Previously on Westworld, “Contrapasso”
Westworld – S1E6 – “The Adversary” | Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rodrigo Santoro, Simon Quarterman, Luke Hemsworth
It is now officially impossible to review these episodes without touching on theories (popular or otherwise), so not only will this review have full spoilers for “The Adversary” (as usual), but I will address some fan theories as well. You’ve been warned.
As tends to be the case with this series, this week’s episode title could refer to several characters: Arnold vs. Ford, Theresa the possible spy, Maeve being woke as fuck, or the board itself against Ford. Let’s breakdown the events for each, starting with the one I find the least interesting…
“Fuck This Job”
Sizemore is back after being absent since episode two, “Chestnut.” He’s been calling out sick in silent protest of Ford’s new narrative disrupting his current ones. Theresa finds him poolside, getting drunk while soaking up rays. Because Theresa has zero chill and no bedside manner, she demands he stop crying into his drinks and get back to work to help her salvage the narratives thrown into chaos.
Later, as he’s chatting up a pretty guest (Tessa Thompson) at the bar, and telling her way too much inside business, the bartender interrupts to deliver a message to Sizemore: he’s cut off at the bar and Theresa needs him to get his ass back to work. Embarrassed and enraged, he grabs a bottle of liquor and stumbles off. “Fuck this job,” he mutters.
And he meant it. He displays his disdain by pissing on the park’s map in the control room. Theresa chooses that time to introduce Sizemore to the Delos rep sent to oversee company changes: Charlotte Hale, the woman at the bar. Tuck it away and zip your pants up, dude.
The series hasn’t come right out and said they’re showing us two different timelines as if they are one, but they haven’t exactly hidden it. When Logan tells William that the park is hemorrhaging money (presumably 30 years in the past and the park’s early days), it would be easy to think that the park’s money troubles are the basis for the board’s lack of faith in Ford. Still, this storyline is the one I’m having the hardest time buying.
Nothing really explains why the board has an issue with Ford. We know that making the Hosts more lifelike is cheaper than their old methods, and despite the few Host glitches we’ve witnessed, the park seems to be doing fine. It’s understandable they’d be a tad apprehensive about his secret new narrative, but while Ford hasn’t weighed in on a narrative in years (according to Sizemore), they are still running his Dolores/Abernathy farm narrative (or a version of it) 30 years apart.
Considering what we know about Maeve and MIB’s quest for the maze, now isn’t the best time for the board to have a rep on the premises, but it also doesn’t yet feel like that big of a deal.
“You Don’t Know Me at All”
Teddy and MIB are close to Pariah when Teddy gives a bit more on the maze’s origins. Like the Shades, it’s a Native American belief; the legend of the man who died many times and defeated his oppressors. He then built a house with a complicated maze around it to keep others out.
They’re stopped from entering Pariah due to “trouble there” by Union soldiers, but Teddy knows another way in. Before they can go, Teddy is recognized and they suspect he helped Wyatt kill the soldiers at Escalante. While Teddy and MIB are tied up, and as Teddy is about to have the maze branded on his chest, Teddy remembers himself shooting the soldiers before pointing his gun at Wyatt. This spurs him into action and he takes out the Union soldiers with a Gatling gun.
If you’re still thinking it’s one timeline, this episode is pretty sneaky with keeping you on that track with these events. The trouble in Pariah could be referring to the Confederados taking over after discovering they’d be double-crossed, and the presence of the Union soldiers lines up with what Dolores and William were told by the ones transporting the nitroglycerin: The war may be over, but they’ve been charged with protecting this new republic.
Are Teddy’s new memories and badass attitude a result of that memory or Ford’s last ominous words to him in “Contrapasso?” Also, in the Arnold/Ford and Wyatt/Teddy analogy, which is which?
One thing is for sure, MIB sure appreciates that Teddy can handle himself. He seems to be in a rush to get to the maze (I still think he’s sick or dying), and has no desire to wait for Teddy’s ass to re-spawn back in Sweetwater.
“This is Deeper Than We Thought”
In order to learn who was receiving the Woodcutter’s transmissions, Bernard has to take a trip to a restricted area of the complex that’s no longer in use. He finds what he needs and uploads it to Elsie, but also learns of 5 additional Host anomalies taking place in the park: these are Hosts not registered with their current system.
Bernard tries to report his findings to Theresa, but she takes that opportunity to break off their romantic relationship now that Ford knows. Understandably, he’s not so much in a sharing mood after that.
With the information Bernard sent her, Elsie is able to track the location of the system used to control the Woodcutter. Meanwhile, Bernard tracks the location of the 5 unregistered Hosts to Sector 17, an area marked off limits for future narrative use. When he investigates, he finds a house in the woods, with a family inside, including the young boy Host we’ve seen interact with Ford and MIB last week.
Bernard calls the father, “Arnold,” but the man says he isn’t, then Bernard is unable to turn him off using voice command when the man starts to attack him for trespassing. It’s only when Ford enters and tells him to stop does the Host listen.
The family of Hosts were modeled after Ford’s family, a gift from Arnold. They’re first-generation Hosts and maintained only by Ford. Bernard has concerns, but Ford convinces him to let it go, playing on Bernard’s sympathies and love for his own dead son.
So, can we all agree that Bernard is Arnold in a Host’s body; a Host designed to look like Arnold?
