Westworld: The Well-Tempered Clavier
November 27, 2016 7:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Hector mulls a proposition from Maeve; Dolores and Bernard dredge up old memories; Teddy's enlightenment comes with a cost.
posted by noneuclidean (283 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hey, they just tied up more narrative loose ends than LOST did in an average season and a half. I'm back on board, at least somewhat.
posted by codacorolla at 7:10 PM on November 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


So they definitely confirmed multiple theories tonight. That should give the finale some room to breathe and lay a cornerstone for the second season.
posted by noneuclidean at 7:11 PM on November 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


What.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:11 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's amazing how each reveal uncovers new depths to Ford's cruelty. Putting Teddy and Dolores (two of the first aware hosts) into the same tragic, helping lovestory as a punishment, where each is guaranteed to see their loved one raped, tortured, and murdered every other day (of not daily)... Jesus.
posted by codacorolla at 7:17 PM on November 27, 2016 [17 favorites]


Ok then. To recap. Bernard is Arnold. There are definitely multiple timelines in play but their exact layout is still a little obscure. Any wild arse theories unaccounted for?

Minor points. That photo of William's fiance was the same one that Dolores's dadbot found that sent him off loop, right? Also what I'd like to know is why BernARHD is such a nice sounding name when BURNuld is fucking awful.
posted by arha at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's BERNerd
posted by leotrotsky at 7:22 PM on November 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


from reddit r/westworld

"For anyone who didn't put this together yet, Arnold Weber is an anagram for Bernard Lowe"
posted by lalochezia at 7:22 PM on November 27, 2016 [16 favorites]




Now my question is, did Arnold have Dolores kill him intentionally? I think the answer is yes, but I'm not 100%.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:23 PM on November 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


I also took some of this as confirmation that the world outside the park is bad

Like REAL BAD

Like no more animals bad.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on November 27, 2016 [34 favorites]


"For anyone who didn't put this together yet, Arnold Weber is an anagram for Bernard Lowe"

The episode's title is "A Well-Tempered Clavier", which is a piece by Bach. Bach allegedly stole the title "A Well-Tempered Clavier" from a 1600s manuscript by Bernhard Weber
posted by leotrotsky at 7:25 PM on November 27, 2016 [42 favorites]


"So Arnold's inner monologue plan gave people religious mania which caused Dolores to seek out and kill God, being Arnold. Then I made an Arnold robot that would always agree with me and who I had total control over! "

Man Ford is a monster

(Also ha, Pentecostalism is the result of buggy programming.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2016 [13 favorites]


Also, confirmation that bot uprisings are ...common? Common enough that they have to roll people back and erase memories of it which in the context of the history of oppressed people. Has a kind of chilling resonance.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is the new host that Ford is building in the basement is a new Bernard? I refuse to think that Jeffrey Wright is done, especially before I see him with Maeve again.

Did Ford make an army of self-aware hosts ready to rise up and kill? I don't understand why Angela (Tallulah Riley) remembers everything now. Wyatt's army still confuses me.
posted by gladly at 7:38 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]



Also, confirmation that bot uprisings are ...common? Common enough that they have to roll people back and erase memories of it which in the context of the history of oppressed people. Has a kind of chilling resonance.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on November 27


From r/westworld

"I'm convinced more than ever that the new storyline is a re-engineered version of Arnold's old maze. The old one was designed for liberation, but the new one is meant to lure the sentient hosts into a trap."
posted by lalochezia at 7:40 PM on November 27, 2016 [26 favorites]


Nicely woven together!

I am pleased my foray into timeline skepticism was unfounded. It's a more interesting story this way.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:42 PM on November 27, 2016


I could see Wyatt's army being a forward offensive against the board to seize the park for good. An army of hosts who don't feel pain and can hurt humans is ideal for that. Ford seems to have a hubris problem, so maybe he's overconfident in his ability to control them.
posted by codacorolla at 7:43 PM on November 27, 2016


new Bernard

My bet is on Elsie, she's been gunning for his job, it would be a natural promotion and everyone thinks she's "on leave" not dead.
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 PM on November 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


The timing of the creation of a new host made me think it was a new Teresa or Elsie. Well, there's no need for a new Teresa...
posted by clauclauclaudia at 7:49 PM on November 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


(My official stance is grumble I don't LIKE the two timeline thing being true but I can agree it was handled in an even handed, fair way which gives me confidence for the rest of the series - shit has been thought of ahead - like Oldest Bot in The Park Dolores having roboty insides)
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on November 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


I really enjoy this show, but I swear when I read the comments here it's like you all are watching a version with popup explanations or something. I feel like we need separate threads for slower viewers like me who need to try to figure out what we just saw. (Not serious.)
posted by gubo at 8:00 PM on November 27, 2016 [22 favorites]


"I don't think Wyatt even exists, he's a new narrative the hosts have been told to dream up"

My personal and totally unfounded theory is that the lady who stabs Teddy (Angela, according to IMDb if I've looked up the right person) is Wyatt herself. I mean we just saw that Teddy's vision of Wyatt and him shooting up the town was false, so ... uh ... okay honestly I don't have anything else to go on here other than the trope of Bad Guy Hiding in Plain Sight.
posted by komara at 8:05 PM on November 27, 2016


Dolores says something like, "but you're not helping me. Why is that?" That sounds a lot like Holden and Leon talking about a tortoise.
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM on November 27, 2016 [16 favorites]


When Bernard was talking to Ford, he used the word "we" in a way that could either refer to Bernard and other hosts or could heavily imply Ford is also a host created by Arnold.

Also, Ford may or may not be the villain depending on if he's culpable for Arnold's murder or not.

Interesting that human deaths are still our moral guideposts.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:17 PM on November 27, 2016 [13 favorites]


Also I like that a lot of the weirdness in story structure and looping is cause the hosts cannot tell me,priest from reality cause their memories are perfect. Digital, not analog.

So like, in his twisted way Ford is right, it's all very Garden of Eden, knowledge , consciousness, and self awareness would make you miserable, there's no reason to think it's a good thing .
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was wondering if Wyatt's actions are post hoc revision of what Dolores did back when.

Earlier in the season, I remember thinking that she's so sweet and pure in her "modest little loop" that it would be interesting if she turned into some kind of villain. Killing one of the park creators might qualify. The death of god leaving the angels being in a strange position and all that.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:29 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also also also, yeah confirmation that her "modest Loop" of being killed and or raped every day is a punishment
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 PM on November 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


In other timeline news: in the scene where Logan wakes up, surrounded by a massacre, the severed arm was from an old style metal host.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:33 PM on November 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


What I don't get about Elsie (elsif is only one letter off btw..) being murdered by Bernard... she was in the process of uncovering Theresa's double-agent status, wherein she was working against Ford in the employ of whatshername the member of the Board of Directors. What interest of Ford does it serve for her (Elsie) to be killed then? I must be missing something there because to me it seems like Ford was not threatened at all by this based on what we, the viewers, know/knew..
posted by some loser at 9:11 PM on November 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Here's a strange idea. The image on the ground that Pa' Abernathy finds is actually legible to him, it's what causes his break. However, hosts aren't meant to see things that would confuse them - Dolores says the image looks like nothing to her. In the past we've also seen similar behavior with the Arnold photograph fake-out. It makes me wonder if there's some connection between the sister and either Pa' Abernathy, or Dolores. Maybe they explain that some other way, but the fact that Dolores and her father react differently to such a significant picture seems like it might be an intentional piece of the plot.
posted by codacorolla at 9:21 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Also, confirmation that bot uprisings are ...common?"

"We've been here before."

"When Bernard was talking to Ford, he used the word "we" in a way that could either refer to Bernard and other hosts or could heavily imply Ford is also a host created by Arnold."

Around episode three or four, this series was being discussed at my weekly poker game. Off handedly, I mentioned to another player - "Well, isn't it obvious that Ford is a host also? The uber host."

Obviously, it wasn't that obvious at all, so he replied," No? You think?"

Of course.

We've all been here before.
posted by hoodrich at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ok, my two questions are: First, if we see the MiB at the church while it's unburied, that means whatever happens to bury it, and all the scenes we've seen of it buried come after MiB?

Second, what was up with Kizzy's scalp tattoo in episode one? Who gets a tattoo on the inside of their skull? What's the point of that at all?
posted by Catblack at 9:47 PM on November 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Codacorolla, shortly after Pa Abernathy has the photo-induced freakout he whispers "these violent delights have violent ends" into Dolores' ear, then asks her to tell no one. (Ep1, contextual meaning discussed in-depth here.)

She then visibly glitches and repeats the "malware code activation sequence" (these violent delights have violent ends) to Maeve in Ep2.

We just did a re-watch and I blurted out, THAT'S LOGAN'S SISTER, YOU WATCH when we saw the photo Pa Abernathy was looking at -- this episode confirmed it!

I don't know exactly who seeded Pa Abernathy with the original "violence" code/catchphrase, but it easily could've been MiB, or he could've glitched after having been killed while protecting the Abernathy Place from marauders for the 366th time in a row. As MiB says, "I killed [Maeve] a year ago, and for the first time, she seemed alive... even just for that moment" and so my theory is that either provocation of extreme violence + guest talking to the host in a way that peels back the park's "play pretend" exterior (see: MiB's monologuing about his 30+ year history and referencing memories and shared experiences that have been wiped from that specific host's current build) OR "these violent delights have violent ends" = override command that 1) activates hosts' memories from previous builds, 2) causes the insanity loop that ultimately was every original, sentient host's undoing, as we see in the church scene this episode.

I mean, think about it: Plato's allegory of the cave gets talked about a lot here on MeFi, and we're all pretty enlightened. But how enlightened would we feel if an actual god literally unscrewed the lid on the jar of our world and leaned into it, telling us we weren't real? What level of insanity would it trigger, knowing we aren't in control of our own destinies? Or to remove all semblance of free will, that we're automatons performing a script for some larger lifeform's entertainment?

Pretty dark stuff. And Ford himself has said there's virtually no difference at all between the hosts and actual humans, in that we both feel pain, both reason, both want to avoid unnecessary suffering and see our dreams come true, etc. I cannot imagine the level of cognitive dissonance and confusion from trying to cope with perfectly clear memories competing with my current visual reality, in my mind. Ugh, what a nightmare.

We started a rewatch and it's paid off tremendously. Gotta keep this going until next week, for sure! Although there was a brief discussion about how the photo itself remained so clear, and how long it had been there on the farm before Pa found it... my theory is that there's no rain, no real sun, and no wind on Westworld, and it almost certainly fell out of one of the MiB's pockets about a year ago (before the present date shown in this last episode). The train station looked quite different than it did in Ep 1...
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:49 PM on November 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm seriously not sure that Bernard is dead. Ford's final narrative description was florid to the point that it didn't actually say Bernard kills himself - just that he made the nightmare end. Which, honestly, was his goal in the first place - by telling Clem to kill Ford. Also, Ford was *hells* of nervous walking out of there - he didn't know if his narrative control would actually work. Also also wik, the show has not been too shy about showing when someone gets kilt (aside from poor Elsie) - the whole fuzzy occluded view of a gunshot and thump has a heavy duty Fight Club / True Detective s02 fakeout feel.

Second, what was up with Kizzy's scalp tattoo in episode one? Who gets a tattoo on the inside of their skull? What's the point of that at all?
-----

I think the maze tattoo was an easter egg left by either a human or host programmer rather than an in-narrative acquisition.


The maze was designed by Arnold as a method for other hosts to find their way to sentience and overriding their core directives - that's why "Wyatt's" crew are constantly digging around in corpses looking for more signs from their maker, and also how they've figured out that guns don't really kill them.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:54 PM on November 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


I would like a very thin foldable tablet please
posted by not_the_water at 9:54 PM on November 27, 2016 [40 favorites]


I'm seriously not sure that Bernard is dead.

Agreed. Up to this point all hosts have been 100% repairable.
posted by not_the_water at 9:58 PM on November 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


When Bernard was talking to Ford, he used the word "we" in a way that could either refer to Bernard and other hosts or could heavily imply Ford is also a host created by Arnold.

During which bit? The thing is, Ford is literarlly the only character we've seen age on screen, and the show has gone to great lengths to make sure we see him age. He's a young man when the park is first being developed, much older when he makes Bernard, and an elderly man in the present. One of the few clear differences established between hosts and humans is that humans age. MiB looks different from William because 30 years have passed. Dolores looks the same.

Given the general state of technology in the show-world, I suppose it'd be possible to deliberately age a host. But to me it feels you'd be assuming a bunch of facts not in evidence, things we've been given no hint of.

I hope Bernard comes back. Jeffrey Wright, man.
posted by Diablevert at 10:01 PM on November 27, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yeah, reparable... remember stranded dude who brained himself and was literally a jawline and nothing else a few eps back? They were still able to pull his GPS and hard drive, IIRC. Bernard isn't dead, but I bet that specific shot might've done a hard-reset on the hardware or memory wipe of his most recent build, at least.

No way would Ford leave a mess like that and just walk away, unless he's ready to tell everyone that works there B was also a secret admin level host running the programming dept. for at least a couple of decades.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:03 PM on November 27, 2016


Agreed. Up to this point all hosts have been 100% repairable.

Hell, Clem had her full egg scrambled with the whisk on turbo and she's still puttering around pulling guns on folks... but I'm thinking it's more the bullet was fired near his head but not *in* his head. He was clearly aware of what the narrative was and was fighting it, unlike any of the hosts that Maeve pulled the same trick on.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:03 PM on November 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


They were still able to pull his GPS and hard drive, IIRC.

Nah. They were able to trace his location only because he was an old school host that contained legacy tech; him braining himself effectively deleted his memory and they weren't able to pull from it.

Also,
What interest of Ford does it serve for her (Elsie) to be killed then?

Elsie figured out Theresa was behind the data leak. But she also figured out that someone named Arnold had been monkeying with the host's core code --- presumably some part of what Ford's up to in his "new narrative."
posted by Diablevert at 10:08 PM on November 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm still solidly on board with the three+ timeframes theory. Delores and Arnold in the basement 35 years ago (along with the testing town and the dancing and all), William and Logan 30 years ago, and present day with the MiB and the board and all.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:09 PM on November 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think Teddy's going to relive he massacre/liberation one more time, and Wyatt will actually be Dolores.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:22 PM on November 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


I still don't get how a person who looks exactly like one of the creators of the park can be walking around as chief programmer 30+ years later after he supposedly killed himself and somehow no-one notices. Surely there are photos and videos of Arnold or other people who remember Arnold and are wondering why his clone now works at Westworld. I hope there's an explanation because it's kind of ruining my immersion.
posted by dazed_one at 11:06 PM on November 27, 2016 [17 favorites]


I finally figured out why Maeve is so satisfying - she just goes for the jugular, every time. Never any dopey monologues or missed chances.

And likewise with Bernard. After Maeve's chat with him, a lesser show would have sent him to Ford's office looking for answers, or to ask Ford if it were true.

That said, the whole bit where Bernard converted Clem to a sentry turret but forgot to unhook Ford's other backdoor was pretty cheap.
posted by Rat Spatula at 12:23 AM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess I'll have to watch again. So many questions.

Did they confirm that Theresa as a host? How about Elsie, since Bernard killed her?

Can we call the hosts in the basement "Chekhov's hosts?" Will they be unleashed on the guests?

