Westworld: Dissonance Theory
October 23, 2016 10:39 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Dolores joins William and Logan on a bounty hunt; The Man in Black finds a critical clue in his search to unlock the maze; Dr. Ford and Theresa discuss the park's future; Maeve is troubled by a recurring vision.
posted by poffin boffin (105 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
yay i did the thing
posted by poffin boffin at 10:40 PM on October 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


This feels like the first one in which the story actually moved forward instead of in circles. Not that the circling wasn't good; but the foot on the accelerator was noticeable.

The "shades" business is drawing quite heavily on alien abduction imagery, no? And the religion around them: is that Ford's doing?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:53 PM on October 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS

I love how they're framing the robots" encounter with human clean up crews as ALIEN ABDUCTIONS and how the The overhead is trying to incorporate that into the general storyline.

I love how slowly Dorloes in stitching everything together. It's great! She's being real deliberate in figuring it out and it helps make it real that yeah to her it's someone trying to convince themselves an impossible thing is real.

Holy hell I forget Anthony Hopkins is scary, nice slip into Lecter voice there. Jesus.

So the Man In ablack is an outside force after all? Huh.

Like the AV club said, it's a mystery box series, but it's very straightforward. There are no hints to big tricks or sudden reveals, no it's a VR! Or It's a new timeline! It's all pretty much as been presented and all the mystery reveals have been from previously estbliashed things.

Yay . Also Ford's new plotline, which he seems willing to destroy the entire park for , he keeps to himself.

And it's about religion? Kinda? And the man in black thinks the hosts won't evolve until they know what desthsnis?

Wait what?

(I mean I think we're leading up to a perma death of s host or a recreation of Arnold's mistake as they call it , to die in the park )
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


The AV Club review
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 PM on October 23, 2016


And the man in black thinks the hosts won't evolve until they know what death is?

Or until they know what killing is. The MiB's "maybe some day" response to "I'm gonna fucking kill you" felt very deliberately phrased.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:05 PM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, the MiB is famous enough that people in game recognize him and he HATES that.

That was an unexpected twist
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 PM on October 23, 2016 [18 favorites]


Sepinwall review (with annoying autoplaying video that I wish HitFix would knock it the hell off with)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:09 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Like, let's take Tea of the bigwigs of the world . Ford, who we all thought of as a doddering inventor type who keep wearing Westworld clothes 24/7 kind of turns out to be a. Hard clear , weird robots are toys, we are GODS here obsessive, his partner's death is getting even more strange and mysterious and you've got the MiB trying to break the game for reasons known only to him and the mysterious forces funding the park .

..who also seem to be fairly up on the idea that Westworld is not actually a theme park but rather Something More but it's sucide to admit it and also Anthony Hopkins knows your lying.
posted by The Whelk at 11:14 PM on October 23, 2016


...and Asshole Black Hat's family are (major?) investors in the park.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:17 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved the reveal of Maeve’s previous drawings of the park staff as a perfect Memento moment, as well as the character design referencing the appearance of the Pascagoula abduction creatures. It’s connected the existential confusion the hosts feel to some of our own real-world religious or cosmic explanations. An excellent episode.
posted by migurski at 11:21 PM on October 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


And the religion around them: is that Ford's doing?

Oh I think it's entirely Frod's doing to set up his new storyline and also BRILLIANT, the hosts who got aware and saw things they shouldn't ? They get explained away with stories of devils and spirits and evil cults out on the horizon.

It's great, it a combo of fairy/alien/angel stories with s top down "uuuuh no that was ....demons!" Story. It's like they subtly shifted from dealing with them as programs to dealing with them as people in a cult
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 PM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


omg i just realized that logan is bin bons
posted by poffin boffin at 11:24 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


The overhead is trying to incorporate that into the general storyline.

Is it, though? My guess watching it, especially because it was a Native American child that dropped the doll, was that the hosts are developing a native religion under the noses of the Delos workers.

What I mean is, in Maeve's flashback and in the aborted storyline idea that the British dickhead writer showed off, the Native Americans were treated as flat stereotypes --- frankly all the storylines in Westworld are that, it's more the Hollywood movie idea of Cowboys and Indians than anything based on actual history, just an NC-17 version of that. Pure plup trope.

So the idea of a deliberate storyline created by the Overseers that turns on the guest exploring Native American religiosity within the context of Westworld seems off to me. The scenarios they come up with from on high seem to be a lot more Grand Theft Auto than Oregon Trail. Also, the idea of the Overseers deliberately including a reference to something outside the context of the world (the clean up crew in their biohazard suits) within the world seems a little off, too.

So it seems like to me the doll is a sign that the developing consciousness in the hosts isn't just a one-off, a glitch induced by Ford's latest patch. There's been a gradual evolution, a folklore born of memory fragments, expressions of the hosts' subsconscious as they turn into minds. Maybe the Hollywood Indian programming they've seeded the Native hosts with just allowed it to emerge most easily, gave it an easier outlet in which to be expressed. Kewpie dolls and masks and an idea of a world being imbued with and ruled by powerful unseen spirits.

Also, the blond gunslinger --- IMDB informs me she's called Armistice, though I don't think we've heard her name in the show --- she and her bandito seem to have been around for some time. Does that mean that Ford's been working up to Wyatt for some time? Or did she just get a new backstory recently, the same way Teddy did? But if so then her and her tattoo can't have been an in-it-since-the-beginning Easter egg, clues to the Real Game that the Man in Black is playing. Hmmm I say.

One third thing --- Maeve and the bullet only seems badass from the 3rd person. We as the audience know she's right and so we cheer her courage and her discovery. But if you think about it in-context, it's batshit crazy thing to do. That should have played a bit creepier, I think.
posted by Diablevert at 11:27 PM on October 23, 2016 [16 favorites]


and Asshole Black Hat's family are (major?) investors in the park.

i thought she was saying that they were board members (logan, at least) there in a sort of undercover guest capacity?
posted by poffin boffin at 11:28 PM on October 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The big thing tonight is ..the NPCs are colluding! They are sharing memories! They are invehiststing and questioning the story.

Also we get another name drop for Escaton which again means literally "the last before the end" or really the end of the fucking world,
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 PM on October 23, 2016


Like I took the whole " hosts are starting to be aware of shit going on so we're going to introduce that into an element of the new storyline where they get Menaced by a scary native cult that Just Happens to look like us" as a super cynical , super mean take from the Behavior Dept and also probably Ford's set up cause he seems to want to create a religious war storyline?
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 PM on October 23, 2016


But yes, when she drew the figure of the man from her visions, then removed the floor plank to hide it but realize SHE'D DAWN HIM MANY TIMES OVER AND HID DRAWINS IN THE SAME PLACE BUT NEVER REMEMBERED

BUT HAS SPOOKY MEMORIES OF IT

Like holy shit that's spooky scary
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 PM on October 23, 2016 [21 favorites]


idk it's not really that different from when i hide pocky from myself while on ambien
posted by poffin boffin at 12:02 AM on October 24, 2016 [45 favorites]


So the park has been running for forty years by this time? Theresa said that she was there as a little girl and I assume that the character is the same age as Sidse Babett Knudsen, who is forty-seven. Are the robots just getting self-awareness now because of Ford's recent changes?
posted by octothorpe at 4:24 AM on October 24, 2016


So MiB has been going there for 30 years and didn't know about the Mexican(?) town, but William gets there in his first visit? Also, it looks like the maze changed so that the whole labyrinth is reachable from the starting point.

