Sun
Nov 6 2016 10:00pm

Westworld 1.06: “The Adversary” Episode Review

Things are ratcheting up and growing increasingly sticky. Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) start digging deeper into the satellite device she discovered in the woodcutter’s arm. Believing the hosts are not going off kilter but are being used for industrial espionage, Bernard goes to the restricted sub-subbasement—where the lights flicker and flash, making work conditions non-ergonomic—to access legacy information that can’t be read by the new systems. While data mining, additional anomalies are detected: unregistered hosts in sector 17. Bernard is puzzled.

Bernard wants to come clean to Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who thinks he’s come to her equally dark office to talk about their relationship, which she puts the knife in. Because of her cold nature, he decides not to confide in her. 

Elsie is looking at the situation as potential promotional material after the corporate espionage is exposed. When she discovers the satellite is theirs and someone from inside is broadcasting to the hosts—which is why the robots are hearing voices—she heads off to sector 3 to look for the mole. She realizes this is deep but doesn’t seem concerned about getting caught investigating, like there won’t be any ramifications. A little naïve, wouldn’t you say? At a warehouse of sorts, she scours the room and locates a relay in an old wooden trunk. She requests a log of previous users from the computer.

Bernard inquires at security of any unexpected guests or techs in sector 17, but no one has been there since it’s been restricted for development. He goes himself and finds a house with a man walking inside. Bernard follows, and there sits the boy (Oliver Bell) who’s been wandering about the park. The father attacks, and when Bernard’s commands to stop fail, Ford (Anthony Hopkins) appears and intervenes.

He calls them “survivors of the wreck of time.” They are first generation, created by Arnold as a gift to Ford, based on Ford’s own family—“Great artists always hide themselves in their work” is what Arnold told him. He didn’t have the heart to destroy the family, so now he maintains them. Bernard respectfully says it’s not right, and Ford asks for him to indulge him, saying if you could see your son again, would you want it?

Later, Bernard visits Theresa at her house, feeling obligated, despite their own relationship dilemma, to tell her about Ford’s secret robot stash. He ignores a call from Elsie, and he’s about to express his concerns when Elsie calls a second time and spills on Theresa as the mole. And there’s more, but he interrupts that he’ll have to call her back. When he does, Elsie reveals that Theresa is involved in reprogramming the older models’ prime directives so that they can lie to humans and hurt them.

Elsie goes back to gathering more data when she hears a noise, then someone grabs her from behind. Totally saw that coming. But who is it?

Theresa has been having some troubles with writer Lee (Simon Quarterman), who’s been down and out ever since his narratives were scrapped. At the employee recreation center, he approaches a woman and, after a mildly flirtatious exchange, ends up giving her an earful on all the anomalies that have been happening around the park and all the problems with the executives. She walks away after the bartender tells him he’s been cut off. 

Later, at the amphitheater, Lee begins pissing on the model from up above, and Theresa walks in asking if it’s his way of filing a complaint. He says he’s claiming it as his stage and will do whatever he wants. She then introduces him to the woman who he’d rambled on to earlier as Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), the new executive director of the board who’s come to oversee “certain transitions.” Is it time to say bye-bye to Lee?

Ford is in Valparaiso with a crew to map out the new development. He sees a maze carved in the table top and seems to consider it. Back in his office, he opens a notebook and stops on a page with the same maze sketched out. Wonder what his connection to the maze is going to turn out to be? Is he also searching for it, or trying to keep it hidden? My guess is Arnold is the center of the maze, and Bob Ford is just as eager as everyone else to find it before anyone finds out the truth about him and his operations. 

Later on, Ford meets with the little boy (is it supposed to be him or Ford’s brother?) to play catch with him and the dog. But the dog is dead … killed. Ford asks what happened, and the boy lies at first about it going after a rabbit. But then, he admits he killed the dog because a voice told him to do it. Arnold! 

Teddy’s (James Marsden) looking in tip-top form these days after the previous episode’s impromptu blood transfusion from the man in black (Ed Harris)—like having the oil changed in a worn-down engine. He tells the man in black of a native legend of a man who kills over and over and always fought his way back to life. The man returned for a last time, built a house with a maze so complex surrounding it that no one can get to it (probably where Arnold is).

They encounter a Union “camp” and decide to pose as soldiers to get past, but Teddy is recognized as a traitor and the pair is captured and tied up. When Teddy is about to be branded—with an iron shaped as the maze—he breaks free and levels the whole camp with a Gatling, apparently for the second time (or more?) because in a flashback just moments before, he sees himself, not Wyatt, gunning down the entire troop in the town of Escalante. The man in black says “think you know someone,” to which Teddy replies, “You don’t know me at all.”

Maeve (Thandie Newton) takes extreme measures to see Lutz (Leonardo Nam) again … she gets herself strangled by a customer in the heat of the moment. When she awakens on Lutz’s table, who, by the way, is reluctant to see her, they discuss the nature of being human versus robot. To prove that she’s not human, Lutz shows her the algorithms used to program her verbal responses. She overloads and shuts down to his distress. He doesn’t want to get fired for tampering with the commodity, but he’s also intrigued because he realizes that she’s different in exhibiting human qualities.

When Maeve comes back online, Lutz is relieved, and he reluctantly grants her request to go to the upper levels. She sees all kinds of strangeness: dead bodies being hosed off, people practicing routines, animals roaming in glass cubicles, heads being detailed, and we finally get to see the process when the white plasticky body frames attached to the circular rack become more flesh-like as a blood colored fluid is pumped in. But Maeve is shaken most after seeing a clip of herself in a video introduction playing for the guests on the floor of the park entrance. 

Back in the lab, she asks how did they get her dreams, and Lutz explains the concept of previous builds. That’s when his partner walks in and threatens to go to QA for misconduct. Maeve steps in, scalpel in hand, saying he’ll do no such thing … “I know all about you, Sylvester” (Ptolemy Slocum). When she finally convinces Sylvester that he has no other choice but to help her, he logs into the behavior module and hands the tablet over to Lutz.

She instructs him to downgrade her loyalty and pain levels, when he notices that someone has already been in the system making modifications to her unit. Sylvester panics, but Maeve insists they follow through. She demands her bulk apperception be maximized. When Lutz does it, like an epiphany washing over her, she shivers in a moment of ecstasy and then says, “Dear boys, we are going to have some fun …”

See also: Westworld 1.05: “Contrapasso” Episode Review

 


David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

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