Westworld Recap Season 1 Episode 9

Westworld Recap: Meet Your Maker

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s Westworld recap here. 

Before we get into the major goings-on of this week’s Westworld, let’s all agree that there’s at least a tiny chance that everything we know to be true is really just an elaborate program crafted by a master manipulator who might wipe the whole thing tomorrow and start afresh. Cool?

Hey, it may sound ridiculous, but as recently as two episodes ago, Bernard thought he was your average child-grieving, co-worker-banging mammal. Now he’s a fully sentient puddle of blood and circuitry on the floor in a forgotten Westworld lab. Lesson? These things can change on a dime.

This week’s hour finally gives us a good look at Ford’s dead partner, Arnold, and he looks a lot like Bernard. As in, exactly like Bernard. We also got a partial answer to the mystery of how Arnold died in the park all those years ago: Dolores killed him, which she admits to a memory of the man. (And if you didn’t watch the episode, I seriously do not know how to explain that scene to you. Like, I’m about to start tic-ing and stuttering like Abernathy staring at that photo.)

Before my eyes cross, let’s get into the major highlights of “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR | Bernard’s trajectory to his fateful end starts right at the beginning of the episode, when he’s trying to figure out why Maeve killed NuClementine. She fakes anaylsis mode for a while, but when he realizes that she’s been souped up, she quickly assesses that he’s a host and takes control of him. Problem is, Bernard doesn’t know that himself, and he’s flummoxed. “It’s a difficult thing, realizing your entire life is some hideous fiction,” she says, sympathetic, and eventually gets him to clear her to return to the park. But Bernard is NOT OK after the interaction.

When Bernard seeks out Ford, he’s done some homework. “I took a look at my code. The most elegant parts of me weren’t written by you. Arnold built us, didn’t he? Which means maybe he had something different in mind for us, and maybe you killed him for it.”

Ford, as always, isn’t bothered in the slightest, not even when Bernard asks for access to his entire memory from the beginning. “I could lose my mind, I’m aware,” he says, and just as I’m wondering why Ford would ever go along with this, Bernard hands a gun to a lobotomized OriginalClementine and says that her prime directive hasn’t been reinstated. Translation: She can shoot Ford if he doesn’t do as Bernard says.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BERNARD | Bernard’s memories are twisted and prolonged, so I’ll sum them up quickly. He definitely choked Elsie (probably to death) in the park. He can’t let go of the “memory” of his son, Charlie, dying. He was there when Mommy Maeve came in after the Man in Black killed her, and trying to figure out what happened nearly fried Bernard’s motherboard. When Bernard realizes that Charlie’s death is his “cornerstone” — aka the point around which his entire personality was built — he hugs his son in the hospital room and, crying, says “I have to let you go.”

That release unlocks Bernard’s first memories ever: of being brought to “life” by Ford. And as that happens, we get confirmation — via Ford voiceover — that the old Brit built Bernard in Arnold’s likeness. Remember that photo he showed him in Episode 3? Bernard’s programming rendered him unable to see the man on the right at the time, because it’s Arnold, and he looks just like him.

ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE | Wanna hear the biggest cyber-slap in the face? Bernard and Ford have had this conversation before, and Ford has just wiped it! In fact, when Bernard says he wants to find the other sentient hosts and free them, Ford points out that Bernard has been the best at helping Ford find them… and get rid of them. Agitated, Bernard commands Clementine to pull the trigger, but she doesn’t. “You built a back door in her code,” Bernard realizes, and then stuff gets REALLY messed up.

Ford uses the narrative voice to describe a scenario that plays out as he leaves the room: Bernard grabs the firearm from Clementine and puts it to his own head, all while begging the older man not to do what he’s about to do. “I’ve told you, Bernard. Never place your trust in us. We’re only human. Inevitably, we will disappoint you. Goodbye, my friend.” And as Ford walks down the hall, we see the muzzle flash and Bernard’s body drop to the floor.

