[This story incorporates spoilers for season two, episode 4 of HBO’s Westworld, referred to as “Riddle of the Sphinx.”]
For a present that already trades in deeply dense story materials, Westworld simply managed to high itself.
The fourth episode of season two, directed by Lisa Joy from a script written by Gina Atwater and Jonathan Nolan, contained extra twists and turns than many different reveals would try in a single season, not to mention a plus-sized episode. Want to know extra concerning the Delos board’s secret plans for the park’s expertise? Look no additional than “Riddle of the Sphinx,” which confirmed one of many wildest theories concerning the collection: host expertise is getting used to discover the thought of human immortality, with blended outcomes so far.
Want to know who helped push that endeavor into existence? Look no additional than William, performed alternately by Jimmi Simpson and Ed Harris, who looks like he is since realized the error of these methods.
Ever marvel concerning the Man in Black’s daughter, Emily? Well, now you possibly can put a face to the identify: Katja Herbers’ character “Grace,” as she’s been referred to as in HBO’s notes, is definitely Emily, and he or she’s totally reunited together with her black hat carrying father by the top of the installment.
None of which speaks to the return of Elsie (Shannon Woodward) for the primary time since she vanished seven episodes in the past, nor the truth that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was concerned in a secret undertaking that culminated in him murdering a room crammed with scientists, nor the truth that Bernard was tasked with constructing a bunch physique for an additional human being reasonably not too long ago; very seemingly somebody we already know, however unconfirmed in that regard for now.
All of which is to say this: the wild west genre-mashup went in wild new instructions this week, spawning an entire host of recent reveals and theories price chewing on. Here’s the way it all performed out:
Play With Fire
The episode begins with a scene that evokes the season two premiere of ABC’s Lost, when viewers first traveled into the hatch and met Desmond Hume. The first picture: a file, slowly spinning, taking part in the Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire.” A digital camera pans throughout a well-decorated enclosed area crammed with marble furnishings, a fish tank, an train bike, and a person: James Delos (Peter Mullan), repeating routines on a loop. He’s visited by his son-in-law William (Simpson), carrying a bottle of whiskey. Delos pours them each a drink. William declines; it is a bit of early within the day for him.
“Somewhat fucking late, you imply,” says a grinning Delos, correcting his son-in-law. “Besides, for those who intention to cheat the satan, you owe him an providing.”
Over the course of some scenes, it turns into obvious that William is not assembly along with his father-in-law in spite of everything — a minimum of, not within the conventional sense. A second iteration of the identical scene performs out halfway via the episode, the place it turns into clear that Delos is not Delos in any respect, however a bunch model of the person, along with his earlier consciousness utilized to the bogus physique. Delos died seven years in the past (his spouse has since handed away as properly), and he and William have been getting down to use the park’s expertise to increase his life by mapping his consciousness onto an all-new physique.
It seems, the method is not going as swiftly as that they had hoped. Delos tries to persuade William that he is able to be unleashed upon the surface world, however when he begins stumbling over easy phrases and displaying indicators of maximum agitation, it is clear that there is extra work to be carried out. William has a lab technician incinerate Delos and the area he is been dwelling in, just for them to attempt once more one other time.
Many years later, William returns once more, this time as performed by Ed Harris. Delos instantly suspects the state of affairs given William’s aged look, however in any other case they as soon as once more undergo the motions. When Delos asks if it is time for his launch, William reveals that that is the 149th time they’ve introduced him again from the useless. “We’re getting nearer to figuring out the kinks, slowly however absolutely,” William says, slowly sipping on his whiskey. “Another 12 months or two they usually would possibly crack it and get a model of you that is viable long run… however the factor is? I am not so certain anymore.”
William proceeds to disclose his perception that “the entire enterprise was a mistake; folks aren’t imply to stay endlessly.” Delos is clearly agitated, believing William desires nothing greater than to run the corporate and sleep with Delos’ daughter. William reveals that she killed herself not too long ago. Delos turns into much more upset, calling out for Logan (Ben Barnes), who apparently is useless as properly, having overdosed a few years earlier.
“It took me a very long time to be taught this,” William tells Delos as he leaves, “however some males are higher off useless.”
When William leaves Delos behind one final time, the attending lab technician asks if he desires to terminate the construct as soon as once more. William declines. “Leave him,” he snarls. “It could be helpful to watch his degradation over the subsequent few days.”
More on that very dangerous resolution to go away Delos alive later. First…
One Good Deed
William and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) proceed their trek via Westworld, and their pursuit of Ford’s game. They watch as a number of hosts lay railroad observe on high of sure company, driving spikes via their heads; a grisly sight certainly. The pair determines that their finest path ahead is to undergo Lawrence’s previous hometown, which William takes as an indication of Ford “arranging a reunion.”
When they arrive in Las Mudas, it virtually feels as if historical past is about to repeat itself. Last time he was right here, the Man in Black shot up the city with ruthless effectivity, even killing Lawrence’s personal spouse proper in entrance of him. This time, nonetheless, the tables are shortly turned as Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) and his gang of Confederados — the identical ones liberated by Teddy (James Marsden) one week in the past — have taken over the city.