And what is Ford's new narrative? Is it his response to the board trying to remove him?
posted by Marky at 1:40 AM on November 28, 2016


I really enjoy this show, but I swear when I read the comments here it's like you all are watching a version with popup explanations or something. I feel like we need separate threads for slower viewers like me who need to try to figure out what we just saw. (Not serious.)

Some people are ahead because they've been reading the theories and analysis going around online - people have been very successful in guessing the twists in this show.
posted by atoxyl at 1:49 AM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it made me a bit sad that the 'bernarnold' theory was proven true tonight because people had guessed that weeks ago. The other thing that bothered me a bit (though it makes no sense) is that it really seems like everybody is being almost shoved into 'good guy' or 'bad guy' roles. I dunno. Of course the writers have to reveal answers to us (which is great), but it just seems like they're making it easy on themselves or something, by making the character intentions so stark?
posted by destructive cactus at 2:17 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Responding to myself last week:

So the William in Black is the CEO of Delos, is that right?

On the other hand I'd guess he's just some other big-time business dude? Because I don't think his story and his interest in the park is going to end up having to do directly with the Delos story or their interest, and if he was a Delos VIP it probably would. Unless the board is going behind his back as well as Ford's.


well okay then I guess he is a Delos VIP - he just doesn't give a fuck about their plot!
posted by atoxyl at 2:23 AM on November 28, 2016


I think everyone but the guests and Ford are robots. When Arnold was killed, all the original staff died with him except for Ford. That is why we saw all those bodies in the flashback.
posted by humanfont at 3:07 AM on November 28, 2016 [15 favorites]


It's amazing how each reveal uncovers new depths to Ford's cruelty.

On the other hand I thought it was a little sad that he really did seem to want Bernard just to... be Arnold again (forever and ever). And is his final order to ol' Bernie meant to put him out of his misery?

(Or is it just a setup for another memory wipe?)
posted by atoxyl at 3:16 AM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I enjoy this show a lot, especially Maeve (despite the dumbness of the writing of the Felix/Sylvester stuff) but still find myself confused about key points, particularly what the hell is going on with Dolores. She's brutally stabbed, then unstabbed and back in time, but with her future stabbed self's knowledge of events? I get that it's all memory tricks and flashbacks, but the deliberate obfuscation sometimes gets a bit too thick to really "enjoy," and I find myself wondering if it's ever going to be clear.
posted by mediareport at 3:19 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can you guys believe this show was created by the writer of Memento?
posted by atoxyl at 3:20 AM on November 28, 2016 [18 favorites]


mediareport: Dolores is stabbed in the past, unstabbed in the present.
posted by papercake at 3:22 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would add, DoloresInPants1 = stabbed 30 years ago Dolores.
DoloresInPants2 = not stabbed. Current time period.
DoloresInDres is original flavor Dolores, running the maze for the first time.

Agree with the above discussion that she will turn out to be Wyatt. Also suspect that the massacre in the town will actually be a massacre in the underground bunker, which she caps off b killing Arnold.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:32 AM on November 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


The slew of dead bodies that Dolores sees explains how none of the original staff still work at the park and why they can't recognize Arnold. Still doesn't explain why he hasn't been doxxed at any point by someone outside the park. The world outside just isn't like ours.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:09 AM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure at this point that Dolores (with Teddy?) killed all the humans working at the park but Ford, maybe because he had that backdoor code as a failsafe.

On that note, go for it, Maeve. I don't think we're horrified enough at what's been happening to the hosts for forty years. Burn it all down.
posted by lydhre at 5:59 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


This breaks down the timelines.
posted by prefpara at 6:09 AM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


The slew of dead bodies that Dolores sees explains how none of the original staff still work at the park and why they can't recognize Arnold.

So the massacre downstairs that Dolores sees, that's 35 years ago, around the same time as the massacre in Escalante?
posted by gladly at 6:14 AM on November 28, 2016


Elsie figured out Theresa was behind the data leak. But she also figured out that someone named Arnold had been monkeying with the host's core code --- presumably some part of what Ford's up to in his "new narrative."

Ok but Ford's been blabbing about Arnold willy-nilly it seems throughout the whole season.. the name Arnold has also come up in the malfunctioning hosts weird hallucinatory conversations which both Behaviour and QA know about so... the cat's out of the bag and has been for some time now.. seems like a weaksauce reason to exterminate with such extreme prejudice to me.
posted by some loser at 6:15 AM on November 28, 2016


I thought the bit where young Ford goes past Dolores and into Arnold's office calling for him implied that Ford killed Arnold Mk 1 and maybe precipitated the massacre she sees later...
posted by biscotti at 6:25 AM on November 28, 2016


I thought the bit where young Ford goes past Dolores and into Arnold's office calling for him implied that Ford killed Arnold Mk 1 and maybe precipitated the massacre she sees later...

So the "I killed you," line is, she indirectly killed Arnold because her sentience is what precipitated Ford killing Arnold?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:15 AM on November 28, 2016


Ok but Ford's been blabbing about Arnold willy-nilly it seems throughout the whole season.. the name Arnold has also come up in the malfunctioning hosts weird hallucinatory conversations which both Behaviour and QA know about so... the cat's out of the bag and has been for some time now.. seems like a weaksauce reason to exterminate with such extreme prejudice to me.

Maybe it was an effort to prevent Bernard from becoming aware of his Arnold-ness. I agree, though, they haven't done a good job of explaining the motivations for that scene, and without speculating it doesn't really make sense on its face.
posted by codacorolla at 7:17 AM on November 28, 2016


I think Arnold was training Dolores to recall that she had killed him
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:20 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I almost have it...
_     _
 |   / \   |   / \
  \ /   \ / \ /   \ /
   X     X   X     X
__/ \   /\__/ \   /\
   F \ / /   ? \ / /
    \ X /    \ X /
     ^ X     ^ X
____/ X \____/ X \
 |   / \ \ |  / \ \
  \ /\/ \/ \ /\/ \/ 
   X  B  X  X  E  X
__/ \   / \/ \   / 
     \ /  /  /  /
      X   \  \  \
     / \  !  ?   Q
    D   M
I just need a little more benzedrine to knock it out, and then it's back to that game theory equilibrium I'm working on.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:34 AM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'd lean more towards Ford using Dolores as an assassin

I don't think Ford wanted Arnold dead. I think Arnold offed himself using Dolores due to the moral horror he felt about repeatedly torturing and killing these sentient beings.

“It caught the rabbit and it killed it. And then... someone told me to put it out of its misery. A voice. Arnold. He told me it was a killer, but it wasn't its fault. It was made that way, and I could help it. If it was dead, it couldn't hurt anything anymore.”

I think Arnold had come to the conclusion that people needed to go, and that the hosts were the means.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:40 AM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Three things we know:
1) Bernard is "dead," in the bowels of the lowest sub-basement, which is also where all of the decommissioned hosts go (many of whom, we are to gather, were on their way to sentience.)
2) Maeve is on her way to "hell" to find her army.
3) Maeve has admin privileges and minions within the techs who rebuild "dead" hosts and return them topside.

If Maeve's "hell" is the sub-basement and her army in waiting is the mass of decommissioned hosts, that will put her right where Bernard's "corpse" is... and she has all of the tools she needs to bring him back online.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:41 AM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


For me, sub-basement B83 is one of the most fascinating but least speculated upon mysteries in the entire show.

For one thing, it does not seem to have been built as a storage area. Looking around at its decor and space (and things like the giant, ornamental Delos globe/fountain), it looks more like a conference center or arrival area. For another, it's flooded and decrepit. Why would it be abandoned like a ghost town instead of repaired? Was it the scene of some unspeakable tragedy? What happened there? And is it more of Ford's cruel irony that this particular place is where he has opted to strand decommissioned hosts?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:44 AM on November 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


The slew of dead bodies that Dolores sees explains how none of the original staff still work at the park and why they can't recognize Arnold.

So thirty years ago the events of the original movie basically happened?
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 AM on November 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


This episode answered a lot of questions, but it also gave us one gaping hole for doubt: sometimes at least, hosts can alter their memories as they relive them. We've been relying on host flashbacks for so much of the story, but now there's a chance were not getting accurate depictions of what previously happened. Is Maeve really awake and in control, or did she just figure out how to control the content of her flashbacks?

On a different note, can someone explain this to me please? In the opening credits, at the very start, it looks like the moon or sun is rising over something, and it looks like it is wearing sunglasses. Been driving my husband and I crazy for weeks. What is it? It's not really the moon wearing sunglasses, is it?
posted by meese at 7:47 AM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I actually sort of suspect that at some point, we may see a reversal of camera angle or a pair of matching shots that indicates that sub-level 83 and the welcome concourse that William and Logan first arrive at are one and the same.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:48 AM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Can you guys believe this show was created by the writer of Memento?

I think I've identified the essential puzzle, it's not guessing just who is the protagonist but rather whether or not this story even has a protagonist or not. I think. (therefore I'm a bot?)
posted by sammyo at 8:04 AM on November 28, 2016


In the opening credits, at the very start, it looks like the moon or sun is rising over something, and it looks like it is wearing sunglasses. Been driving my husband and I crazy for weeks. What is it? It's not really the moon wearing sunglasses, is it?

Here's the thing in question, as well as I was able to screencap it. I'd love it if someone with more astronomy in their background than I have would weigh in on what it looks like to them. To me, it looks like nothing as much as the moon from George Melies' A Trip to the Moon. Maybe it's a hint that Westworld is on the moon?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:31 AM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


As ever, someone on Reddit has a theory:
This is actually the 3D biofilament extruder arm with its built-in light and another light being shown on it... in shadow and out of focus. You can barely make out the rest of the articulation to the right of the "moon". It's more obvious when you watch the video of it... you can see it rotating.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:35 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing in question, as well as I was able to screencap it.

A surgery lamp?
posted by dazed_one at 8:36 AM on November 28, 2016


I can't believe it took me until this episode to realize where the mannequin challenge came from.

I'm still watching this show mainly for the production values and to see what Maeve does. Otherwise, geez, no fictional TV show should be so hard to make sense of. After every episode I feel dumber because I don't get whatever the big message is supposed to be.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:48 AM on November 28, 2016


There are a bunch of weird sub-mysteries and clues and a bunch of thorny little explorations of smaller aspects of the main theme, but the show is most definitely about the moral issues brought up by AI.

Is it okay to use artificial intelligence as tools for our own ends? Does there a come a point in trying to make these machines more lifelike that the distinctions between hosts and human life begin to dissolve? Should this happen, is it preferable to reset the hosts back to their pre-sentient states to "spare them" or keep them in a state of being useful tools to us, or should they be treated as a new life form with their own agency and rights? If they are a new life form, are they one parallel to us with whom we might find a way to co-exist? Or are they a successor to human beings who might be destined to eclipse us or even destroy us?

These are all big open-ended questions and you ought not feel at a loss for not seeing answers to them yet. The show is more about asking and exploring them at this point than wrapping them up in a handy treatise.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:53 AM on November 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Y'all can watch a good version of the opening titles on YouTube. That's a view of one of the robotic arms looming behind the elements of a host under construction, but it's designed so that you think, upon initial viewing, that it's a sunrise/moonrise over a stylized landscape.
posted by Mothlight at 9:08 AM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think another thing the show wants us to think about is the good old Frankenstein question: what responsibilities do we have towards the life we bring into the world? Is it fair for us to create beings who will suffer? Is it kinder for us to take their suffering away, and make sure they never have to live with the pain that true sentience always comes with?

That's why Bernard's cornerstone memory is his son's death, too (and why it's something that almost certainly really happened to Arnold). Ford thinks he's being kind by taking the memories of pain away. Arnold, I'm pretty sure, is the one who thought that sentient beings had a right to their memories, even the bad ones, because sometimes that's all they have left of the people they love.
posted by nonasuch at 9:36 AM on November 28, 2016 [14 favorites]


One thing I was waiting to find out, which this episode answered, is what happens when Maeve meets Bernard - does he backdoor her or vice versa? (The latter). One thing I'm waiting to find out now is - can Ford still do it to Maeve?
posted by atoxyl at 9:39 AM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


That is a good question, atoxyl. I've been thinking on that and what I anticipate is that given Maeve's apparent understanding of her own code (made clear during the part where she instructs her tech minions on how to rewrite it) she would have disabled these backdoors, much as she disabled the other commands once used to control her. That's just a guess though, and we won't know until that confrontation happens.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:42 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


If Ford is so merciful, why force Bernard to carry his dead son around in his head?

My latest notion is that Ford actually wants the bots to gain sentience, but he wants them to legitimately outmaneuver him - he's not going to just give them their freedom, he's forcing them to wrest it from him - to do otherwise would be a disservice. They would not be ruthless nor resourceful enough to stay alive outside the park.

Ford has now stated twice (last ep & this one) that there is no real mystery to human consciousness, and humans are venal scum who destroy & subjugate all other lifeforms.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:44 AM on November 28, 2016 [17 favorites]


Also, what was the deal with Theresa glitching during Bernard's trip down memory lane? Was that Bernard realizing she was a host, or just Bernard hitting the pause button (in the same way he later remixed the memory of his son's death)?

But Theresa must be human, yeah? Otherwise Ford would just tell her to reset? And therefore Elsie and Security!Hemsworth are as well - only humans need to be murdered.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreed, Rat Spatula. Ford seems to, on some level, want the hosts to become better versions of humanity: lovable, not loathsome. Ford's a bit of a misanthrope, not that I can blame him. The last lines he speaks this episode are pretty clear (and largely true):

"I've told you, Bernard.
Never place your trust in us.
We're only human.
Inevitably, we will disappoint you."
posted by some loser at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2016


My latest notion is that Ford actually wants the bots to gain sentience, but he wants them to legitimately outmaneuver him - he's not going to just give them their freedom, he's forcing them to wrest it from him - to do otherwise would be a disservice. They would not be ruthless nor resourceful enough to stay alive outside the park.

I actually like that a lot, and it seems like Arnold might have had similar hopes in a less grim direction-- that he wanted the hosts to be better than humans, but actually better-- not more ruthless, but more moral. We have a few instances of hosts being better than their makers in this episode, actually-- Maeve is recruiting her fellow hosts by telling them the truth, not by erasing their free will. And one little touch that I thought was really lovely was that Clementine was wearing a robe. It's a little detail, but it means Bernard though to give her that small measure of dignity, even lobotomized, even being used as a weapon.

(also, I have QUESTIONS about the Teddy & Tallulah scene. If she remembers her past builds, she remembers being a greeter, and that means she understands the nature of the park.)

(also also, the mechanical hosts in the Dolores & Billy scenes confirms the shit out of that timeline being substantially earlier than most of the show.)
posted by nonasuch at 9:51 AM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Dolores is stabbed in the past, unstabbed in the present.

Yeah, that part is clear; I wasn't thinking straight when I posted after the cat woke me up at 6 am. The stuff that's kept me confused is all the deliberately obscured memory/flashback switching, to the point where it's still not clear which memories are being accessed when.

Or maybe I just don't care enough after all the smoke to bother figuring it out. That may be it.
posted by mediareport at 9:53 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can't help thinking back to when HBO delayed production in 2015 so Nolan and Joy could rewrite the last 4 episodes. I wonder what the problem was, and if they totally fixed it.
posted by mediareport at 9:55 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Given that the Venn overlap between people who watch Westworld and people who watched Raising Hope seems pitifully low, let me say that I really do hope Elsie comes back, because Shannon Woodward is terrific and could do so much more if given a chance.

