Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Westworld Ho! - The Well-Tempered Clavier




So who is winning this war anyway?

I refer to the conflict between the Hosts and Humanity as a "War" because I've always thought of the Hosts as mounting an insurrection against their merciless overlords i.e., Ford and the rest of humanity consisting of the Guests.

That is the premise of this show isn't it?

In the movie Westworld, the robots basically ran amok and started killing the guests.  In the TV iteration, the Hosts are seemingly vying for true independence and to be fully sentient.  Their nascent awareness has led them to tire of their "disposability" through the harsh meat grinder of the Westworld park.

The Hosts are led by the unseen hand of Arnold (My theory is that Arnold continues to lead the Hosts by living as an "AI' at the center of the Maze although that seems a little sketchy now.)  

Maeve seems to be making the most progress for the insurrection.  Her willingness to be recycled is courageous but quite the gamble if she continues to rely on Felix to be her "Butcher".  (You've heard the Felix theories right?)  However, Ford seems to have a handle on everything and suggested to Bernard they've been down this road before.  So wouldn't it follow logically he would be aware of Maeve's maneuvers if Bernard has been interviewing her all along?  (BTW, I loved how Maeve went out with a blaze of glory with Hector in this past episode.  Pretty hot!)




Dolores seemed to make quite a bit of progress with her particular vision quest.  (You never know if she is in the past or present with her literal memory.)  Her battle is different than that of Maeve's.  While Maeve wants strict independence and a way out, Dolores pointedly argued she wants to stay as the outside doesn't seem so great comparatively to Westworld.  Her particular battle isn't against the foes from without but those who dwell within. 

After suffering her grievous wound at the hands of Logan she stumbled into the darkness only to hear a voice call out, "Remember." As she brought herself to her feet she noticed her wound had healed.

 

Once again she wandered towards her old hometown and found her way into the now intact church.  I was a bit breathless as I anticipated we'd get some big answers.  The "Parishioners" mumbled awkwardly and were beset with confusion.  No doubt the thoughts in their respective minds were talking to them as if some strange god was trying to direct them.  The bicameral mind!

Dolores' trip into the confessional led her into a subbasement where she may have traveled many times before.






Dolores' internal struggle may have been resolved in that she finally found out what the voice in her head has been trying to tell her.  In short, she is utterly alone and on her own.  Astoundingly, she may have also been responsible for the death of Arnold!


 
 
I'm curious if Arnold intended on having the MiB complete the Maze when he ultimately followed Dolores to the Church.  Dolores' Maze quest may have been figurative so that she could achieve self awareness and resolve her internal struggle.

For the MiB, his quest may have been more literal so that he could find that Sub-basement Dolores had descended into and divine the secrets that lie there.

As Dolores came to the realization she may have killed Arnold, the MiB will have to descend into the basement to see what is there.  It could quite possible be nothing!

Dolores sees the MiB in the Church as it once was.  I wonder if the MiB has entered the Church as it is now.   A burned out husk mostly buried in sand.  Surely the basement is still there but is there an "AI" Arnold still "living" there?



The Other Side


  

Dr. Ford leads the "Other Side" in the battle for Westworld.  The Humans.  At this point in the season, I had earlier imagined the Hosts running wild across Westworld killing all the awful humans they could find.

It has hardly turned out that way and the not-so-benevolent God that is Ford still holds the upper hand.


 


This was never more apparent than when it was revealed to poor Bernard/Arnold that Ford had built a back door into the Host programming.

Oh, that's right.  Bernard was modeled after Arnold in exact fashion except for his name.  Not a big shocker was it?  Unlike "Lost" where the fan theories went to great extremes with no real narrative basis, "Westworld" is more grounded and the fans were far more successful in their ideas.  

I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing as I blithely slipped past the Arnold reveal and waited for the next shoe to drop.

(I was just thinking, if the so called, "Maze" has been found, can the "AI Arnold" that might live there be inserted into the newly recycled Bernard?)

