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Westworld: Episode 5 Review

Mediocre writing made bearable by talented actors

Episode Five opens with Ford talking to one of the parks older droid’s, something he has grown fond of doing over the years. He tells a story of an old Grey Hound he and his brother once had, and explains that one time, they let the dog off the leash. The dog was used to chasing a fake rabbit around the track, so when it saw a cat, it immediately went after it. But after the dog had caught the cat and killed it, he didn’t know what to do. This story obviously implies that Dr. Ford knows the droids are becoming conscious, and it seems as if he is the dog chasing the car and has finally caught it. Now, he has no idea what to do.

In the next scene we see William, his brother-in-law, and Dolores have reached the infamous city of Pariah. Here, they meet a notorious outlaw named El Lazo, but this El Lazo turns out to be Lawrence. The Man in Black had killed Lawrence in order to save poor Teddy’s life. Basically, he performed a blood transfusion, giving Lawrence’s spilled blood to Teddy. So, now Lawrence is here, but it seems like these events are a little close together. This is our first real hint that the story in Westworld season one in not being told in linear time. In any case, Lawrence wants the three travelers to steal some nitroglycerin for a group called the Confederados. The three travelers agree.

They try to commit the heist peaceably, but the Union soldiers carrying the nitro resist. One of them goes after Dolores, and while William knows he cannot be hurt in the park, Dolores is a robot, and she can. So, he shoots the officer, and when his brother-in-law is being choked by one of the robots, William shoots that officer as well, despite knowing his brother-in-law can’t really die. He then kills the rest of the robots and realizes he’s very good with a gun. His brother-in-law is elated because he feels that William is finally getting into the spirit of the game.

They take the nitro to Lawrence, but — surprise, surprise — he betrays them. He sneaks the nitro onto a train and intends for the three travelers to take the blame. However, William and Dolores discover the truth and hop onto the train with Lawrence. It looks like they’ll be traveling to the outer regions of the park together. As for William’s brother-in-law, well, he and William have a nasty fight, and William’s future relative tells him he’s weak, and that is why he allowed William to marry his sister in the first place. So, William, not being overly happy with his “buddy,” leaves him to the Confederados.

Moving on to events taking place outside of the park, we find that Elsie is still trying to figure out what is going on with the robots, despite the fact that the case has been given to Theresa, the head of another department. Elise locates the robot that killed itself with a rock in an earlier episode and examines it. What she finds surprises even her. It turns out there is a satellite uplink buried in the robot’s arm. The glitch might not be a fluke so much as a hack. Somebody is trying to sneak data out of the park. The question is who. She tells Bernard about the satellite link, and the two decide to try and find the hacker.

Returning to Ford, he takes an interest in the Man in Black’s activities. He goes to visit the Man in Black and Teddy and asks the Man in Black what he’s looking for. We find out that the Man in Black is basically allowed to do whatever he wants in the park because he saved the place when it was hemorrhaging money. He essentially owns the place, or at least, the largest share of it. But Ford is concerned about the man’s intentions. After some prodding, the Man in Black explains that he believes the maze is the last game set up by one of the park’s creators named Arnold. Arnold died in the park, but the Man in Black believes he had one last story to tell, and this story represents something true, which to the Man in Black is very valuable because he considers everything around him to be a lie.

It’s an okay dialog delivered by two wonderful actors, Ed Harris and Sir. Anthony Hopkins, but unfortunately, it’s too vague to carry any real meaning. But it’s understandable since there is a big twist the writers are waiting to reveal. If they give too much explanation now, it will spoil the surprise. I enjoyed this scene because of the actors’ performances, but it seems ultimately redundant.

The last sub-plot in the episode follows one the technicians who has been working on Maeve every time she’s killed in the park. He doesn’t wish to remain one of the technicians repairing the robots, so he’s stolen some of the company’s equipment — a tablet and a robotic bird — and placed them in his locker. Every time he thinks he’s alone, he begins working on the bird. He’s caught once by his partner and is given a hard time, but he persists, and eventually gets the bird to fly around the room. However, once the bird does finally fly, it lands on Maeve’s finger. She’s awake. Maeve looks at the technician and tells him they need to talk. That’s where the episode ends.

Episode five is another one of those episodes that is mostly filled with vulgarity and fluff to kill time. There are no real deep themes, just breadcrumbs to a mystery that has yet to tighten up into a coherent narrative. But there is just enough information in it to require watching before going on to the next episode. The scenes with Sir. Anthony Hopkins are amazing, basically because he’s in them. He seems incapable of delivering a boring line. He carries the episode, and in my opinion, makes it worth watching. We’ll cover what happens in next in the following review.  

Gary Varner

Gary Varner is the Assistant to the Managing and Associate Directors at the Center for Science & Culture in Seattle, Washington. He is a Science Fiction and Fantasy enthusiast with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts, and he spends his time working with his fellows at Discovery Institute and raising his daughter who he suspects will one day be president of the United States. For more reviews as well as serial novels, go to www.garypaulvarner.com to read more.

Westworld: Episode 5 Review