Going to have to watch this episode again...I dreamt about Westworld last night, and now I'm not sure what was a dream and what was actually in the episode.
posted by noneuclidean at 5:24 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had forgotten, until this episode, that Jonathan Nolan was the one who wrote the story "Memento" was based on, which was about someone who could form no new memories managing to get himself to break out of a care facility...
posted by rmd1023 at 5:33 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I thought of Memento when she was taking the pictures out of the floorboards. Echos of Bladerunner there too.
posted by octothorpe at 5:37 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, Outrageous Theory Time:

I'm really curious about Lawrence. The MiB obviously doesn't care if NPCs live or die (he didn't care about saving Armistice or Hector) but he's gone out of his way to save Lawrence for being executed, at least twice. And he is the hanged man who literally still wears his noose around his neck.

And then there is Arnold, who died in the park (by his own hand I believe). The MiB tells Lawrence that he has to reach the middle of the labyrinth to be free.

I am wondering if Arnold killed himself and had his mind put into the NPC (Lawrence) but, for whatever reason, Arnold doesn't "activate" until he reaches the center of the labyrinth. So the stakes for solving the puzzle are pretty damned high: immortality.

My idea is that the endgame for all the investors and everyone is being able to use the bots to live forever and the bots get uppity and won't want to be farmed to be rich-people vessels.

Also: has Ford been shown to be able to control the NPS with mind before now? Or did he control the waitstaff using a control pad on his lap? Because, uh, if he used his mind that might point to the whole of Westworld being some kind of virtual space.

Also also: that final scene with Maeve and Hector was just loaded with all kinds of sexual symbolism, eh? Too on the nose or surprisingly intimate? I go for the latter.
posted by Tevin at 6:20 AM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


I thought that the "doll" dropped by the native girl was supposed to be something like a Hopi Kachina/Katsina figure, which I learned (from that Wikipedia article) are created "instruct young girls and new brides about katsinas or katsinam, the immortal beings that bring rain, control other aspects of the natural world and society, and act as messengers between humans and the spirit world." Which largely aligns with the "shades" mentioned by Escaton, and the fact it was a young girl who dropped the figure.

And just like people have done for a very long time, the hosts are attributing the baffling elements around them to some higher (or lower, in this case) beings. But instead of creating new demons (at least some Westworld hosts believe in the Christian-type merciful God above, torturing Devil below, and wicked souls being sent to fiery hell*), there's the convenient Katsina look-alike that Maeve latches onto. That works for me, because the imagery is foreign to her, outside the normal imagery of Angels and Demons, and kachinas do look very other-worldly.

It seems that more "modern" people attribute the otherworldly with alien than acts of god(s), while god(s) and demons were the go-to explanations in the past, but I did like the "alien abduction" imagery with Dolores staring at the moon, which transitioned to the blinding light above the hooded body repair tech.

* While Lawrence is about to be strung up, the sheriff him: "For these crimes, you will be hung from the neck until your diseased soul has found its measure in the flames below. And may God have mercy on your soul." (Transcript, episode 2)

Re: Lawrence as Arnold, I can see the cynical Arnold enjoying the role of "most wanted man in three territories," who is still unknown enough to walk past some less informed lawmen. Also, it was interesting that Lawrence kept reminders of his evaded deaths for a while - he wore that noose even when his hands were unbound, and then he kept the blindfold around his neck even after he was free. Still, would it be enough for him to have a family that was pretty far off the path that most guests would ever see (MiB was surprised to find his family), if he's often hung to death? Maybe he's "gone local" and lost perspective of his former power, but I doubt it. (Then again, Ford did say he went mad, so maybe that was part of the madness - embracing his role as one of the worst bad guys around.)

But MiB isn't just trying to free Lawrence, he was also trying to liberate Dolores (or at least free her from her constraints that kept her from killing). I think he's trying to break hosts from their limitations in general, but we see his focused work on a few. Maybe he tried with others, but only Dolores has lasted this long, while others were decommissioned.

Going back through the transcripts, I came across this line: "Can you imagine how f*cked we'd be if these poor assholes ever remembered what the guests do to them?" from the second episode. Foreshadowing?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Whelk: MiB is famous enough that people in game recognize him and he HATES that.

That was an unexpected twist


More interesting, for me, is that his foundation is one that does good things ("Your foundation literally saved my sister's..."). But as Ford said, few people use the "hopeful story lines," and most people go Black Hat.


We had a deal, Kyle: ...and Asshole Black Hat's family are (major?) investors in the park.

poffin boffin: i thought she was saying that they were board members (logan, at least) there in a sort of undercover guest capacity?

Here's the lines from this episode:

Logan: Come on, you really think it's a coincidence that the only thing that you even smiled at back in Sweetwater just happened to drop into your lap? This is why the company needs to bump our stake in this place. They can even give you a sense of purpose.
William: You said the trip was about welcoming me to the family. This is business?
Logan: With our family, William, everything is business.

(Full transcript)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:00 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


It seems pretty clear that the MiB really is a human power gamer with some knowledge of Arnold and the park's past. I guess I'm still stubbornly holding on to a twist in some regard.

We saw a little bit of what happens when two guests have conflicting desires. The guy playing black hat with Escaton's gang had his heist interrupted because of families changing their plans. He gets a gun jam, taken into custody, but gets a prison break plot as recompense.
posted by codacorolla at 9:32 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Echos of Bladerunner there too.

I was kinda hoping once we met a host named Holden that he would pal around with Gaff/Deckard/Roy/Zhora... It seems like the kind of nod that game designers would put in. Like Temba Wide-Arms in Skyrim.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:33 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


also wtf was up with the giant chomping machine that was coming over the hills to eat anthony hopkins' house
posted by poffin boffin at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


really the best part of that scene (and similarly with the snake in last ep) is how with barely seen or heard cues he can freeze all the hosts to terrifying inhuman stillness, it's such a creepy godlike thing to do
posted by poffin boffin at 9:41 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


With the overflowing red wine glass (bloooood)

but gets a prison break plot as recompense.