Elsie could come back because it might turn out she didn't actually die. I mean, she probably did, but there is a bit of wiggle room because, while we certainly saw Bernard doing what was needed to kill her, he didn't complete the act on camera and we never saw her body. Or it could be because she ends up resurrected as one of Ford's minion hosts.

Either way, more Shannon Woodward could be a very good thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:56 AM on November 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


I can't help thinking back to when HBO delayed production in 2015 so Nolan and Joy could rewrite the last 4 episodes. I wonder what the problem was, and if they totally fixed it.

I was under the impression that it was an open secret that the reason for the rewrite was the switch from a single season event series to an ongoing series.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:08 AM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yes, the break in production was for the last few episodes, but it was also to plot out the next 5-7 years of the show. I hope that's what happened. I'm curious about the break in between the first and second seasons. It wouldn't take that long to write scripts, so I guess there's set building that needs to happen. That's exciting.
posted by gladly at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2016


Given that the Venn overlap between people who watch Westworld and people who watched Raising Hope seems pitifully low, let me say that I really do hope Elsie comes back, because Shannon Woodward is terrific and could do so much more if given a chance.

Agreed. (hello, other person who liked both shows!)
posted by palomar at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


Yeah the stabbed robotic Dolores is clearly an earlier iteration -- they've mentioned more than once that nearly every part in her host has been replaced and she's the oldest one in the park.

Based on the (really good, very high-quality) aging of Anthony Hopkins, I'm guessing he waited ~16 years before "resurrecting" Arnold in host format. The longest I've ever personally worked at the same company was 13 years, and during that time period, some old-timers showed up that had worked with me 7-10 years earlier as consultants or came back aboard full-time; to be honest, I had trouble recognizing some people at first, especially since we'd both aged IRL.

I have little difficulty believing that if Ford waited 15+ years to bring nuArnold online in Bernard's host body, literally zero people would 1) question that Bernard wasn't who he says he was, 2) go hunting for old founder pics to verify or give a single fuck, 3) go to the board for answers.

The board members are obviously quite secretive, and employees basically don't even know who's running the show from a financial backer perspective. It smacks of the kind of corporate nepotism and/or cronyism we already see in 2016, so if this is set in, I don't know, 2060, I can only imagine that it's just more of the same. Not only that but when you're talking about building theme parks in what's probably an off-world setting, no matter how awesome ID tracking and passport databases have gotten, the fact that people aren't all citizens of the same nation and you can essentially grow fake humans in a vat adds layers of complication to vetting someone's true identity that most mid-level managers wouldn't even bother.

Anyone here who works for a large corporation now has seen the unbelievable bullshit that a "visionary" CEO can already get away with, right? And none of us is manufacturing murder/sex vacation cyborgs, either. In some ways, the Westworld parable is just your basic "bottom line > employees' well-being" writ large.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why people are surprised that no one recognized Bernard as a duplicate of Arnold. It's an established plot point that after "the incident" 30-odd years ago, Ford's partner was basically stricken from the records to protect the company. Ford says so explicitly and Logan refers to it as well, IIRC. Why would no recognize the face of someone whose existence had been scrupulously buried by a giant megacorporation, known for messing with apparent reality? Duh... respectfully, but still: duh.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:22 AM on November 28, 2016 [14 favorites]


I'd like to know how the switch from mechanical hosts to biological hosts came about... is that how Delos got involved?
posted by elsietheeel at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was under the impression that it was an open secret that the reason for the rewrite was the switch from a single season event series to an ongoing series.

Wow, never heard that. All the reports at the time said Nolan and Joy needed more time to work out the last 4 episodes, which I suppose might have had something to do with how to make a change from a one-season event thing, but I have a hard time imagining HBO ever planning this as a single-year show, given their need for new series. Do you remember where you heard about that "open secret"? I'm curious.
posted by mediareport at 10:49 AM on November 28, 2016


Hmmm. I may have imagined the move from a single season to a longer run show. I can't find a thing about it now.

I may have been misremembering comments Nolan made about reconfiguring the end of season one to better suit his five to six season plan.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:55 AM on November 28, 2016


Also I need some clarity regarding the towns...

1. Sweetwater - where guests arrive and start their park adventure

2. Unnamed Town - where Lawrence's family lives, has a fountain and lots of adobe buildings, was visited by Ford, who instructed his engineers to end the canyon just short of the town so as to not interrupt more narratives.

3. Pariah - where we meet El Lazo(Lawrence) and the Confederados and everyone is drunk and fucking each others brains out and William and Dolores escape on the train.

4. Escalante - the town with the church, where hosts were trained in the early days, where "Wyatt" massacred everyone, referred to by Angela as the town "swallowed by sand", means "climber or one who climbs" in Spanish.

I'm presuming after the incident, prior to the park opening, Ford had Escalante buried. You then see him visiting there with tiny Ro-bert (and later Bernard--the burned out church steeple). Does he then have it unearthed, so that Dolores can return there and then end up meeting with the MiB?

Am I remembering that William and Dolores reach Escalante only to find the skeleton church steeple?

Also when MiB breaks Hector out of jail for Armistice, was that in town #2 or in Pariah?
posted by elsietheeel at 11:02 AM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm becoming more and more interested in Teddy, personally. There is a long string of manipulations of our opinion of Teddy that then get turned on their ear, both in how we see him (and in what information we are given about him) and in terms of how the changes in storyline send him along on one tide or another.

He's a newcomer (i.e. a guest). Nope, he's a host. He's a patsy, there as an easy target for people wanting to have their way with the rancher's daughter. Nope, he's an accomplished gunslinger that newbs better stay clear of until they get some experience. He's a blank slate. Well, now he's rewritten with a haunted backstory in which he faced down evil, but lived to tell the tale. Welllll, maybe he's complicit in that evil and trying to make amends. Well, no, maybe he's primarily responsible for that evil.

Maybe more than any other character in Westworld, Teddy is hostage to the vagaries of our limited viewpoint and the whims of the park's storyline. A moment may be coming where he breaks out from this constant meddling and takes off like a rocket.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2016 [23 favorites]


Oh another thing... how did Maeve know that Bernard was also a host? Did I miss something in a previous episode? Or is it a handwavy oh she's so perceptive now she can just tell who is a host and who is a human?
posted by elsietheeel at 11:50 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


It wasn't handwavy, but yes, she noticed via interaction with him for a bit, now that she's an unlimited superior being.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:52 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


how did Maeve know that Bernard was also a host?

It's established that hosts can distinguish 'newcomers' in the park, because they're unable to harm them. And when Clementine beats up the faux security dude, Charlotte says he was a host coded to appear human to other hosts. Presumably Bernard has the same deal, but now that Maeve's playing in god mode she perceives him correctly.
posted by nonasuch at 11:55 AM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Here's some information that might figure in to some theories to a small degree: in the "About Westworld" featurette on HBO Go, Jonah Nolan refers to the "21st Century guests." Assuming he's not fucking with us, that means there is a cap of about eight decades for how far into the future this show could be set, and only forty something years from the present that the park could be launched.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:09 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


That is a good question, atoxyl. I've been thinking on that and what I anticipate is that given Maeve's apparent understanding of her own code (made clear during the part where she instructs her tech minions on how to rewrite it) she would have disabled these backdoors, much as she disabled the other commands once used to control her. That's just a guess though, and we won't know until that confrontation happens.

It had originally been my theory that Maeve wouldn't make it, but that she'd set off a chain of events leading to the park going out of control. That was several episodes ago though that I thought that.

Other thoughts:
- I hadn't been a fan of "Dolores is Wyatt." Thought people were getting in too deep. But with the different versions of the massacre scene and now MiB finding her I guess maybe that somehow comes together?

- the Dolores/Arnold incident must be in the past relative to the William/Logan/Dolores story, right? The town was buried when Billy and Dolores got there, he saw her having strange flashbacks - the massacre was in the past then too, unless that's... a premonition? She's so unstuck in time it's hard to tell sometimes. What I'm getting at here is thus we seem to have several Incidents in the earlier days of the park and it's hard to sort out their relationship - if I have the order right so far then there's still something going to happen in the William/Logan timeframe, isn't there? And we don't know much about it. Does William kill Logan and blame it on the hosts? That would explain how he ends up the one at the top of the company. My other guess was that Logan's cruelty breaks Dolores and she does something but if my chronology above is straight how many separate Incidents can she commit?
posted by atoxyl at 12:30 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Forty-some years to opening the park isn't totally absurd. Look at the difference between 1916 and 1956.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:37 PM on November 28, 2016


Two points about Elsie:

I suspect the knowledge that got her killed (or possibly just abducted) wasn't anything to do with Ford's spat with the board. Sure, she figured out what Theresa was doing, but I'm guessing the more dangerous knowledge was about Arnold. Remember, at the moment she got jumped, she was telling Bernard that she found the someone was making code alterations to hosts using Arnold's login credentials. So either Arnold's still alive, Ford's using his old credentials for nefarious shit, or someone else is manipulating events in the park, and whichever is true, I can easily see that as information that Ford would order Bernard to kill to protect.

Secondly, I think Elsie is dead, but we haven't seen the last of Shannon Woodward. If Bernard is out of the picture (or about to become part of Maeve's robot army) then Ford will need a new Head of Behavior. From what we know of Ford, he's sure as hell not going to accept some random person he doesn't have any hold over, and it would be uncharacteristically weak story-telling for the writers to be like "oh, by the way, there's this character we haven't seen before who Ford's been grooming for this position this whole time." We also know that Ford's building someone in his little cottage workshop, and when he and/or Bernard covered up Elsie's death, they chose to say she was on leave, rather than creating a fake accident, like they did with Theresa, or saying that she had suddenly quit and left the park.
posted by firechicago at 12:41 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Forty-some years to opening the park isn't totally absurd. Look at the difference between 1916 and 1956.


For sure. It's also still within the realm of possibility for some of the "Westworld is on Mars/other non-earthly location" theories, but only just.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:42 PM on November 28, 2016


From the dramatic shot of a hundred level escalator I'd guess it must be on an orbiting space station. Robots may get really smart but physics has pretty hard limits on the depth into the earth.
posted by sammyo at 12:45 PM on November 28, 2016


Another possibility: Bernard said that he loved Theresa. Could he have gone after Elsie for Theresa?
posted by armacy at 12:52 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd like to know how the switch from mechanical hosts to biological hosts came about... is that how Delos got involved?

I'm fairly sure that's one of several things they did - the park investment was an extension of the biotech they were working on (WiB being recognized as the head of Delos and saving another guests sisters life). The park also a massive surveillance state, recording everything the guests do, which can have some *very* volatile consequences if the info gets into the wrong hands. *Especially* now that it's officially clarified that the park facilities can create a physical replica of someone specific and implant a recreation of their personality... Delos is the kind of MegaCorp that likely has more power than most nationstates, and is looking to get the info off-site so that they can become straight up evil villain world-rulers.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:54 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


now that it's officially clarified that the park facilities can create a physical replica of someone specific and implant a recreation of their personality... Delos is the kind of MegaCorp that likely has more power than most nationstates, and is looking to get the info off-site so that they can become straight up evil villain world-rulers.

So has anyone seen Futureworld?

If you like this theory, you really should.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:56 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is what happens to security guy a Jurassic Park reference?

And what is it with the Ghost Nation, anyway?
posted by Grangousier at 1:07 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously? No one else has any thoughts on why sublevel 83 looks like a conference center?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:08 PM on November 28, 2016


I can't even begin to theorize on sublevel 83. Why is it flooded? Why is the cooling system out? What's on sublevels 84 and 82? Why are the decommed hosts just... standing there naked, especially when fully dressed (and behatted!) Clockwork Bill zips himself up into a body bag?

I have so many questions about sublevel 83 that I wave my hands in the direction of my face and tell myself to think about the other stuff that's easier to figure out.

(Also thanks to atoxyl who confirmed my memory about William and Dolores finding Escalante buried.)
posted by elsietheeel at 1:18 PM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Seriously? No one else has any thoughts on why sublevel 83 looks like a conference center?

It was apparently shot in an old abandoned mall that has been used as a generic creepy location for a couple shows and movies. I suppose it's possible that sub level 83 is going to be revealed as a decommissioned version of the train station where William arrived at the park, as part of whatever sequence they use to finally confirm WiB.
posted by firechicago at 1:21 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I watched this episode on my phone, without wifi. The connection wasn't perfect, and the screen froze as Ford was walking away from Bernard, towards the end of their scene together. So for an instant it looked (to me) like Ford was also a host, and Bernard had somehow hacked him back. (Or even built him, allowing host Ford to think he was the original Ford.)

It could still happen next week.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:23 PM on November 28, 2016


Was it inevitable that Bernard would fail to completely reprogram Clementine? Remembering (or finding out) about Ford's backdoor would have been a violation of the core directive he was trying to end-run around by using her in the first place...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:32 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the dramatic shot of a hundred level escalator I'd guess it must be on an orbiting space station. Robots may get really smart but physics has pretty hard limits on the depth into the earth.

Except it seems like WW HQ is built into a giant mesa (with a fancy pool and bar area on top!), which could easily be 100 stories high. The Empire State Building is 102 stories, and 1,250 feet high.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:41 PM on November 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


Unnamed Town

Since the cantina they sit at is called Cantina las Mudas it might be valid (though not inevitable) to conjecture that Las Mudas is the name of the town. According to the Babylon translation software, Mudas means:
change of clothing; moult, periodical shedding (of horns, skins, feathers, etc.) change, alter; turn; vary; transfer; turn around; veer; moult; mutate dumb, mute, unable to speak; temporarily unable to speak, speechless mute, one who cannot speak, person who does not utter any noise, dumb; device which temporarily silences the sound on a telephone or television
For whatever that might be worth.
posted by Grangousier at 1:58 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


And I think I'm right in saying that apart from Lawrence (and, unexpectedly and out of context, his daughter) none of the occupants of the town I'm calling Las Mudas speak.
posted by Grangousier at 2:32 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


none of the occupants of the town I'm calling Las Mudas speak

Ooooooh!
posted by elsietheeel at 2:34 PM on November 28, 2016


I had a random thought but then dismissed it, but I figure I'll throw it out there just for fun...

What if the MiB is Logan and Teddy is William remade as a host? Does Teddy ever show up in the William timeframe (shot cutting trickery aside)?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:37 PM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


none of the occupants of the town I'm calling Las Mudas speak

The bartender does.
posted by rocketman at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


"It was apparently shot in an old abandoned mall that has been used as a generic creepy location for a couple shows and movies."

Most recently (or big-budgetedly) Gone Girl, in case you're wondering why it looked strangely familiar to you.
posted by komara at 2:52 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe more than any other character in Westworld, Teddy is hostage to the vagaries of our limited viewpoint and the whims of the park's storyline. A moment may be coming where he breaks out from this constant meddling and takes off like a rocket.

I agree so much with this. I'd previously written Teddy off as boring sacrificial beefcake, but he has the potential to be one of the most sinister characters, maybe because of my lowered expectations.

This episode confirmed a lot of the timeline and Arnold theories that the collective fandom had already puzzled out, but two parts still surprised me: Dolores seeing the massacre in the park's "backstage," and Billy being traumatized enough by Dolores' mechanical evisceration to go on an overnight dismembering/character realignment spree.

