‘Westworld’ Recap: Is THAT Fan Theory True?

For the final three episodes HBO is no longer sending out screeners, so the recap is being posted a bit later (and shorter) than usual.

Maeve is taking control. Bernard and Dolores are losing their minds. Elsie might really be dead. And the Man in Black might have confirmed a major fan theory in tonight’s Westworld.

We open with poor suffering Bernard, whose major malfunction is that he killed his own lover. Dr. Ford messes with him further, saying he should feel proud of all these horrible emotions because he – Bernard – helped design them in the first place. Ford reveals that he created Bernard early on to help him design the hosts. But under Ford, the hosts can have nothing of their own, not even their feelings.

Next Ford orders Bernard to clean up all traces of Theresa’s murder, so he goes about getting rid of every stray hair, including erasing all signs of their relationship, too. Guess they’re not going to print out a Theresa host after all.

So after last week’s episode where Theresa and Charlotte put on a bogus demonstration, now it’s Ford and Bernard’s turn to put on a show – only this time instead of Clementine being dead by way of example, it’s a very human Theresa. They tell the Delos board member that Theresa fell off a cliff while trying to smuggle out data, and that they discovered the Clementine demo was faked – pinning it all on Theresa, of course, not Charlotte, giving her a way out.

Charlotte isn’t buying this. You’d think she’d be running for the exit to escape robot murder park. But instead she enlists Lee Sizemore for some help. She drops a couple hints about Ford’s mysterious narrative (digging up the white church town of Dolores’ visions and having arch-villian Wyatt come with his masked men to proselytize and bring about the end of the world). Then they go down into the cold storage vault to restart her data smuggling operation using a new host. Charlotte picks at random, oh, let’s see … how about the host who was the first one to start glitching and creeping us out in the series premiere spouting Shakespeare? Yeah, Dolores’ dad Abernathy. How can that go wrong?

Once their crime is complete, Ford gets ready to erase Bernard, as we suspect he’s done many times before. Bernard gets off some quality questions first, like what’s the real difference between a host and a human? Ford’s opinion is that there isn’t much different as you might think: “There is no threshold, no inflection point … we live in loops as tight and closed as the hosts do. You’re not missing anything at all.”

Bernard’s last question is whether Ford has ever made him hurt anybody else. Ford says he hasn’t, but Bernard flashes on a memory of him choking Elsie, who’s still missing. I’ve been holding out hope she’s coming back, but her odds are looking lousy.

Meanwhile, Maeve is getting more powerful. She’s learned that all hosts have an explosive implant that goes off if they leave the park. She decides she’s going to recruit an army to help her break out, that it’s “time to write my own story.” She cryptically notes “there are things in me that I’m designed to do that are just out of my reach,” which is intriguing. Like what?

Increasingly nervous Sylvester finally has the idea that I suggested a couple recaps ago, that they should shut down Maeve and then wipe her memory.

They take Maeve upstairs and seemingly shut her down, but suddenly she’s back on her feet again with the final tinkering of her core code now complete. She reveals Sylvester’s hapless partner Felix (yes, they’re both named after cartoon cats) warned her of his plan. Not sure how Felix thinks this situation is going to end for him. Maeve slashes Sylvester’s throat as a warning, then lets Felix cauterize the wound.

Maeve goes back into the park and starts trying out some third person orders on the other hosts. This isn’t how we thought the voice commands worked, but okay. She can now control other hosts (to the tune of “One Is the Loneliest Number”) to do whatever she wants. She maneuvers to keep Hector and his gang out of harm’s way in order to rope them into her cause, but some flashbacks interfere and soon she finds herself slashing the throat of the replacement Clementine.

Backstage, the techs realize Maeve has gone totally rogue and send a team to fetch her.

But let’s get to The Man in Black, becuase this is probably the most interesting bit this week” The MiB and Teddy find victims of an attack. One young woman looks familiar to the MiB and he’s shocked. His reaction here could be a major clue. You know the fan theory that holds that the William and Dolores story line is happening years before everything else? And that William might be a younger version of the MiB? This scene could be an indirect confirmation of that. Because this woman is Angela, the host who introduced William to the park in episode 2 (the one in the white dress when he picked his white hat and clothing). The MiB not only recognizes her, but gives us the impression she’s a very old model that he hasn’t seen in a long time. “I figured Ford retired you … I guess he never likes to waste a pretty face.” So is the MiB remembering the scene when William met Angela in episode 2?

Later, Teddy remembers that the MiB took Dolores. He’s starting to glitch, too (and it’s about time). After a couple of punches to the face, the MiB decides to reveal some backstory: “I’m a god. Titan of industry. Philanthropist. Family man… I’m the good guy, Teddy.” But his wife committed suicide and his daughter blamed him. Seems that all that time spent in the park fulfilling his darkest desires changed him in some fundamental way. Rewrote his code, if you will. “They never saw anything like the man I am in here, but she knew anyway,” he said.

So he came back to the park to prove something to himself. He found a narrative with Maeve-as-homesteader and killed her and her daughter, but for a moment saw a glimpse of Maeve truly alive, which gave him an idea – presumably, to wake up the hosts. Now finding “the maze,” with its host-awakening power, is the only thing that matters to him. Again it seems like the maze will make the park a place where everybody has an equal chance to live and die.

Somewhere else, possibly sometime else, William and Dolores are continuing their trek. They find some Ghost Nation victims, with one still alive. They learn Logan is the one who sent the ambush. They finally arrive at Dolores’ “home,” the white church town. For a moment it seems like this episode is fully confirming the William/MiB theory because she sees the hosts doing their stiff dancing in the streets like in Ford’s flashback to the first-generation days of Arnold. But then suddenly the townsfolk are gone and the church is buried again. “Is this now? Are you real? I can’t tell anymore!” Dolores cries. Join the club, sister.

Logan arrives and captures William and Dolores.

While Wyatt’s team captures Teddy and the Man in Black.

And the tech team has been ordered to capture Maeve.

And Elsie has definitely been captured, and quite possibly murdered.

There are only two more episodes left, almost everybody has been captured, or in the process of being captured, and poor Bernard doesn’t remember anything! How will it end?

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