Each week, Brian Grubb and Keith Phipps will attempt to unpack the latest episode of the HBO series Westworld, a show about an amusement park populated by lifelike robots that’s also about… other stuff.
Bernard and Dolores, and whatever that’s about
Keith: May as well start at the beginning. This episode begins, shocker, with Dolores waking up. I suspect that by the end of the season it would be pretty easy to make a supercut of Westworld’s opening scene that traces the development of Dolores’ awakening conscious. Here she seems a little more self-aware than before. Sure, Bernard can ask her to “limit your emotional affect” and she’ll dial back the sobbing — what a moment — but her decision to hold on to her grief seems to come from somewhere within. And is that a hint of pride on her face when she discusses modifying some “scripted dialogue about love” to describe her situation.
This scene raised some questions for me, namely, when does it take place? Dolores crashing into Logan and William’s camp last week seemingly shut down the theory about William being the Man in Black in the past, but I’m not clear how this scene fits into the timeline that still finds her waking up in Logan and William’s camp the morning after they meet. Am I missing something? And do you think what’s going on with Dolores and Bernard relates directly to the glitch? Or is his interest in her coincidental?
Brian: The way the glitch is affecting the hosts seems to vary. With Dolores, she’s getting some flashbacks and glimpses of carnage and evil, although I’m beginning to wonder at this point if “glitch” is even the right word for what’s happening to/with her. We’ll get more into to Maeve and ***her whole deal*** in a few, but it’s interesting that she and Dolores are the two hosts going through this change most clearly, and the way they’re doing it couldn’t be more different. Maeve is off trying to figure it out on her own after waking up naked and gutted in an exam room, and Dolores is getting her hand held through the process while wearing her pretty dress and having these flowery conversations with Bernard about her feelings. (Her “feelings.”) There’s probably a societal comment in their somewhere about race and/or sex workers and/or privilege that’s worth unpacking.
Also, this seems like as good a place as any to mention this, but Elsie (Shannon Woodward), the young programmer who works with Bernard, is rocketing up my character rankings, now coming in somewhere between Theresa and Theresa’s cigarettes.