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.
Keith: I’m not sure where to start with this second episode of Westworld, so we may as well start with what seems to be the most pressing issue: The Glitch. A number of our hosts — maybe all of them, in time — are becoming self-aware, including poor, sweet, Dolores, the park’s longest-serving active host. First, I love what Evan Rachel Wood is doing with this performance. In an interview with the L.A. TImes, Wood likened Dolores to a “Disney Princess,” and the pilot made much of this, showing her suffering all manner of abuse and waking up with the same optimistic attitude. But there’s a lot going on beneath Dolores’ untroubled Disney Princess surface. She’s starting to remember the past, and maybe see the future. After a flash of a massacre on the streets of Sweetwater, she tells Thandie Newton’s Maeve, “These violent delights have violent ends.” Even Maeve seems chilled. (Also, Dolores has a gun now. This can’t be going anywhere peaceful.)
Then again, either the choice of Maeve is fortuitous or she passes the self-awareness onto the madam, who’s reprogrammed (incompetently), almost decommissioned, operated upon (even more incompetently), and accidentally allowed to see the place where robots are born. That can’t have been a pleasant experience. She’s also been prone to flashes of an attack that left her and her child dead at the hands of some Native Americans — or was that the Man in Black? I suspect we’ll get to him, and his relation to The Glitch below. In the meantime, what did you make of all this?
Brian: So, a few things we need to discuss here:
1. It appears — or is at least implied — that The Glitch is contagious, as it passes first from Dolores’ father to her and then from her to Maeve. Either that or it is a crazy circumstance that it started developing naturally in the Hosts in that order. The question here is which host gets it next. Maeve has mainly communicated with the employees of her brothel (bartender, prostitutes) and Teddy Flood, James Marsden’s character, whose full name I will continue to use until I stop being tickled that it is “Teddy Flood.” (Five seasons, minimum.)
2. We know that the park rotates its hosts in and out of different roles depending on storyline or need, because one day Dolores woke up and her dad had suddenly become the mustachioed whorehouse bartender. What I’m wondering is if Maeve saw a past, non-madam version of herself from another configuration, or if her character in this one is a madam who also has a young daughter. And in either scenario, while Dolores’ dreams/flashbacks/memories have been mostly of the aftermath of a massacre, Maeve’s had a) horrifying action, b) The Man in Black, who is currently in the park. Very interesting.
3. Dolores’ face when she was talking to Maeve. Terrifying.
Keith: I’ll attempt to answer.