- Bernard is fiercely loyal to Ford, even calling him a mentor and friend. Yet, he thinks he’s only worked there for ten years, but has computer access to systems used long ago, including areas of the park and complex restricted to others.
- Several times it’s said that Bernard has been there “forever.”
- We’ve seen three instances where Bernard met with Dolores in a basement room unlike the rooms in which Hosts are usually assessed (see: Ford and Dolores in “Contrapasso”). In those meetings, he talks to her as if he had started to notice how differently she thought and behaved and found it fascinating. This does not line up with the Bernard we’ve seen in other scenes. Those conversations were clearly a long time ago, and he’s the one to first tell her about the maze… yet, we haven’t heard him make mention of it since. Also, he once considers “putting her back the way she was.”
- He tells Dolores he’s fascinated by her, but that he has to keep it from the others who won’t feel the same way and the decisions being made aren’t entirely up to him. This lines up with Ford’s story about how Arnold had come to see the Hosts as real people, preferring their company over all others.
- He covered for Ford when the reveries caused issues and again when he tells Theresa he doesn’t think Ford is the problem.
- He called the father Host in the house “Arnold,” because that’s who was in the picture with young Ford when he asked Ford about Arnold. Yet, when Ford appeared, he didn’t ask him, “Hey, why did you tell me that your father was Arnold?”
Of the 82 first-gen Hosts on the property, Bernard discovers that 47 of them were designed by Arnold. An alphabetical list of those reveal Dolores is one of them.
Elsie discovers that the satellite used to transmit the Woodcutter’s data belongs to Delos, and that someone was using the bicameral system to “speak” to him and possibly other hosts. She informs Bernard and then heads for the abandoned theater in Sector 3 which houses the transmitter.
Meanwhile, Ford goes to play catch with Robert the Host and the Host dog, Jock, but Jock is dead. At first Robert says he found the dog that way, but under analysis admits that he killed the dog because Arnold told him to.
Look. This is some creepy shit now.
Bernard again tries to tell Theresa about what they’ve discovered, but Elsie calls him and interrupts: Theresa was the one using the Woodcutter to steal info. Not only that, but someone else has been using the bicameral system for weeks in order to re-task hosts – changing their prime directives and sending them off loop. And it’s Arnold.
Could Arnold literally be the ghost in the machine?
Elsie says she’ll download everything she’s found and bring it to Bernard, but someone grabs her before she can. (If Elsie were a Host, I’m sure her Tendency to do White Girl Shit Like Go Into Dark Places Alone and Speak Too Loudly personality trait is maxed out at 20.)
Maeve Woke as Fuck
A new day begins for Maeve, and she’s barely inside the Mariposa for three minutes before a patron walks in; one who looks like he likes it rough. Maeve offers him a freebie, and then riles him up until he chokes her to death. She awakens with Felix, anxious to finish their conversation.
We then witness as Maeve slowly realizes the layers of her situation. Felix is not a Shade and she’s not figured out a way to get a backstage pass to the afterlife, but one to her actual life. She and Felix are not the same, he points out. He’s human.
“How do you know?” Maeve asks.
Good question. Though Felix says he was born and Maeve was made, it’s entirely possible his memories are manufactured – just like Maeve believes she’s been the madam at the Mariposa for ten years, though it’s only been a year. He tells her the biggest difference between them is her “brain” or processing power is way more advanced than what humans have going on upstairs.
Next, Maeve has to deal with the reality that her thoughts and words aren’t even her own. Felix proves this to her by pairing her with a behavior tablet that shows what she says before she says it. Her struggle to override it causes her to shut down and Felix to shit his pants. When she reboots, she demands to see “upstairs.”
Under the guise of taking her for a test walk, Felix walks Maeve through the lie that has been her life. First she sees the clinical nature of it all: test tubes, dead Host bodies hosed off in groups, and the blood-like substance pumped into a newly-created body. A level higher, she sees that not even the animals were real. She sees acts she’s witnessed a thousand times (sex, bar fights, and a man hitching a saddle to a horse) are all tested and carefully choreographed. One level higher, she watches as designers sculpt faces. She experiences true horror when she sees herself used in a promotional video for the park. Back downstairs, she asks Felix how they obtained her memories and he has to explain that the life she thinks of with that little girl isn’t a dream, they’re remnants of her previous build.
This was probably my favorite scene of the series so far, the music, the pain, horror, and fear on Thandie Newton’s face made me bawl. Maeve thought she knew, but she had no idea.
Sylvester walks in on Felix speaking with Maeve and accuses him of being obsessed with a Host, and he’s going to snitch because Sylvester is the worst. Maeve may not be entirely sure what she’s going to do with what she’s learned, but she knows she won’t be able to if Sylvester goes telling so she threatens him with a scalpel and advises him to get in formation. He gets.
Felix explains her attribute matrix; her personality on a 20-point scale. Maeve demands on adjustments, and Felix and Sylvester discover someone has already altered her numbers and it’s someone with higher privileges than they have. Her self-preservation and paranoia were changed, but we don’t know whether they were raised or lowered.
Maeve wants her Loyalty and Pain lowered. And her Bulk Apperception (overall intelligence) maxed out at 20.
Maeve is now not only woke, she smart as fuck, too. Shit’s about to get real.
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Westworld S1E6 = 9.7/10