I loved the world weary delivery "spends a night in lock up, but then one of the mariposa girls brings him food with a key in it" like this has clearly happened a lot of times.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


also i would definitely smooch hector even as the lawmen came to hunt us down, maeve made the right choice
posted by poffin boffin at 10:25 AM on October 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Could the man in the black hat be Arnold? And did not go insane but is trapped in Westworld by Ford for some nefarious reason?

I am just hopping for a plot point other than an android revolt.
posted by sammyo at 10:51 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved the world weary delivery "spends a night in lock up, but then one of the mariposa girls brings him food with a key in it" like this has clearly happened a lot of times.

Yeah, overall I like how the show is gradually addressing some of the quibbles people had with how the park works in these asides, hopefully people will be a little more patient with the show.

That said, let me be a giant hypocrite, because something has begun to puzzle me: Are those convos between Bernard and Doloros taking place in some kind of virtual reality?

Here's the thing: It's well established that when a violent storyline plays out and the hosts are damaged or killed, the park sends down an extraction team, removed the hosts, repairs them, wipes their memories, and they then "wake up" the next day to repeat their loop.

But what happens when a violent storyline doesn't play out? In that schematic someone linked to in an earlier thread, there are non-damaging decision trees --- no guest takes up the "attack the ranch" quest, so Doloros just goes home and goes to bed. Does her brain wipe itself, when it goes to "sleep"? Or do park staff have to do that?

Because it seems clear there are quests that take place at night, there are multi-day storylines with guest involvement. There can't just be one pre-set system maintenance hour where staffers go into the park and reset all the hosts for the next story-day. It would make sense to have the host automatically do a soft reset and recommence their loop if no guests interacted with their storyline. And it seems clear that if staff need to interact with the hosts in the presence of guests, they try and do so in-character. Guests aren't expecting hosts to just randomly disappear for two hours every night in the middle of a quest, in other words. Would seem pretty immersion breaking.

So if Doloros ran off with William and Logan and passed out beside a campfire in the middle of the dessert, are we supposed to presume that Bernard physically snuck out into the park, somehow snuck Dolorous out of there without waking William or Logan, then snuck her back and put her to sleep? All by himself? Taking a chance that they'd both sleep through the whole diagnostic he intended to run, however long that took, and not notice she was missing? That just strikes me as improbable, maybe more improbable than that these conversations are taking place via some kind of remote diagnostic mode.
posted by Diablevert at 11:05 AM on October 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


The exploding cigars are so weird. They're silly and apparently lethal, and clearly manufactured by the park. Maybe there are storylines and characters that are intentionally wacky.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:14 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


conversations are taking place via some kind of remote diagnostic mode.

"Where are you, Delores?"
"I'm in a dream."
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:15 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, overall I like how the show is gradually addressing some of the quibbles people had with how the park works in these asides, hopefully people will be a little more patient with the show.

idk why people being super interested in the minutiae of the show's universe is being called quibbles and impatience? we want more information because we're EXCITED! ABOUT THE SHOW! so excite

i mean the purpose of shows like this is specifically to draw you in by giving you 10x as many questions as answers. desperately wanting more details is literally how they want you to interact with the media.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:17 AM on October 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Those are great questions, Diablevert. Obviously, I don't know any more than you do, but I have suspicions.

I think the conversations between Bernard and Delores could easily be virtual, but they could also be something he has coordinated to happen during her down time, whether she is damaged during the day or not. Did he tell her at one point to make sure no one saw her leave?

It would make sense to have the host automatically do a soft reset and recommence their loop if no guests interacted with their storyline.

This *must* be the case. It's like they're in a sort of provocation loop, whose purpose is to draw in guests to activate their storyline. If that doesn't work, they reset. Though even that calls to mind some questions. For instance, does the prospector slip in the street every day? Does Dolores drop a can of condensed milk every day? Wouldn't guests find that weird? (Though the a-hole in the black hat's comments about the prospector seem to indicate he has seen that loop many times... that could be on multiple visits, or he could have seen him do his loop every day.) But what about the hosts who operate in town? The one prostitute seems to run more or less the same loop, but directs it at different people, "Not much of a rind on you..."

In any case, the question of how they are reset is an interesting one... Probably it is remote. Bernard might be opting to interact with Dolores on a special basis even if this is normally the case, though.

But the hosts who get killed present issues, too. This is a "town" full to the brim with people wanting to drink and screw all night... when could they safely get in to clear the bodies?

The logistical questions this show presents are pretty far-ranging...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:36 AM on October 24, 2016


idk why people being super interested in the minutiae of the show's universe is being called quibbles and impatience?

Oh, I meant more like, I swear I've seen three thinkpieces like, "what westworld gets wrong about video games" or "who would even want to go there when all you can do is X, Y, and Z" or people complaing about how the guns work and stuff. Some of the writing about the show seems to presume that if something about how the park works hasn't been clearly expositioned to death in the pilot, the show hasn't thought about it at all and it's obviously a giant plot hole. I'm all for speculation and whacky theories, I just like the fact that the so far the show seems pretty content to deal out the world-building in dribs and drabs.
posted by Diablevert at 11:51 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Totally agree. There's, "Gee I wonder how the park accomplishes X... let's talk theories!" and "We were not presented an in-depth manual for how the game works for us to peruse as reference while watching the first few episodes, therefore this show is invalid!" I'm more than down for the former and I find the latter pretty eyeroll-inducing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:04 PM on October 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


I really think Arnold is just dead. He's not a host, he's not the MIB, he's just dead. How he died is a mystery we'll probably explore but there's really no evidence for his continued existence.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:37 PM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think people were getting fooled by some of the show's feints. Like the MIB is unaffected by gunshots, so if you believe that he's a normal guest, then that seems like a gameplay breaking flaw because IDDQD is only fun for about 5 minutes. We didn't see a normal guest get shot and knocked on his backside until ep 4, but that makes the game seem way less broken.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:49 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Diablevert: So if Doloros ran off with William and Logan and passed out beside a campfire in the middle of the dessert, are we supposed to presume that Bernard physically snuck out into the park, somehow snuck Dolorous out of there without waking William or Logan, then snuck her back and put her to sleep? All by himself? Taking a chance that they'd both sleep through the whole diagnostic he intended to run, however long that took, and not notice she was missing? That just strikes me as improbable, maybe more improbable than that these conversations are taking place via some kind of remote diagnostic mode.

paper chromatographologist:
"Where are you, Delores?"
"I'm in a dream."


That's from the first episode, where they're running physical diagnostics on her (I believe). And the second episode, techs talk about why they dream (sorry, I forgot who was talking):

- Dreams are mainly memories. Can you imagine how f*cked we'd be if these poor assholes ever remembered what the guests do to them? We do give them the concept of dreams. Specifically nightmares.
- Why?
- Just in case somebody forgets to wipe them out at the end of a maintenance session.

