Am I the only one still freaking out over last night’s episode of Westworld? I mean, it was huge!! You can check out Part I of my recap here, where I talked a lot about what was going on with Will and Logan, and hints that we got about Arnold. But here, I want to talk about the ladies of Westworld. There’s a lot I’m missing in my recaps, I know. I wish I could cover everything! Like that big Lawrence reveal, or that meeting between Dr. Ford and the Man in Black! But believe me, plenty of other sites are talking about those, Entertainment Weekly is a great source that I personally am always referencing. Here, at least in this post, I want to talk about how HBO is living up to their promises, and how the women of this show are standing proudly in the spotlight. Where to begin?
Elsie Goes Solo
To be completely honest, I feel like Elsie is pretty underappreciated. To be fair, there are a lot of incredible characters and plots to follow, but Elsie is up there with the best. She’s working on one of the hosts who just can’t seem to pour drinks properly (problematic considering he’s a bartender), when she sees the body of the host who bashed his head in being rolled away. She quickly runs to ask where it’s being taken when she finds out it will be incinerated after being taken to livestock. And this is where Elsie decides she’s not sitting idly by. She knows something is up with the hosts and she is determined to find out what it is.
Elsie heads down and talks to a guy (surgeon? doctor?) named Dustin. She quickly pulls out her phone and shows him a surveillance video of him having sex with one of the hosts. She smiles sweetly, letting him know that the hosts still log activity, even down here. Her blackmail is pretty clear. And while I’m normally not a fan of the blackmail approach, I was cheering her on the entire time. Her threat works, and she gains access to look at the host. Now this is where it gets really interesting, because she finds something that, for me at least, was unexpected. When examining his arm, she finds a laser hidden under the skin in his hand. She slowly tears open the skin to reveal the entire device, which turns out to be a laser-based satellite uplink. Someone has been using the hosts to smuggle this device out of the park.
If you’re feeling a little lost, don’t worry. You’re not alone. This show is designed to keep you on your toes – everyone’s kind of just guessing at what’s going to happen next. What you do need to know is that there is someone on the inside (Arnold probably, but who knows?) that is working to get this park shutdown. Probably for ethical reasons, but maybe it runs deeper than that. Either way, smuggling laser-based satellite uplinks is bad, and Elsie and Bernard aren’t happy.
Yes!!! Am I the only one that was totally clapping and cheering this whole episode for Dolores!? We’ve sensed that a change is coming in her character, but we had no idea how soon. We discovered this episode that whatever voice she hears in her head, she’s helping it to take down the park from the inside. Now, some people thought that Dolores would become the villain, but as of yet, that isn’t the case. She’s still one of the heroes, pretty far from the evil scale from where I’m standing. But she’s definitely stronger and more dangerous than she ever has been. But before I get to that, we need to talk about the tarot reading scene.
Trying to get away from Will and Logan’s bickering, she wanders the halls until she comes across a tarot reader. She sits down and picks a card that happens to have a picture of the maze on it. She asks the reader what it means, but when she looks up, she sees herself. This other version of Dolores tells her that she must follow the maze. When Dolores asks what’s wrong with her, she responds, “Perhaps you’re unraveling,” and looks to her wrist. Dolores then sees a thread poking out of her arm and starts to tug on it, tearing her skin open. She looks at this other version of herself in horror, but when she looks back down, her arm is fine. In actuality, she isn’t going crazy at all, but finally starting to see the truth, as gruesome as it may be.
Fearful, she runs through the place until she spies Lawrence and discovers that he intends to double cross them. She finds Will and tells him they have to get out of there. Will isn’t too thrilled about it at this point, and we probably have Logan to thank for that. Scratch that. We definitely have Logan to thank for that. Will talks about how the park creates a sense of urgency to strip them down to something primal and animalistic, and he doesn’t want to play the game anymore. But Dolores begs, explaining that whatever voice in her head she hears, it’s telling her that she needs him. And that’s when (FINALLY) she kisses him.
YES!! I mean, we knew that chances were she was going to initiate anything romantic, and I’m so glad she did. It awakens something in Will, and I honestly believe it’s part of what causes him to leave Logan to his fate. But then Will and Dolores are trapped themselves, backed into a corner. Will manages to shoot one of them down but then is pressed up against a wall. He shouts for Dolores to run, but suddenly she shifts. The fear in her eyes disappears. She’s cold. And in less than five seconds, all four men are dead.
She calmly puts her gun back in her holster, and Will looks at her in shock. “How did you do that?” he asks. “You said people come here to change the story of their lives. I imagined a story where I didn’t have to be the damsel.”
That moment was so incredible. Because here’s the thing: so often in fiction, women are portrayed to either be a bad ass, or be in a relationship. But there’s no rule anywhere that she can’t be both. So why doesn’t it happen a lot? This trope is one that’s starting to change, thankfully, and Dolores is a bigger part of this movement than I ever could have hoped for. Because of her, they escape the town and have hitched a ride with Lawrence. And with Dolores on his side, I have a feeling Will’s going to be just fine.
Bless you, HBO. Bless you!
This scene!!! For the episode’s finale, we return to the lab, where one of the surgeons, Felix, is working on a secret project of his own. He has taken a dead bird from the park in hopes to bring it back to life. Apparently this is something that hasn’t been done before, and something that he thinks could earn him a big promotion. But he keeps glancing over at Maeve’s body while he works. After that one time she woke up, he’s feeling antsy, understandably. But work on the bird he does, and after some tinkering, the bird starts chirping and flying again. It’s this incredible, quite beautiful moment. He watches it fly around the room, and when it flies over to Maeve, his face falls. It lands on her finger, which she is holding out to it. “Hello Felix,” she says, glancing back at the bird and smiling. “It’s time you and I had a chat.”
This was so huge. Terrifying and mesmerizing and inspiring all at once, it proves that something is changing fast in the hosts. Not only is Dolores breaking out of her loop, but now Maeve is able to wake herself up!? And it isn’t like last time. Last time she was terrified and disoriented. This time, she is herself. She’s calm and collected and knows exactly what’s going on. And she intends to learn all she can from Felix. Obviously this won’t go unnoticed. It looks like next episode they’ll be studying Hector as well. But is this a problem that can be fixed? If we can even call it a problem, because aren’t a lot of us kind of rooting for the hosts? Either way, this was a huge game-changer, and I simply cannot wait until next week’s episode!
And that’s Part II everyone! I hope you enjoyed these recaps, remember that you can check out what’s going on with Logan, Will, and Arnold back in my first recap! What did you think of the episode? Favourite part? Feel free to geek out with me in the comments!