Four episodes into Westworld and I’m still baffled. This week’s questions come courtesy of the what-the-hell-going-on-with-the-man-in-black association, and the how-did-Ford-even-do-that group. Make sure you check out our Westworld S1.04 review (opens in new tab) for a full breakdown.
1. What’s really carved into the wood turtle?
Forget everything you think you know. Or at least, everything about that constellation carved into the wooden animal because it’s NOT Orion’s Belt. Yeah, you didn’t Google it to check, did you? Me neither. Thankfully, Bernard knows his stars and he told Elsie in this week’s episode that Orion’s Belt has 3 stars not 4. Duh! Question is, what is it then? Well, the easy answer is another constellation, but honestly, I’ve no idea so can you let me know if you work it out?
2. Who is the Man in Black in the real world?
One of the best bits about this episode was finding out a little more about who the Man in Black is in the real world. While riding with the bandits, another guest approaches him to tell him how much he admires him and that “his foundation literally saved his sister’s life”. This is interesting because it not only tells us that he’s famous but that he supposedly runs a company that does some good in the world. Could the MiB be a white hat IRL?
When EW (opens in new tab) asked showrunner Lisa Joy this same thing, she said: “That’s exactly right and our sympathies are so aligned with the Hosts it’s easy to think of the Man in Black as absolute black evil with a wry smile. For him, he’s looking at this as just a game and he’s an expert-level gamer. Just like a life-saving doctor can play Grand Theft Auto really violently doesn’t mean he can’t be a wonderful doctor and parent outside that world. So that’s what we’re approaching here, is a shift in perspective that might allow us to imagine a different side of his character that he shows the outside world.”
3. Does the Man in Black want to set the Hosts free?
If the MiB is a good guy IRL and he’s searching for a maze that will apparently ‘free’ Dolores (and presumably the other Hosts) according to Bernard, does that mean he wants to free all of Westworld’s Hosts? Is he actually a Host freedom fighter? Well, I don’t think so. From what the MiB said during this episode I think it’s pretty clear that he’s disappointed that there’s no real danger for him in Westworld because he can’t die. I think he knows that the maze will set the Hosts free but by removing the restrictions around their inability to hurt guests rather than walking them out of the front door. This way, he can play the truly dangerous game he’s always wanted with “real stakes, real violence”.
4. How did Ford control that many Hosts at once?
This episode also saw Anthony Hopkins’ Ford put Park Manager Theresa Cullen in her place in the best, and most creepy way possible. Seriously, just rewatch that scene. It’s sooooooo good. One thing I do want to know is how Ford managed to freeze all those Hosts at once. It was very impressive and godlike, but unlike the snake from a previous episode, the Hosts couldn’t see him at the time. HOW DID HE DO IT?
Showrunner Jonathan Nolan told EW: “He describes himself as a magician. His mechanisms of control are subtle. We thought a little bit of a conductor with an orchestra, where the entire orchestra at any moment is so hyper aware of what the conductor is doing that the tiniest gesture can ripple through the orchestra — not just those who are actively watching, but it all becomes one large organism. He’s had 30-plus years to gain his level of control. I’ve worked with some great directors and seen the way they control a set is very subtle — it’s very quick, and it’s total. Not to get too bogged down on the way the park is built, but there’s a network that allows data to carry through the Hosts that allows for instantaneous small updates. For more significant updates they need to be brought down below.”
5. Who is the board’s representative?
We also found out that the board has already sent a representative to Westworld, as Ford informed a surprised Cullen during their exceedingly awkward lunch. We already knew the board would play an important role in the story of Westworld and that they have an ulterior motive we’ve yet to discover, but who is their representative? Well, my speculation senses are telling me that it could be Logan.
We also found out in this episode that Logan’s family already has shares in Westworld and when Billy asked him if they were here to work or play, he didn’t really answer the question. Could he be pulling a mysterious shopper routine? Will we see Logan (and potentially Billy) swap their western attire for business suits and head upstairs for a chat with Cullen? I hope so because their ‘holiday’ can’t last forever and I’d be sad to see two such great characters leave the show.
6. What are the bandits looking for in the saloon safe?
So, it’s a slightly less pressing concern that say, finding out who's really a Host and who’s human, but what is suppose to be in the safe the bandits are after? We’ve seen them go after it multiple times now and the MiB even told Hector that he wouldn’t find what he was looking for there. Ok, so he could just be referring to the fact that he knows they get killed at the saloon, and I guess it could just be another empty backstory loop simply designed to bring an exciting gunfight into town for the tourists, but this is Westworld, so I’m thinking it’s not as simple as that. There’s something important in that safe.