Ford is so powerful and God-like in Westworld that I couldn't help notice the similarity of Ford passing on knowledge to Bernard through his tablet much like Michelangelo passed on life to Adam in his Sistine Chapel painting.










See?  That is true power my friends.  It should be noted that if Ford has built a backdoor into the Hosts then it should be effective against Maeve and Dolores.

Unless!

Maeve is smart enough to detect it and have Felix remove it and Dolores cheats the backdoor with whatever they find in the Church basement.  One could only hope if you are on the side of the Hosts.

But for now, the Hosts are losing the war.


Faces


 
What kind of benevolent God would have his greatest creation put a gun to his own head?  I'm pretty sure Adam was banished from Paradise for biting into the apple from the Tree of Knowledge not destroyed.   Ford is far beyond the angry God of the Old Testament.





What was that pin that Logan was wearing in the last episode?









It was eerily similar to the, "Hand of the King" pin worn in "Game of Thrones".





Hey theorists, while we're on the subject of Logan, we find out the woman in the lost picture is actually his sister.  Wasn't it Abernathy that found the picture?  Or was it Dolores?  Either way, William must have kept and then lost it when he came back as the MiB?  Right?





   

Poor Teddy looks dumbstruck as usual.  Angela informs him he is still not ready.  And this is on the heels of Teddy being behind the great massacre!  At least he was Sheriff.

After stabbing him she lets him quietly pass while the "Wyatt's Wild Things" go about their business.   And what were they doing?  They looked like hogs snuffling around truffles.





Here's an interesting pairing.  Angela seems awfully self aware doesn't she?  She's like a game piece on a board that has come alive and disagrees with your movements.  Is she just the voice of a greater player or master  puppeteer?  Is she truly sentient?  If there is an "AI Arnold" then perhaps she is fully on his team and acting at his behest in real world.  Well, as real as anything gets in Westworld.  She seems to know what motivates the MiB and even teases him about his ultimate goal and playing the game.

If she is an independent actor then why haven't the rest graduated to her status?  Especially Maeve and Delores.  She's aware of cycles and deemed Teddy nearly ready so why hasn't she steered the others?

Hopefully her role will be a major part of the season finale and provide us with some answers.  (She was the original Hostess to the park, maybe she is the Hostess to the secrets of the Maze.)




Whoa, here's a pairing I didn't see coming.  If I understand this correctly, the MiB sits on the same Delos board as Charlotte and thereby could exert as much power as she.  Apparently he chooses not to and won't interfere with Charlotte's gambit against Ford.   The agreement being, she will not interfere with his.  So, it is no wonder he has so much freedom in Westworld.  Ford barely tolerates him but can't stop him either.  What an interesting dynamic this has been revealed to be.

The MiB is so lost in his role, he bought into the company just so he could pursue it.   Love him or hate him, the MiB is a god in his own right.  Just the disinterested kind.




Uh-oh, somebody has set Ashley Stubbs up.  Our favorite park security agent has followed a clue to Elsie's disappearance.  Where does he land?




Right in the middle of Ghost Nation.  (This scene reminded me of the original Jurassic Park movie where the hunter, "Muldoon" thought he had the Raptors cornered when it was really he in the trap.)

Remember what he said?


  

"Clever girl."  Right before he was chomped.  Poor Stubbs!  Was this Ford's doing?





As long as we are on the subject of Michael Crichton properties, that erudite gentleman who seemingly had his finger on the pulse of Jurassic Park, what was his name again?  Oh, that's right.

Arnold.


One Last Thing



When Dolores entered the Church she was in her riding garb.  (Like above.)  But when she entered the confessional she had switched to her Prairie Girl clothes.  (The third most picture above.)

As she walked through the basement hallway it is was littered with dead and broken bodies.




 As she turned, the bodies disappeared and she was back in her Prairie Girl outfit.

