Up until this week, I’ve been quietly comparing Westworld to Jurassic Park in my head. “Dissonance Theory,” however, got me dreaming about Lost but with a more overhead view of what’s going on in the park. This is also the episode when I first noticed J. J. Abrams in the credits. Everything’s starting to come together — in the sense that there are going to be a lot more questions than answers right up until the much talked about ending, and even then the said answers will be much disputed.
This week has me questioning when Bernard actually meets with Dolores. The last two episodes seemed straightforward, that he was seeing her in the middle of the night when she’s supposed to be sleeping or recharging. That still might be the case, but we see the pair talking at the beginning of “Dissonance Theory.” When last we saw Dolores, she ran away from her family home and into the camp of guests William and Logan. After her session with Bernard, Dolores wakes up in the camp with her gun in hand. Was this a memory of a previous session that she’s just now remembering or did she slip away in the middle of the night like with all the other secret sessions? Whatever the case, this is when we see Dolores first hear about the maze. Bernard tell her that if she is able to reach the maze, she might become free. Dolores would very much like be fee.
It’s a little frustrating to see Dolores walk around in a daze again, but it’s not entirely unfounded given her present situation. She’s not fully aware yet, and she’s clearly taking steps to correct that. Until then, she needs William to scare away park authorities and Logan.
Speaking of William and Logan, the two are currently on a bounty hunt. William tries to convince Logan that they should take Dolores back to Sweetwater. Logan wants to see this bounty through since William was so insistent before. He then admits the trip is as much a business matter as a chance to welcome William into the family. What the hell does that mean? We already know that they work together in the real world, and we already know that Logan is a repeat customer to the park. Admittedly, I thought the business end of their conversation was just between them until we got to the scene between Dr. Ford and Theresa. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
An interesting turn happens between Logan and William in this episode. As we know through William, the park lets guests choose which hat to wear: black or white? Back in the day of old movie westerns, black hats represented the bad guys (or okay guys with roguish tendencies) and white hats represented the (lawful) good guys. It’s so incredibly easy to go rogue in the park. Almost every moment spent in there encourages such acts. As we see through William, being a white hat seems damn stressful. No, stressful doesn’t seem to be the correct word choice. “Worrying” is more like it.
Logan treats everything in the park like a video game — all the hosts are NPC’s, and it’s possible to gain an “upgraded” weapon after completing a mission. William, on the other hand, seems to be playing the game way too seriously. It’s as if he needs constant reminding that everything in the park is not real. Or…he’s like one of those gamers who can’t help but go full-on paragon (honest good guy) in Mass Effect. Whichever hat is being worn, something tells me our guests are going to be caught in some shit the park hasn’t dealt with in its 30 years go being open. Something also tells me that Logan is going to go the way of the lawyer in Jurassic Park.
Then we have Theresa and Ford. Before their meeting, Bernard tries to give Theresa some advice on how to approach Ford, but it doesn’t do much good. Ford is committed to his storyline. We see that much at the construction site where massive machines eat away at the earth. He’s not about to let anyone get in his way now, not even the board. Representing the board is Theresa. The two sit down at the Agave Plantation where Ford makes it crystal clear that he is god in this park. He controls everything, and he knows everything — including Theresa’s affair with Bernard. Ford has spent most of his lifetime among machine. It’s clear that he’s developed quite the god complex. The way Anthony Hopkins relays this personality trait in the scene is probably the most terrifying moment in the show so far.
One thing to note in their conversation: Theresa warns that the board is sending someone to investigate he park. What she didn’t know is that the person has already arrived, and Ford is completely aware of this fact. Based on what Logan said earlier, this makes me suspect he’s the guy the board sent. Or, now that I think about it, I’m willing to believe this person could also be the Man in Black. What? A person can have two objectives.
The Man in Black’s storyline is the most straightforward of all this week. He’s a full-blown black hat on a mission, waltzing through as many tropes as one could possibly fit within reason. His story is the most intriguing since it deals directly with the show’s main mystery. There are a couple revelations with this character this week: the fact that he knows about Arnold, the park’s co-founder, and that he’s somewhat held in high regard in the outside world. The latter is demonstrated when two guests tagging along with Hector’s posse approach the Man in Black. They try to express their admiration, but the Man in Black shut them down immediately. This is the first time we see the villain rattled. Clearly he doesn’t want to be recognized for his apparent good works. Why is that?
Back in Sweetwater, Maeve is becoming more proactive about finding out the meaning of her strange dreams. She’s seeing more and more visions of her past, particularly ones concerning the times when she should have been turned off while park employees clean up. An image that is most burned into her mind are the employees dressed in hazmat suits. Then she remembers being shot in the stomach, and decides to find out once and for all whether or not her “dreams” are real.
When Hector and his posse arrive in Sweetwater to steal the Mariposa’s safe, Maeve makes a deal with Hector: she’ll give him the safe’s combination if he answers a few questions. As far as Hector knows, the figure in Maeve’s “dreams” (a clean-up tech) is known as a shade, one who walks between worlds in native folklore: “They were sent from hell to oversee our world.”
Then Maeve takes Hector’s knife and convinces him to cut open a spot in her abdomen where she was once shot. Hector reluctantly complies and they find a bullet the clean-up techs failed to extract. Now she has irrefutable proof that she’s not going crazy, that her memories are real. Slightly unnerved, but mostly high on the relief that she’s not crazy, Maeve pulls Hector in for kiss as the sheriff’s bullets fly through their door.
- Teddy is alive after all. Wyatt’s men strung him up and left him to die. The Man in Black discovers him and cuts him down. From what we see in the previews, the Man in Black recruits poor Kenny…er…Teddy to find Wyatt.
- Apparently Wyatt is at the center of this show’s mystery. Or at the very least, he’s the next crucial step in a mystery. We also learn that Armistice, Hector’s tattooed partner, has as much beef with Wyatt as Teddy does.
- The Man in Black seems to want to unlock the next difficulty in the park’s game. Right now, it’s on a normal setting. The player gets some resistance, but the stakes aren’t high at all. The Man in Black wants to change that setting to Hard where (maybe) the hosts get to injure or even kill the players.
- The Man in Black’s actions seem to be entirely condoned by the park, despite how disruptive his action may be. It’s funny when he uses two cigar bombs to break out of jail, it registers as a “request for a pyrotechnic effect” back in the park’s control room. Where the hell did he even get those?