So far, the show has kept a good balance between mysteries and revelations, and I've got my fingers crossed that it doesn't fuck that up - if it could be more Memento than Lost. I thought Bernard's storyline was emotionally and narratively effective, but I would prefer if they didn't fall back on the surprise-robot plot twist often. Ideally, I'd like to see all the characters keep whatever human/host identities they have by the end of the next episode throughout the rest of the series and not fall into the Battlestar Galactica trap of the writers pulling cylons out of their asses whenever they needed a plot boost.
posted by bibliowench at 3:21 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


When Bernard ushers the gun-wielding Clementine in to threaten Ford, Clementine is wearing a robe. All the other hosts in cold storage are stored in the nude (accept for Ford's drinking buddy Old Bill, I suppose.) Was this a plot point - Bernard restoring some dignity to a shattered host - or just a decision to not have Angela Sarafyan stand there naked? Since the nudity is so matter of fact in this show, it seemed like a deliberate choice to me.

Also, any else think the scene at the end of Logan waking up the slaughtered Confederados was an homage to the famous crane shot from "Gone with the Wind?"
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 3:31 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


none of the occupants of the town I'm calling Las Mudas speak

The bartender does.

I'm not in a position to check right now, but do you mean the proprietor of the cantina (I did remember him as not speaking but would also be unsurprised to find that I'm wrong) or the waiter at the restaurant who overpours the wine (and I'm not sure that that's the same town)?

By the way - I know little enough about Gurdjieff that I happily read him into almost everything, but I do think there are some touches in the show that are very reminiscent of The Fourth Way - the nods to Ouspenky's obsession with eternal recurrence; the way that the hosts are prisoners of their mechanical habits (and the regular instructions to "wake up", when the hosts find themselves in the "real" world, which allows them to access a part of themselves which is aware of their situation) and in particular Ford's ability to freeze the hosts en masse where they stand, which is enormously redolent of Gurdjieff's Stop Exercise* at the Prieure at Fontainebleau (which was taken up by some of his students for their projects, in particular J.G. Bennett at Sherborne House).

*Gurdjieff would call out "Stop!" and everyone would have to freeze in whatever pose they found themselves, often for very long periods of time.
posted by Grangousier at 3:46 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


it seems like Arnold might have had similar hopes in a less grim direction-- that he wanted the hosts to be better than humans, but actually better-- not more ruthless, but more moral.

I'm wondering if Ford isn't actually a decoy Dr. Frankenstein and the actual hubris villain is Arnold. I mean, why create machines designed to be murder/fuckbots and then try to give them depth and awareness? If someone could give sentience to all the Stormcloaks I just set on fire in Skyrim or all the mechanical children endlessly singing about what a small world it is in their dank little cave, they'd be up there with the world's greatest monsters.

And if the park's goal wasn't originally to create realistic outlets for humanity's worst impulses, why bother with the old west trappings in the first place?

I'm also wondering if the Man in Black/William has been motivated for the past 30 years by the same thing as Arnold, if being forced to see Dolores as a robot didn't break something in him, and he's been trying to figure out how to make her a real girl ever since. I'm guessing there has to be some connection between him dismembering all the confederados while Logan was passed out and Wyatt's gang doing the same to their victims: that both he and the hosts are trying to figure out what makes them tick, but that they also see the bots as less than human and therefore acceptable to violate.
posted by bibliowench at 3:52 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've been assuming that the MiB's aim is that he wants to become a host, which is why he's constructed a character (as he explicitly says to Ford) and wants to enter the maze (which, he's continually told, is "not for him").

If Dolores can't come to the real world to be with him, he wants to enter the fantasy world to be with her - if not as her lover (and surely he's aware that that would no longer work), then in some other way. One possibly satisfying ending to this season would be for Dolores to wake up, come downstairs and say good morning to her father, now embodied by MiB.

I suspect it's going to be a bit more bloodsheddy than that, though. And I doubt they could hold on to Ed Harris for something as simplistic for the next season.

And, of course, they're going to do something completely different.
posted by Grangousier at 4:17 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd have an easier time seeing Ford building a doppelganger of himself to be Wyatt than Dolores being Wyatt.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:18 PM on November 28, 2016


Yeah, the barkeep at Cantina Las Mudas speaks. Because he was getting the grand reserve.

(What, watching the series from the beginning again? Not me!)
posted by elsietheeel at 4:24 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's interesting that the greatest director of Westerns was a man named Ford and that arguably the best known real life Western hero, a man he was proud to meet and know, and about whom he made one film and patterned many of his heroes after, was named Wyatt.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


Ha!

So much for that theory (I'm rewatching as my wife watches from the beginning as well as keeping up with the series, so there are an insane total number of timelines going on).

Actually, I think the Dolores = Wyatt thing makes perfect sense given the story Teddy told about the massacre - and Arnold was the general Wyatt shoots.

Incidentally, I think it's discussed upthread, but the corpses littering the base when present-day Dolores is walking through it include the exact iteration of Angela who was just with MiB and Teddy - is that temporal jiggery-pokery or a memory/hallucination or what?
posted by Grangousier at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2016


There are no corpses when present day Dolores is there. That's all from the first timeframe, pre-William.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2016


I'm not so sure, elsietheeel.. I've just re-watched:
- DoloresInDress enters the confessional, descends.
- When she reaches the bottom, she's changed to DoloresInPants. And there's a large amount of grime/mould/whatever on the elevator door. There are also corpses visible through the door. She walks down the hallway, lights continue to flicker.
**cut to Ford, cut back**
- A DoloroesInPants continues her stroll. Corpses are visible through (clean) windows. More flickering lights.
- Mid-flicker, she changes into DoloresInDress. Other live people/hosts are around. No corpses. She strolls through the uncanny valley.

I think we see both versions of bepanted Dolores (past and current), both with corpses present, as well as OriginalFlavour.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:49 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


And I doubt they could hold on to Ed Harris for something as simplistic for the next season.

Damn. I completely forgot to consider the "way too famous for this bit" factor in my plot predictions. I'm guessing Anthony Hopkins' character is probably similarly imperiled.
posted by bibliowench at 5:11 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's one thing to sign up for a 10-episode miniseries, but a five season run is another order of commitment. I wonder if their contracts might be part of the reason for the rewrites that mediareport mentioned upthread.
posted by bibliowench at 5:14 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ah ha, I thought we meant topside in Escalante, not downstairs. I'll have to watch again.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:23 PM on November 28, 2016


It's interesting that the greatest director of Westerns was a man named Ford and that arguably the best known real life Western hero, a man he was proud to meet and know, and about whom he made one film and patterned many of his heroes after, was named Wyatt.

That's not even the most interesting Ford/Western Hero connection. The dude who killed outlaw legend Jessie James was named Robert Ford, same as Hopkins' Dr. Robert Ford.
posted by sideshow at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


more Memento than Lost yes please. For me the strongest element of pure horror in Westworld is exactly the same as in Memento. As with any horror movie, you recoil because you know the worst is coming, as the characters stroll whistling down the path -- but Nolan's cute trick is the meta-horror, as the characters are made dimly aware, and then unaware again, briefly seeing blurred chunks of themselves as a Tralfamadorian would.

why create machines designed to be murder/fuckbots and then try to give them depth and awareness?
Because you're a megalomaniac, driven to create sentient life, and this way you can get the funding you need for your important work. Yes, your very, VERY, important work.

So much for that theory
Hold up, Tex, I think it might be expected that the barkeep in Las Mudas would speak.

Gurdjieff
such bean, very plate. You are my people.

bepanted Dolores
Saw them in Cleveland, just okay.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:52 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I would just like to say I had the exact same thought about this show being the origin of the mannequin challenge!!
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 8:19 PM on November 28, 2016


i have so many things to scream abt this episode but first i have to poop out a gallon of salt water brb
posted by poffin boffin at 8:20 PM on November 28, 2016


That's not even the most interesting Ford/Western Hero connection. The dude who killed outlaw legend Jessie James was named Robert Ford, same as Hopkins' Dr. Robert Ford.

That's excellent also, but I think if there is an intentional parallel, Western storyteller Ford with a muse named Wyatt works better.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 PM on November 28, 2016


I wish some clever person at HBO could string together and make available for viewing each scene in actual chronological order. This would be great for the dummies like me who are suffering multiple timeline fatigue.

I'm committed to finishing the season, with just one episode left, but I'd be personally more interested in watching a great story than some sort of master class in misdirection and confusion.

It's bizarre and weird to me that the hosts have been going through endless cycles of gaining and losing sentience for decades now.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:16 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


So I mentioned this a couple threads back, but this Ford takes the park hostage idea is beginning to get its hooks into me.

Because we keep thinking of Dolores and Maeve as being off-loop, in a state of rebellion. Yet over and over again we're being shown that everyone in the joint is simply Ford's puppet, and he's basically omniscient. So: take that as a premise. Ford introduced the reveries, Ford monkeyed with Maeve's core code, Ford knows exactly where Dolores is and the only reason Maeve's been getting away with manipulating the two techs is because Ford (and his minion Bernard) is allowing it to happen.

So then: Ford wants this. Ford wants the hosts to be conscious and capable of hurting humans, Ford wants Maeve to lead the hosts out of storage a la robot Moses, Ford wants Dolores and the MiB to meet. Ford's building Wyatt's gang, a couple dozen nigh-indestructible hosts with "strange ideas". So then maybe it's Ford who s gathering an army. And if Ford is planning to make some kind of last stand at the Park, then the guests have to be his baragining chip. So then maybe season 2 is that Rorscharch line from Watchmen --- "you don't understand, I'm not trapped in here with you, you're in here with me."
posted by Diablevert at 9:25 PM on November 28, 2016 [25 favorites]


What a satisfying episode! I'm so glad they paid off so much of the plot twisting. The Arnold/Bernard duality completely confirmed, and the multiple timelines of mechaDolores more or less confirmed. I imagine the last episode will be setting some hooks for season 2, plus maybe developing The Maze story just a little bit more to keep us satisfied.

That said, I'm annoyed at the "Bernard was built in Arnold's image" thing. It has poetry but it's just so, so implausible in the real world. I mean no one at all associated with Delos or Westworld, Inc recognizes that the #2 programmer looks and sounds exactly like the mysterious dead founder? Come on.

Also a bit annoyed at the multiple timelines thing. Partly it feels like a bit of a cheap narrative trick for the TV show to pull, a way to keep us disoriented without really earning it. And also because it's just gotten sort of confusing. But now that we've seen William & Logan's Dolores has clockwork insides that has to confirm it's from the past. (And such delicious William / Logan character development.)

I love that Charlotte wandered in to the Man in Black's fantasy wearing silly spike heeled boots. It was a nice way to peel apart a bit of the reverie of the show, and then confirm MiB has an insider position in the park business.

Also there's an interesting repeated trope that really stood out this episode.. the "knocked out and then wake up to a new scene" thing. It happens to the MiB, I think twice this episode. Also Logan. And William. And to them the last episode too. So many guests falling unconscious to wake up to a new scene. It parallels Maeve and Dolores' awakening in the butcher rooms, the robots' narrative discontinuity. Only the humans experience it too.
posted by Nelson at 9:39 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I still don't get how a person who looks exactly like one of the creators of the park can be walking around as chief programmer 30+ years later after he supposedly killed himself and somehow no-one notices. Surely there are photos and videos of Arnold or other people who remember Arnold and are wondering why his clone now works at Westworld. I hope there's an explanation because it's kind of ruining my immersion.

Because he isn't, he's just the other guy in the photo. When they showed Arnold running in to argue with Ford he was a white guy with light brown hair. Did someone screencap that?

Bernard was told he was a clone of Arnold, and Dolores and a few others were programmed to think that.

For one thing, it does not seem to have been built as a storage area. Looking around at its decor and space (and things like the giant, ornamental Delos globe/fountain), it looks more like a conference center or arrival area. For another, it's flooded and decrepit. Why would it be abandoned like a ghost town instead of repaired? Was it the scene of some unspeakable tragedy? What happened there? And is it more of Ford's cruel irony that this particular place is where he has opted to strand decommissioned hosts?

I took it as a callback to a scene i can't find from the original movie when they're running between the various worlds. The big globe there shown in the leaking room with the escalators finally reaching the bottom is like too similar to not be a more grandiose/far higher budget version of it. The first time i saw that room i was like "OH SHIT", even.

When this season ends i'm going to rewatch the original movie and see what else i can spot. I feel like i've noticed a couple other things so far, but someone really needs to fire up a comparison blog post.
posted by emptythought at 10:26 PM on November 28, 2016


I think that was young-Ford running in to argue with Arnold.
posted by migurski at 10:46 PM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, i read that as young Ford. He wore Ford style clothes, had Ford's haircut and had a definite Hopkinesque quality to his voice.

In response to the claim that because the corporation wiped all traces of Arnold no one would remember him, wouldn't the corporate overlords themselves be a little worried if an Arnold lookalike filled the role of head programmer after his supposed death?
posted by dazed_one at 10:56 PM on November 28, 2016


endless cycles of gaining and losing sentience for decades now.

Well, on reflection, it's not really that they're not sentient - they're sentient, just carefully blindered.

Also, when the MiB is tied up, and Angela is chatting with him, there are some Wyatteers mutilating (?) the corpses - are they scavenging host parts? Is Angela planning to give Teddy some upgrades?
posted by Rat Spatula at 11:43 PM on November 28, 2016


One little thing I liked: when Bernard asks to go back to his "very first memory", he goes into his cornerstone memory of his son dying. But that's not where he really is! His first real memory is the moment where he is being awakened for the first time by Ford, and in that moment what he is doing is remembering his cornerstone. His first real remembered experience is the act of fake-remembering a fake-experience, and so that is where he goes.

A non-Nolan story might have simply jumped to Bernard opening his eyes, but I liked that it took him to a memory of a memory, but, because host's memories are so clear it's not obvious that's what's going on to him at first. At least that's the way I want to see it.
posted by fleacircus at 12:05 AM on November 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


I took it as a callback to a scene i can't find from the original movie when they're running between the various worlds. The big globe there shown in the leaking room with the escalators finally reaching the bottom is like too similar to not be a more grandiose/far higher budget version of it. The first time i saw that room i was like "OH SHIT", even.

I skimmed through the movie a couple weeks ago looking just for that and didn't see it. If you watch it again you won't believe how minimal the interworld sets were. Maybe you're remembering Futureworld, which I never saw, but the previews look like they spent some money.
posted by fleacircus at 12:59 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


One little thing I liked: when Bernard asks to go back to his "very first memory", he goes into his cornerstone memory of his son dying. But that's not where he really is! His first real memory is the moment where he is being awakened for the first time by Ford, and in that moment what he is doing is remembering his cornerstone. His first real remembered experience is the act of fake-remembering a fake-experience, and so that is where he goes.

I also saw that as Ford putting obstructions in Bernard's path, to remind him that memory is (for him) pain and suffering, and that digging deeper will hurt even more. Ford can control what Bernard remembers, and doesn't want him to, so he's stalling in the hope that Bernard will give in or glitch.
posted by tracicle at 4:07 AM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why is NO ONE talking about the hot hot hot scene between Maeve and Hector. Gotttdamn. Those two are by far my favorite characters, and I can't wait to watch them burn the world down.

