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!
Ready for the next episode? Read the Westworld Season 1, Episode 10 recap here!