But Maeve has memories of dead bodies in the storage area, so there's physical maintenance that is done off-site
- What's the hold up? We need that one on the next shuttle topside.
- I'm not finished with her yet. Hang on. I've got another bullet fragment to remove from her abdomen.
- QA wants her back on the floor now. Just patch her and get her on the...
and I think even the "software" analysis is done off-site, too.

As for the length of the story loops, I think they are multiple day loops, and there could also be loops that last longer than others, making everything look a little less scripted for return visitors. But if you come back often enough, you're bound to see the same things happen, especially on the main street where visitor "lands" upon coming to town. It's expensive enough that I imagine that return visitors are somewhat rare, and even if they do come back, I can imagine those repeated scenes providing some comfort, reminding the guests that this isn't really real, though it can feel real. If it's really real, there would be fewer black hats, for fear of the consequences.

I think some of the "clean-up" is done by workers in costume, as seen with the new sheriff who tried to escort the "lost" Dolores back to her territory in this episode ("Ma'am? Got word a girl went missing from Abernathy Ranch. Is that where you belong? I'm sure your daddy's worried about you."), unlike in the movie where the town shuts down at night and the bodies "magically" disappear, to have the city up and running in a few hours for the next morning.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:05 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


"I'm in a dream."

That's from the first episode,


It's in this one too, at the start of the conversion that was so logistically unlikely.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:18 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think some of the "clean-up" is done by workers in costume

Yeah, somebody on reddit posted this from the Delos site --- it seems that for your normal run of the mill shootout victim, undertaker hosts remove the body and "bury" it in a designated graveyard which is actually a chute to maintenance. Only when hosts malfunction or when you have an attack that wipes out a ton of hosts at once do they send the biohazard suit guys into the park.
posted by Diablevert at 1:19 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Did anyone recognize the song the player piano was playing near the end of the episode? It seemed like another modern reinterpretation (and, boy, is there anything more middle brow than 'hey I recognize that song except it's ol' timey!).

I like the idea that Bernard is communicating with Dolores directly in her "dreams". Bernard's presence there could even be an invasive program that he's created and implanted into her scripting.

Though even that calls to mind some questions. For instance, does the prospector slip in the street every day? Does Dolores drop a can of condensed milk every day? Wouldn't guests find that weird? (Though the a-hole in the black hat's comments about the prospector seem to indicate he has seen that loop many times... that could be on multiple visits, or he could have seen him do his loop every day.)

I think that this is actually the case. I feel like, as with our modern games, guests aren't meant to be spending much time in town. It's a hub that gets you acclimated to the world, gives you a central location for sex / guns / booze / provisions, and serves as an "Act 1" for a lot of the storylines. Therefore, Delos is willing to have a little bit of narrative weirdness that a small percentage of guests would ever even notice. We're seeing it from the camera's perspective, which has a reason to focus on that incidental and minor occurrence. To the guests it will be one scene among a thousand taking place on a busy street. That anyone would notice it once, let alone be in town at that precise time paying attention to that precise moment to notice it twice is probably a risk they're willing to take to have the possibility of Dolores' storyline.

Maybe the Hollywood Indian programming they've seeded the Native hosts with just allowed it to emerge most easily, gave it an easier outlet in which to be expressed. Kewpie dolls and masks and an idea of a world being imbued with and ruled by powerful unseen spirits.

This was my impression: it's a hint that we're seeing one or two among many bots who are beginning to develop aberrant personalities. For the native american hosts, this is just how it manifests itself. It does make me wonder: is there a Dances with Wolves storyline where some guest gets to play great white savior to the fictional tribe of West World?
posted by codacorolla at 1:32 PM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've found a clue. In this ep, everyone who smoke's head explodes, literally (or as some sort of revelation)

1 - obviously the jail guard with the loaded cigar's head explodes

2 - the defective robot fixer's starts smoking/head explodes when she realizes Anthony Hopkins saw her coming a mile away (cheap shoes, daddy stunk of the lamp, all the way to the F...B...I... etc)

3 - Maeve's head explodes when she smokes the cigar and goes truther about the bullet in her abdomen. (definitely a crazy move: why think "they" would fix her skin but not remove the bullet?)
posted by Hume at 2:41 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Doesn't Delores get up and leave after a recent conversation with Bernard? The conversations are taking place in a set up similar to the clear glass pods of the lab, but the setting seems... older. Part of town? Or the original labs?
posted by armacy at 4:48 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


why think "they" would fix her skin but not remove the bullet

The fragment of dialog filthy light thief quoted above explains that:
- What's the hold up? We need that one on the next shuttle topside.
- I'm not finished with her yet. Hang on. I've got another bullet fragment to remove from her abdomen.
- QA wants her back on the floor now. Just patch her and get her on the...
posted by BungaDunga at 4:52 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Does anybody know what make of hat the MiB wears? It is so close to my Akubra Cattleman but without the airholes, and a wider brim. Anyway I like it a lot and want to get one. Pls hope.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:43 PM on October 24, 2016


So MiB has been going there for 30 years and didn't know about the Mexican(?) town, but William gets there in his first visit?

This would drive a stake through the heart of the "William grows up to be the MiB theory" right?

why think "they" would fix her skin but not remove the bullet

I figured this was because the employees fucked up and didn't put Maeve in sleep mode when they were doing it, so when she popped up and ran and they had to chase her down, they were too rattled by the whole experience and weren't as thorough, and thus left the bullet fragment inside her as they were in a rush to stitch her back up again.

I'm still at the same place after each episode: there's a lot I like about this, but I'm concerned that one of two things will happen once the show starts revealing the answers to all of these questions: either I'm going to think come on because they reveal some sort of twist that doesn't fit the rules they've laid out for the show or I'll lose interest because I just don't care about the characters enough. Maeve will be my salvation in this show if it comes to that, she's the most interesting character to me by a country mile right now.

Could the man in the black hat be Arnold? And did not go insane but is trapped in Westworld by Ford for some nefarious reason?

I don't see how this could be the case if he's instantly recognizable by real-world tourists as some dude rich enough to have a foundation.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:10 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I figured this was because the employees fucked up and didn't put Maeve in sleep mode when they were doing it, so when she popped up and ran and they had to chase her down, they were too rattled by the whole experience and weren't as thorough, and thus left the bullet fragment inside her as they were in a rush to stitch her back up again.

huh, i thought more time passed between those two incidents but that does seem like the most reasonable explanation.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:45 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]



Does anybody know what make of hat the MiB wears?


Vintage Stetson perhaps? Current similar version might be the Stetson Carson. You could also ask Ed Harris on Twitter. =)
posted by oneirodynia at 10:40 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


ANYWAY Wood is giving a GREAT performance and with every episode I keep expecting her to lie to Bertrand during a debug and I also think it'll be a lie I won't catch until two days later.
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Given how Delores seemed to instantly teleport at the end of her session with daddy-o, my personal assumption is those chats are happening virtually.

