Westworld: The Adversary
November 6, 2016 7:50 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Elsie discovers a possible source of sabotage, while Bernard searches for clues to anomalies in a sector thought to be abandoned. Theresa questions Ford's leadership while Lee encounters a new arrival at Westworld. The Man in Black and Teddy run afoul of a Union garrison in their attempt to cross a border.
posted by litera scripta manet (132 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Another great episode, although maybe not as riveting as last weeks. (Or maybe it's just me?)

Thandie Newton continues to be unbelievably awesome in her role, and even though he's gotten relatively little screen time, I've become quite fond of Felix. I was not a huge fan of the scene of her, um, murder, since I've appreciated the previous episodes restraint in not showing sexual violence explicitly, but it could have been worse, I guess. And considering her role in the park, it's probably the most expedient option, and the one least likely to raise suspicions.

Another MVP of this episode is Elsie, although I kept wanting to be like, get out! It was a very "it's coming from inside the house" kind of moment. I hope she's okay. Do you think she got snatched by Arnold?

I think this was our first episode without Dolores. I've really enjoyed her role, especially in the last couple episodes, but I honestly didn't really notice her absence until after I finished watching.

Ugh, Lee Sizemore.

The Theresa twist wasn't exactly surprising, although I feel certain there's much more to this story.

I feel bad for Bernard, although Theresa was probably right about that whole objectivity thing. He's a smart guy, so I'm surprised he was so quick to want to bring this to her, especially when it was revealed that the satellite belonged to Delos. Maybe their relationship did in fact cloud his judgment.

I can't believe we only have four episodes left until the end of season 1. I'm really looking forward to see where this is headed.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:07 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, I almost forgot one of my favorite scenes from this episode...

When Felix was taking Maeve through the different floors, it was just so heartbreaking. Great acting, of course, but also the music, the filming. It reminds me of how they filmed back in Episode 2 when she woke up during surgery. It really felt like she was the center of that scene. We, the audience, are seeing it all from her point of view. It's devastating. But I was also so afraid they were going to get caught. I mean, wouldn't the other employees notice? Even if they don't know all the hosts, she doesn't exactly blend in. Couldn't they at least have given her something more subtle to wear? Still a great scene.

I'm glad she at least seems to have Felix as an ally.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:11 PM on November 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


I kind of hated that Elsie was that stupid but other than that, a solid episode.
posted by octothorpe at 8:13 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


MAEVE

IM SCREAMIN
posted by poffin boffin at 8:15 PM on November 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


also omg ford's sad little dream house
posted by poffin boffin at 8:15 PM on November 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


And was that Yul Brenner (or a robot that looked like him) lurking in the shadows when Bernard went down to the basement?
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:55 PM on November 6, 2016 [23 favorites]


Seems to end the multiple timeline theory. Everything is happening more or less concurrently in present tense. We start to see factions reveal themselves.
posted by humanfont at 8:58 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


There was no William/Logan/Delores this episode, not sure we saw anything that would rule out them being in an earlier timeline.
posted by ghharr at 9:09 PM on November 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wow, two Radiohead covers this episode. They both worked so very well!
posted by Catblack at 9:18 PM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maeve, who can remember her past lives and would like to re-roll her Character states thank you
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 PM on November 6, 2016 [25 favorites]


Ford's freaking memory palace tho "oh Arnold recreated a happy memory I had of a trip with my family! I totally put back in the paranoia and alcoholism tho!" Ford is unsentimental, like he says, but also obsessive about accurate detail.
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 PM on November 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also Lee at the bar I kept screaming AHHH YIU ARE BEING HONEYPOTTED THIS WOMAN IS DRILLING YOU FOR INFORMATION AND YOU ARE FALLING FOR IT" and he was.

Also "I have to investigate this thing alone! It's at the most symbolically thematic place possible! " literally an *abadonded theatre^
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 PM on November 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


Also, they say that they don't alter host's personality much - it takes thousands of hours to construct one so mostly they just tweak them and put them in new situations - Maeve has always been 'Maeve" despite being in different roles and lots in life. A Nature argument.


But then you have Teddy, who may have a simpler personality but a well defined one, who ends up completely different due to Ford's scenario changes and granting him an actual backstory. "I thought I knew who you were." Teddy the battle-scared Vet is very different from Teddy the lovesick drifter with a mysterious past. A Nurture argument.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 PM on November 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also in this ep, more and more of the human's faith that they are invulnerable and totally safe in Westworld or around the bots being tested.
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 PM on November 6, 2016


That conversation with Kid Ford....glurgh. {shiver} I mean, awesome, but...

There's so many layers to that little house...memory and pain. You give me a gift and hurts me 'cause its fake but maybe it'll feel real when I put the pain back in...the whole thing is Ford's dream in minature, a dollhouse to tame the past, control it. The hollowness of it, a grown man playing with dolls...

One thing of interest: Haven't seen the original movie, but the gist was, robots go haywire, break their programming, attack the guests, no? But according to this episode, all these gestures towards consciousness we've seen aren't the robots breaking. They're being broken, still. Turn up Maeve's paranoia, and she starts to see little red and white men in the corners of her eye...now that she and the two chuckleheads have formed a resistence cell and she's been bit by a radioactive spiderhad her brains cranked up to skull-busting levels, maybe she starts to make her own path. But it's weird, last week Alan Sepinwall was complaining that if Dolores' arc happens in the past it ruins her character development, because we know it's all been wiped, all her growth retarded. But what do we think if all her character development thus far is just Arnold chucking wooden shoes into the works and making things go crunch?
posted by Diablevert at 10:30 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


There was no William/Logan/Delores this episode, not sure we saw anything that would rule out them being in an earlier timeline.

if they're in a different timeline then so are the MiB and teddy because they're specifically looking for dolores in pariah. so unless this is the second time that dolores has gone this far off script, they're all in the same timeline.

also that scene where maeve wakes up in her house made me think for a whole 2 seconds that she was in dolores' plotline instead
posted by poffin boffin at 10:30 PM on November 6, 2016


whelk are you working on a westworld/hannibal crossover yet, if not why not
posted by poffin boffin at 10:32 PM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


THE CLOTHING ALONE
posted by poffin boffin at 10:32 PM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Reddit screenshot of Maeve's personality chart. I was wondering which were the low ones on the right-hand side: Meekness, Humility, Cruelty.

Ford and Little Robot Ford both calling the dog "it" was incredibly creepy.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:32 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


also i am slightly bereft that the bernarnold possibility has been thoroughly shot down only because i've been singing abba's "fernando" as bernarnold all afternoon
posted by poffin boffin at 10:33 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


re you working on a westworld/hannibal crossover yet, if not why not

I think that already exists and it's called Ravenous
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 PM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


if they're in a different timeline then so are the MiB and teddy because they're specifically looking for dolores in pariah. so unless this is the second time that dolores has gone this far off script, they're all in the same timeline.

