especially when she witnesses dead Hosts being hosed down and dropped on the floor like baggage. She’s quickly sedated and returned to the operating room. The techs will keep their mouths shut for fear of getting in trouble, but whatever has infected Maeve isn’t going to be fixed so easily.
Lowe has been meeting secretly with Delores, but his intentions aren’t entirely clear. He orders her to keep quiet about their encounters and makes her wipe all record of their conversations. He says he’s interested in her because she doesn’t think like the others, but while that fascinates him, he knows it will scare others. Elsie pointed out that her father mulled over the picture; it didn’t trigger his break immediately like it should have. She suspects there’s something deeper at play. With Delores making secrets trips outside in the middle of the night to dig up a buried gun, I’d say she’s absolutely right. But who’s behind it and what their motives are remains to be seen.
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Westworld S1E2 = 8.8/10