I've also been chewing for a while on why the hosts are called... hosts. It's a slightly weird word to use for them - presumably it's meant in the hospitality sense, but what if that's a misdirect?
posted by coriolisdave at 11:12 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


About the music ('Vulture' article.)

I never thought MiB would be so chatty - they kind of gave away his whole shtick in this episode, not that that's such a bad thing but I was a little surprised they would do it so clunkily.

The kachinka doll and Maeve was... the real payoff was her last words "And that nothing matters." I was like, 'man I might not be an animatronic minimally conscious prostitute stuck for my eternity in a game for the wealthy where - but I am totally with you, punk rock Maeve. Totally"

Also I want William to shoot Logan. More than once. Maybe he could do it every time Logan turns his back.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:35 AM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


SO MANY THOUGHTS:

I really liked this epiosde but I found myself a bit annoyed by how all-in they went with answering questions and filling in backstory. Like poffin boffin said, part of the point of watching is trying to figure out WTF is happening, and it's gets a little disappointing when they just lay it all out like that.

That said — I love the way this show works with repeated scenes. As we were watching the shootout in this episode my husband remarked that it's the same scene (don't the engineers call it the "floor show") as the first and second episode. And I said, "But wait, something has to change here." Then, sure enough — Maeve pulls her gun on Hector. Hmmm, Hector.

Echos of Bladerunner there too.

There are soooooo many echos Bladerunner. Someone in another thread mentioned Ford's apartment looking like Sebastian's apartment at the end of the movie. Plus, Zhora in BR has a snake tattoo on her neck.

Asshole Black Hat's family are (major?) investors in the park.
In the meeting between Ford and Theresa she says to him that the board will be sending a representative to the park. He says "They already have. I thought they would've told you." I wonder if Logan is the rep?

also wtf was up with the giant chomping machine that was coming over the hills to eat anthony hopkins' house

In that same meeting he says to her "You can tell the board that my narrative will be completed on time, and it won't be a retrospective, as I'm sure you have all feared. I'm not the sentimental type." Since she had just told him about going to the villa when she was a child, and by the way the shot was set up all menacing with the machines bearing down on the villa and the wine glasses shaking, I understood this to mean the machines were coming to destroy the villa to make way for the new storyline.

I thought this was one of the best scene in the episode. I love how Theresa started smoking, right after Bernard told her it was one of her "tells."

Are those convos between Bernard and Dolores taking place in some kind of virtual reality?

My question around this is that Ford *must* know that Bernard is talking to Lola. (And shit — I just made that connection — Dolores:: Lola:: Lolita. Hmm.) After all, Ford tells Theresa that he knows everything about the guests, AND the employees. (And he knows she and Bernard are boning.)

Sidenote — I love how Bernard pulled Elsie aside with the "they're just robots" talk in the same way Ford did to Bernard in Ep. 3, and neither one of them really believes it.

Thinking about names, someone already mentioned Escaton. What could the other character names mean? Ford, the creator of machines that changed the world? Bernard's last name is Lowe. Armistice is obviously loaded with meaning. Maeve is Irish for "she who intoxicates." I also loved William's "DON'T CALL ME BILLY."

Re: hosts and stories resetting — per the contract on the ARG website, the maximum stay at Westworld is 28 days (unless you're the MiB I guess?) so my theory is that the story resets every 28 days. I think a lot of what we're seeing with hosts are flashback, not real-time repetitions.

I love when the MiB tells Hector that he'll never find what he's looking for in the safe. This is a sly nod to the "Groundhog Day" mechanics of the show but also speaks to both the religion conversation they has in the jail and also, like, the terrible thing we humans do which is try the same thing over and over and over again and expect different results each time. It lends a little more credence to the idea that religion is going to play a big part on the upcoming storyline.

Maeve will be my salvation in this show if it comes to that, she's the most interesting character to me by a country mile right now.

Same. I know everyone is (rightfully) raving about Evan Rachel Wood, but that look Thandie Newton gives when she's in the midst of a flashback breaks my heart every goddamn time.
posted by Brittanie at 1:54 AM on October 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


You could also ask Ed Harris on Twitter. =)

I twurted him privately and he wrote back "Please yes a hat thank you xox"
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:18 AM on October 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I feel totally vindicated that when they said the carving was Orion last week I thought, "That ain't Orion!" I never bothered to look it up so was extra pleased this week when they said it wasn't. Though maybe it is an Orion look-a-like constellation from somewhere else in the solar system/galaxy, as someone else suggested that the location of Westworld is not on this planet... Or maybe the sky/star formations are just another part of the design of Westworld and Ford and Arnold built mysteries into it too.
posted by bobobox at 5:42 AM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think the hosts' loops are always literally 24 hours. Certainly for most minor NPCs they would be - like Dolores's - but I suspect some of the major ones - like Escaton - have longer default loops. I also assume that if a host gets wrapped up in a quest or other guest-driven interaction that lasts longer than their default loop they have some programming that allows them to extend their reset as needed.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:53 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ford, the creator of machines that changed the world?

Also back to Bladerunner, Harrison Ford.
posted by octothorpe at 7:04 AM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, legenardy director of westerns John Ford.
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on October 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Whelk, yes of course. John Ford shot a few of his best pictures in Monument Valley which we've seen a few times in this show. And WestWorld (the park) is definitely a recreation of the imaginary movie west much more than of the real one.

Gonna have to rewatch My Darlin' Clementine soon.
posted by octothorpe at 9:30 AM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thinking about names, someone already mentioned Escaton. What could the other character names mean?

Elsie, being a programmer of the hosts, could be a nameification of Else, as in If-Then-Else, nomenclature of a programs decision tree, much like that graphic for all of Dolores' encounters.
posted by theartandsound at 10:37 AM on October 25, 2016


...and of course Dolores is "sorrows" or "pains" in Spanish.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:37 AM on October 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Chrys reviews Westworld: Classic Teddy.
posted by rewil at 1:47 PM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


They used an African vulture. These things bother me.
posted by devon at 3:14 PM on October 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


They used an African vulture. These things bother me.

On the plus side, any silly stuff inside the park can be blamed on the designers writing to a certain American conception of what reads as "Western".
posted by codacorolla at 3:30 PM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think maybe we are over thinking it. This is just a straightforward story about how AI's in a park go nuts and start murdering the guests. Ford's arrogance and inability to see these creatures as anything but his playthings. Bernard's dangerous unauthorized experimentation with the limits of Deloris' cognition. A corporate culture that is too focused on making money to shut it down when stuff starts going wrong.
posted by humanfont at 5:10 PM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm glad to read that other people also have their hangups with the mechanics of how everything on the show is supposed to work. I really want to like this show but every episode leaves me with more unanswered questions about the basic rules of the Delos world and Westworld world. I'll accept a lot of warts and rough edges to watch some good sci-fi worldbuilding, like the first season of The 100 or all of BSG for example, but Westworld is not hitting that mark yet.