I haven't gone completely down the rabbit hole so I can't give footnotes, but I think that is the gist of the theory. 30 years ago, Dolores shot a guy and went on the run with William. Then something happened and she got wiped. Present-day Dolores is retracing the steps of that adventure in her quest to find the maze/break the game, whatever the hell she's on about. That's why she's in the same places, but sometimes alone and sometimes with William. She's with William in the past; in the present she's alone.
posted by Diablevert at 10:37 PM on November 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


Elsie in the theatre was very "What if Jurassic Park but robots?" Kept waiting for the raptor.
posted by tracicle at 11:58 PM on November 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm gonna go ahead and guess that Elsie was snagged by the security guy that went on the hike with her in a, "what are you doing here?" kinda thing - but maybe that's because I don't want her to die yet!
posted by destructive cactus at 12:12 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh lord, the two timeline theory. *groans* Are you guys still going on about that? There's no evidence. The robots that William has run into are NOT the jerky models of the past, and now we get Felix's line that hosts get reassigned frequently, so it's highly doubtful that Clementine has been a hooker for 30+ years. No. Just... no.

I'm so tired of hearing about this theory. Having all of this happening in the present makes it exciting storytelling for me. Having Dolores's current arc happen the past, and the whole thing being some BS Lost-style fakeout, would be frustrating and pointless. I feel strongly that this so-called two-timeline theory is just a lot of epileptic trees. It's up there with "Ford's a robot! No, Theresa's a robot! Bernard's a robot!" theorizing of a few weeks ago.

With that said, I FREAKIN' LOVED THIS EPISODE. How awesome was Maeve? How adorable was she with Felix in this tech-dystopian nightmare? Elsie NOOOOO don't die! Bernard, you dope! And Ford was incredibly creepy with his robot child self and robot drunken dad. He very much reminds me of Book!John Hammond from the novel of Jurassic Park (as the book version of that character was much more megalomaniacal and awful than the lovable grandpa movie version).

The whole business with Lee Sizemore was super tedious, and I think I zoned out during his drunken ranting, but eh, nothing's perfect.

Also, the cinematography and set design are ON POINT. The endless levels of escalators certainly added to the feeling of Maeve ascending through all the levels of hell.

I am SO EXCITED about next week's episode!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:51 AM on November 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


I make fun of the AI apocalypse people but I guess maybe they have a point worth listening to if they can make sure dudes in the future aren't just gonna up and take the intelligence slider to the top like that.

(I mean I'm rooting for her but that's because I don't have to work there.)
posted by atoxyl at 1:24 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm still on Team (at least) Two Timelines -- did you notice that the ancient computer that Bernard booted up in the derelict office levels had the old logo?

I also noted that Teddy's story of the maze had the man building a house at the center. Smash cut to Ford's house in the center of the off-limits Sector 17.
posted by autopilot at 1:31 AM on November 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Noticed the old logo, and (reluctantly) back on the multiple timelines train.

This episode took pains to tell us that Creepy Child Ford is an older style clockwork boy, and yet he is very convincingly human until the whole face split thing. So there is no way of telling wether the robots William is interacting with are biological or mechanical until we see him cut one up. Or not.
posted by arha at 2:56 AM on November 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Loved the episode, especially with Maeve and Teddy coming into their badassedness.

One question, though - why didn't Felix and Sylvester just lower Maeve's stats so she either couldn't physically hurt them or wouldn't be smart enough to realize that they'd betrayed her? Or even raise her loyalty so she wouldn't mind?

I mean, what do they think is going to happen?
posted by bibliowench at 3:15 AM on November 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Well, I think it's safe to assume Sylvester is operating at about a 4, so maybe not making the most rational decisions. Felix may be a 6 but Maeve already got her strings on him.

If this episode taught me anything it is that if you must have an underclass of despised grunt workers in your organisation, for the love of God supervise the shit out of them.
posted by arha at 3:24 AM on November 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


poffin boffin: also i am slightly bereft that the bernarnold possibility has been thoroughly shot down


I don't know that it has, though? To my mind almost the opposite - Bernard runs into the person in the photograph with Ford, who he thinks is "Arnold".

But we learn it is actually a simulacrum of Ford's daddy. A fully tweaked alcoholic abusive simulacrum.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:32 AM on November 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


Now that I think back, I think some of the writing was pretty lazy and formulaic in this episode, especially the "chick you were hitting up is on the board of directors" and the just in time warning to Bernard. And how did Bernard talk his way out of Theresa's apartment? He came in saying that he had something important to discuss and then gets a phone call and is all, "nevermind". She's not that dumb.
posted by octothorpe at 4:21 AM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm going to pretend that 19 on Maeve's chart is really 18/50 and these are 3d6 rolls. And she got all her crap rolls in the dump stats! And managed to roll a 1 on 3d6 which is pretty impressive.

I'm trying to remember what the Egan short was where we had the tech to do more or less exactly these kinds of modifications to ourselves on the fly, complete with sliding scales. "Reasons to be Cheerful" maybe? Not sure...

I'm glad Felix is helping her without blackmail. I'd like to think most people would stop with the whole vivisection-and-torture thing once they realized the subjects were conscious rather than automatons.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I didn't think anything in this episode was inconsistent with the two-timelines theory. In fact, I thought it was a point in favor of two timelines (from a writing point of view) that the Man in Black and Teddy are prevented from going to Pariah, which would have let us confirm or disprove that they're in the same timeline as the Dolores/William/Logan scenes.
posted by dfan at 5:20 AM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I haven't had a chance to look into this yet, but they opened up another possibility to disprove the two/three timelines theory. One of the techs said Maeve had only been the madam at the Mariposa for a little over a year. Did William and/or his buddy encounter her when they were in Sweetwater? I can't remember.

If not, then I'm still firmly in the three timeline theory, and I noticed another thing that may support it when rewatching some scenes from earlier episodes. We all know Dolores is (one of?) the oldest hosts in the park, so she would have started out as a mechanical host. But we also know she's been repaired so much she's practically brand new, which makes me think she is no longer a mechanical host. In her interviews with Bernard/Arnold, there is a noticeable mechanical whirring sound when she comes online. If that sound is missing from her other interviews known to be in present time (say with Stubbs) then that could be an indicator that her interview with Bernard/Arnold is actually from a long time ago.
posted by noneuclidean at 6:01 AM on November 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, the scene with Maeve walking through the various levels of Delos is probably my favorite scene of the show so far. The scoring only made it that much better. Her story line is really becoming my favorite.
posted by noneuclidean at 6:03 AM on November 7, 2016 [17 favorites]


That was my favorite scene too! But the whole time I was wondering why not a single other worker even glanced in their direction. It was so weird.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:11 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am still shaking my head at how perfect "Fake Plastic Trees" was for Maeve's scenes. It could have been written for her.
posted by tracicle at 6:35 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, am I correct that Maeve intentionally got herself killed to get back downstairs? (I was half asleep while watching this episode last night)
posted by rmd1023 at 6:55 AM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


> So, am I correct that Maeve intentionally got herself killed to get back downstairs? (I was half asleep while watching this episode last night)

Yes, that was definitely how the scene played to me.
posted by noneuclidean at 6:58 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


And she specifically chose a way that resulted in limited (external) damage, to make her transition from dead/off to living/on as easy as possible.