WILLIAM ON THE WARPATH | Logan has William tied to a chair, and he takes great pleasure in forcing his future brother-in-law to see Dolores for what she is. He even rips open her abdomen with a knife to show William the cogs and gears inside her; she runs off.

William pretends that the moment shook him out of his robot reverie, and that he’s back to normal. But while Logan sleeps, William massacres the entire military encampment. Woah. “You said this place was a game. Last night I finally understood how to play it,” he says. “You don’t call the shots anymore.” They’re going to find Dolores, he adds, scarily matter-of-fact. Oh, “And don’t call me Billy.”

An important note: When Logan refers to his sister, he pulls out a photo to remind William about fiancée — and it’s the same picture of a woman that Peter Abernathy found in Episode 1. Evidence of multiple time lines? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.

DOLORES DID THE DEED | For the rest of the episode, Dolores does that phasing-through-time thing; I’ll do my best to alert you to what timeline she’s in. Guided by the voice in her head, she runs and winds up at Escalante, that town with the white church where bad stuff happened way back. She’s no longer bleeding, so we’re in the past, though she is wearing pants when she enters the church and sees lots of hosts — including Angela, who we’ve seen welcome William to the park and take down Teddy (Which we’ll get to in a moment) sitting in the pews, holding their heads and muttering to themselves like crazy people: As early hosts hearing their programming as internal monologue, like Ford explained a few episode aback, they’re clearly having a hard time dealing with the voice(s) in their heads.

Dolores enters a confessional and is lowered down to a lab beneath the park. Though she’s now in her blue dress, she’s cycling between two different memories. In one, Ford is a young man and the facility is clean and bright. In the other, the lab is cluttered with dead host bodies and there are few if any staffers around. We realize, as she sits down, that this is where we’ve seen her talking with Bernard — except it was Arnold. And as she realizes that she’s re-living a memory, she blurts out that she knows he can’t help her, “because you’re dead. Because you’re just a memory. Because I killed you.”

When she returns to the church, it’s empty. Someone approaches from the outside, and she happily thinks it’s William… only to find the Man in Black walking through the door. (So, she’s kinda right?) “Hello, Dolores,” he says.

[GUN EMOJI] [EGGPLANT EMOJI] ]FLAME EMOJI] | While all of this is going on, Maeve is in the park, sneaking up on Hector while he pees. Holding a gun on the outlaw, she points out that his gang is going to kill each other over the contents of the safe, and then Armistice is going to kill him. He doesn’t really believe her… but then she saves his life just as Armistice is going to end it, and he’s much more attentive to what the madam has to say. “I want you to break into Hell with me and rob the gods blind,” she says. “I could simply chance you, make you follow me, but that’s not my way.”

Instead, she opens the safe and reveals that it’s empty. “I’ve been here before,” he says, agreeing to join her crusade, even though he’s not quite sure what it is yet. They have clothes-on, sitting-up sex in his tent while it burns, courtesy of a lantern Maeve knocks over.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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35 Comments
  1. H.H. says:

    This recap forgot to point out one thing. Remember the photo that caused Abernathy, Delores’s first father, to flip out and start quoting Shakespeare? When Logan had William tied up he shoved that photo into William’s pocket. It’s a photo of Logan’s sister and William’s fiance, and Logan was determined to remind William that his human sister is out in the real world waiting to marry him. And eventually that photo that is NOW in William’s pocket ends up on the property where Delores and her father live. Where he will eventually find it and then flip his lid.

    • bt says:

      besides the Benard revel the photo was my second favorite part

    • ninergrl6 says:

      First, I don’t know how anyone can recap this show. It’s the biggest mindf*** on TV EVER, particularly tonight’s episode. Kudos for helping me put the pieces together every week.
      Second, H.H., I was going to post the same thing! The photo reveal in tonight’s ep is the strongest evidence of the multiple timelines/William/TMIB connection. I loved it!
      Third, another aspect missing from the recap: Teddy’s memories of being a sheriff who shot up a town (Is *he* Wyatt?), then Angela (She has a name?) killing him, and then what’s-her-face from the institute confronting TMIB afterwards IN the park and him telling her to take hike because he had someplace to be, which then (if it’s the same timeline, who knows with this show!) led him to find Dolores in the church. Is the church the center of the maze?