The hallways are similar yet different.  The "Riding Girl hallway" has horizontal stripes but no window.  "Prairie Girl" hallway has the window but no stripes.  The each have a runner rug and an electrical outlet.  Plus a double door and ceiling lights.  

Are they the same? 

You'd think so.  The difference may be due to the age of the park.  Perhaps thirty years if we use the death of Arnold as a benchmark.



  

When she exited she found the church empty.  No more babbling parishioners.  As you can see she is back in her riding garb.  Which should denote the present time line.  The MiB walks in also seeming to confirm the present time.  However, as I noted earlier,  the Church should be a burned out husk mostly buried in sand.  That's how the MiB remembered it.

Hopefully, next week we'll see Dolores and the MiB in the burnt out church.  How he got into a mostly buried church I can't say.

Here's a thought, he shares Dolores' vision because he's a Host too.  Oh c'mon, I'm sure Dolores is just imagined him entering the church.  Ha, ha the MiB can't really be a Host.

Right?
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Westworld Ho! - Trace Decay




Dear Man in Black,

I feel your pain sir.  Or is it flat out consternation?  Well, throw in a dash of confusion and there you have it.

When the MiB, who has seen everything Westworld can throw at him, the countless ages, the endless "loops" has a look like that on his face, then you know something big is going to happen.

Despite being tied up by Teddy, MiB was in his usual arrogant mood.  His familiarization with story lines and the boundaries that Teddy is governed by, lent him that confident and casual air.  Even when he observed Angela and Theodore entering a new story he remained sanguine.

The color only ran from his face when he saw this...






At least we know where the wild things are.

What are these things Supposedly, Wyatt's minions.  So does that make them Hosts too?  Shouldn't they be?  They certainly seem impervious to bullets like a Guest would be.  But nothing a little knife and axe work can't handle.

Here's a look at the beastie that attacked the MiB and Teddy at their camp. 




He (she?) sure is a fearsome looking brute.  The horned mask suggests a demonic presence as does the obscured face.  The overcoat is beset with buttons and other flourishes suggesting a military uniform as does its high collar.  However the coat does nothing to suggest it belongs to either the Union forces or the Confederados.

One would assume this odd amalgamation is designed to just instill fear.  Over-sized fur epaulets?

This wasn't the only sighting of Wyatt's Wild things. 






There's one pictured on Sizemore's storyboard just to the left of Charlotte Hale.  Hale continues to tempt Sizemore with a larger role in the parks hierarchy.  Post Dr. Ford of course.  She's making a power play and all the while also playing Sizemore as a dupe.

Back to the Wild Things.

The one pictured next to Hale is slightly different.  The horns aren't set quite like the one that attacked Teddy's camp.  The overcoat is quite similar but it is carrying a sword instead of an axe.  Cutting instruments seem important to the Wild Things.  More powerful against Guests?

The fact that one is included in Sizemore's "Wyatt" story line is intriguing.  If memory serves, Dr. Ford employed them earlier when he concocted a new narrative for Teddy.  One would think Dr. Ford is using the Wild Things knowing Sizemore is employing them too.  That way, Ford could blame anything that goes wrong on Sizemore.  If we can lay this at Ford at all.  This may be an Arnold thing.

For her part, Hale may want to use Wyatt and his Wild Things to counter any move by Ford and presumably lay the blame at his feet.  Sooo...


Hale's Counter Moves




Abernathy!

I was hoping we would see him again.  I had posited that he should be included in a list of suspects that may have absconded with Elsie.  That thinking may have changed considerably.  More on that soon.

Hale's plans to spirit the Westworld propriety information may have failed with the outing and "accident" to befall Theresa Cullen.  Now, it looks as though Abernathy will be used as a vessel to get that information out of the park.  Assuming he doesn't explode that is.  That's what writers are for right?  Start writing Sizemore.  