[The scenes of Maeve walking upstairs] was my favorite scene too! But the whole time I was wondering why not a single other worker even glanced in their direction. It was so weird.

Felix played the role of tech guy monitoring a host, complete with his tablet out. Folks only see what they expect to see, and a "freed" host scoping out the behind-the-scenes set-up is not expected in the least.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on November 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


One question, though - why didn't Felix and Sylvester just lower Maeve's stats so she either couldn't physically hurt them or wouldn't be smart enough to realize that they'd betrayed her? Or even raise her loyalty so she wouldn't mind?

arha: Well, I think it's safe to assume Sylvester is operating at about a 4, so maybe not making the most rational decisions. Felix may be a 6 but Maeve already got her strings on him.

Also, you'd have to have the foresight to plan your steps. Drop Maeve's intelligence first but leave her capacity for violence high, and she could lash out. But decrease her violence and leave her intelligence intact, and she'd freak out and route around that limitation. In short: whatever you do, act fast.


jeweled accumulation: And was that Yul Brenner (or a robot that looked like him) lurking in the shadows when Bernard went down to the basement?

In re-watching that scene, he's intentionally kept out-of-focus, but there's more than a passing resemblance in the attire and stance. Brynner died in 1985, so a hazy ghost seems like a fitting tribute. (Another tribute: Yul Brynner in Sarajevo, 1969, looking like his Gunslinger from Westworld (black cowboy hat, black shirt), plus a fur vest - the image is available in a decently high resolution, if you're like me and you're tempted to get it as a proper print.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:23 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes, that was definitely how the scene played to me.

When she was having the doofus butchers re-spec her she mentioned that she wanted her pain tolerance raised because she wanted it to hurt less the next time she wanted to chat with them.
posted by ghharr at 7:24 AM on November 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


If anyone had been reading the Chrys reviews, they are totally hilarious. There was one joke he made back in the episode when Maeve first woke up that Felix just started Skynet. That popped right into my mind again when Felix was showing her around. So that is how the machines become sentient and decide to destroy us.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:32 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Felix is the Kool Kat, Thylvethter always thelf destrucths.

why didn't Felix and Sylvester just lower Maeve's stats so she either couldn't physically hurt them or wouldn't be smart enough to realize that they'd betrayed her?

Well, one of them noticed that somebody else with way more access had already been tinkering with Maeve's settings - so, they're kind of in a bind with no good option, except that Maeve is in there waving a scalpel around.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:38 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think someone has been slowly turning down my bulk apperception stat over the last 20 years or so.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:48 AM on November 7, 2016 [18 favorites]


You guys, the opening scene was my fault: last night's episode of Westworld was the first one I've watched since my new roommate moved in, and somewhere in the universe there is an unspoken rule to make me as uncomfortable as possible when watching a new show with someone else. See also: that time I told my mom she should watch Ally Mcbeal, and it just happened to be the episode with masturbation.
posted by redsparkler at 10:47 AM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


It is my opinion that everyone is in his or her own separate timeline

Even when they're in a scene together
posted by Lucinda at 10:50 AM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've reluctantly adopted a multiple timeline theory, myself, even though I prefer a singular timeline. Meh.

That said, fun episode, and I was more tense with Maeve's walk-a-bout than Elise's abandoned theater (I mean, seriously, abandoned theater?"), as I kept waiting for someone to simply stop and ask why Maeve was simply walking around. I guess it's a big company with enough hosts that no one really pays that close attention.

I loved the Man in Black's reaction to Teddy just opening up on the rest of the encampment. So...was Teddy part of Wyatt's killing spree and then changed his mind? Also, the maze came up twice in visual form, first on the table and then on the branding iron, which Teddy seemed to see and be consciously aware of.
posted by Atreides at 11:29 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


When MiB scalped that guy it seemed like finding a visual representation of the map was a big discovery of a well-hidden secret; at this point they seem to be all over the damn place, like not-so-hidden Mickeys at Disneyland
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:35 AM on November 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


When Ford was wandering in Pariah(?) with the construction people and saw the maze on the table, didn't he seem a little surprised to see it? And then also in that book of sketches that he looked at. Was that meant to suggest that it was a sketch of Arnold's?
posted by ghharr at 11:43 AM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been watching all these episodes at least twice and spending probably 2 hours per week discussing the show with my husband. Last night I had an elaborate dream that Bernard turned out to be Wyatt but he'd had his memory wiped and didn't remember any of it. In the dream it was a very dramatic reveal, I assure you.

The logo on the old computer being the same as the one when William & Logan arrive seems like open and shut evidence of two timelines. I find it really hard to believe a show dedicated to this level of meticulous detail wouldn't be doing that on purpose.
posted by something something at 12:12 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Something that's started to bug me: Am I crazy, or is Ford's cottage and robot family dressed like they're from the 1930s? Ish, anyway? There was no late 20th century tech in that joint, and the lumpy sweaters and knickerbockers on the kids seem like that era to me. I think I saw oil lamp, and there didn't seem to be any electric appliances. But if Westworld take place ~40 or so years at least from 2016, a young Ford would have been young in the 1990s. Why would his childhood look like that? I mean, I know Cornwall's not exactly at the forefront of modernity, but I think they were dressing kids in long pants in the Blair era. The costumes and set dressing of Ford's memory are correct-ish for Anthony Hopkins the actor, but they should be all wrong for the character of Ford, no?
posted by Diablevert at 12:24 PM on November 7, 2016 [14 favorites]


Yes. You're right. Oddly the thing that rankled with me slightly was that he referred to Pendeen in Cornwall, rather than Pendine in Camarthenshire (given that Hopkins is Welsh). Apropos of literally nothing, Pendine is the place in the UK where they attempted land speed records, as it has a very long beach. The British film industry also conscripted it to stand in for deserts and other sandy places occasionally. Not that I'm trying to impute any significance, just that those are literally the only two things I know about Pendine.

Another thing is that when Arnold is first mentioned, Ford refers to him as his partner, and I thought that meant life partner rather than business partner for long enough that it's informed my reading of the series (especially since we've not seen Arnold yet, so I've not been properly disabused of the idea).

The string quartet version of Motion Picture Soundtrack was particularly lovely.
posted by Grangousier at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


When Ford was wandering in Pariah(?) with the construction people and saw the maze on the table, didn't he seem a little surprised to see it? And then also in that book of sketches that he looked at. Was that meant to suggest that it was a sketch of Arnold's?

I couldn't tell if he was surprised or nostalgic. I assume that's more evidence of at least two timelines though. It looks like one of the nitro coffin tops from the train got recast as a table.

The sketchbook could be Arnold's, and there were also drawings of Dolores in there, I think.

My wish for Elise's abductor is that it's Abernathy or one of the other hosts from livestock. I'm still waiting to understand why that picture provoked Abernathy's descent and why he started(?) the "violent delights" virus that Dolores then passed on to Maeve.

