Westworld episode 6 is here and with it, a whole… host (sorry!) of questions to be answered. If you haven’t seen the new episode yet, look away now, but everyone else can read on and find out what’s happened to Elsie, why Maeve has so much power, and if that Host in storage is really who we think it is.
1. Why can't the body techs just shut Maeve down?
This episode saw Thandie Newton’s Maeve really come into her own. After frightening the life out of Felix at the end of episode 5, she’s back down with the body tech asking more pesky questions. I won’t bore you with the details of what happens - if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about - but it’s safe to say that by the end of the episode Maeve is causing real problems for Felix and Sylvester. While it’s a fantastic plot point (and some of the best acting I’ve ever seen), it does beg the question, why can’t the body techs just shut Maeve down and do a full memory reboot/wipe?
We know they have the power to do that - they can control all the Hosts completely - and sure, it would be a bit awkward to do it while Maeve was glaring right at them but she wouldn’t remember. Entertainment Weekly very wisely asked showrunner Jonathan Nolan this very question and in reply he had one thing to say: “I will point you toward episode 8.” Ok… that doesn’t really help right now, but it does tell us that we’re going to get an answer soon and it’s not just a plot hole they’ve missed. Bring on episode 8 then!
2. Why is Teddy a cold-blooded killer now?
Teddy is currently travelling with the Man in Black to save Dolores. Or so he thinks. From the very start of the season he’s been the good guy, but this episode saw a rather disturbing change in character. After the pair get captured by some Confederados, Teddy escapes and while the MiB (aka, Mr Evil) yells for them to just run away, Teddy decides to gun down every Host there so they won’t be followed. Yes, Teddy. Given that this is just not like James Marsden’s character as all, I have to ask, did Ford do something to him to change his personality when he gave him a backstory?
“That is a really great question,“ showrunner Lisa Joy tells EW. “Ford has given Teddy an update with a new backstory that he believes. It’s a new cornerstone for him. So the question becomes: Who is he really? In the multitude of people that Teddy has been — the lovestruck and doomed gunslinger, the avenging dark man — ultimately where’s the center of that? That’s something we’ll keep exploring as we’ll go along.”
Nolan adds: “The tragedy of the hosts when we find them in the first season is they don’t fit the definition of anything. They’re not psychotic, or bloodthirsty, they’re not really any of those things — right up until that point when they start to develop their own personalities. Nothing we’ve seen them do is anything they haven’t been programmed to do. If Teddy is psychotic in one version of himself, it’s only because that’s what Ford or someone else has programmed him to be. You get into this delicious nature vs. nurture question here, that reflects back on human beings.”
3. Was that really Yul Brynner’s gunslinger?
You know the bit I’m talking about. When Bernard goes down to the old Westworld offices to dig up some information, he glances to one side and we see the fuzzy outline of an old Host standing in the corner. It’s only for a moment but if you’re a fan of the original 1973 movie, you probably recognised him. It looks like Yul Brynner’s gunslinger - basically the film’s version of the Man in Black who was actually a malfunctioning Host who started killing guests. Westworld’s showrunners have said that the movie and the TV show are part of the same universe though, so are we just imagining things? No. EW asked Nolan for confirmation of the Easter egg and he was pleased to give it: “It was a little tip of the hat. We didn’t want to feature it too heavily, we don’t want you reading too much into that.”
4. Why is Theresa Cullen transmitting data out of Westworld?
This episode also revealed that the person who tampered with the woodcutter Host and is sneaking data out of Westworld is none other than Park Director, Theresa Cullen. Which is kind of surprising as you’d think she has access to pretty much everything within Westworld. On the other hand, we know what she’s more a businesswoman than a tech person so maybe she doesn’t understand what she has and needs a second opinion. Or maybe she does, but she needs to get it out of Westworld for some dastardly scheme she’s plotting. We know that Ford keeps the secrets of his creations well protected and there’s certainly money to be made by recreating what he’s done with Westworld. Could she even be sneaking the data out for Westworld’s own board who we know are working on a larger plan involving AI?
5. What’s happened to Elsie?
As good as Westworld is, it’s still not immune from the classic movie and TV tropes, which is why we ALL saw Elsie’s attack at the end of this episode coming. I mean, she walked into a creepy, abandoned theatre on her own to try and find the person betraying them, for crying out loud. Obviously, all we got to see was someone grabbing her so what’s happened to her? Is she being held captive? Has she been cut up into little pieces? Was it just a joke and she’s having a good ol’ laugh with her workplace BFF who we’ve never met before? Hey, it could happen… Joy told EW that she loves Elsie’s character but that she’s “also worried about her character. She’s been fearless and asking questions she shouldn’t ask that are the exact ones I would ask in that situation. I’m hopeful she’s okay but worried she’s not.” What kind of answer is that? You know if she’s ok or not - just tell us!
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