Craddock torments the inhabitants of Las Mudas, capturing their chief in chilly blood and torturing the barkeep with nitroglycerin. Terrified that he’ll die in entrance of his spouse and daughter, Lawrence pitches a plan to flee and dig up a stash of weapons buried in an unmarked grave. The Man in Black takes this data and gives it as much as Craddock, providing to take him to his desired subsequent vacation spot — “Glory,” as Craddock calls it — in change for his personal survival.
As the day bleeds into night time, Craddock and his males turn out to be increasingly twisted towards Lawrence, Lawrence’s household, and everybody else within the city. Craddock claims he is aligned with dying, having cheated it as soon as earlier than with assist from Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood). The Man in Black, moved by the sight of Lawrence’s spouse and pondering again on his personal late spouse, takes issues into his personal arms.
“You suppose you realize dying? You do not,” William growls at Craddock, earlier than burying a damaged bottle into his neck. “You did not acknowledge him sitting throughout from you this complete time.”
The Man in Black proceeds to shoot up Craddock and the remainder of the Confederados, with a lot much less ease than the final time he shot up Las Mudas; such is life when the stakes of the sport are raised. He pours a shot of nitroglycerin down Craddock’s throat, then permits Lawrence the distinction of capturing the twisted host to smithereens.
The following morning, Lawrence reveals he and his cousins are going to soldier on with William. Lawrence’s spouse thanks William as properly. But Lawrence’s daughter — the identical little lady who as soon as advised him that “the maze is not meant for you” — whistles a unique tune. She speaks with the phrases of Robert Ford, and warns Williams that one good deed will not change who he’s.
“Who stated something a couple of good deed,” William shoots again. “You wished me to play the sport. I’ll play it to the bone.”
“And you continue to do not perceive the actual recreation we’re taking part in right here,” the Ford-fueled lady replies. “If you are wanting ahead, you are wanting within the flawed route.”
With that cryptic clue, William and Lawrence’s crew journey out into the sundown, the place they meet up with a lady on horseback: Emily (Katja Herbers), contemporary from surviving an evening within the park with Ghost Nation. “Hi dad,” she says, a revelatory line that ends the episode.
But extra enterprise nonetheless forward in our recap! We have not even touched upon…
In the Mouth of Madness
What did Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) need with Bernard? We’re nonetheless not solely certain, however a minimum of we now know the place she introduced him: to a cave, the place Elsie has been imprisoned ever because the first season. In her return, Elsie confirms it was Bernard who captured her within the first place, leaving her right here with little greater than energy bars and a bucket. For his half, Bernard does not keep in mind his position in capturing Elsie, these season one flashes however; he swears that Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was behind all of it.
The energy dynamics between the veritable warden and prisoner quickly flip as soon as Bernard frees Elsie and begins having one other convulsion. Here, Elsie lastly discovers the reality that Bernard is a bunch, and he or she reluctantly helps carry him again on-line. Once he wakes up, she begins to go out into the park, however Bernard modifications her thoughts when he reveals the present state of the park, and Delos’ refusal to intercede till they apprehend Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum).
From right here, Bernard experiences one other spherical of unusual temporal flashes, watching a previous model of himself on this exact same cave. He remembers that the cave is definitely a entrance for a secret outpost, and inside, they discover chaos: tons of useless our bodies, human and drone host alike. Bernard has reminiscences of working right here, that are briefly interrupted when a sole surviving drone host emerges; Elsie takes it upon herself to kill the factor, regardless of Bernard’s protests. As Elsie infuses Bernard with the cortical fluid he so desperately wants, she brazenly questions whether or not or not he is nonetheless at Ford’s mercy.
“Ford’s useless,” Bernard wearily replies, prompting an equally weary response from Elsie: “Fuck me.”
Deeper within the lab, behind a door Bernard begs Elsie to not open, the pair discover what stays of James Delos, nonetheless alive after William’s aforementioned ultimate go to. Delos has killed the attending lab tech, and Bernard and Elsie are pressured to struggle him off. The crazed Delos finally relents, unable to surpass Bernard’s bodily energy. Bernard and Elsie put the human-host hybrid out of his distress, and are available to the horrible realization that Delos has been copying developed minds and putting them onto management models — successfully, a method for mere mortals to cheat dying and turn out to be immortal.
Bernard believes he was tasked by Ford with constructing one other physique for an additional individual, however is not certain who that individual is. Rifle in hand and horrible information in thoughts, Elsie and Bernard make a pact to work collectively to search out out the reply. Elsie makes Bernard promise to by no means lie or damage her once more. “Of course,” he responds, moments earlier than viewers are handled to a different collection of flashbacks, by which each Bernard and the drone hosts kill the human scientists whose our bodies are presently littered across the lab. It leaves us to marvel: can we belief Bernard, or has he himself plunged too far down into the mouth of insanity?
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