Minor complaint: We've never seen Dolores' mother. She always gets murdered at the house during the attacked, but as far as I can tell, there's no one cast in that role. There are no middle-aged women hosts that I can remember.
posted by gladly at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2016


I don't know that it has, though? To my mind almost the opposite - Bernard runs into the person in the photograph with Ford, who he thinks is "Arnold".

Yeah there's now plainly something inconsistent about what we've been told about that image but we don't know what. A lot of people online right like the theory that the real Arnold is on the far right of that photo but that Bernard can't see him because... it's him. But are there other clues that the audience is seeing that scene from Bernard's POV? Would Ford not know that he wouldn't be able to see Arnold? Other versions:

- Arnold built Ford, and is therefore his "father." (He must have built a few different ages of him, though, and the man in the house didn't acknowledge knowing "Arnold.")

- Ford built Arnold, in the image of his father

- The man on the left of the photo is Arnold, not Robert Ford. Was Arnold his brother?

- Um, probably others
posted by atoxyl at 1:02 PM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


A lot of people online right like the theory that the real Arnold is on the far right of that photo but that Bernard can't see him because... it's him.

A point in favor of this though is that it would make sense for a photo to exist of Robert Ford and Arnold posing with Ford's-dad-bot.
posted by atoxyl at 1:06 PM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute those repair guys are named Felix and Sylvester? Those are famous cartoon cat names. And one of them was fixing a bird. This Means Something. What, I have no idea.
posted by Green With You at 1:12 PM on November 7, 2016 [23 favorites]


The "Maeve sees her own thought process" sequence was instantly in my top ten favorite scifi cinema scenes of all time. I skipped back to replay it more than once both to see it again and to make a friend watch it. Seriously one of the coolest and most original things in the entire show so far.

Repeatedly, i've felt like this show is doing what AI was trying to get at way better than that bungled par-baked and reheated kludgey mess could pull off.

Also, i'm firmly on team one-timeline. The old logo exists because it's from the early days of the park. It was also shown when they cut to Ford and Arnold building the prototypes, as were the old dell monitors and 2000s apple laptops. I have yet to see anything that really suggested everything wasn't happening concurrently. Just evidence that the park is huge, has a lot of and kind of a creepy/dark history, and tons of visual and story exposition that all they ever really do is build things on top of old things, leaving remnants of the old poking out here and there.

That, and i really REALLY want to believe HBO hired someone with a spanking paddle to smack Abrahams every fucking time he even mentions in passing trying some stupid multiple storylines/timey wimey bullshit. He should be banned for life from that kind of stuff.

I don't know if any OMG ~PLOT TWIST~ could ruin this show for me at this point. It would at most make a great meal into a greasy diner breakfast. Imperfect, and possibly nutritionally deficient, but still deeply enjoyable for any number of reasons. I'd be really sad though because oh my god it does not need some inception BWAAAA noise Lost rehash crap

I'm also a huge fan of the way this show has represented diversity. The flashbacks are white and male as hell, but current era is decidedly not... And the contrast between how white the hosts seem to often be and the staff is interesting too(especially as they got out of the main default western town into the "more extravagant" outer areas)
posted by emptythought at 1:22 PM on November 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


also against the two timelines theory, the blonde woman who welcomes lil willie to the park is the same woman that maeve saw in the promo short at the end of her tour. it seems unlikely that

actually ugh im rethinking this maybe it does make sense? that she was first a regular low level greeter? and then later became the "face" of the adverts? bc if she'd been the Face all along william would've been like wow you're the lady from all the adverts! maybe?

im so mad rn
posted by poffin boffin at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


(Assuming a straightforward, linear, short timeline), how long are the host's storylines in the park? There have been clues leading me to think it's played out over weeks (having to rig the heist/slaughter so it happens a week early) and clues leading me to believe it resets every 24 hours (how many times we've seen Dolores, Teddy and Maeve replay the same scenario, get killed and put immediately back).

Most importantly, if this is what's happening in Westworld, I'd hate to see what's happening in Euro Westworld!
posted by elr at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


The man on the left of the photo is Arnold, not Robert Ford. Was Arnold his brother?

As trope-y as it would be for Arnold to be Robert's secret twin, it seems like this is actually one of the simplest explanations which lines up with all the facts. And it has some interesting implications - like, if you have another Ford wandering around in the park with the same "magical" powers...
posted by atoxyl at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2016



also against the two timelines theory, the blonde woman who welcomes lil willie to the park is the same woman that maeve saw in the promo short at the end of her tour. it seems unlikely that

actually ugh im rethinking this maybe it does make sense? that she was first a regular low level greeter? and then later became the "face" of the adverts? bc if she'd been the Face all along william would've been like wow you're the lady from all the adverts! maybe?


The logos were different in those scenes too.
posted by ghharr at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2016


angry hiss
posted by poffin boffin at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2016


100% on the two timeline train now, there's no way the logos are mistakes. As for Bernarnold, I'm coming around to that after the "... Arnold?" moment in this episode.
posted by Gaz Errant at 1:50 PM on November 7, 2016


ugh i don't want abrams' grubby little ruining hands all over this, i cannot be held responsible for my actions if it turns out that everyone was dead or inside someone's head all along
posted by poffin boffin at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Focus less on the Abrams hackery, and more on the Nolan pedigree.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:58 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am totally on board with this show now. It's a lot like Mr. Robot -- the first few episodes I was like, eh.. this is cliched and problematic, but maybe it will go somewhere? And both proceeded to blow me away once they showed more of their cards.

And I'm fully on team two timelines. We've gone back and watched the episodes a second time looking for crossovers from one timeline into the next, or a misplaced logo, and there are definitely two distinct tracts from what we've seen.
posted by antinomia at 2:09 PM on November 7, 2016


Does anyone have a decent screen grab for that creepy cabinet o' clay faces in the background of Ford's office?

One definitely looks like Dolores. If so are they mock ups of the early hosts? Curious to know if we can identify the remaining faces. Might be a clue as to who the other 5 off loop Bicameral Hosts are.
posted by arha at 2:10 PM on November 7, 2016


I think you've conflated two things:
1) The 5 off-loop hosts were Ford's "family" in the cabin.
2) There are more early bicameral hosts than the 5 off-loop hosts (and I'm pretty sure the bicameral models are not limited to the mechanical series)
posted by coriolisdave at 2:15 PM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ahhhh. Yes you are right. Still curious about the other heads in that display.
posted by arha at 2:17 PM on November 7, 2016


I was definitely conflating with that alphabetical list that Bernard pulled up that showed the active Hosts that were at risk for tampering given their age. Dolores was second on that display and it seemed deliberate that it was near impossible to work out who else was there.
posted by arha at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2016


There are more bicamerals than the off-loops; the off-loops are the only bicamerals still puttering around that Arnold built himself.
posted by Maecenas at 2:30 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


that list was the list of hosts that were made by arnold originally, yes?

maybe i should go watch it again
posted by poffin boffin at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow. Thandie Newton was extraordinary in this episode. If I was teaching a philosophy class on Plato's Allegory of the Cave, I'd have the students all watch this episode.

