HBO’s “Westworld” ended October with a lot of sizzling, hot and graphic scenes. But despite all of that, the show is so well written and the actors perform marvelously. Tonight’s episode was owned by Evan Rachel-Wood as the long suffering Dolores.
“Contrapasso” begins with Dr. Ford and Old Bill. You will recall from the extensive notes you’ve been taking that Old Bill was the second host ever built. There have been strong implications, particularly in this week’s episode, that Dolores may have been the first, though no confirmation.
Regardless of who came first, Ford and Old Bill share a drink, one that leaves a wistful Ford visibly dissatisfied and that seems to exist primarily to set the table for a Ford-heavy episode. Also to have Ford tell a story is a little bit like the plot of “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.”
Meanwhile, Dolores standing in a graveyard, hearing, as Dolores has been having memories emerge over the past weeks. She’s hallucinating again. In the moment she’s actually standing in said graveyard with Logan, William, and the generic robot gangster whose name I won’t bother to recall until the show proves to me that doing so is worth the effort. The voice she hears this time sounds like Bernard’s.
Meanwhile, in the offices of Westworld, we get a Dolores-Ford conversation that functions as an aside from the Pariah storyline. The timing feels even more off than in the Bernard-Dolores conversations we’ve seen. If Dolores is in Pariah, where and when is this conversation happening? (More in a moment.) Regardless, we get some key info here. Ford interrogates Dolores about when her last conversation with Arnold occurred. She answers 34 years, 42 days, and seven hours ago, the day Arnold died. She also reveals that the last thing Arnold said to her was that she would help him “destroy this place.” Later, when Ford leaves the room, Dolores says aloud, “He doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him anything.” We already established in episode two that Westworld is pretty lax about office surveillance, so fine, we’ll give Dolores a pass on the potential security breach.
We also learned tonight, that MiB has a much higher regard for the late Arnold than for Ford; The urgency with which MiB seeks the Maze may betray some unnatural motivation; and the big one, MiB claims that Arnold’s death almost sank the park, “Almost, but not quite, thanks to me.”
So MiB saved the park? Meanwhile, back in Pariah, we learn that Logan’s family business is looking at taking over as the park’s principal owner, as the place “is hemorrhaging money.” A lot happens in Pariah, but the most important thing may be the discovery there of Lawrence, who shows up shortly after we saw MiB kill him. When Clifton Collins Jr.’s mug first appears in Pariah, answering to El Lazo, there are at least two possible explanations. One is that, as many fans have theorized, “Westworld” is a story being told on multiple timelines separated by long spans, but differentiated by no storytelling cues. The other is that multiple hosts share the same face. The latter appears shot to hell toward the episode’s end when, after a falling out with Logan and some gunplay with the local bad guys, William and Dolores hop a train and find El Lazo on board. A détente is negotiated and El Lazo declares, “Now that we’re all friends, you can call me Lawrence.”