      • Madison says:

        Haha so true! I end up reading 2 or 3 recaps to compare and try to make since of what I watched. Good call on the missing info in this recap.

        Also what the heck was going on with the rouge Indians attacking the security guy?

        And is the “city covered in sand” (or whatever Angela called it) the place where the church is? I’m so confused.

        • Annie Sisk says:

          Ghost Nation attacked Hemsworth because they’re off their loops, too. Whatever’s behind *that* is the Mystery du Season.
          .
          Yes, Escalante is the city covered in sand. That’s the city present-day Ford has been uncovering/digging out for his “new narrative.” So there are basically 3 timeframes (not timelines – that indicates something wholly different). There’s (1) ~35 years ago – when Dolores and Teddy shot up Escalante, and apparently Dolores killed Arnold; (2) ~30 years ago, when Dolores and William went on the run; and (3) “present day” where Dolores is sorta revisiting that whole trip, remembering things that happened before, and running from/encountering the Man in Black (who may or may not be William, but probably is).

          • Giggsy says:

            I think you’re spot-on with the three timeframes. Dolores is the easiest way to decipher that. She has three different appearances (in the order that you list above): blue dress; pants with knife wound in abdomen; and pants w/o knife wound.

            The last two episodes have escalated plot development dramatically, which I think the show needed. Fantastic show!

          • Annie Sisk says:

            Oh, good point with the costuming! Yep. More proof.

          • Jim says:

            Thanks for this. I was trying to make sense of the Delores scene with all the costuming changes but I couldn’t fit it into just two timeframes, which lead me to believe that maybe it was supposed to be metaphorical, with the costuming changes indicating just her messed up memory. If it’s three timeframes, showing she’s made this journey many times rather than just two, I think I can make sense of it.

          • Annie Sisk says:

            I don’t think the costuming works as a time signpost, because of the nature of the park. Costumes can get repaired and reworn.

          • Woodrow Nichols says:

            There’s more than three;
            1. 35 years prior to the scifi present where Arnold and Bernard play with their robots before any guests arrive and Arnold secretly meets with Doloros (who is like the recreation of his dead daughter — he wants her to become a real girl — and also where the hosts flip out and seek help from God in the white church, God being either Arnold or Ford.
            2. 34 years earlier where Teddy and Dolores massacre the town and Dolores kills Arnold.
            3. Sometme between then and now where Ford recreates Arnold as Bernard.
            4. 30 years ago when William and Logan enter the park and the critical failure occurs where Logan is killed and recreated as a robot by Ford.
            5. A year or so earlier when MIB kills Maeve and her daughter.
            6. The present where all else occurs.

          • Annie Sisk says:

            Well yes, things happened in between all these timepoints. (Yes, I just made up a word.) But I don’t see any point in quibbling whether 1 and 2 are “same timepoint” or “two timepoints, close or adjacent to each other.” 3 doesn’t seem relevant since they haven’t shown that yet, only alluded to it. 5 is definitely a key event, but what else is there to say about it? MiB has told that story, we know now what its relevance to the present events is, and we’ve seen it, so while it may be a separate timepoint, I don’t see it as part of a separate track or arc of plot points, the way the big three are. Does that make sense?

          • Annie Sisk says:

            I just realized I had two comments, almost back to back, saying completely contradictory things, LOL. So here’s my clarification: I think the costuming CAN indicate a separate timepoint, but it CANNOT indicate the *same* timepoint. In other words: if all appearances are that two scenes are the same timepoint, but in one of them a character’s clothing is torn and immediately after it’s cleaned/repaired, that’s an indication we may *not* be at the same point in time. Or if the character is differently dressed entirely, same thing. But the lack of any difference cannot mean that it IS the same point in time. I … don’t know if I’m even understanding myself anymore. This show breaks my brain.