The industrial espionage subplot feels like a distraction, though. I hope it's more than filler.
posted by homunculus at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I note the title is The Adversary which can be read as a Satan reference, to go along with last week's Contrapasso (a Milton reference). I would guess Arnold is being referenced and there was a metaphorical War in Heaven between Arnold and Ford.
posted by Justinian at 3:07 PM on November 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't know how any of you two-timelines people can reconcile Liam McPoyle growing up to be Ed Harris
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:24 PM on November 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


I don't know how any of you two-timelines people can reconcile Liam McPoyle growing up to be Ed Harris

It does feel rather like making an offhand declaration of faith, at this point. "Well, I'm a confirmed two-timesliner, but my wife was Church of Ford's Genius, so we decided to split the difference and raise the kid United Universalist Host Is Bernard."

I incline to Two Timeslinism, but I'm not evangelical.

I feel like the One Timeline peeps are skipping over the implications of the most recent episode, though. At first the show seemed to be suggesting that the hosts were evolving consciouness --- that a mistake in the code was allowing them to access their memories, and they had thereby been let loose in some way to develop. Probably a deliberatley introduced mistake, but nevertheless one whose results could not be predicted --- and therefore might allow for free will.

But according to douchebag tech, someone with higher security codes than him dived right into to Maeve's personality and deliberately cranked up the paranoia --- that is, her awaking itself was not growth but design.

Certainly Maeve went and grabbed some agency for herself last night. By the throat. But that does seem to me to change things....the central paradox of the show is, can a completely programmable being grow and develop? The frustration people seem to have with Two Timelines is that is makes Dolores' apparent character growth a fake out, cheapens it, because we know that she got sent back to her little loop, became a mere doll again. But the tech's comments and Elsie's discoveries last night seem to suggest that all the things we have taken for signs of growth in the present (whatever timeline you believe in) are also deliberately programmed, that someone went in and changed the code to bring them about. Hosts don't kill greyhounds. Software developers kill greyhounds.

Of course, as we learn more this reading could get blown to bits --- it may turn out that the hosts are indeed reprogramming themselves. The ghost of Arnold works in mysterious ways.
posted by Diablevert at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


But according to douchebag tech, someone with higher security codes than him dived right into to Maeve's personality and deliberately cranked up the paranoia --- that is, her awaking itself was not growth but design.

Well, Elsie had *also* futzed with Maeve's settings at least once, in an effort to fix the previous settings-futzing that had happened after her 'violentends.exe' awakening had started to throw off her game for the guests... so that makes three known quantities editing her setup.cfg file, and a potential fourth (unless that was referring to Elsie's work, etc).
posted by FatherDagon at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


also against the two timelines theory, the blonde woman who welcomes lil willie to the park is the same woman that maeve saw in the promo short at the end of her tour.
She's a robot.
posted by dfan at 6:42 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maeve's storyline is the only thing I find interesting about this show ... so I absolutely loved this episode and can't wait to see where they go with her from here.

That said, it's gonna suck ass when the series final BIG twist reveals that the host rebellion is nothing more than another facet of the Westworld experience.
posted by hoodrich at 6:51 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


She's a robot.

yes? i know? and did u read the rest of that comment i guess not
posted by poffin boffin at 6:54 PM on November 7, 2016


yes? i know? and did u read the rest of that comment i guess not
I did, but I guess I didn't understand it. I apologize for misinterpreting you.
posted by dfan at 7:07 PM on November 7, 2016


that makes three known quantities editing her setup.cfg file, and a potential fourth (unless that was referring to Elsie's work, etc).

I gave in to obsession and went back and rewatched the scene to find out exactly what he said --- Ginger D-bag says someone with much higher priviliges made the changes "in an unlogged session" --- e.g., the same trick he's pulled to pimp out the hosts without getting caught. The techs also say paranoia and self-preservation were the instincts affected --- not sure whether they cranked the later up or down, actually, but either way ya gotta figure it's those little adjustments that led to Maeve suddenly being able to wake up in the lab.

I don't think that scene works, actually, after re-watching it. Maeve has no real power over him --- Felix could rat him out to corporate on her behalf, but that'd sink the pair of them and get Maeve wiped. And if D-bag was going to monkey around with her settings, putting her back to normal and wiping her memory would have been the smart play, rather than turning her into a super-genius. I feel like Thandie Newton's performace papered over a bunch of cracks in the script this week...
posted by Diablevert at 7:27 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I would assume someone cranked Maeve's paranoia way up and her self-preservation way down. She did gut herself a little bit to check if her paranoid fantasies were real. And keeps getting herself killed to go back to the lab...
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Heh. Damn good point, about that gutting. I suppose I was stuck on the idea of her as forging in the smithy of her soul the uncreated conscious of her race and leading the rest of 'em over the barricades to freedom. Or perhaps Eliza crossing the Mason Dixon on the ice. Saving yourself by breaking the system.

My references are getting as mixed up as this show's.
posted by Diablevert at 7:59 PM on November 7, 2016


I agree with your criticism Diablevert. My only thought is what if these two are also hosts or otherwise selected for their deference to those in command. While we can easily see Maeve has no real way to overpower them, they may have caved easily because they are not supposed to have any backbone. Or I could just be rationalizing because I really enjoyed that scene.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:30 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


God I love this show. My favorite bit; Maeve subverting the victim woman thing entirely. Was so squicked out with her being choked / fucked to death at the start. But she has full agency, arranging her swift death so she can get to the real world. Where she proceeds to fuck shit up and then reprogram herself to be even more badass. So good. Also loved the dark foreboding of Felix haplessly saying "your brain is more powerful than ours, but we control yours". Then the dumbass reprograms her to be smarter. It's like he's never read any sci-fi novels.

A whole episode without Dolores! I liked the shift of focus.
posted by Nelson at 8:36 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Chrys Reviews: Felix Culpa
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man this was awesome. There were so many great points - one thing I really appreciated was how Teddy turns into a robot when the MiB and he are debating how to get to Partydowntown/ Perdido/Pariah and Teddy trots out the line about getting Dolores no matter what. There was an interview on FreshAir with Nolan and Joy and one of the things that struck me was how aware they are/were about making the robots appearing robotic at times and at times not.

Also Thandie Newton wins all the awards. She is gloriously terrifying (Swearingen eat your heart out!) But Felix should be slapped for boosting her intelligence - his friend should have intervened and swapped around all her settings so that she'd be all nice-nice and then gone and called HR because, dude, you just made a fucking super-smart monster that knows way way too much.

I was kind of surprised by Felix saying the robots/Maeve was are so much smarter than 'us.' Would't you specifically design them so that they would never be so 'smart?' (This is part of that whole human-ending AI business/meme that I find compelling.) I look forward to Maeve raising hell.