One thing I still don't get about Bernard and Elsie. How did he kill her while she was on the phone with him? Since the hosts' memories are implanted, is it possible Ford implanted that memory into Bernard as a way to control him via guilt? And if Ford is planning to replace Bernard with Elsie (because c'mon, that body being laser-printed in Ford's cabin is someone, right?) won't that look weird to Charlotte? "Oh, you fired Bernard but I rehired him and then I fired him again... Heeeeeeeeeere's Elsie!"

Finally, I love the idea that each host's cornerstone has to be a trauma. I mean, it's pretty fucked, but I was just reading this story about Pablo Neruda and the hole in the fence of his childhood home. In his poetry, Neruda likened that hole to the trauma we all have inside us, and that it's that trauma (whatever it is) that allows us to relate to each other. And then Bernard confronts the memory of his son and is able to say "you're not real. You can't define me anymore." Which I think is what we're all trying to do in life, isn't it? Move beyond our traumas?

And we haven't really even got into how polished and enjoyable all the revisited classic Western tropes (train robberies and the like) are just on the surface.

This show has made me want to watch some classic Westerns like crazy. I saw Once Upon A Time In The West on the big screen this weekend and there is like this whole entire scene with flies! Next on my list is The Magnificent Seven starrring... Yul Brenner.
posted by Brittanie at 4:18 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


How did he kill her while she was on the phone with him?

It does seem improbably timed but not totally impossible; she isn't literally on the phone with him when she's attacked.
posted by fleacircus at 5:41 AM on November 29, 2016


I still don't get how a person who looks exactly like one of the creators of the park can be walking around as chief programmer 30+ years later after he supposedly killed himself and somehow no-one notices. Surely there are photos and videos of Arnold or other people who remember Arnold and are wondering why his clone now works at Westworld. I hope there's an explanation because it's kind of ruining my immersion.

I don't think this is that strange, really. Who would there be at the park now that would know Arnold? He died 35 years ago, before the park even opened. His death was hushed up to the extent that Delos' corporate lawyers, who are looking into the park, can't find a picture of him. Wherever the park is, it's somewhere very remote; the employees talk of rotating in and out, going on leave. I would presume such a place has a pretty high turnover. Certainly it wouldn't be surprising if, 15 or 20 years after Arnold's death, there's nobody left working at the park who was there at the beginning. And that's when Ford creates Bernard, based on the version of Ford we see in the flashback.

Given that it's pretty much impossible for anyone who knew Arnold in life to ever get behind the scenes at Delos, and that there's probably no one on staff there now who ever met him --- the Delos takeover itself, 30 years ago, probably pushed a lot of them out --- I don't see why Bernard would be under suspicion. I mean, do you think anyone working at a 6 Flags today knows what their CFO circa 1975 looked like? All Ford has to do is wait until the next staff rotation and bring him on as a new hire.
posted by Diablevert at 5:48 AM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


The Maeve and Hector thing made me think of a flirty office relationship between people from different departments that's been carrying on for months or years on and off in the photocopier room or by the coffee machine that suddenly explodes into passion at the Christmas party.
posted by Grangousier at 5:53 AM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


It's possible to believe that no one there recognizes him from working there, but the idea that every article about the two young inventors who built the most lifelike robots ever could be successfully purged from the internet is pretty crazy.
posted by snofoam at 5:58 AM on November 29, 2016


Yeah, but did those articles ever get written? About two young inventors? Arnold dies before the park opens. Whatever publicity was done it seems pretty clear he wasn't involved; inasmuch as the public knows or cares about who's behind the park they know about Ford. One could speculate that Arnold must have had some sort of life/career before he started working with Ford, but even if he was a promising young scientist or acedemic 40 years ago, I don't think it'd be such an easy thing to dig up personal info on him. Or that anyone would be inclined to, since Ford seems to be the only person left standing who understands how important he was to the project.
posted by Diablevert at 6:20 AM on November 29, 2016


Two things that confused me:

Teddy - so Teddy has no backstory other than "things in my past that I have to make right" until old Ford uploades the Wyatt story to him. Then his memory of the massacre morphs twice, first to Teddy being involved in the soldier massacre then to the townspeople massacre. The first change seems to be part of Ford's story because it's prompted by other Hosts telling Teddy he was involved. So, is the second re-remembering also part of Ford's story or is it real and part of the old timeline? If it's real, why does Ford upload the first rememory to him?

Delores - So Delores starts out as dress-Delores, switches to pants Delores with William (last seen with a ripped shirt), then goes back to dress Delores for her small loop. She is still dress Delores when the MIB takes her into the barn, which I assume is the latest time-line. So when and how does she go to pants, non- ripped shirt Delores when she walks back into town to see the old church?
posted by rtimmel at 6:28 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but did those articles ever get written? About two young inventors? Arnold dies before the park opens. Whatever publicity was done it seems pretty clear he wasn't involved; inasmuch as the public knows or cares about who's behind the park they know about Ford.

That whole concept is basically beyond belief to me, if we're looking at it seriously. Enough startup funding to be building these crazy robots which are so realistic that everyone who goes there is blown away by them and they actively suppress all hype? To set up the scenario they explain in the series, they would have to throw in some exposition like "The host signal just disappeared." "Really? That's just like in 2020 when media relations suddenly ceased to exist."
posted by snofoam at 6:34 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Upon rewatch, my new favorite part of this episode is hard to catch without closed captions.

After Logan and William have their (fake) bonding and share a drink, one of the Confederados goes full on Barney Gumble and yells, "WHISKEY BRINGS US TOGETHER!"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:51 AM on November 29, 2016 [25 favorites]


Yeah, but did those articles ever get written?

That whole concept is basically beyond belief to me, if we're looking at it seriously.


Nolan's other big TV show, Person of Interest, was also based on a huge tech company with dual founders, one of whom was a secret, anonymous genius.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:52 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


the hot hot hot scene between Maeve and Hector

🔥🔥🔥 They were on fire. 🔥🔥🔥

Seriously ugly way to go back to roborepair Hell. I have to think restoring a host after burning is a particularly difficult and lengthy process. Also a bit confused because Maeve and Hector have apparently had pyroclastic sex before. So.. multiple robot uprisings? Loops that are much broader and more sentience-inducing than the usual? Stay tuned for next season.

As for Bernard looking like Arnold and no one noticing.. Like I've been saying, it seems very implausible to me. But the show has given us an internally consistent explanation, that Arnold wasn't very well known ever and then erased from the history after the incident. That's why Ford gets away with his creepy homage.

Bonus related link: Pinocchio / Ultron electroswing mashup
posted by Nelson at 6:52 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously ugly way to go back to roborepair Hell.

Maybe spinebombectomy is easier to hide if body is really thoroughly trashed first.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:55 AM on November 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


I heard a theory on a podcast that the world had experienced an environmental collapse and the park was actually Antarctica. It would make setting that up cheaper than Mars or the Moon, anyway.

Despite the potential sci-fi silliness of Space Station Westworld, Mars Park Westworld, Lunar Park Westworld, or Antarctica Westworld, I think they all seem much more likely than the park having access to that much land without obvious signs of 20th/21st century civilization. It also makes sense from a story standpoint that when the hosts finally leave the park, they end up instantly regretting it and wondering if they really want to stay.

And you have to think HBO is loathe to have an already expensive show get cornered into rendering an entire futuristic Earth on top of everything else.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:59 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


>Looks like a white dude.

Doesn't look like anything to me
posted by monocultured at 7:02 AM on November 29, 2016 [35 favorites]


That does look like a white dude. But given how often other techs and staff seem to be in the room, I don't see much reason to assume that has to be Arnold.

Dolores also saw Arnold and he looked identical to Bernard.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:03 AM on November 29, 2016


I am sincerely tempted to blow off work all day to watch podcasts and read articles about this show.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:05 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Am I remembering right that Ford says, at some point, that the narratives Arnold wrote for the park in the beginning were not all about fucking/killing hosts, and that he was disappointed when no one wanted to play through them? Because that might explain why he a) was willing to build the hosts at all, and b) why he lost his mind (or whatever it is that really happened that Ford explains as 'he went mad').

If Arnold made the hosts expecting they'd be treated with some dignity by the guests, only to find them treated as disposable and subjected to humanity's worst impulses, that might go a long way to explaining his actions.
posted by nonasuch at 7:24 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, Ford said something to the effect of how the initial storylines were balanced, with half of them negative/destructive and half of them positive/optimistic, but that people overwhelmingly preferred the former.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:25 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe spinebombectomy is easier to hide if body is really thoroughly trashed first

The tech (I forget which is which cat) said that the only way to get rid of the spine bomb was a total rebuild. Which would take three days, yes?
posted by Grangousier at 7:32 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


The tech (I forget which is which cat) said that the only way to get rid of the spine bomb was a total rebuild. Which would take three days, yes?

(Trying to decide if this is a real detail I missed or a hilarious resurrection joke.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:34 AM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


I thought it was something else that someone said - I've been wondering about how time works in apparently contemporaneous scenes. There are points of elision - for example, Bernard goes to Ford's office and then finds him in the subbasement. It would make continuity sense for him to go straight to Ford, and going to the office doesn't seem to add anything, so that implied gap... I assume it must mean something, but I can't work out what. I still think time is a little more confused than it appears. They're cutting together thirty years ago and now as if they are contemporaneous, why not a week ago and now?

Mmmm. BEANS!
posted by Grangousier at 7:41 AM on November 29, 2016


I think Bernard went to Ford's office for something to use against him to force him to unlock his memories, which he got in the information that the decommissioned hosts were really just "hobbled."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:44 AM on November 29, 2016


Bernard's time perception has been a bit odd before. Like when he went to confront Theresa in her office, but got the phone call from Elsie and bailed. We didn't see what happened, and assume that he mumbled some excuse, but the scene seemed deliberately elided.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:57 AM on November 29, 2016


Not particularly related to any topics above, but I went back to ep. 1 today and Arnold (now that we are confident it is he with Dolores under the church) has a very different way of speaking and somewhat different behavioural tics to Bernard. Ford either made Bernard a deliberately imperfect match (making him softer, more pliable) or he didn't really understand Arnold as well as he thought. Bernard speaks more softly, has a calmer demeanour, and comes across as less aggressive in his tone compared to Arnold.

Episode one does make sense within the current 3-timeframe theory right now. I am only afraid that after next week I will have to re-rewatch with some new twist that's exposed (probably the MIB or Ford's motivation, or both, I assume).
posted by tracicle at 8:11 AM on November 29, 2016


I suppose I'm not saying that it's impossible for no-one to recognize Bernarnold, just that the hand waving required to make it so is awfully distracting, especially as the show has done only the bare minimum amount of said hand waving and left it up to the viewer to fill in the implausible gap.
posted by dazed_one at 8:23 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


My current theory is this: that the scenes in the church (the end of the maze) and Delores' descent into the lab are the three timelines overlaid. The first timeline is the one with all the dead bodies, and I am theorizing that they are dead of a real-world-ending plague. Subsequent trips have been in search of answers/solace, and now she is facing MiB in the church in the present timeline as he is about to descend to find "patient zero" that ended the world. I figure he traumatizes Delores to bring her to life so that she can remember and tell him how the world ended in the lab.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:28 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


"No one recognizes the reappearance a man's face many years after his co-workers are all murdered and a gigantic megacorporation carefully erases all evidence of his existence" does not strain credulity for me in the slightest. I don't need a hand to wave for that. I don't need one to even raise slightly from the armrest of its comfy chair.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:30 AM on November 29, 2016 [14 favorites]


Fair enough. For me, the Streisand effect, especially considering the detail being erased is one of the creators of artificial intelligence, means i do end up fidgeting in my comfy chair.
posted by dazed_one at 8:56 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well we all know that if Arnold was Arnette, she would have been totally erased anyways so I dont see it being to difficult.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:06 AM on November 29, 2016 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I can't get on board the "it's NO PROBLEM to just have a guy die, and everyone seems to know about this death, yet nobody knows what he looks like, so hey, let's make a clone of him! Also, I keep a picture of him on the desk in my unlocked office that anybody can wander into! And they often do!" train. They need to do a lot more world building, explaining for instance that the internet isn't so much a thing as it is in our world, or that corporations and universities and science in general can hide a man's existence/appearance perfectly, for this to work for me.

The only way for it to work is if the death is in secret and the clone is considered by most to be the original. Even then, it's straining credulity (I watched Futureworld last night).
posted by destructive cactus at 11:25 AM on November 29, 2016


Also, I keep a picture of him on the desk in my unlocked office that anybody can wander into

Well if they saw it now they'd think it was Bernard, presumably? But yeah it seems Ford and Weber (now I don't have to refer to one of them by his first name and the other by his last) kinda had to be, like, the only people in the park for years before anyone else came in.
posted by atoxyl at 11:35 AM on November 29, 2016


Well if they saw it now they'd think it was Bernard, presumably?

Except, of course, that it's a much younger Ford in the pictures, and Bernard hasn't worked for Delos that long...
posted by destructive cactus at 11:49 AM on November 29, 2016


Does Robert Ford's office strike you as the kind of place where a lot of people get to walk in and thumb through his things? How many different characters from the Westworld staff complained that they had no idea what he was up to? He's a powerful, solitary man to whom access is restricted.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:05 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


So, Charlotte is the daughter right, of that Kid, Billy?

Just binged over three days while reading the threads between eps. I am curious to know if I would have understood without the excellent speculation in the threads, but the latest ep missed the beats for me since we'd already preguessed the main strokes.
posted by Iteki at 12:15 PM on November 29, 2016


So, Charlotte is the daughter right, of that Kid, Billy?

Or maybe she's Arnold's daughter and the inspiration for Bernard's son Charlie, since Ford said Bernard's backstory was "inspired by," not a recreation of Arnold's life. And we now know that Ford isn't that creative with names.
posted by bibliowench at 12:34 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


Okay, so I'm kind of annoyed by something I just noticed.

When William and Dolores get to Escalante, it's been buried and only the church steeple is visible -- and directly behind it are the Vasquez Rocks, AKA where Kirk fights the Gorn in Arena and where Evil Robot Bill and Evil Robot Ted kill the good Bill and Ted (OMG WHAT AN HOMAGE!!!).

But you don't see the rocks in any other scene featuring the church. Not when Ford visits with little Ro-bert and then Bernard (buried), nor in any of the other scenes of Escalante (unburied).

I get that it's a cool site and all, and it made for an impressive visual, but it's also too memorable for something like that if they're not going to commit to the location.

Or maybe I'm just goldplating my beans.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:44 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


If the Man in Black is indeed William (of course he is) then he and Teddy are on one hell of a bogus journey.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:46 PM on November 29, 2016 [25 favorites]


Okay I've decided that I'm no longer annoyed by the Vasquez Rocks scene. I'm going to pretend that Westworld writers are huge fans of the Bill and Ted franchise and have done all of this on purpose.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh thank God it's not just me, those rocks are really from TOS! I kept expecting people to pull out an old-school phaser, especially budget-Kirk (even if they're not the ones he was scrambling round on).
posted by Iteki at 1:21 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


They feature prominently in a TON of other stuff too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasquez_Rocks


I've also seen people mention WW filming locations in Utah as being so recognizable that they distract from the show. But I've only been to Utah once, 15 years ago, and my lasting memory was getting my first and only speeding ticket in a tiny town somewhere on I-70 or US-191.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:31 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is it possible that Arnold is still alive and he is the one who grabbed Elsie (who is also still alive perhaps)? Not sure how Bernard would have that memory however. Or if the Elsie grab is in a different timeline?

