10:00pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Westworld': 10 Key Moments From "The Stray"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the third episode of HBO's Westworld.]
In the third episode of HBO drama Westworld, Dolores' (Evan Rachel Wood) journey through a nightmarish Wonderland of sorts was made explicit in the opening scene, in which she reads a passage from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
"Dear, dear! How queer everything is today," Dolores reads out loud, in front of curious scientist Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright). "And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've been changed in the night?"
It's an outward projection of Dolores' evolution through the series, beyond the fact that her blue dress already gives her the appearance of an Alice of sorts. And it's only one of many details worth keying in on over the course of the episode, called "The Stray." Here's everything that deserves closer scrutiny:
1. Through the Looking Glass
It's not just a passage she's reading. Dolores is changing, and it's at least partly thanks to Bernard speeding her along the path toward self-discovery. Near the end of the episode, Bernard questions whether or not he should allow Dolores to continue toward becoming aware of her reality. He's convinced to continue the experiment by one of her self-evaluations: "There aren't two versions of me. There's only one. And I think when I discover who I am, I'll be free." Perhaps she's right, but in this case, "free" comes at a high price.
2. Bernard's Secret
Why is Bernard so fascinated with Dolores, anyway? Perhaps it has something to do with the dark secret in his past: his son, Charlie, is dead, the circumstances not currently known for the viewer. Bernard occasionally speaks with his estranged wife (Gina Torres) about Charlie, but otherwise, the only thing he has left of his son is "pain." Is it possible that Bernard's interest in Dolores' growing consciousness is leading the scientist toward a way of reinventing his son?
3. Hey Arnold
Bernard isn't the only Westworld scientist with a secret. In the episode, Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) finally opens up about Arnold, one of the co-founders of the park, who developed a theory that the hosts could have actual working consciousness. Arnold died in the park — "an accident," according to official but likely inaccurate reports — and for whatever reason, certain hosts in the park are now exhibiting behavior linked to the deceased scientist's theories. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to this man from Ford's past, and only a matter of time before it's revealed.
4. A Thousand Deaths
If the show continues on its current path, then expect Teddy Flood (James Marsden) to die in every single episode of Westworld. He died twice in the premiere, once in the second episode, and at least one more time in episode three — and likely again during an ambush near the end of the hour. As Robert Ford (and Shakespeare) puts it: "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once … but you have died at least a thousand times, and it hasn't dulled your courage."
5. The Legend of Wyatt
In the same scene between Ford and Flood, details start to emerge about the veritable Victor Frankenstein's new narrative. It involves a menacing figure called Wyatt, a Civil War soldier who goes down a dark path. Ford ties Teddy into the narrative, giving him memories of his days fighting alongside Wyatt as a fellow soldier and friend, and finally adding some clarity to the nebulous guilt that's driven Teddy forward all these years.
6. Maeve Remembers
It's a quick flash, and then it's gone, but it's worth capturing the moment nonetheless: Maeve (Thandie Newton) remembers her traumatic trip behind the Westworld curtain. The memory hits her when she passes Teddy in the saloon, her mind racing back to visions of Teddy's lifeless body in cold storage. Chalk it up to Maeve's growing awareness, or her surgeons not following protocol with wiping her memory clean. In either case, it's bad news for all the humans who dare to cross her path.
7. Stars and Strays
Elsewhere in the episode, Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) stroll through Westworld in pursuit of a host who has wandered away from his storyline, inexplicably off-script. They discover the host's obsession with carving star patterns into pieces of wood, and later, are shocked further when the host violently commits suicide in front of them by smashing his own head in with a boulder. Westworld rocks, often literally.
8. First Blood
The episode sees two characters enacting their first kills of the series: Dolores shoots and kills Rebus (Steven Ogg), the milk-guzzling bandit who shoots up the Abernathy family virtually every night — a stark contrast to Dolores' inability to fire a gun during an earlier scene with Teddy. Meanwhile, William (Jimmi Simpson) shoots a criminal in the middle of Sweetwater, earning the admiration of Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) and scoring cool points with Logan (Ben Barnes). It also gives William his first taste of Westworld's potential, inspiring him to join a search party looking to thwart some other deadly outlaws.
9. Something Nice Back Home
There's another key moment for William in this episode, though it's a quieter moment. After killing the bandit, Logan offers to buy William a prostitute, telling him he'll want the memories "after you've been married to my sister for a year." So, there you have it: William and Logan aren't just colleagues, but are about to become brothers-in-law. Suppose that's one way to throw a bachelor party!
10. The Connection
The episode closes the same as the previous episode: William meeting Dolores. Except this time, the circumstances are much darker than picking up a can of condensed milk. Dolores walks into William and Logan's camp in the middle of the night, shortly after she's killed Rebus and fled the farm. Will white hat William convince black hat Logan to help Dolores along? It's a question that's bound to get answered in the weeks ahead, and far from the only mystery surrounding William.
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