      • DL says:

        Pretty sure Dolores is Wyatt.

    • You are totally right — that’s an important detail that I accidentally skipped in my haste to get the recap up. Added! — KR

  2. GregK says:

    I noticed this episode was directed by Michele Macleran who has directed Breaking Bad episodes. Westworld is much more complex than BB, which followed a fairly straight timeline and narrative. However after watching both shows I prefer BB, which had more real suspense and surprises, and above all more craft.

  3. kirads09 says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but was Logan wearing the pin of the hand of the king from Game of Thrones? Or something very similar?

    • AB says:

      Yes. It’s probably just an easter egg/homage kind of thing but it has been pretty distracting for the last two weeks.

    • Kaiju42 says:

      Then Bernard met the same fate as Eddard Stark, both in episode 9 of the season 1 of their respected HBO shows. Could it have been foreshadowing?

  4. liame says:

    Maeve and Hector are HAWT! The chemistry between those two is off the charts!

  5. Brian says:

    Is Nuclementine coming back? I’ve missed having Lili Simmons around since ‘Rebecca’ bought it on’ Banshee’ and it was nice seeing her face again.

  6. Thithya says:

    Was it just me or did some of the scores sound exactly like Person of Interest, which is also about AI vs. humanity. I know it is the same composer but still I was surprised.
    If it was intentional it was certainly a nice throwback to POI.
    I miss that show SO much and Westworld fills that void perfectly.

  7. John Stark says:

    You also forgot to point out that there is a Hemsworth brother in peril…

  8. Love these recaps- so much to keep track of in each episode. Can’t wait for the next one.

  9. xyz says:

    There are two types of mysteries. Those that hook you and those that don’t. The ones that don’t feel like a type of mystery where it is a mystery by lack of information. They doll information out slowly. The ones that hook you, do something similar but are engaging. Strange Things hooked me but Westworld hasn’t.

    • Max says:

      I have to agree with xyz. I was excited when I’d heard HBO was making this series and I understand why people might find this show very entertaining. It just hasn’t hooked me. I keep watching hoping it might but it just plods along too much for me. I think Thandie Newton is what keeps me coming back. Her scenes make it worth the wait.

  10. Mike B. says:

    I’m really bothered by that bernard looks like arnold thing. I mean he looks exactly like the guy who was Ford’s partner. I think it’s really implausible, that no employee looked it up out of interest at some point and noticed it. maybe that’s a twisted logic on my side, but it’s somehow a dealbreaker for me. And it really didn’t seem like anyone knew he wasn’t human

    • Annie Sisk says:

      It was mentioned a few eps back that Ford completely erased Arnold’s memory, basically, from the company’s literature, website, photos, etc. Since Arnold’s death was 35 years ago, before the park even opened, and Bernard came along 25 years later (ten years ago), I don’t find that odd at all.
      .
      What I DO find odd is how Maeve and the cat-techs (Felix and Sylvester) are forever rambling around, doing crazy crap (like slicing Sylvester’s throat and soldering it, WTF!) and NO ONE NOTICES. No one sees that on the CCTV?! Really??

    • Orvin Five says:

      Yes, that the issue I have too. I don’t understand how he could make someone who looked identical but give him a different name, and it would be no big deal. That is too big a continuity error to explain.

  11. onthewavepro says:

    In Episode 9 If you notice when Ford is allowing Bernard to look back in his memories you see Bernards wife and there is a quick glitch. If you slow that glitch down its FORDS face superimposed over her face. So what was the point of bringing FORDs face over hers? Is it another clue that possibly FORD is not human? That he is overlapping Bernards memories and why?

    • shermanguy says:

      I think it’s because he (Bernard) could see the parallel in the words his fake wife said and the words that Ford has said to him. Implying either: that he realized that Ford was the author of wife’s dialogue for backstory, or that something his fake wife said was snapping him back to attention in the current room with Ford, who was saying something similar.

  12. Ladorn says:

    So who’s the third person in the photo with Bernard (Arnold) and Ford?