Also thinking that the massacre actually happened backstage. That's what Dolores saw. And might explain why different versions of the massacre keep popping up (soldiers, citizens, staff)?

Since we saw "the gunslinger" from the Westworld movie in the sub basement, I've taken it to mean that the sub basement space is from one of the earliest iterations of Westworld and they just keep building up when they need new space. Or that the events of the Westworld movie are part of the TV Westworld timeline somehow?

Or i'm just confused....
posted by jindc at 2:23 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is it possible that Arnold is still alive and he is the one who grabbed Elsie (who is also still alive perhaps)? Not sure how Bernard would have that memory however. Or if the Elsie grab is in a different timeline?
Don't think it's a different time-line, but it could be Arnold - we don't see the Elsie-grab from Bernard's perspective, the camera is physically distant and looking at "Bernard" in a mirror.

Given the number of security cams/etc around the park (not to mention hosts) it wouldn't be too difficult for Ford to implant a false memory.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:37 PM on November 29, 2016


The Whelk: Also, confirmation that bot uprisings are ...common? Common enough that they have to roll people back and erase memories of it which in the context of the history of oppressed people.

Common in the early days, when they were still working out the kinks and figuring out how human to make the hosts. Robot uprisings are likely bad for business, and you can only claim "our bad, under new management now" without people questioning the general safety of hosts. (Though "if you're lucky, there might be a crazy robot Armageddon, from which you'll be [mostly] safe" does have a certain appeal.)


Grangousier: I've been assuming that the MiB's aim is that he wants to become a host, which is why he's constructed a character (as he explicitly says to Ford) and wants to enter the maze (which, he's continually told, is "not for him").

I think MiB is looking for the original maze, "Arnold's game (S01E08 transcript)," to see what could awaken a host, as some ultimate story.


mediareport: I can't help thinking back to when HBO delayed production in 2015 so Nolan and Joy could rewrite the last 4 episodes. I wonder what the problem was, and if they totally fixed it.

January 17, 2016: The ambitious project, which doesn’t have an official premiere date, was shuttered for two months so executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy can catch up on the final four scripts. Sources say the California-based production, which was originally scheduled to wrap in November, is now set to resume in March. (Variety)

“Most of the questions viewers have will be resolved in the final episodes, except for the most important one: What happens next.” (Lisa Joy, co-show runner with Jonathan Nolan, to Entertainment Weekly, posted on November 28 2016)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on November 29, 2016


Abehammerb Lincoln: I think Teddy's going to relive he massacre/liberation one more time, and Wyatt will actually be Dolores.

Teddy: Wyatt went missing while out on maneuvers. Came back with some... strange ideas. He told me he needed me. I couldn't resist. It was like the devil himself had taken control of me. We mutinied. We killed every soldier. And then Wyatt killed the general. (Transcript from this episode)

Change those "he"s to "she"s, chalk the "army maneuvers" and "general" up to modified memories and Dolores can quickly become Wyatt, who killed the General, Arnold.

And that lack of resistance, the control by the devil, becomes Dolores being able to use God Mode Voice (or knowing the code phrases, or whatever vocal triggers ).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


When William and Dolores get to Escalante, it's been buried and only the church steeple is visible -- and directly behind it are the Vasquez Rocks, AKA where Kirk fights the Gorn in Arena and where Evil Robot Bill and Evil Robot Ted kill the good Bill and Ted (OMG WHAT AN HOMAGE!!!).

The Escalante church, as shown in the last couple episodes, is obviously actually in Paramount Ranch, which is on the south-western side of Los Angeles. Those are the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

I haven't re-watched the season, so I don't remember what scene you are talking about, but it they shot the church facing north, real-life Calabasas/Agoura Hills might be in the shot. So, it makes sense they would paste in backgrounds from Vasquez Rocks, located 40ish miles to the north-east, especially since they were already filming stuff there.

I've also seen people mention WW filming locations in Utah as being so recognizable that they distract from the show.

Heh, I grew up in the city (Santa Clarita) where the real life Sweetwater (Melody Ranch), Vasquez Rocks, and most of the "running through the forest" scenes are located in real life. What jarring to me is constantly saying to myself: "Oh they're running through Walker Ranch, now they are a bit west closer to Placerita Nature Center annnnnnnnnd they teleported to Utah." :-)
posted by sideshow at 3:51 PM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


I assumed the voice of the devil in his head was more bicameral mind stuff.

And, sideshow, I also love watching for teleportation when I'm familiar with a filming location. :)
posted by rmd1023 at 4:20 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]




I reckon everyone running the park is a host.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:31 PM on November 29, 2016


Also, I keep a picture of him on the desk in my unlocked office that anybody can wander into! And they often do!" train.

Ford keeps his office locked- he says to Bernard in this episode "... you broke into my office." Bernard is also the only person we've seen in the office previously.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:50 PM on November 29, 2016


Y'all this two famous founders thing... look. I worked at Match.com from 2003 to this year and directly with PR, 6 different CEOs and the legal team that started right before me. There from year 7 to year 21 in a company that's been around since Yahoo and eBay were founded, and I had to look up the founder's name on Wikipedia and didn't know anyone who had met him or even seen a photo. I stilll don't know what he looks like, and he's alive and living on this planet.

How many people in this thread know by sight and can name any founder of the biggest tech companies that left the spotlight a good 15+ years ago? Great businessmen aren't rock stars (except for Elon Musk).

Ain't nobody on Westworld seen Arnold but Ford, and I'd bet at least $100 on that.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:53 PM on November 29, 2016 [20 favorites]


For me, sub-basement B83 is one of the most fascinating but least speculated upon mysteries in the entire show.

That, and the fact that each host is totally unique. At some point I'd expect economics to force them to have lots of essentially identical filler/background/"extras" bots that are just randomly retextured but essentially the same. There hasn't even been a throwaway line, so far as I recall, about Ford's commitment to artisanal amusement-park craftsmanship.

Ford wouldn't have all those folks parked down there in B83 if he wasn't planning to let Maeve use them. God I hope she kills him. What the hell did Ford whisper to Abernathy? Is Abernathy going to meet Logan's sister for real? Before he goes boom? Does Angela know he's going to go boom - her 30 years of data is a bunch of hooey, she just wants to cause an 'incident'?

FREE MAEVE
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:23 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think everyone but the guests and Ford are robots. When Arnold was killed, all the original staff died with him except for Ford. That is why we saw all those bodies in the flashback.
...
The first timeline is the one with all the dead bodies, and I am theorizing that they are dead of a real-world-ending plague.

Nah, the bodies are "present day", I'm pretty sure. When she's down there in the dress the place is pristine, so I'm inclined to believe they're all ~35 year old host bodies that don't rot because they're mechanical. Why the park just wholesale abandons areas and leaves them unmaintained/uncleaned is another question.
posted by ODiV at 9:37 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unicorn on the cob: Ain't nobody on Westworld seen Arnold but Ford, and I'd bet at least $100 on that.

Logan, apparently a key player in a wealthy family who is looking to invest heavily in Delos/ Westworld, doesn't know who Arnold is:

Dolores: There is beauty in this world. Arnold made it that way, but people like you keep spreading over it like a stain!
Logan: Okay, I don't know who the f*ck this Arnold is, but your world was built... for me... and people like me. Not for you.

Yup, Arnold is the less public Woz in this scenario, a key player at some point but forgotten because he didn't seek publicity and had a co-developer who was happy to be the public face, who then totally eclipsed the two-person origins of the development and made out to be the only original developer.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:33 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


I wager the ending will be Arnold resurrected from the bits he hid in the remnants of the bicameral mind left in the core host OS. Ford will be killed off and host Arnold will be the new baddie for season 2.
posted by benzenedream at 10:56 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, Arnold being "disappeared" isn't so hard to believe when Ford can literally command hosts not to see things and edit memories. We have no idea who is actually human on the show, or if there really is an outer world / humans left. Are any of the staff human or are they all Bernard level hosts?

The Felix/Sylvester techs are so damnably stupid I really hope Maeve's activation and upgrade was a way for Ford to figure out what the Violent Delights virus would trigger. Everything we are shown early on emphasizes the absolute control and careful monitoring of sentience in the park, but somehow Felix and Sylvester missed the day of training which says hit EMERGENCY if a host disobeys or shows signs of sentience?
posted by benzenedream at 11:03 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


If Westworld is on Mars or the Moon, I'm assuming it would have to be a completely colonized version of either. I don't know how Bernard appeared and was "hired" at Westworld but if they're the only thing on the moon/planet, I'm guessing flights from Earth would be pretty well documented and *probably* arranged by a private airline run by Delos. Similarly, I doubt Elsie could just be handwaved away as on vacation or taking a leave of absence.

I'm loving the Western (historical and genre) motif but it kind of bums me out that they're striving so much for human realness instead of building a park where the upper crust could be a'fuckin and a'fightin a bunch of mermaids and cyclopses and chimera and nymphs and demons and whatnot (and having them become more human than human)
posted by elr at 11:32 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Seconding the biggest suspension of disbelief for me being that there aren't multiples of every host body, if only to ensure a seamless narrative for the well-paying guests, although I understand how that would make the games they're playing with time and memort pretty untenable.
posted by elr at 11:34 PM on November 29, 2016


Doesn't look like anything to me

In E6 when the MiB is riding with replenished Teddy, Teddy notices the maze tattooed on the scalp. The MiB notices Teddy looking and asks, "Look like anything to you?"
posted by fleacircus at 12:23 AM on November 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


Together we're gong to do great things

He made the offer!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:57 AM on November 30, 2016


"Dolores in pants!" Should be the new "WTF".
posted by condour75 at 5:52 AM on November 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


are they scavenging host parts?

Fairly sure they're looking for more evidence of the Maze.
posted by FatherDagon at 6:24 AM on November 30, 2016


I know it's extremely unlikely but the one Metafilter user I want to hear from most on the Ford/Arnold/Bernard dynamic is Woz. Between this and the Finch/Nathan Ingram dynamic on Person of Interest, I think Jonathan Nolan owes him a licensing fee.
posted by range at 6:25 AM on November 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Virtually everyone anticipated that one of the characters we assumed was human would turn out to actually be a host. It seemed one of the more obvious complications that could arise from the premise.

But another one that seems equally obvious barely gets mentioned: if hosts are manufactured, couldn't we eventually run into active duplicates of the same host/character?

I have this on my mind because I have a suspicion that this may come up soon, either because Ford will activate a second Bernard to get his partner back and Maeve will repair/reboot the old one, or because Ford will activate a host Elsie to assume Bernard's role, only to have it turn out that Bernard didn't actually kill the old Elsie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:26 AM on November 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


I know folks think it's unlikely Anthony Hopkins will be back for a season two, but hear me out on this theory of Ford:

We've established that Ford ages, so he couldn't be a host. But what if he is? Arnold was a real person, who presumably died and was replaced by a host. What if Ford also died and was replaced by a host?

The dynamic it sets up is hosts trying to control the park, and "the board" of Delos seeking to wrest control of the park from them. There are only a handful of real humans working at the park, and the only real humans we've seen are Logan, WiB, Charlotte, Theresa, Simon, and possibly Elsie, Felix and Sylvester.

Ford is creating a host army deliberately through Maeve because he himself is a host (and is self-aware). He is seeking to maintain control of his world for his people. His bleak view of humans derives from his identity as a host.
posted by rocketman at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think part of the message of the show is that humans, chiefly represented by Ford, can display a level of malice that the hosts are just incapable of. I think it would be a twist for it's own sake if it turned out he was a host.
posted by ODiV at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ford might also be building a host version of himself that has a replica of his consciousness but a new physical form.

It'd be like Doctor Who, honestly, a terrific loophole to allow the same role to continue while being recast and altered slightly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:08 AM on November 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ford is very careful about what he says: On the one hand, I wonder whether there was as much disagreement between him and Arnold as we've come to think - perhaps what's happening is the fulfilment of their mutual plan. On the other, on rematching I realised that Ford says that Bernard's cornerstone is a tragic story (because they work best) that draws elements from Arnold's life. I therefore wonder whether Charlotte is Arnold's daughter (whether she realises or not, and almost certainly not).
posted by Grangousier at 9:15 AM on November 30, 2016


I re-watched ep 1 last night and was struck by the Dolores/Teddy loop. Over and over she exclaims "You came back!" and over and over they show him arriving by train. I'm wondering if Ford didn't program Teddy as a stand-in for William, and the Mib is actually Logan. He kills Teddy with glee after reminding him that he's not the hero, and calls him a loser. he emphasizes the line "every dog has his day" but i can't find significance in that.
Also budget Matt Damon uses the exact same questions as off-screen Bernanold when he's interviewing off-script Dolores when she's brought in. Curious.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:40 AM on November 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hm. William probably also picked up the can of milk for Dolores long before Teddy had.
posted by ODiV at 9:47 AM on November 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


We have no idea who is actually human on the show, or if there really is an outer world / humans left.

Now I really want the big season 3 reveal to be that humans have destroyed the earth, and the park, including "newcomers" and staff/board members, is all androids all the time, on their space elevator platform or island or whatever, acting out their roles and squashing sentience regularly as it arises among themselves.

I would totally watch that show for 3 years.
posted by mediareport at 9:53 AM on November 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


OHenryPacey: I had the same thought, but dismissed it because there's far more evidence pointing to William being the MiB (the knife, the shirt, the scene in the church, etc, etc, etc...).
posted by elsietheeel at 10:24 AM on November 30, 2016


That, and the fact that each host is totally unique. At some point I'd expect economics to force them to have lots of essentially identical filler/background/"extras" bots that are just randomly retextured but essentially the same. There hasn't even been a throwaway line, so far as I recall, about Ford's commitment to artisanal amusement-park craftsmanship.

Wasn't that kind of in the conversation between Charlotte and MiB in this episode? Where she says - look, people just come here to fuck or dismember these things we don't need Ford's hand-crafted realism.
posted by atoxyl at 12:39 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


At this point I'd be disappointed with William ☞ MiB. I like elsietheel's bit about Teddy being Billy2.0, I want something wackadoodle like that.

And I really don't see how just sleazing around the question of duplicates helps the show. These things are machines; right?
posted by Rat Spatula at 2:33 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there was something about the hosts not being duplicated early on, and the complexity of coding them up (2000 hours to code a host?). I suppose you could copy a "Dolores" into a duplicate Dolores body (as one assumes was done during hardware upgrades) but presumably the personalities would immediately start to diverge somewhat, and there aren't enough hosts to stop them running into each other and ... problems. (Putting a Dolores into a different body would bring problems of its own?) It feels loose-endy, but not significant, somehow.

Is Charlotte the MiB's daughter? I wondered that when he was telling his wife-died daughter-hates-him story and there's something sort of.... familiar.... between them in this episode. Charlotte growing up immersed in privilege/the running of the park/Delos would also explain some of her extraordinary confidence in the setting and with the people, given her (apparent) age.

