Let's Rank Westworld's Power Couples
Who's on top right now -- the bickering co-workers or the robot lovers?
The first two episodes of Westworld focused on sweeping views -- of the park, of the characters, of the major symbolic themes -- but this week Westworld gets intimate. The third installment not only delivers plenty of backstory, but also breaks folks off into pairs, making it easier to dig into their relationships. But which duos are dynamic, and which ones seem headed for collapse? Let's find out!
- Bernard & His Ex-Wife
Working at Westworld really sucks, and not just because it means being a customer service representative for a bunch of rich tourists. For one thing, we learn this week that visitors pay $40,000 a day, yet employees who want to enjoy the very attraction they create still have to pay. And sure, they get an "employee discount," but COME ON. You're telling me the people who isolate themselves from their families and the rest of the world to put on this little stampede don't even get to occasionally shoot a host for free? Unacceptable!
And speaking of isolation: there's a richly detailed scene between Bernard and his ex-wife, whom he calls on a video phone. We see him in a room of employees making similar calls to loved ones, and he laments how hard it is to get an appointment. Which tells you a lot about how removed these people are from the world, and how lonely it's made them. Watching them FaceTime or whatever is kind of like watching prisoners talk to their kids through glass partitions.
But then again, we ALSO get a sense of why Bernard is willing to do this job. Turns out he and his ex had a child who died. She's trying to move on, but he can't escape the cycle of grief and regret. That helps explain why he (a) works in this crazy theme park and (b) why he keeps using secret conversations with Dolores to work through his own ideas about life and memory and consciousness. Still, this has clearly not done wonders for his personal life, and I worry for his heart. (Too bad Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is in a different sci-fi universe.)
- William & Logan
Speaking of marriages: Logan and William are on this bro-bonding trip because William is marrying Logan's sister. So remember last week when Logan made that crack about his sister banging a lot of hosts when she visited? William still refused to explore Clementine's circuitry at the brothel. White hat indeed!
The divide between the bros-in-law is getting bigger now that William has dragged them on a manhunt for an escaped bandit. He got a taste for do-gooding after shooting another bandit in front of the saloon, but all Logan wants is to creep-creep on the robo-ladies. When Dolores stumbles (literally) into their camp at the end of the episode, you can see how both fellas might think their dreams have come true. I'd wager, though, that chivalry and horniness are going to come to blows before Dolores even wakes up.
- Bernard & Ford
Let me say it again: POOR BERNARD! On top of losing his son and basically losing his wife, he's learning that Ford, his mentor here at Cyber-nanza, is just full of secrets. Can't Bernie get a real friend? At least Ford spills a few beans. (Although it's possible his long exposition dump is more for our benefit than Bernard's.) It starts when Bernard says that some of the hosts are talking to some imaginary dude named Arnold. Which is only one part of the problem, really. At least one of the robots is taking revenge on hosts who have killed him in previous storylines, even though he's not supposed to remember that. Another one has gone rogue, apparently trying to plot some kind of escape. And let's not forget how Maeve woke up and saw hosts mid-surgery.
The imaginary friend, at least, doesn't surprise Ford, since he co-founded the park with a guy named Arnold. It seems Big A quite blatantly wanted to create independent consciousness in the hosts, and the "ghost voice" is part of a program he installed to help push them toward sentience. So even though Arnold is dead, he lives on! It's nice of Ford to explain this, and if he can keep up the transparency, he and Bernard just MIGHT have a chance for true friendship.
- Elsie & Ashley
Meanwhile, I don't think Elise (the host technician who kissed that lady host in the pilot) and Ashley (the park security chief played by Luke Hemsworth) are ever going to be friends.
They bicker like cats in a burlap sack, those two! But their feisty interplay also keeps them pushing each other as they hunt for that stray host who is trying to plot his freedom. They eventually find the guy and piece together some tantalizing clues about his robo-intentions, including the fact that he carved a star map on a fossil. Given Elsie's intelligence -- she keeps noticing that the hosts are waking up before anyone else -- and Ashley's courage, they might be a salty duo with a future.
- Teddy & Dolores
For now, though, nobody's future seems more secure than Dolores and Teddy's. Sure, they're robots NOW, but as they start waking up, they keep going deeper and deeper into their pre-programmed romance. There are some gorgeous shots of them canoodling while they watch the Western sky, and since I'm not made of stone, I naturally swoon. (It also helps that Teddy is James Marsden, whom I would make out with at any moment, including during oral surgery, his or mine.)
Ford gives Teddy more backstory this week, and it all has to do with the church storyline that we saw Ford setting up last week. From now on, Teddy's arch-enemy will be his former army commander, who is now the leader of a murderous religious cult. If Teddy can snuff him out, then his clear conscience will allow him to ride off with Dolores. Only when he confronts the bastard this week, the dude's pagan minions cut him down. And they're resistant to Teddy's bullets, so either they're humans or they've been programmed away from death. Either way: not good.
But Dolores might be able to help! Thanks to the memories the Gunslinger is helping her access, she's able to shoot her way out of her nightly rape at the hands of the bandits who kill her family. (And we learn that this really is nightly. It's the storyline she's written to enact, giving gross guests a chance to rape her after murdering her dad.) With her new ability to fight back, though, she might write her own tale. If nothing else, she may very well give Logan and William something exciting to do, now that she's in their camp, and she may be able to get Teddy away from his new, terrible nemesis. And then...
TRUE LOVE, Y'ALL