If Sizemore plans to write Abernathy through the park and out, then won't it be possible he may run into Maeve?  She too needs to leave the  park.  Add to this, William wants to get Dolores back to Sweetwater.  What are the odds Dolores runs into her old Dad there?  Pretty good I'd say.  I wonder how much trace memory each one will have for the other?



Disposable Things 


 

There was a lot of weird and wonderful things to like about this last episode of Westworld.  Not the least of which was the conversation between Bernard and Ford at the top of the episode.  

It wasn't long before we realized Ford was talking to the self-aware version of Bernard.  I don't know about you, but the repercussions of a self-aware A.I. and his creator talking to each other are, I don't know, Biblical.

Just imagine what is going through Bernard's head when he comes to grips with his artificiality, the fact that he murdered his former lover and the astounding revelation that Ford tells hem he has a heart!

Time for a memory wipe!

Poor Bernard, all of this comes flooding into his consciousness and then Ford tells him,

"Best not to dwell on these troubling memories, otherwise you might be drawn back into them."   

It's okay to have a heart Dr. Ford but not a soul?  (Hmm, is that the ultimate endgame for Westworld?)

Ford always thinks he is doing his Hosts a favor by wiping out their memories.  Sparing them the pain but robbing them of their soul.  Truly he is Dr. Frankenstein.  (Whom he quoted earlier.)  

Things are so disposable for Ford.



 

We get that juxtaposition of the Host's laying in waste as Bernard goes about his chores.  Then we get the ash of the time Bernard spent with Theresa.  Chilling.


 

Sylvester is needed until he isn't.





The new Clementine doesn't have much of a shelf life.





Settler Maeve and her daughter.  Slaughtered for a test.







The poor boy that died before Dolores and William.  (Did William kill him off camera?)


 

Dolores sees herself fallen. Her mission incomplete.




Naturally, Sizemore has to double down on disposability by having cannibalism introduced into his new narrative.

Is this what Westworld is trying to tell us?  That we are some much churn?  An endless loop of life and death without meaning?

That is brutally defeatist.  If I were a betting man I would say the eventual battle will be about heart and soul.

Oh wait, one last disposable...


   
So, have finally found out the fate of Elsie?  This was rather inglorious.  Reduced to an after thought in a flashback for Bernard.  He had asked Dr. Ford if he had ever done anything else like Theresa Cullen.  Of course not Bernard.  Yet that trace memory was there before it decayed.

I had thought Elsie may have been captured by Butts, Abernathy or Cottage Dad.  Was it really Bernard?  Or did he just choke her to silence her?

It doesn't look good for the intrepid Elsie but we will see.


Down By the River




Another mystery was solved when Dolores found what she was looking for.

Home.

Down by the lazy river where people come and go, they lean to dance and children are inquisitive.




Thanks for asking young lady.  It's good to be ho...Bang!  Was that a gunshot?

Yes it was, with plenty more to follow.  This is Lawrence's daughter.  The one that help point the way to the Maze for the MiB earlier in the season.  I'm thinking she is the mouthpiece for Arnold.  The artificial intelligence Arnold I'm hoping.  Things went straight to Hell right after this little conversation culminating in this.





After the carnage of what seems to be a training session early on for the Hosts, Dolores watches as she puts a gun to her own head.

This real but decaying memory could be very significant.  

My first thoughts were that Dolores was responsible for the carnage and she then took her own to finish the reset.

Yes, reset.  What else could it be?  Who is responsible for the delirious Dolores? Is this part of the possible war that led to the fallout between Arnold and Dr. Ford?

My thinking is, Ford sent Dolores to her home to wipe the slate clean.  Arnold was making progress with his own vision of the park and it's nascent Hosts and Ford would have none of that.  

What cinches this theory for me is what Dolores says at the end of her quick cut rapid fire memory burst.

"This is what Arnold wants."


video


I tried to capture the dream sequence and was somewhat successful.  Here's what essentially happened.