Also if this were written by Patricia Highsmith, Ford would be Arnold - or rather, Arnold would have killed Ford and then taken over his persona and then run things from there. I'm not going to go back in and look at the pic of Arnold and Ford again, but... maybe I will.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:00 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re: timelines... doesn't Clementine display her updated "reverie" programming when she meets William?
posted by elsietheeel at 3:35 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of words on reddit.

I did find this, though, and I thought it was a pretty sound summary (whether or not it is right):

[–]quintessentialafAnalysis: pretty cool 18 points 1 day ago*
A theory floating around that makes sense to me:
Arnold is the original creator
Arnold uploaded bits of his consciousness in every host. "An artist hides himself in his work."
Ford was the first host built by Arnold, and as a "machine learning" type of host, helped build out the park
Arnold gave Ford full consciousness as a gift
Ford resented Arnold for being his master, and killed him
Not knowing what to do with his freedom, like the greyhound, Ford created a replica of Arnold and called it Bernard. A, B.
The family we just met was the first batch of hosts. The "Father" is the oldest host after Ford.
The photo is of (L to R) Ford, "Father", Arnold/Bernard who can't see himself. The little boy's resemblance to Ford isn't based on any real human
Ford is discovering that, with his "reveries" update, he is unlocking the bits of Arnold that lives in every host, and he is losing control
edit: a buncha stuff

posted by From Bklyn at 4:27 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think that scene works, actually, after re-watching it. Maeve has no real power over him --- Felix could rat him out to corporate on her behalf, but that'd sink the pair of them and get Maeve wiped. And if D-bag was going to monkey around with her settings, putting her back to normal and wiping her memory would have been the smart play, rather than turning her into a super-genius. I feel like Thandie Newton's performace papered over a bunch of cracks in the script this week...

Totally agree. While I've been on Team Maeve (tm) since Ep 1, husby and I were like... this scene just doesn't play. Plus, it seems like there was a LOT of over-acting in this episode, from Felix and Sylvester (most-hated character) to Lee Sizemore pissing on the Westworld model.

So far this show has been so careful and deliberate. To see lazy writing like the jump-scare with Elsie in the theater and Bernard saying "we need to talk" to Theresa twice — but not actually saying anything — it's just disappointing.

But good lord, how great is Thandie Newton?
posted by Brittanie at 5:24 AM on November 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


OK just a thought on the Bernard Theresa exchange everyone is bagging on. Bernard walks in and takes the phone call. He then turns and jump cut to him back in his apartment.

Now the last time we saw a huge leap like that was in the first ep with Dolores and the MiB. Most people assumed she was raped in the barn. Now it seems that something very different, but unknown went on there.

I thought the same thing with this scene. It's a rather deliberate and abrupt jump cut in which the natural assumption is he makes some kind of excuse and walks out. But what if that's NOT what happened? I'm not sure what it could be. Could Bernard have used Theresa's ID to make the alterations? I can't help but think that something else happened there then what's assumed.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:35 AM on November 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


One of the techs said Maeve had only been the madam at the Mariposa for a little over a year. Did William and/or his buddy encounter her when they were in Sweetwater? I can't remember.

I re-watched it and they did not meet. Clementine interacted with William (outside the brothel), and then there was a scene with Clementine and Maeve (inside the brothel), but never a scene with Willaim/Logan and Maeve at the same time. I previously argued against two timelines, but I was wrong about Maeve and William being in the same scene, and the other concerns about mechanicals and plot points have been addressed in subsequent episodes. Count me on Team Multi-Timelines.
posted by cardboard at 5:57 AM on November 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think the thinking that the mechanicals were more like Old Bill than Young Ford kind of skewed the two timeline theory a bit for a while, but if they're more or less the same, just with blood squibs and not buckets-o-gore when shot, it'd be easy(ish) for an old mechanical to keep chugging along (like Ford has been doing for his family), and there were numbers given in this episode that made it sound like there's a reasonable number of mechanical hosts still out there.

And yeah, Ford's family felt anachronistic. Maybe it's a reflection of Ford's family through the lens of the Old West, I suppose? And what does it mean when Ford said he wasn't the sentimental type in episode 4 when he was talking to Theresa, and yet he's keeping Arnold's mechanical family around? Seems awfully sentimental to me.
posted by Kyol at 6:55 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think that scene works, actually, after re-watching it. Maeve has no real power over him --- Felix could rat him out to corporate on her behalf, but that'd sink the pair of them and get Maeve wiped. And if D-bag was going to monkey around with her settings, putting her back to normal and wiping her memory would have been the smart play, rather than turning her into a super-genius.

I read this as her successfully manipulating him. Even before she got herself upgraded, she was good enough at it to say exactly the right thing and look at him in exactly the right way and so on to get him actually on-board with helping her. She was already smart enough to project a sort of verbal and behavioral Langford basilisk at him.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:01 AM on November 8, 2016


Maeve has no real power over him --- Felix could rat him out to corporate on her behalf, but that'd sink the pair of them and get Maeve wiped. And if D-bag was going to monkey around with her settings, putting her back to normal and wiping her memory would have been the smart play, rather than turning her into a super-genius. I feel like Thandie Newton's performace papered over a bunch of cracks in the script this week...

Keep in mind that those two techs are basically imbeciles as well, both socially and forward-planning-wise. Felix, up until this point, was screwing around with tech (the bird) in a flagrantly illegal manner, using the company network and computer tools, while standing in a huge glass-wall aquarium that has QA inspectors constantly wandering around. His buddy doesn't seem that much brighter, just less likely to break the rules due to his bullying authoritarian streak. Maeve read them both like a open book with 72pt font.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:19 AM on November 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


But good lord, how great is Thandie Newton?
Maeve's factory tour - I've watched this scene several times since it aired.

Brittanie, I'm in agreement with you about the clunkers in this episodes. I'm cheered a bit when I think about how some of these characters have got to start dying soon and that the pissing writer will probably be one of the first to go. I've been preparing myself for disappointment, both because of past J.J. Abrams and because of so many other speculative tv narratives from the past (They. Did. Not. Have. A. Plan.), and there's only four more episodes to get us to the first season lull.

Normally, I have to quit watching a show any show that hurt a dog. I'm intrigued (and hypocritical) enough to finish out the season as long as they go back to hurting James Marsden and leave the greyhound alone.
posted by bibliowench at 11:35 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Westworld: BETA
posted by Pendragon at 11:37 AM on November 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sylvester (most-hated character)

I started liking Sylvester more when I saw that the actor playing him is named Ptolemy Slocum, and he's from Kenya. Now I think he might be a host himself.

This Men's Fitness interview with Nolan was linked here a while ago, and it's interesting to go back to it now that we've seen more of the hosts' awakening. I think the hosts sentience and the moral questions around it will be the soul of the show going forward. I wouldn't expect the multiple timelines thing (if there are) to last beyond this season.
posted by gladly at 11:54 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


miss-lapin: OK just a thought on the Bernard Theresa exchange everyone is bagging on. Bernard walks in and takes the phone call. He then turns and jump cut to him back in his apartment.

