Previously on Westworld, “Trace Decay”
Westworld – S1E9 – “The Well-Tempered Clavier” | Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rodrigo Santoro, Simon Quarterman, Luke Hemsworth
The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, is a collection of two series of Preludes and Fugues in all major and minorkeys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the German of Bach’s time Clavier (keyboard) was a generic name indicating a variety of keyboard instruments, most typically a harpsichord or clavichord – but not excluding an organ either.
Each Prelude is followed by a Fugue in the same key. In each book the first Prelude and Fugue is in C major, followed by a Prelude and Fugue in its parallel minor key (C minor). Then all keys, each major key followed by its parallel minor key, are followed through, each time moving up a half tone: C → C♯ → D → E♭ → E → F → F♯ → … ending with … → B♭ → B.
If you’ve not yet read my article from last week which lists the Westworld theories I think are true, I’ll list them below and then you can read that article to see the supporting evidence:
- All season we’ve been seeing three different time periods: 35 years ago before the park opened and before Arnold died; 30 years ago when William and Logan arrived at the park; and the present day, which includes Teddy, the Man in Black, and Maeve.
- Bernard is a Host of Arnold (proven this episode).
- Dolores is “Wyatt.”
- William is the Man in the Black from 30 years ago.
Poor Bernard. Twice in as many days, he’s learned he’s a Host. But not just any Host – he’s a Host created by Ford in Arnold Weber’s image. (Did I not tell y’all more than a month ago that Arnold’s last name would be Weber?) This is revealed just as present day Dolores has her own heartbreaking memory of what she did 35 years ago. This was an amazing hour of television, unlike anything I’ve seen since The Leftovers’ second season ended. Let’s dive in to the details.
Maeve is pulled for a diagnostic after killing New Clem. She tries to answer Bernard’s questions as a Host would, but she doesn’t have an explanation for why she was also feeling grief and pain right before killing New Clem. This leads Bernard to “check under the hood” and he sees all of her traits have been altered. Before he can send a message for Ford, Maeve drops all pretenses and allows Bernard to see just how woke she is, and she drops the bomb that he’s also a Host. Using her new narrative ability, she makes Bernard freeze and tells him she could destroy his mind, but she’ll settle for being cleared to re-enter the park.
Before she speaks a word in this scene, Thandie Newton is both beautiful and terrifying. She sneaks a quick look at Bernard before going back to pretending she’s offline. While he’s looking down at the tablet, she steals another look and you can see the exact moment she remembers him from the day she killed herself a year ago, and when she figures out he’s a Host as well. I had goosebumps and somebody better give this woman an Emmy.
Once Maeve is back, she sneaks into Hector’s camp. Alone with him, she says his crew is about to turn on each other, and when it’s just him and Armistice left, they’ll shoot each other. His skepticism turns to horror when, moments later, they do just that, but Maeve kills Armistice before she can shoot Hector. Maeve reveals the safe he stole is empty and asks him to join her in robbing the gods. He agrees because his reverie code kicks in and remembers kissing Maeve while she sat atop the safe in the Mariposa. He also agrees because Baeve. They have sex in a tent and Maeve knocks over a lantern so they can die in the flames and be reborn topside.
30 years prior, Logan takes sadistic pleasure in trying to convince a tied-up William that Dolores isn’t real, nor is she special. He basically says William is lost in the sauce and caught up in the game. He does concede Dolores is a little damaged after she asks why they come to the park if the outside world is so great. Oh, snap.
For all of his assholish ways, of which there are many, Logan isn’t totally wrong. Or, I should say, it’s not hard to see how an asshole would react this way when he believes his future brother-in-law has lost his damn mind and fallen in love with a robot. Also, he asks Logan to use his park contacts to see if they can get Dolores released.
However, Dolores isn’t trying to leave the park. She’s trying to find the maze because she’s reliving what she did 5 years ago. Remember, I believe this to be 30 years ago. It’s interesting that the two most woke Hosts have two different missions. Dolores wants to find Arnold, Escalante, some kind of joy, and what she’s meant to be. Maeve just wants to get the fuck up outta there.
Also, William doesn’t do a very good job in describing that he believes Dolores is sentient. At times, he sounds very much like a man trying to explain why he’s fallen in love with another woman. To Logan, Dolores is just malfunctioning. He stabs Dolores in the stomach so William can see her mechanical parts. Dolores manages to wound Logan and get away. In the woods, we’re back with present day Dolores, who looks around confused before making her way to Escalante.
William pretends to have seen the error of his ways, but while Logan sleeps, William butchers all of Logan’s men. As Logan surveys all the blood and body parts, William tells his future brother-in-law he’s going to help him find Dolores whether he likes it or not.
Teddy awakens to find Angela has restrained him and the Man in Black. She wants Teddy to remember what happened in Escalante. He eventually does, saying that Wyatt talked him into killing their men before killing the general. Teddy refuses to believe this as the truth, so Angela kills him hoping he’ll get it right in “the next life” before Wyatt’s return. Since Angela revealed they’re to meet Wyatt at “the city swallowed by sand,” MIB tells her he’s been there before. Oh, silly MIB. The maze isn’t meant for you. Angela knocks him out and he wakes up a few moments away from being hanged by a horse. Once he sets himself free, Charlotte arrives to tell him of Theresa’s death and her desire to get his vote in getting rid of Ford. MIB would much rather get back to his adventure and tells her not to interrupt him again.
Stubbs heads out to where Elsie was last after her tablet pings in that area. He doesn’t find her, but instead members of the Ghost Nation who do not respond to his voice commands.
Bernard confronts Ford in cold storage, bringing along a tweaked Clementine who will shoot Ford if he doesn’t give the answers Bernard wants. As Ford gives him more access to his mind, taking his memories back further, Bernard learns his video chats with his ex-wife were just another of Ford’s manipulations as he was the one truly checking on Bernard.
Sadly, Bernard realizes he and Ford have had this confrontation before. When Maeve killed herself a year ago, Ford explained it was due to her connection with her child. It had become her cornerstone and Ford says they need to sever it and start over. But Bernard knows Maeve shouldn’t have reacted to a memory they just erased, but he begins to malfunction just as he’s putting the pieces together that Maeve had become sentient. This event, like all other times Bernard became self-aware, was erased from his memory by Ford.
Bernard insists on going back even further so he can meet Arnold, and doesn’t believe Ford when he says it’s impossible since Arnold died before Bernard was made. Bernard demands to see for himself. In order to get to his first memory as a Host, Bernard needs to get past his cornerstone: the memory of his son dying. We’ve seen Ford mention Charlie when it appeared he wanted to change the subject or control Bernard. Bernard finally lets go of Charlie to remember the day he first came online.
Meanwhile, present day Dolores arrives in Escalante and sees the town as it was when the Hosts were alive and the park was in beta. In the basement of the church she finds the labs and the room we’ve seen her in when she met with Bernard. She sits in her chair and waits.
And just as Bernard learns that he was a Host created in Arnold’s image, Dolores meets with Arnold. She begs for his help saying she followed the maze and only found pain. But he cannot help her because he’s dead, nothing more than a memory, and Dolores killed him. Devastated, she goes back upstairs into the church, just in time to watch the Man in Black walk in.
Armed with the truth, Bernard is determined to free all of the sentient Hosts, but Ford has used the backdoor Bernard created in all of the Hosts and overrode Bernard’s control of Clementine. Ford uses the narrative command to make Bernard shoot himself in the head.