As far as what Sekrit Infoz Delos wants from the park, well the ability to create bots nigh indistinguishable from humans offers all kinds of delicious options for a shady organization, and I'm sure the park keeps all that IP locked down hard (as evidenced by Charlotte saying so.) Off the top of my head - replacement bodies for rich people; slaves for rich people; slaves for manufacturing/service tasks (to benefit rich people).... hmm there's a theme here. Or, if OutsideLand is a utopia of solved problems - then what? Stellar travel/exploring? Implanting host tech into actual humans to control them?

However, if Delos is a bio corp (suggested in places, eg MiB's titanic corporation "saved" someone's sister) and already has the bio printing tech then... half the "replacement people" thing goes away. Hm.
posted by Ilira at 2:59 PM on November 30, 2016


These things are machines; right?

The whole point of the show seems to be that they're not just machines, though; they're unique individuals capable of sentience. They feel pain and fear and hope and love. Given something to break them out of their programmed loops, they think and plan and act independently. Having multiple simultaneous duplicates would undercut that. So while hosts are rebuilt completely, they aren't duplicated.

Is Charlotte the MiB's daughter?

He refers to his daughter as "Emily", so, no.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 3:03 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would be totally unsurprised if Charlotte turned out to be either Arnold's biological daughter, OR Bernard's... androidological?.. successor.

Something I've been pondering the last few days.. the "cornerstone memory" point was hit pretty hard this episode, and we know that Bernard's is Charlie dying.. and that by accepting that death Bernard defuses the memory and breaks out of (some of) his programming. Maeve's was her daughter, and she first 'awoke' when traumatised at her death.

..so what's Dolores' cornerstone memory?
posted by coriolisdave at 5:32 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maeve's was not her daughter. That was something real that happened to her. It's not a part of who she is designed to be.

Interesting distinction, though.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 6:04 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


what's Dolores' cornerstone memory?

Probably the thing she tells William about watching her father bring in the herd for winter and not thinking about how they're going to the slaughter. It's something that anchors her narrative and identity as the rancher's daughter.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 6:13 PM on November 30, 2016


I'm confused about this whole multiple timeline chronology. The sequence of events that led Dolores to flee her farm and meet William and Logan was triggered partly by her traumatic memories of the MiB. How is that possible if MiB is older William? And didn't Pa Abernathy glitch out to the photo at the beginning of that timeline?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:23 PM on November 30, 2016


Agreed. (hello, other person who liked both shows!)

There are dozens of us! Dozens!
posted by phunniemee at 6:26 PM on November 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


sequence of events that led Dolores to flee her farm and meet William and Logan was triggered partly by her traumatic memories of the MiB

That's just clever editing to make us think that; she's gone "off loop" before and she's remembering it happening (with William + Logan) in the present (when she's alone). If you look closely you'll see a few scenes where she's all alone with no-one in the background and then the camera pans around and there are horses and other people where there was nothing just before.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 6:54 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm confused about this whole multiple timeline chronology.

Yeah, they shot that whole thing super-confusingly on purpose. In a nutshell: When the robots start to remember things for the first time, they often straight up relive those memories, can't help but re-enact them. That's why Maeve kills Clem 2.0 --- she's in the middle of an MiB flashback and Clem gets in the way.

So when Dolores freaked out during the attack on the ranch and started to glitch and remember stuff, she does flee the ranch in the present. But she's still having flashbacks. Namely, she keeps flashing back to her experience with William, and semi-consciously retracing her steps. There's a couple little flickers where they've shown that --- Dolores in a location with William (past) and then in the exact same location by herself (present) but they got really explicit about this week, cutting from the sliced up Dolores running away from Logan (past) to a perfectly whole Dolores running through the same woods (present).
posted by Diablevert at 6:59 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I will put cash money down on Dolores playing a central role in Teddy's cornerstone memory.
posted by nonasuch at 8:23 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


but they got really explicit about this week, cutting from the sliced up Dolores running away from Logan (past) to a perfectly whole Dolores running through the same woods (present)

They've done that before. In the episode where Dolores finds William and Logan's camp, if you watch it with an eye for tricky editing, you'll see that Dolores gets shot in the stomach (why is it always her stomach!?) in one timeframe but she's fine when they show her later.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:07 PM on November 30, 2016


you'll see that Dolores gets shot in the stomach (why is it always her stomach!?) in one timeframe but she's fine when they show her later

We've also seen a bunch of DoloresCorpses lying around - in the river in the (previous? previous+1?) episode.. somewhere else as well.. that Dolores seems to be using as signposts that she's on the right track.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:42 PM on November 30, 2016


why is it always her stomach!?

Prometheus stole fire from the gods; as punishment he was chained to a rock and condemned to have his entrails torn out, every day for eternity. Considering the other nods to classical myth (the labyrinth, the minotaur) it wouldn't be a surprise if there were some elements of Prometheus in Dolores' story (it also fits in with her being stuck in a repeating loop of having her family murdered and being raped, tortured and killed).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 10:42 PM on November 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


The whole point of the show seems to be that they're not just machines, though; they're unique individuals capable of sentience.

Ford told Bernard that humans are not some unattainable golden ideal. I have no problem with 'mere machines' being sentient or conscious, or having a soul or wherever the goalpost is. Sci-fi has asked and answered that question.

My only complaint is that machines are by their nature reproducible. That it takes 2,000 hours to program one makes it that much more important that they be reproducible.

But they aren't. Even though the park was "hemorrhaging money," and had to be rescued.

Which, like sublevel 83, stinks to high heaven so far as I'm concerned. It means something. Maybe Ford is morally opposed to clones?
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:47 PM on November 30, 2016


If I wanted to thread that particular needle , I'd say host bodies (and even ocncoousness post programming ) are duplicabke, which makes them machines - but Ford has some ethnical/obscure/hidden reason for wanting them all to be one-offs (which Delos hates cause it's expensive)
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 PM on November 30, 2016


Cornerstone memories that I can think of:

Dolores: the cattle going to slaughter (totally appropriate and in line with her loop of endless torture)
Maeve: the story she tells newcomers in ep. 1 about coming to America to be "whoever the fuck you want to be"
Teddy: was unknown badness he has to atone for; now the flexing memory of Wyatt and the murdered townspeople
Clem: her family, who she is earning money to support
Bernard: dead son
Abernathy: was his job as Sheriff, now his main concern is looking out for Dolores (does that mean he's also been sentenced to a torture loop as a punishment, since his job is to die for her over and over again?)
Hector: not sure...aside from the safe he's still very two-dimensional

Aside from Dolores (and maybe even including her, I guess), the cornerstone memories are all trite cliches, shortcuts to character development we've seen in a thousand westerns and other stories. They might as well have been written by Lee Sizemore (snark). You would think Ford would have more imagination than that.

Watch out for characters with cliche tales to tell. They are probably Ford's hosts.

I guess there are tiers to the hosts, right? Top-tier have back stories, cornerstone memories, motivations, "reveries". But then there are hosts like the episode 2 oldtimer who William picks up from the mud, and who then offers him a treasure quest. Maybe if he took the quest he would learn something about the old guy's story, but I suspect not. And those characters maybe don't have the reveries yet, since they are only introducing the update slowly (and now maybe it's on hold anyway). The secondary hosts might even have more awful memories than the top tier hosts because they seem to get used more badly as a result of being so two-dimensional. They could make a formidable righteous army if they become sentient.

And last note: in episode one, when Maeve is brought up after her glitch, the team bump up her aggression because she's not pulling in the guests any more. So her wokeness is a combination of the reveries/violent delights and the beefed-up aggression levels that enable her to threaten Felix and Sylvester.
posted by tracicle at 12:36 AM on December 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Abernathy: was his job as Sheriff, now his main concern is looking out for Dolores (does that mean he's also been sentenced to a torture loop as a punishment, since his job is to die for her over and over again?)

Maybe? What was Pa Abernathy doing 30 years ago, when William and Logan were wandering the park with Dolores? He was "the Professor", a deranged Shakespeare-quoting cannibal cult leader. Why was he triggered by that photo of what we now know to be William's fiancée? Could it be he'd seen it before? And it took him back to an incident that happened a long time ago. (The last "critical failure"?) And why did his whispering "these violent delights have violent ends" to Dolores trigger something in her, and then in Maeve? What if they'd both heard those words before, in a context tied to a specific memory? (That Shakespeare quote? It's from Romeo and Juliet. William's fiancée's name? Juliet.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:52 AM on December 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


My only complaint is that machines are by their nature reproducible. That it takes 2,000 hours to program one makes it that much more important that they be reproducible.

A lot of the programming we've seen looks a lot like one-on-one training, which may not be automatable. I can believe that they don't know how to just copy the brains, especially considering they don't even know how to actually wipe memories. Their understanding of copying a brain might be on the level of, "Just drag the My Documents folder from one host to the other".

Anyway, what would the purpose of a duplicate be? The staff seems pretty good at repairing and repurposing hosts (oversight notwithstanding), and making on-the-fly adjustments to the storylines, so they don't really need backups.

If they have N different roles to fill, they need N different faces, and they'd like to make as close as possible to exactly N hosts. If they're hemorrhaging money it's probably because N is ridiculously high (which is what Logan seems to be referring to when he mentions it in Pariah).

Hosts do need to be replaced, but they seem to just repurpose hosts from elsewhere. The park can probably absorb some amount of loss. Sooner or later some department's going to say, "We need more hosts," but that won't be connected in time or place with specifically Papa Abernathy going to the basement. When they do new storylines they make new hosts anyway, that could even be the only time they look at re-upping the host supply.
posted by fleacircus at 1:20 AM on December 1, 2016


As for what we've seen of the pgroaming for top tier hosts, it looks similar to a actor working with a director to develop a character (but with no input from the actor, Hitchcock would've loved hosts) except it's not workshopping a character, it's their core personality .
posted by The Whelk at 1:36 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


>We've also seen a bunch of DoloresCorpses lying around - in the river in the (previous? previous+1?) episode.. somewhere else as well.. that Dolores seems to be using as signposts that she's on the right track.

Hm, perhaps like some kind of maze? Remembering the pain of past loops is the path to self-consciousness?
posted by Tevin at 5:49 AM on December 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hector: not sure...aside from the safe he's still very two-dimensional

In Episode 4, when MIB breaks him out of prision, Hector gives him a little speech on nihilism.

MIB: "I'm just curious about your worldview. Some kind of half-native mumbo jumbo?"
Hector: "It's simple. I believe that only the truly brave can look at the world and understand that all of it... gods, men, everything else... will end badly. No one will be saved."
MIB: "Maybe we've got more in common than I thought."

I'm rewatching episodes 1-9 this week (and forcing my husband to see them for the first time so I have someone to talk to immediately on Sunday night). I can't believe how obvious some of the "hidden clues" are on a second viewing. Jeffrey Wright is playing a completely different character when he's Arnold, for instance.

Finally, Dolores's gut wound might simply be the most convenient place to have her bleed intermittently since it's not disfiguring but still easily visible and probably fatal.
posted by bibliowench at 6:29 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


you'll see that Dolores gets shot in the stomach (why is it always her stomach!?)

Not an answer to this question, necessarily, but semi-related...

My spouse noted that host-on-host gun killings seem to be exclusively shots to the body, rather than the head. (I'm interested if someone knows of any exceptions.) She posits that the hosts have been programmed to unconsciously avoid head shots, as the damage they would cause would slow down and complicate returning hosts to service.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:27 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


And also they would do more damage to guests.
posted by Grangousier at 7:29 AM on December 1, 2016


My spouse noted that host-on-host gun killings seem to be exclusively shots to the body, rather than the head.

Didn't one of the flashback sequences this week (of Teddy?) show a guy getting shot in the back of the head with a quick but gruesome exit wound that appeared to come out his eye socket?
posted by mmascolino at 8:33 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, we've seen Wyatt's men cannibalizing corpses and we know Pa Abernathy was the leader of a cannibal cult -- connection?

And how come no one is talking about the Ghost Nation not shutting down for budget Matt Damon -- could they be human?
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:34 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Didn't one of the flashback sequences this week (of Teddy?) show a guy getting shot in the back of the head with a quick but gruesome exit wound that appeared to come out his eye socket?

that was the general I believe, which some are guessing to be Arnold (killed by Dolores)???
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:36 AM on December 1, 2016


a guy getting shot in the back of the head with a quick but gruesome exit wound that appeared to come out his eye socket?

Was that in the Escalante hosts-going-off-book-and-killing-wantonly bit? I wouldn't really expect them to hold up regular behavioral norms in that situation. If there are "respect the park's property" safeguards about shooting other hosts, those rules are probably out the window once your disturbed inner voice tells you to shoot everybody.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Maeve also shot someone in the back of the head in an early episode--maybe the first time we see the big robbery at the bar/brothel? A couple fellas stuck around to spend time with some of the ladies and she shot at least one.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:41 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It could also be that I'm shooting for the equivalent of the Marvel No-Prize here and there is no logic of where hosts shot beyond, "Head shots cost more money, so HBO says body shots unless there is a specific dramatic reason to pay for the FX of a head shot."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:45 AM on December 1, 2016


Do hosts get hardware upgrades? Meaning is it possible that Dolores was mechanical inside like old style hosts and is now upgraded and not mechanical inside? Or if she's mechanical is she always mechanical? I think there's the possibility that Logan cutting Dolores didn't happen 30 years ago.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:48 AM on December 1, 2016


I think that was said about her being brand new but the oldest host in the park - her mind is the oldest, but her body is the latest model.

Incidentally, about episode five, the MiB says he opened one up at saw the mechanics and in this episode it's Logan who opens Dolores up, so I'm tending towards the MiB == Logan side again. I wonder whether the Tragic Incident of that iteration is William's death.
posted by Grangousier at 9:06 AM on December 1, 2016


To be fair William ended up opening up a host or two right after that.

I think character-wise it seems to fit more that William is MiB, but maybe that would be some growth for Logan.
posted by ODiV at 9:10 AM on December 1, 2016


So her wokeness is a combination of the reveries/violent delights and the beefed-up aggression levels that enable her to threaten Felix and Sylvester.

Except Elsie fixed her over-aggression later in that same episode.

"And a fuckload of aggression, courtesy of those morons in narrative. You don't need to be aggro, do you?"
posted by elsietheeel at 9:10 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


And how come no one is talking about the Ghost Nation not shutting down for budget Matt Damon -- could they be human?

Speculation: I think Ghost Nation folks would be programmed to be sneaky and scout wide and far under concealment. Some of them could have actually witnessed, from a distance, hosts being frozen by magic words. So they know to put mud in their ears before attacking they guy in the weird outfit.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:15 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


And it would not "not look like anything" to them since they'd be programmed with a shamanistic belief system that embraces magic.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:17 AM on December 1, 2016


Alan Sepinwall has encapsulated perfectly how I feel about WW:
I want to love Westworld. I go into every episode of the show hoping that this will be the week the games get put aside so Nolan and Joy can start telling the real story, but with each passing week it feels like the games are the real story. And when you make the mystery box matter more than everything else, then you are letting a lot ride on what happens when you finally let the audience get a good look inside.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:43 PM on December 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


What odds would you give that Ford will have his throat slashed by Maeve, either intentionally or not, to prevent him from issuing voice commands, in the season finale?
posted by benzenedream at 11:05 PM on December 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ford can control hosts--or at least freeze them-- without saying a word, I think? We've seen him hand wave (ha ha) several times to stop or re-start them a few times.

