What do you call a robot who hears voices in its head?
Bad news for the guests at Westworld, for one.
The HBO sci-fi series delved a little bit deeper this week into what makes the hosts of the Westworld theme park tick — and revealed the name of the man who wanted them to be more like men than machines, with unfortunate results. The ramifications of robot consciousness were front and center in the Sunday, October 16, episode, called “The Stray,” as we saw Teddy get a murderous character change, a host kill himself rather than be captured, and Dolores lose her s–t.
Here are the moments that mattered on this week’s Westworld.
The Dead Man Whose Voice They’re Hearing
The question of how Westworld came to be is still mostly unanswered, but a little bit of the park’s origin story was spotlighted this week when Ford (Anthony Hopkins) revealed to Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) the existence of an old partner-in-robotics. The other man’s name was Arnold and, unlike Ford, he had the lofty goal of creating consciousness in the park’s hosts — not realizing that consciousness is a profoundly unhelpful characteristic when you’re a robot who exists in an endless loop, in a hellhole full of people who want to kill you for fun.
Arnold died long ago in the park (the details of which are still a mystery for now), but his presence was being felt: The “broken” hosts from previous episodes were accessing parts of their memories dating back to Arnold’s days in Westworld, and seemed to be hearing Arnold’s voice in their heads … which, if we had to wager a guess, is a bad thing. Because it’s never good when anyone hears an inner monologue that’s not in their own voice, right?
Teddy Gets a Lethal Upgrade
At last, we know why Teddy (James Marsden) never gets the girl: He was built that way. In lieu of a backstory, the programmers just gave him a lingering sense of guilt and unfinished business, which means no happily-ever-after for him and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood).
Fortunately, Teddy got a character upgrade this week: A quest to hunt down and kill a new villain, Wyatt, who looks like Leatherface and kills innocent people like … Leatherface. Teddy’s new character arc is a definite improvement; it’s made him more driven, confident, and interesting. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made him any less likely to die, as we will soon see.
A Host Turns Horribly Suicidal
Last week, Bernard’s team assured the Westworld administration that all the corrupted hosts had been found and fixed. This week, we learned that it’s not quite that simple. Yet another host started exhibiting odd behavior, wandering off into the wilderness to scrabble at the wall down inside a canyon crevasse.
When the search team consisting of Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) located their wayward robot and tried to take him out of commission, things went horribly wrong — beginning when the host woke up out of sleep mode in the middle of having his head sawed off, and ending when he smashed his own skull with a giant rock to avoid being taken back to the lab. What could drive a robot to suicide?
Dolores Goes Rogue
After weeks of watching Dolores having secret, private chats with Bernard, we learned this week why he’s so interested in her: Despite Ford’s warnings, Bernard tweaked Dolores’ programming to give her consciousness. It’s not clear why he took this step originally — partly, it seems like Bernard just wanted a sympathetic, captive audience to talk to about his late son — but whatever his reasons, the results became very evident when Dolores returned to her place in Westworld. Although Dolores promised to stay in her loop, she’d also evolved to the point of realizing that her loop always ends in tragedy — and evolution won out.
In the final moments of “The Stray,” Dolores veered completely off-script, murdered another host, and fled into the darkness, where she stumbled right into the arms of park guest William (Jimmi Simpson). What she’ll do next is anyone’s guess, which is the problem in a nutshell.
Westworld airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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