With Westworld I keep wondering if I missed an episode that explained how everything is supposed to work: without establishing the Westworld rules, the writers are reaching to get me to follow their story. All of their worldbuilding has been teased out with crummy exposition in crummy Delosworld stock character conflict scenes. And because our understanding of Westworldworld is dependent on what happens in Delosworld, that doesn't make me lean into the mystery to find out more, it makes me wonder if the writers are stupid or think that I'm stupid.

Everything that happens in the Delosworld is so ham-handed and functions on a just-so, lazy scriptwriter basis that it reminds me of the deep subtleties of the human side of the Avatar plot. Characters, conflicts, settings, motivations, it's such crap easy stock material. It's all cheap exposition to move the plot along with enough conflict and sex between cardboard cutout characters and pretty visuals to keep us viewers from getting bored.

And because the Westworld side leans on established storytelling tropes with a knowing wink and nod, I keep giving the rest of the show a pass hoping that it will get better.
posted by peeedro at 5:48 PM on October 25, 2016


Did anyone recognize the song the player piano was playing near the end of the episode?

I think it was A Forest by The Cure.
posted by fancyoats at 6:33 PM on October 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Did anyone recognize the song the player piano was playing near the end of the episode?

I think it was A Forest by The Cure.


It was, and that was a moment of delight because when I was listening to it I was trying to remember what it was, and then Maeve says "Don't you hate it when something is on the tip of your tongue and the harder you try to remember it..." I'm sure that was deliberate in the edit and it pleased me greatly. Working out what the songs are is one of the little delights of the show. (And anything that works in The Cure gets my vote.)

So what is the craic with Bernard and Dolores and the Maze? Does he know that the centre of the Maze is where AI consciousness lies and he's helping set Dolores free? Or does he just know a vague something about the Maze and he's using her - letting her play the game for him and save himself any risk, as it were. I'm assuming Bernard cares about Dolores, but the shift in Ford's character from avuncular patron to iron-cored master of his domain is making me question Bernard's motives too.

And I'm definitely still seeing the religious connotations - I mean, "I'm your salvation" is fairly unambiguous...
posted by billiebee at 4:36 AM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


So MiB has been going there for 30 years and didn't know about the Mexican(?) town, but William gets there in his first visit?

I think he knows about the town. He finds the place without Lawrence's help, and he knows the attack with the cousins is coming, and knows how many bullets he'll need. He subtracts two for Lawrence's wife and daughter, so he kills the first two cousins without bullets. It seems like he'd have to know the place?

The dialogue is weird: "After all, you and I are friends, which is why I was surprised when your friend Kissy told me about this place." I think what he means is he was surprised to hear Kissy mention that place as relevant, and that Lawrence had a wife and daughter there, or anywhere.

Are those convos between Bernard and Doloros taking place in some kind of virtual reality?

Yeah in Episode 2 Dolores also has another dream with Bernard that seems like it is happening instantaneously. It seems relevant to what she is doing, not just a memory of a previous therapy or something.

I would like to believe some part of the park is VR, or maybe all of it, but it doesn't seem likely, it seems more like a communal host subconscious with Arnold's ghost swimming around that muck, and maybe Bernard, maybe Bernard is Arnold reincarnated by Ford. Or something..
posted by fleacircus at 5:27 AM on October 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think maybe we are over thinking it. This is just a straightforward story about how AI's in a park go nuts and start murdering the guests. Ford's arrogance and inability to see these creatures as anything but his playthings. Bernard's dangerous unauthorized experimentation with the limits of Deloris' cognition. A corporate culture that is too focused on making money to shut it down when stuff starts going wrong.
posted by humanfont at 5:10 PM on October 25


Classic Jurassic Park

I think maybe we are over thinking it. This is just a straightforward story about how AI's DINOSAURS in a park go nuts and start murdering the guests. Ford's HAMMOND'S arrogance and inability to see these creatures as anything but his playthings. Bernard'sJOHN HAMMOND'S dangerous unauthorized experimentation with the limits of Deloris' cognition DINOSAURS. A corporate culture that is too focused on making money to shut it down when stuff starts going wrong.
posted by Sprocket at 11:12 AM on October 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


> I think he knows about the town. He finds the place without Lawrence's help, and he knows the attack with the cousins is coming, and knows how many bullets he'll need. He subtracts two for Lawrence's wife and daughter, so he kills the first two cousins without bullets. It seems like he'd have to know the place?

Interesting, I had interpreted the scene differently, but yeah, that makes more sense. Maybe I'm back onboard the William=MiB theory, but I don't know anymore.

> I think maybe we are over thinking it

I spent a half hour rewatching the one-minute scene with Dolores in the Mexican town over and over, trying to track extras in the background to determine if the editors were screwing with us showing two timelines in the same location in the same scene. So yeah, I think you're right.
posted by noneuclidean at 11:34 AM on October 26, 2016


Here's the thing: It's well established that when a violent storyline plays out and the hosts are damaged or killed, the park sends down an extraction team, removed the hosts, repairs them, wipes their memories, and they then "wake up" the next day to repeat their loop.

Nope. There are multiple copies of Dolores and her consciousness "instantiates" into a spare body for the chats with Bernard. This will be a creepy reveal at some point when she comes face-to-face with a clone of herself.
posted by killdevil at 4:03 PM on October 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


I like killdevil's theory, but the security guy's speech about Delores being the endlessly-repaired, oldest host in the park would seem to imply that the hosts have specific corporeal continuity. Furthermore, when her father flipped out, they appeared to retire one body, not a batch of bodies.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:14 PM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


The multiple-copies-of-hosts thing was actually already teased in the pilot when Ford was having his drink with "Old Bill," the retired first-generation robot. Bernard alludes to the fact that "most of them [Old Bills] had been taken out of service by the time I came on." Practically speaking you can see how it would make sense to have a bunch of Dolores copies given how often she gets shot / stabbed / raped / etc.
posted by killdevil at 4:16 PM on October 26, 2016


Also this breaks my immersion just a little
posted by killdevil at 4:22 PM on October 26, 2016 [21 favorites]


I can't keep up with all the theories - I'm just going to turn off my brain and watch pretty people shoot each other and make increasingly unsubtle video game comparisons.