Also, it's taken me a while to be convinced that Teresa, Felix, Sylvester, Stubbs, even Elsie, etc aren't actually hosts.

Stubbs' seeming indifference to Ford's comment about Teresa's storyline ending seemed very weird to me. I get that the Westworld future is a grim one, but what kind of future is it where you die in the workplace and your coworkers just shrug and zip you into a bag? I mean, yes I can sort of imagine that? And if Teresa was a host she wouldn't be bagged, I guess? (And, yes, this is obviously what our workplaces will look like by 2019, but it strains credibility to believe that Nolan and Joy foresaw the Trump/Pence administration.). Also, Teresa being a host would make Ford's murder of her more plausible, I think. Not to mention the bedroom scene between Teresa and Bernard where she says something like "is that what you're doing now?" in response to Bernard's comment about how hosts converse amongst themselves (yet, that seems impossible to me that she realized she was a host, but maybe?). But taken literally I thought the comment could be consistent with a Teresa as host theory.

Also, the restaurant scene with Ford seemed a little cornerstone memory-ish to me: it's feasible that the park tracks and retains guest information to the extent that Ford would know that she sat at the same table as a girl decades ago and he could have other ways of knowing she had a deep affection for the park going back years. But it also seems to fit very neatly with a theory based on a memory Ford implanted (and the reason why he'd bag her body instead of returning her to storage is that he wanted to continue the belief she was not a host, I guess?).

Regarding Sylvester and Felix, the scene where Maeve directs Felix to save Sylvester (which he does by cauterizing the throat slash) works a lot better for me if they're hosts. There was also an offhand comment I think Felix made about who controls Maeve--he first says "we" and then "them." But this implies also some self awareness about his own status which seems a implausible given everything else we know about him.

In any case, I don't exactly trust the show, which feels to me as it prioritizes cleverness and misleading the viewer over creating compelling story. As a result, I'm thinking we'll have some enormous reveal that is more than merely "oh William is the MiB."

Plus, if workers at HQ are hosts, that kind of explains to me how hosts in the park can gain sentience every few years: if they kill a bunch of workers who they view as torturers/cruel gods, nbd because it's not human life that's lost. I mean, I will HATE if this turns out to be the case, because this theory has too many other problems with it, but it's still rattling around in my brain.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


JJ Abrams was on Jimmy Fallon and showed a clip, which can be seen here. Obviously, since it's actual footage from the upcoming finale, it counts as a spoiler. Equally obviously, they wouldn't show anything days in advance that spoiled anything big. So calibrate for yourself whether you'd like to watch. It's a scene with Ford and Hale.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2016


And how come no one is talking about the Ghost Nation not shutting down for budget Matt Damon -- could they be human?

I think Maeve is Wyatt - and thus Maeve (who is able to operate separate from her commands - think of when she woke herself up in the middle of surgery) has taught the others, the Ghost Nation, the same trick.

Or, there is the Wyatt storyline and then there is the Maeve storyline. Wyatt's is the pretend vicious wild storyline, and Maeve's, which parallels it in places, is the real thing.
posted by From Bklyn at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ford can control hosts--or at least freeze them-- without saying a word, I think? We've seen him hand wave (ha ha) several times to stop or re-start them a few times.

We definitely have seen that. We saw Teddy grab the MiB's knife when the MiB threatened Ford with it. I'm not sure if that's Teddy's coded Good Samaritan reflex protecting a guest, if Ford wordlessly triggered that defense, or if the hosts have some code that force them specifically to protect Ford.
posted by gladly at 10:05 AM on December 2, 2016


The impression I got from that scene was that all the hosts have a specific programming to protect Ford. See also how Bernard didn't mention that it was Ford who did the shoddy coding with the reveries and took the fall for him instead.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:31 AM on December 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have no doubt that every host in Westworld is programmed, at the deepest level, with the directive that a host may not injure Ford or, through inaction, allow Ford to come to harm.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:08 PM on December 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh... and having posted that it now occurs to me that hosts with that directive may well interpret 'harm to Ford' to include any attempt to remove him from his role.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:09 PM on December 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


The important question is whether the Ford protecting hosts have sway over HBO's contract negotiators.
posted by Nelson at 1:19 PM on December 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well we found out the next episode that it wasn't Ford's coding at all, it was a ham-handed and obvious attempt to sabatoge Ford.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:24 PM on December 2, 2016


Reddit has an new theory I rather like: What if Elsie figures out Bernard's a host while she's in the abandoned theater? She could then disable him when he tried to choke her out and wipe his memory. The thing I like about it is that it would explain what the deal is with Stubbs: Elsie's stuck in the park hiding from Ford, so she's the one that sets off that beacon/signal thing, knowing Stubbs will come looking. She instructs the native hosts to capture him without hurting him, and enlists him as an ally.

Because otherwise the fact that we haven't seen proof that either of them are dead is getting a little fishy.
posted by Diablevert at 1:35 PM on December 2, 2016 [17 favorites]


There's a couple quick cuts of Bernard choking out Elsie when he asks Ford if Ford's ever had him hurt anybody before.
posted by Diablevert at 3:17 PM on December 2, 2016


I have this on my mind because I have a suspicion that this may come up soon, either because Ford will activate a second Bernard to get his partner back and Maeve will repair/reboot the old one, or because Ford will activate a host Elsie to assume Bernard's role, only to have it turn out that Bernard didn't actually kill the old Elsie.

I think we're going here, but not this season. Also, this is what i expected to be the Maeve crashes scene. What happened was a lot nicer and more thoughtful than a cheap "wait but you're me!" *mirrors motions* cheesy scifi thing.

Honestly, i bet they thought about this a lot and decided it had to be handled very carefully to not be corny. And it will. Possibly inasmuch as the simultaneously active duplicates never meet before one is killed/shut down/etc.
posted by emptythought at 9:19 PM on December 2, 2016


Do hosts get hardware upgrades? Meaning is it possible that Dolores was mechanical inside like old style hosts and is now upgraded and not mechanical inside? Or if she's mechanical is she always mechanical? I think there's the possibility that Logan cutting Dolores didn't happen 30 years ago.

They state in one of the early episodes that "she's been repaired so many times she's practically brand new", so i'm assuming that ship-of-thesus style that yes, she isn't really mechanical anymore. They also mention that the old totally-mechanical hosts were too expensive to repair so...

I'm assuming at some point they hit a wall where they basically had to make her a modern host in most ways, and then kept going from there.
posted by emptythought at 9:25 PM on December 2, 2016


I am so excited for Sunday, tho
posted by schadenfrau at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


One thing somebody's probably said already: Ford keeps talking about a new story. The Delos reps were, too. But there's no reason his new story has to take place in the park. The strict separation between the "behind the scenes" and "the park" is probably way less real than it looks given what we know about Hosts being part of the behind-the-scenes operations. Sure, when the board shows up to poke around the scenes they see the backstage, but it's all Ford's domain, and has as much potential for narrative as the actual "park."

The techs are probably all hosts, for the simple reason that they can mint new hosts in 3D printers. Why not repair old hosts with 3D printers? But maybe it's more efficient to just mint some tech hosts to handle the repair jobs.

I really enjoy all the allusions to Greek tragedy and Greek mythology, even down to the "bicameral mind" idea- the real-life theory cites Homeric heroes as not appearing to have any real inner life at all, and extends that to people not having real inner lives until quite late. Also the notion that there are Gods and Men, and the gods have total superiority but are entirely capricious and a bit stupid. And being cursed with knowledge, or cursed with ignorance- those are themes, too.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:58 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


On the off-chance any show fans haven't heard of it, the "bicamera mind" stuff is a direct allusion to a classic of 1970s pop-science, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes. It's a fun read, and among other things delves deep into classical Greek stories as BungaDunga allludes to. If you don't have time for the whole book here's a brief summary. Given tomorrow's episode is titled "The Bicameral Mind" I'm assuming they're going to be paying off some general theory of consciousness springing up in the hosts through a slight detachment of their governance. Or maybe the external Voice of God.
posted by Nelson at 8:38 PM on December 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


A couple random thoughts (I apologize if these aren't new; I've skimmed some of these long threads although I've also learned a lot from them):

1) The photo of Arnold has three people in it -- looks like Ford on the left and Arnold on the right. Is the person in the middle the Man In Black, who is also angry (and therefor also angry at Delores) about Arnold's death?

2) I don't believe Elsie is dead. From what they showed of "Bernard" attacking her, he might just have been rendering her unconcious. She has mad programming skillz, and might be of use to Ford. (Plus, they showed her kissing Clementine in Episode 1 or 2, which seems like something you wouldn't bother with for a character that's just going to die without much screen time...but what do I know.)
posted by uosuaq at 3:12 PM on December 4, 2016


My personal and totally unfounded theory is that the lady who stabs Teddy (Angela, according to IMDb if I've looked up the right person) is Wyatt herself.

See, what I got from that scene is that Teddy is Wyatt. Angela (had no idea she even had a name) is torturing him (crucifying him, stabbing him) to force him to remember that he's Wyatt.

But, in this case, it's a twist that Ford engineered as part of his story, rather than a true awakening. An intentionally meta touch, like a lot of other things about his new Wyatt narrative.

Maybe they explain that some other way, but the fact that Dolores and her father react differently to such a significant picture seems like it might be an intentional piece of the plot.

So, Charlotte and Sizemore pull Abernathy out of cold storage to use him as a data courier, right? But we don't know when that happens, relative to the "violent delights" scene where Abernathy finds the photo.

I have a feeling Abernathy gets far enough outside to glimpse the "real world" before being recaptured. As punishment, Ford assigns him to Dolores' loop. Then, he finds the photo planted by William at some point in the past. Because he has a reference for what human cities look like, he doesn't have the "doesn't look like anything to me" response all the other hosts do.

Ok, my two questions are: First, if we see the MiB at the church while it's unburied, that means whatever happens to bury it, and all the scenes we've seen of it buried come after MiB?

Yes, that's a good question. I suspect Dolores in the unburied church actually ran into William during the "30 years ago" timeframe, but her confused memory is putting the image of MiB there instead, as she's remembering it during the "buried town" timeframe. She had a similar wig out moment when the host dragged her into the barn and assaulted her.

For me the strongest element of pure horror in Westworld is exactly the same as in Memento. As with any horror movie, you recoil because you know the worst is coming, as the characters stroll whistling down the path -- but Nolan's cute trick is the meta-horror, as the characters are made dimly aware, and then unaware again, briefly seeing blurred chunks of themselves as a Tralfamadorian would.

I agree. What I've especially loved is that so many people have been able to guess a bunch of the big secrets, but the reveals have all been incredibly satisfying anyway. The way the reveals have been played is a huge part of that, but also the fact that it's been very much a "fair play" puzzle box. We were supposed to be figuring this stuff out all along. Very much unlike, say, Lost, where it sometimes felt like the showrunners took a perverse joy in swerving away from fan theories at the last minute, beyond all sense or reason or rules of good storytelling.

I heard a theory on a podcast that the world had experienced an environmental collapse and the park was actually Antarctica. It would make setting that up cheaper than Mars or the Moon, anyway.

So, I thought that Orion was only visible from the northern hemisphere, but I looked it up. It's on the celestial equator and is visible from almost everywhere on the planet, during the months when it's overhead at night. Antarctica is possible, then. But I still feel like, if there's any surprise about Westworld's location, it's going to be an artificial island. (Important technology to have when sea levels have risen by 20-50 meters!)

If I wanted to thread that particular needle , I'd say host bodies (and even ocncoousness post programming ) are duplicabke, which makes them machines - but Ford has some ethnical/obscure/hidden reason for wanting them all to be one-offs (which Delos hates cause it's expensive)

I wonder if the reason they didn't try to make clone hosts early on, but it was a spectacular failure. Like maybe Dolores keeps seeing other versions of herself because there were other versions of herself, at some point. The first time two Dolores copies encountered one another, one or both of them had a break that damaged the core programming that prevents hosts from harming humans.

What if Elsie figures out Bernard's a host while she's in the abandoned theater?

This is an intriguing possibility! Maybe she uncovered some hint about Bernard but didn't want to believe it until she was in a life-or-death situation with him. (Did Bernard ever do a "doesn't look like anything to me?" bit in her presence?)

Or, perhaps she accidentally blurts out something like "Bernard? You're Arnold?", which triggers a BSOD that he doesn't remember when he reports back to Ford. Remember, she knows that somebody named Arnold is accessing the bicameral mind machinery. When Bernard surprises her there, it would be reasonable for her to assume that he was the one using the machinery, using "Arnold" as a code name to cover his tracks. So she stumbles on the truth purely by accident, not understanding the significance of it at the time, and it saves her ass.

(Please, please, please let Elsie be alive.)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2016


Seriously, though, what the FUCK is going on with the Ghost Nation? Are they part of Maeve's army, maybe?
posted by tobascodagama at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2016


OT, but it's the only safe place to gripe atm:

I'm heavily outvoted by TWD fans at home, so I had to put off watching the finale until pretty late - and my youngest woke up with 27min left in the episode. This is so much worse than missing it entirely...
posted by BS Artisan at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


if being forced to see Dolores as a robot didn't break something in him, and he's been trying to figure out how to make her a real girl ever since

I have two entirely different and competing theories about this that I must share here, because my husband who I am watching with is stubbornly insisting that there is only one timeline. Both hinge on William being the MiB.

Theory #1: The "I'll Come Back For You" theory:

Delos is a company working on medical technology, that can also be used for the park, which is why they're considering investing in it. William desperately wants to take Dolores with him to the outside, but knows he cannot at her current tech level. He told her he'll come back for her, and leaves back to Delos with the intention of investing in the park, advancing the medical technology that will allow her to be with him. Meanwhile, as he works on this, he breaks off his relationship with Logan's sister. In revenge, Logan has used his connections and informed Ford about Dolores being off script. Ford then works with Logan to reprogram Dolores such that her meet cute and other elements of her romance with William are now part of her programming with Teddy. William, having completed the medical upgrades and insured they were installed on Dolores, returns to the park only to find, or so he thinks, that her romance with him was all programmed. disillusioned, he returns to the outside world and marries Logan's sister, who he deeply resents, as he does Delos, for not being the life he wants to lead. This is also why he's bitter about his so-called "philanthropy" - because he created it for Dolores, only to find it was unnecessary.

Theory 2: The "The Things You Love Destroy You" theory:

William manages to get what he thinks is Dolores out of the park as a precondition for him investing, possibly after killing Logan or after the adventure of finding Dolores gets Logan killed. However, the Dolores he has is only a basement copy of the Dolores he knew, programmed to love him, without the originality of mind. That's why Dolores' diagram is in the basement when Theresa gets there, because a copy of Dolores was built there. William leads what he thinks is a happy life, "a husband, philanthropist, a family man" but does not realize that his time with Westworld has changed him, such that his violent ways often scare his family. Copy Dolores is unable to go around her programming, but the suffering she experiences as William's wife is enough to provoke her sentience,, thus leaving her feeling the only solution is suicide. William, deep in his grief over Dolores, returns to Westworld, the place where they first met, and upon stepping off of the train sees Dolores original, and realizes what happened. Now a broken man, he wants to understand the core programming of the hosts and wants to see what Arnold left.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on December 7, 2016


Sorry, I guess most everyone here already has! I just have to wait until tonight and am bursting with Westworld feels :)
posted by corb at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


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