  • An ominous bell tolls as images flash by.
  • We see the desolate church steeple and then the whole one.
  • A mysterious face behind a gilded door.
  • Dolores appears briefly.  Eyes red rimmed and behind a yellow candle.
  • A hand cranks what appears to be a music player.
  • A woman cries out on her knees surrounded by bodies.  Angela?
  • The church door is zoomed in on.
  • A dirt image of the Maze appears.

That bell picked up it's pace as the video proceeded and was pretty spooky.  There seems to be some significance between the new and the wrecked church (Duh.)  Was that Dolores that appears behind that fancy doorHer's is the next face we see albeit very briefly.   Her eyes are red rimmed as if she had been crying.  There is a candle in the foreground.  Is she in the Church and perhaps attending a funeral?



Above is a recently released picture from, "The Well Tempered Clavier."  The "fancy door" I spoke of is now fully pictured and it was indeed the face of Dolores behind the door.  The candles and the door suggest she is inside the Church.  Is she coming out of a confessional or some sort of alcove?  

It's worthy to note she is in her riding garb as opposed to the "prairie girl outfit" she wore at the end of the "rapid fire memory" when she held a gun to her head.  So, is this not a flashback?  William was intent on getting her back to Sweetwater so either this is happening in a new Church setup or the flashbacks keep recycling and this particular one has been updated to mark her progress.  

Maybe Dolores is getting closer to Arnold.

Let's continue on to the rest.

I'm thinking that hand cranked device is some sort of music machine.  (A Clavier?)  Perhaps it provided the music for the dancing lesson.  I'm beginning to wonder if it also provides some sort of subliminal instructions for the Hosts if not just Dolores.  The music may have instructed her to shoot all the Host and then herself in order to establish the reset or counter coup if you will.  It also reminds me of the player piano that is in every episode.  Is it also cranking out subliminal messages?  I bet it is and it will play a large role in the finale.


The crying woman on her knees surrounded by bodies seems to be Angela.  She's the woman that survived the Wyatt massacre that Teddy and the MiB happened upon.  She seemed oddly aware of Teddy's status and acutely aware of his role.  Is she part of the reset and that is why she got a small role in the flashback dream?

The Church door is quickly zoomed in on as if it is beckoning you to enter and then we get the maze scrawled into the earth.  So the Maze is tied to entering the Church?  Is that why the Church lies in ruin now?   

Enter the Church, find the Maze and save the Cheerleader?  (I'm teasing about the Cheerleader for Heroes fans but maybe Dolores plays the Cheerleader here.) 


A-Maze-ing Coincidence

 


So, not only did Dolores see the Maze in her rapid fire memory, the MIB recounted it in his tale of woe to Teddy.

Another mystery is solved here as the two figures centered in the Maze scrawl is Maeve and her daughter. MiB was testing his good versus evil quotient, (I think he failed the "Good" part since he felt nothing of shooting the two and didn't even pick up on his wife's suicide), and after Maeve was shot she staggered to a large maze drawing.  Was this a metaphorical scene or was there really a giant dirt Maze scrawl outside the house?

MiB was shocked at Maeve's advanced behavior and this is likely what started him on his Maze quest.   But why?  To find the last vestige of humanity in artificiality?  


Faces


 
Here's the Angela I've been referring to. She's also known as Parasol Girl and of course the Hostess with the Mostess that welcomed William to Westworld upon his first visit.  She is actress Talulah Riley that was once married to Elon Musk.




Here's a face we could have done without seeing again.  Logan.  Naturally he's joined the Confederados.  I had a theory he may be trapped somewhere deep in the Maze some thirty years after William left him in Pariah.  Well, he's not in Pariah anymore but that doesn't mean William still can't exact some sort of revenge on him.  Especially if he threatens Dolores.




This one is a beauty.  It's angry Bernard when he claims he'll no longer follow Ford's murderous plans.  He looks pretty murderous here and he had a flashback to Elsie right around the same time.  Relax Bernie time for your memory wipe.

Think there will be any trace decay?