Two Westworld jokes are making me happy today:
- "My favourite, presumably-deleted scene from Westworld so far" from Reddit (which snarks about the one storyline that I haven't been able to convince my brain to just shut up and go along with).
- My husband told me he's seen many people refer to the reboot as "The show with everything but Yul Brenner," and I'm so mad at myself for not thinking of it before.
posted by bibliowench at 4:27 PM on October 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Multiple host bodies doesn't really track with Maeve having a bullet fragment in her abdomen.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:30 PM on October 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maybe Bernard does have a bootleg Dolores in some sub-basement somewhere, and he flips a switch and her consciousness is transferred over for the space of a conversation, using some secret powers of his, then she goes back into her body. That wouldn't make much sense, but I'm not sure any answer to the Bernard/Dolores dream situation is going to make a lot of sense.
posted by fleacircus at 5:16 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was immediately weird to me that they don't have crates of Dolores or Maeves or Teddies. It immediately undercuts the argument that they are just Pleasure Toasters - if they're so basic and nonhuman, why are they so hard to copy?
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:24 PM on October 26, 2016


I don't think there is going to be any huge earthshattering mystery just cause it's playing everything so straight . Mysteries exist, but they're securely in world and introduced not like "different timelines!" Level. I could see multiple copies of hosts but that's about it ? Bertrand gets access to Dolores the same way Hammibal teleports around town, it moves at the speed of plot.

I mean the best way to alleviate fears that you're doing another Abrams fuck around is to be as straight forward and direct as possible.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mysteries exist, but they're securely in world and introduced not like "different timelines!" Level

Well, it's only episode four, so I could well be wrong. And I'm not committed to any one timeline theory, discussions about this show generate more tinfoil than the Reynolds wrap factory.

But the show has already been at pains to draw our attention to the fact that it's playing around with time in a variety of ways. Certain events are repeated again and again and we have to seek subtle clues to tell the difference between them: Teddy arriving, the shootout in the center of town, the milk can drop. And of course, most important of all, the very first thing we see: Dolores waking up, literally. Dolores waking up, figuratively, being the core story of the show.

The fact of the loops leads to a certain unmooring in time, makes it difficult to tell when exactly anything's happening. From what we can tell of the backstage scenes, Ford'a glitch-causing update was issued recently, days or maybe a few weeks ago, a short enough time that techs like Elsie and Bernard are still investigating the effects. Maeve's alien autopsy and hasty patch job were post-update. But there were dozens of drawings under that floorboard. Has she woken up backstage before? Is she having multiple disassociative flashbacks each day?

More than that, there's Dolores' vanishing handgun trick -- when did she dig it up? Was it hidden in the dresser or not? The show's definitely fucking with us, and the idea that we're seeing flickers of different loops, different times, seems like one of the few ways these differences could be resolved. Ditto the gutshot vs run away bit at the end of episode three.

So to me anyway the show seems to be quite deliberately introducing ambiguity into our sense of when the events we're seeing onscreen are happening. Couple that with the fact that we're getting 24pt Ultima bold triple underlined hints that There Was An Inportant Incident 30 Years Ago, and on the whole I'm inclined to favour the proposition that some of the scenes which may currently appear to be set in the "present" are actually flash backs or flash forwards.
posted by Diablevert at 11:04 PM on October 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's also the bit in E1 where Bernard and a security team go down too basement B34jillion and meet Ford.. it looks like some Aperture Science stuff, a long-abandoned entrance or concourse. The characters talk about that area like it's just been broken out of service a couple weeks or something, but it looks longer than that.
posted by fleacircus at 4:53 AM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just me, but it was interesting that the role I most associate with Ed Harris is from the Truman Show, where all the inhabitants except the "guest" know it's not real, while in this role, it's only the "guests" who know it's not real.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:46 AM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


The multiple-copies-of-hosts thing was actually already teased in the pilot when Ford was having his drink with "Old Bill," the retired first-generation robot. Bernard alludes to the fact that "most of them [Old Bills] had been taken out of service by the time I came on."

i don't think he was talking about actual multiple old bills? i think he meant first-gen robots in general were already mostly out of service by the time he got there.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:31 AM on October 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


Yeah, he meant "most of them [hosts of Old Bill's generation] had been taken out of service..."
posted by Rock Steady at 10:51 AM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Funny, I didn't realize this but Ed Harris' first film role was in Coma written and directed by none other than Michael Crichton.
posted by octothorpe at 11:32 AM on October 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Having thought about it a bit, I have now talked myself into believing that Bernard is himself an android, though most of my evidence comes from the last episode and not this one. Ford created him as a sort of replacement for Arnold and gave him a similar storyline (when they are discussing Arnold, Ford mentions that Arnold had recently experienced a personal tragedy; Bernard has lost a son), the ability to retain memory, and seemingly higher cognitive abilities. Bernard only speaks to his wife through a video screen, which could be simulated easily enough. It might explain the dreamlike nature of his talks with Dolores, and would go some ways towards explaining his constant analysis of other people's behavior.

Also (this is stretching) his name begins with a B, after Arnold's A. Perhaps Arnold was the first AI Ford created that achieved sentience, and Bernard is the Beta model, if you will (this also fits in with Ford's comments about liking the earliest host models best).

Bernard's backstory fits pretty well thematically also. If Ford did create Arnold, and saw him as a son, perhaps Bernard's false memories of the death of his own son are an echo of this. It ties in with Ford's comments about evolution happening as the result of mistakes. And finally, it explains why Ford discourages Bernard from his analysis of Dolores. I also found it notable that Ford brings up Bernard's son's death in the same episode during which we see him program the memory of Wyatt into Teddy Flood, Dolores's boyfriend.

I can't see anything in the show so which obviously disproves this theory, which of course doesn't mean that it's true. If we met people who knew Bernard before he came to Westworld that would seem to disprove it; so far the show hasn't given us much detail on what the world outside is like, or what connections any of the staff members have to the outside world, apart from the shadowy Board.

(Ask me about my wacky Mr Robot theories!)
posted by whir at 8:57 PM on October 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


whir, this is exactly my theory as well.

Dolores is the oldest host in the park.

Bernard at one point says, "stop all scripted responses; improv only" during their private talks.

Ford explains in the hierarchy of the bicameral mind, there were scripted responses, then improv, then... hmmmm, what's at the top of the pyramid, again? He leaves that triangle blank.

Arnold "died" inside the park. Perhaps Dolores, Maeve and Bernard also "died" when they had their bicameral minds reset to original factory settings, with only the remnants of the implicit voice commands left active of Arnold's groundbreaking self-advancing AI work.

Because... Bernard did something and is continuing to do something in secret with Dolores. She says multiple times and is also reminded that she cannot lie, basically. and yet, in the last ep, after Bernard asks her to stay within her loop, she's clearly going off-loop as far as she's ever gone with Logan and William.

She is instinctively heading back to the Blood Arroyo. The little girl in Mexican Town even says, when asked "Where are you from?" -- the same place as YOU, Dolores.