Now the last time we saw a huge leap like that was in the first ep with Dolores and the MiB. Most people assumed she was raped in the barn. Now it seems that something very different, but unknown went on there.

I thought the same thing with this scene. It's a rather deliberate and abrupt jump cut in which the natural assumption is he makes some kind of excuse and walks out. But what if that's NOT what happened? I'm not sure what it could be. Could Bernard have used Theresa's ID to make the alterations? I can't help but think that something else happened there then what's assumed


That's a good point.. and putting that together with the fact that Theresa is the one using the bicameral mindfuck machine, and assuming that Bernard is a host... what if Theresa knows that he's a host? Maybe she re-programmed him in that gap?

Perhaps Theresa and the MiB are in cahoots?
posted by coriolisdave at 3:56 PM on November 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


This show is like the Reflex where everything is answered with a question mark.

I feel unfortunately wedded to the Multiple-Timelines-Bernardold theory, which seems to imply both that William=MiB and Bernard=Arnold; neither of those theories excite me too much.

The very positive news for me in this episode is that we've reached peak-Maeve, and the show's most likable character has now exploded as its protagonist and promises to keep me engaged in whatever goes on with her no matter how dumb the show's big Season One Reveal turns out to be.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:19 AM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


If Bernard is an android replica of Arnold, wouldn't everyone who works at Delos know? Wouldn't that be a bit strange?
posted by Nelson at 7:38 AM on November 9, 2016


The 5 off-loop hosts were Ford's "family" in the cabin.

Something that just occurred to me is that I counted four obvious hosts in the cabin: Young Robert Ford, his dad, a brother and a sister. Unless I missed one, that's one host unaccounted for. At first I thought it could possibly be present-day Ford, but even if Ford is a host, I don't know that he'd be able to function as a pretend human being if it's that easy for the computer systems to out him as a robot. I don't think it's the dog, since generally the robot animals haven't been shown on any tracking software. Another clue?

If Bernard is an android replica of Arnold, wouldn't everyone who works at Delos know? Wouldn't that be a bit strange?

Well, in Ford's early exposition dump about Arnold he does go to some lengths to say that few people (contemporary to older Ford) know about Arnold and that Ford covered up the death. Elsie also says to Arnold that "you've been here forever" in this episode, so it doesn't seem inconceivable. I agree it's a weak point in the Bernarnold theory though.
posted by whir at 6:13 AM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Something that just occurred to me is that I counted four obvious hosts in the cabin: Young Robert Ford, his dad, a brother and a sister.

The dog.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is Maeve the only other character we've seen with Felix and Sylvester so far?
posted by christopherious at 10:04 PM on November 10, 2016



Is Maeve the only other character we've seen with Felix and Sylvester so far?


I think Elsie saw them when she came down to blackmail the other butcher into letting her examine the wandering host but she didn't speak to them, so they're in that timeline.
posted by ghharr at 10:50 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just re-watched that scene (ep. 5, 33:00) and you're right. There is a moment when Elsie lingers right outside the room they are in. The two idiots tense up for a moment, but she goes and questions the other butcher.
posted by christopherious at 6:19 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


After a rewatch of all of Bernard's interviews with Dolores I'm leaning heavily in favor of the Bernarnold theory. The interview rooms do not resemble any others that we have seen and in only those scenes he is wearing a black jacket and black shirt buttoned all the way up. In every other scene (except for his time in bed) he has a blue jacket, light shirt with an open collar and loose tie.

Additional data point in favor, who told him about the maze? He advises Dolores about it in an interview.
posted by autopilot at 6:59 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Felix and Sylvester...... cats????
posted by pjern at 10:31 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Still unclear if their names are "simple comic relief" or something bigger. Felix's illegal bird project is not helping with that.
posted by christopherious at 11:23 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


In the Chrys review she point out that there's a concept in Christian theology -- the Felix culpa, the happy fault or maybe lucky sin. It relates to the doctrine of original sin --- only because of Adam's sin in disobeying god was Christ's redemption necessary. It also relates to the doctrine of free will --- if you cannot choose to do evil, then your doing good has no moral weight. In showing that humanity could disobey god, humanity's subsequent acts of obedience are made good.
posted by Diablevert at 5:57 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am loving this series.
Re: the debate over whether Felix and Sylvester should have just wiped Maeve I disagree that it was badly written, I thought it was clever. Felix, for all he's a bit of a doofus, is clearly a nerdy tinkerer (the bird) and a bit spineless. He's totally the type to secretly want to follow this crazy path wherever it leads as long as he can rationalize to himself that he's being "forced" to do so. "No, please, I couldn't possibly, oh, well, maybe just this but certainly no more, well except maybe this..."
Sylvester does seem more like the type to hit the off button and reset her but we've seen he's a bully who can be intimidated by someone standing up to him. We know from previous scenes that the bots can move incredibly fast so Sylvester is probably fearful she can cut him before he has a chance to finish resetting her. I also agree with rat spatula's point above that once he noticed someone else was messing with her settings Sylvester has an easy path of rationalization to support his fear-response to Maeve: "okay everything is fucked, but I can be safe now by doing what the crazy lady with the scalpel says and if I get in trouble with the bosses later I can blame it on whatever crazy changes someone else higher up the chain did." Both of the maintenance techs have reasonable rationalizations for their actions, even if those actions are objectively a bad idea.

I have less explanation for why Elsie, who has seen a bot go rogue, decides it's a good idea to go explore the spooky theater by herself. Perhaps trying to prove to herself she's got what it takes to be a player in this weird corporate game?

Loved the Radiohead cover. I like the way the MiB is reacting to Teddy, particularly because how Ed Harris plays it makes it more believable that he is someone who has been playing this game for 30 years because he enjoys it and wants to see how it works. I had wondered about that, because even in something vaguely analogous like World of Warcraft can you imagine it still being interesting after 30 years? This helps preserve my suspension of disbelief, because it supports the idea that, while yes he's a powergamer, MiB is not just a minmaxer who doesn't care about the storylines or the little ancillary details.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:13 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh also re: the episode titles
I am on board with the "war in heaven" idea. Whether Ford is a bot or not is less interesting to me than whether it is Ford or Arnold who is supposed to be the Lucifer role, rebelling against the "divine order" of the other.

One thing I have been thinking about is that as far as I can tell the show has consistently followed the old western hat trope, even to the point of lampshading it with William when he's in the "character creation" scene. Ford wears a black hat, so...
posted by Wretch729 at 6:21 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing I have been thinking about is that as far as I can tell the show has consistently followed the old western hat trope

I noticed in the previous episode that with her costume change, Dolores ends up with a grey hat!
posted by moody cow at 10:54 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not a huge fan of Two Timelines, but if nothing else, the scene in the train where William and Logan are with her one second and she is alone the next suggests that something is more than meets the eye.