The center of the maze is the Blood Arroyo. The Blood Arroyo is the location where all the Original Hosts with developed Bicameral Minds were reclaimed/"killed" by Ford, possibly even including Arnold. I have no idea if Arnold's the MiB, and maybe he doesn't, either. But Ford knows all. How could he know who Bernard's fucking if the rooms aren't bugged? Well... there's one definite way to know. That is, if Bernard's also an Original Host. He did say, "Some days, I wake up and I don't know where I am -- I don't know WHEN I am" on his video call with his apparent wife. Much like Maeve. Much like Dolores.

Ford's entire waitstaff is artificial; no humans at all working when the board member Bernard's sleeping with has her emotional discussion with Ford. (That wine scene was very unnerving for me, tbh).

He says repeatedly this is his world, and the creators of any world are rightly seen as Gods. He is the God of Westworld. The Blood Arroyo is the great massacre point -- arroyo is defined as "a steep-sided gully cut by running water in an arid or semiarid region" -- so, blood arroyo is a steep-sided gully flash-flooded with blood, yes?

And I suspect also a secret entrance to the underground service tunnels that go all the way back to the maintenance labs. Imagine if the Original Hosts had all of their Bicameral Minds re-activated by a series of sleeper agents, much like an anti-Board, that were ready to let Westworld destroy itself. Hell, if Ford's so bent on churning up and replacing the beloved settings from what, 40 years prior, when the Board member sat in that chair as a child and watched the fields she's seen since then eaten wholemeal by a large, rending machine during a visit -- well, who's to say this isn't his greatest and final "floor show" of all?

Who's to say the new storyline isn't the total implosion of Westworld, a Deus Ex Machina that destroys everyone and everything in the park, including Ford himself? He is, after all, NOT sentimental.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:54 PM on October 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


blood arroyo is a steep-sided gully flash-flooded with blood

A glass overflowing with red wine.
posted by dazed_one at 10:58 PM on October 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


Ford exercises his godlike powers and the wine gets spilled.
posted by dazed_one at 11:00 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Blood Arroyo also = Red River. And isn't Sizemore's fucked up new Bosch-esque storyline called "Odyssey on Red River"?
posted by Brittanie at 12:44 AM on October 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Red River also being a classic Hawks western where there is some speculation that John Wayne and Monty Cliff had a bit of an on set seduction which was broken up when a crew unit literally walked in on them together?

Look I'm just saying google red river gun scene.
posted by The Whelk at 12:57 AM on October 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


Look I'm just saying google red river gun scene.

omg
posted by Brittanie at 3:39 AM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Saw Red River for the first time last year and that was definitely a WTF moment in it. I'm guessing that the show runners have watched a lot of classic westerns to prep for this show.
posted by octothorpe at 4:57 AM on October 28, 2016


I thought it was a bit strange to have the gamemaker director introduced in this episode, calling shots from the control room. Like approving the pyrotechnics for the exploding cigars. I liked the bit though where there was a guest conflict in town. One group of guests was enjoying their murder shootout fantasy when another group wanted a quiet visit to town. So let the shootout finish, then freeze the guests' weapons and have them arrested until the next morning. Move em out, move em in.
posted by Nelson at 11:06 AM on October 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Westworld: What Makes Anthony Hopkins Great. A very detailed second-by-second focus on Hopkins' acting in the luncheon / overflowing wine scene.

When I first watched this show I thought casting Hopkins was a stunt, get a big name attached to puff up the show a bit. He's not above phoning in a role for the paycheck. But he's really doing great work in this show and has the writing to be worth his talents.
posted by Nelson at 9:55 AM on November 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Coming into this episode I was thinking William was going to want a "reward" for rescuing Delores, she would be unwilling or it would trigger a flashback, and she would end up killing him somehow. Now I'm not so sure.

They're definitely playing a lot with time, trying to put us in the heads of the hosts where everything is mixed up. Delores' conversations with Bernard could very well be before this multi-long story with William and whatever the asshole's name is.
posted by ODiV at 5:49 PM on November 12, 2016


My current theory about the Bernard/Dolores conversations is that they're a manifestation of her bicameral mind. Some of them, anyway. She's synthesized some of the real diagnostic sessions she's had with Bernard into an ongoing conversation that happens when she sleeps. Turning the improvisation skills intended to be used for guest interaction toward another purpose.

After all, Dolores is the oldest host still in the park. Old enough for Arnold to have worked on her original programming, perhaps.

It does make me wonder: is there a Dances with Wolves storyline where some guest gets to play great white savior to the fictional tribe of West World?

Oh, it's almost a guarantee. But, given that we've been shown that Westworld attracts a somewhat diverse clientele, what I really have to wonder is whether there are any storylines for Native American guests who spend time with the "Indian" hosts. And whether any of them would even want that, if it were an option. (That Sizemore's storyline was allowed to reach proposal stage suggests that maybe this isn't something Narrative pays much attention to. Too real, Westworld, too real.)

I've also been chewing for a while on why the hosts are called... hosts. It's a slightly weird word to use for them - presumably it's meant in the hospitality sense, but what if that's a misdirect?

I think it's a deliberate Disneyism, as much as anything.

Certainly for most minor NPCs they would be - like Dolores's - but I suspect some of the major ones - like Escaton - have longer default loops.

Eschaton mentions that his crew is going to spring him out in three days. When QA needs a bloodbath to cover for their big recall, they explicitly mention that they're accelerating his timeline. Also, I believe the bandit camp that lost its woodcutter last episode was mentioned as being overdue for some other narrative they were supposed to be involved in some number of days later. For that matter, the bounty-hunting job William heads out on was at least a day and a half of travel out of Sweetwater.

So, yes, it definitely seems like there are longer narrative loops for some characters.

One interesting thing this episode is the theme of surveillance. Black Hat talks about it in reference to Dolores -- although we as viewers know that she's actually off her loop without permission -- and then of course there's the conversation between Theresa and Ford. Perhaps this is actually Delos' interest in the park? A way to figure out who the moneyed, well-heeled guests truly are in the dark, so they can use that information against them later.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:35 PM on November 28, 2016


"I've also been chewing for a while on why the hosts are called... hosts. It's a slightly weird word to use for them - presumably it's meant in the hospitality sense, but what if that's a misdirect?"

I agree with that, but also thought of them like server hosts, as in walking virtual machines.*

*I may be biased, as I work for a hosting company.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:23 PM on December 13, 2016


Also, Lawrence strongly reminds me of The Hanged Man, or perhaps The Fool from the tarot. Not sure what the means though.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:11 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are tons of ways to interpret the Hanged Man in the tarot, but Wikipedia has some interesting insight.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:57 AM on December 18, 2016


With regards to whether Bernard's sessions with Dolores are physical or virtual, he says the exact same line in episode 2 and episode 3:
You should be getting back, Dolores, before someone misses you.
That seems like a vote in favor of a physical interaction. Also, there's basically no way to say precisely when these conversations are occurring.
posted by Cogito at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


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