Why are the lower floors of the Westworld offices so derelict? Normally a company does not expand by adding new floors onto their headquarters and abandoning the lower floors. It makes me wonder if something else is meant when they talk about going "upstairs" and "downstairs". Maybe a time travel metaphor, or it refers to travel to and from Earth from a satellite or other orbiting body?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:46 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


My husband listens to four (!) Westworld podcasts and one of them mentioned that the abandoned area where they store the decommissioned hosts is obviously the same set as the fancy area where William and Logan first arrive. I have not investigated this myself to verify because I have more important things to do like getting through all of The LA Complex before Netflix removes it on December 1.
posted by something something at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2016


Westworld podcasts

If you (or he) could recommend one, which would it be?
posted by ODiV at 10:44 AM on November 15, 2016


He says the best two are Player Piano and Decoding Westworld.
posted by something something at 11:09 AM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe a time travel metaphor, or it refers to travel to and from Earth from a satellite or other orbiting body?

The elevator is a space elevator?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:03 PM on November 15, 2016


Yep, I totally thought that was meant to be Yul Brynner in the shadows in the basement. I also thought that Maeve's "That's the spirit!" line was a shout out to Roy Batty in Blade Runner.
posted by mach at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]




the abandoned area where they store the decommissioned hosts is obviously the same set as the fancy area where William and Logan first arrive.

I don't think it was the same set. Like, the the platform William and Logan arrive at is not the same set as the ruined shopping mall esque old entrance they go into. Stairs on the sides of the escalators, no Delos globe. At the top of the escalator William rides up is a big video wall, not just more open space, blah blah etc.

It could still be the same location, but I don't think it's obvious that the B82 place is the same exact place as the arrival platform.
posted by fleacircus at 7:22 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought the ruined shopping mall old entrance was an explicit homage to the original Westworld movie. But I can't find a video clip from the old film to prove it. (It's really hard to search for anything about the original movie now, the new show dominates Google.)
posted by Nelson at 7:59 AM on November 16, 2016


I skimmed the movie and didn't see anything like that. It's long hallways and trolley carts, really like sub-ST:TOS level of sets.
posted by fleacircus at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Rock Steady: Why are the lower floors of the Westworld offices so derelict? Normally a company does not expand by adding new floors onto their headquarters and abandoning the lower floors.

They used the architects who designed Aperture Science's facility?
posted by rmd1023 at 5:59 PM on November 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Their position inside the mesa makes me think of similar structures in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy: you take an existing mesa, and then point robotic construction machines at it which automatically excavate floors into the whole thing, providing a basic finish as they go. If they did something similar, they could easily have more lower floors then they need, so it's easy to abandon some as plans change. That said, there's no reason not to like, turn off the water to the pipes that are spraying all over down there.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


He says the best two are Player Piano and Decoding Westworld.

I tried listening to the first episode of Player Piano and found it kind of boring in a "two droning dudes mansplain philosophy poorly" way. Maybe it got better?

I enjoy Decoding Westworld a lot though. I followed their Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones podcasts and really like Joanna and Mike's rapport.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:16 AM on November 18, 2016


Yeah, I'm enjoying Decoding Westworld quite a bit since no one I know IRL is watching the show. I haven't watched either Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones so the occasional references they make are passing me by, but it's not too frequent.

I kinda want to rewatch every episode again now before continuing on...

Maybe I can make it to the end of the season first.
posted by ODiV at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2016


Elsie in the theatre was very "What if Jurassic Park but robots?" Kept waiting for the raptor.

You're not the only person to make that exact reference. My roommate said that as well.

Which is kind of funny, because that room is such a direct reference to J.F. Sebastian's apartment from Blade Runner.

The robots that William has run into are NOT the jerky models of the past, and now we get Felix's line that hosts get reassigned frequently, so it's highly doubtful that Clementine has been a hooker for 30+ years.

Well, we've seen at least five of the "old style" hosts that aren't very jerky at all. I agree that it's not likely Clementine has been at the brothel for 30 years, though.

The old logo exists because it's from the early days of the park. It was also shown when they cut to Ford and Arnold building the prototypes, as were the old dell monitors and 2000s apple laptops.

Yes, exactly. It's a strange decision, but apparently Delos just outright abandoned the lower floors of their facility, with equipment in place. That area also seems to be used for "cold storage" of retired hosts, except that the cooling system has failed for some reason. Anyway, Bernard explicitly said that he was looking for some old hardware to read the old-style location data.

That said, there's no reason not to like, turn off the water to the pipes that are spraying all over down there.

Yeah. That's implied to be part of the cooling system failure mentioned during the first episode. But it seems massively wasteful to just leave the water running. Something very weird is going on with those lower levels.

I'm not a huge fan of Two Timelines, but if nothing else, the scene in the train where William and Logan are with her one second and she is alone the next suggests that something is more than meets the eye.

Yes. Most of the other evidence for two timelines is really unconvincing to me, but it's the easiest explanation for the weird Dolores scenes where sometimes she's alone and sometimes she's not in the space of a single cut. I increasingly don't think that the two timelines are 30 years apart, though. The theory still works if William is at the park 1/5/10 years ago, as long as you don't require that one of them becomes the MiB.

I don't know how any of you two-timelines people can reconcile Liam McPoyle growing up to be Ed Harris

I feel like there's a variation where MiB is actually Jimmi Simpson? I don't really see it, either, but it's a slightly closer resemblance.

I don't know that it has, though? To my mind almost the opposite - Bernard runs into the person in the photograph with Ford, who he thinks is "Arnold".

Dang, it really is the same guy. Good eye!

When MiB scalped that guy it seemed like finding a visual representation of the map was a big discovery of a well-hidden secret; at this point they seem to be all over the damn place, like not-so-hidden Mickeys at Disneyland

It seems like MiB finding the map might have triggered the appearance of these other symbols. Like, he "activated" the map's storyline and part of it is that the hosts will start carving these symbols everywhere to provide further hints. Either that, or whoever's posing as "Arnold" has something to do with it.

But I don't think these are hidden Mickeys in the sense that they've been there all along, other than the scalp map. The other instances seem fresh, appearing well after MiB found the scalp map.

When Ford was wandering in Pariah(?) with the construction people and saw the maze on the table, didn't he seem a little surprised to see it? And then also in that book of sketches that he looked at. Was that meant to suggest that it was a sketch of Arnold's?

Yes, I definitely think the maze is one of Arnold's ideas.

So, I had a thought about the industrial espionage plot that I haven't seen elsewhere in this thread. Theresa talks repeatedly about departments keeping each other in check. Specifically, QA keeping the other departments in check. So I feel like she's actually spying on the park for Delos, as part of her job. Most of the monitoring systems seems to be focused on what the guests are doing with the hosts, but obviously the employees are getting up to unauthorised stuff all the damned time. So she's using her own methods to gather information on those activities, then smuggling the results out via the hosts.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:49 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Justinian:I'm trying to remember what the Egan short was where we had the tech to do more or less exactly these kinds of modifications to ourselves on the fly, complete with sliding scales. "Reasons to be Cheerful" maybe? Not sure...

Yup, Reasons To Be Cheerful [pdf] is about cybernetic emotional prostheses. It was brought up in the reddit conversation about Maeve's personality chart, linked by We had a deal, Kyle, above.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2017


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