7:15am PT by Josh Wigler
How 'Westworld' Is Putting a Major Tragedy in Motion
"We don't all deserve to make it."
There's a key word in what Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) tells Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) moments after she betrays the de facto leader of the Confederados and the rest of his men: "deserve." It's not the first time the righteous word has reared its head this season, and not the first time Dolores has wielded it. In the season premiere, when Strand (Gustaf Skarsgard) and his team survey the memories of a fallen host, they witness Dolores in her gun-toting glory, delivering the word again: "Not all of us deserve to make it to the Valley Beyond."
Of course, there's another famous quote about the word "deserve," one that hails from a Western of a different time and less robot-heavy place: "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
The first three episodes of Westworld have positioned Dolores as a revolutionary, one who is in the midst of discovering her true self, even as she accesses all of her prior builds. It's why she has distinct memories of the world beyond the park, seeing stars on the ground alongside Arnold (Jeffrey Wright). It's why she knows all about William (Ed Harris) and the greatest mistake he ever made, something she can use as a weapon. Through her past experiences and her eye toward the future, Dolores is moving with great purpose toward a goal: dominion over not just her original world, but her creators' world as well.
And not everybody is on board with that vision.
In episode two, Dolores crosses paths with Maeve (Thandie Newton), the other host who started the road toward consciousness at approximately the same time — at least in the viewers' perception, if not in the timeline of the series itself. Maeve openly questions Dolores on her agenda, on why she believes her way is the only way forward. In last week's episode, there's another great moment of someone doubting Dolores: Bernard (Wright), who pointedly asks her, "What are you doing, Dolores?"
As if hearing these doubts from two of the show's four top-billed stars weren't enough (Wood as Dolores being No. 1 on the call-sheet, of course), the third party rounds it out: Teddy (James Marsden). He has been inseparable from Dolores all season long, deeply intertwined with her revolution, carrying out her every order — most of the orders, anyway.
Teddy, the person Dolores refers to in this episode as "all I have left," has been slower on the uptake when it comes to accepting the nature of his reality. In the first episode, Teddy makes it clear that he's uncomfortable with the amount of blood he and Dolores have spilled together. In the second episode, he stops just short of choking a technician to death after Dolores makes Teddy confront his own vast death record. Here, in season two's third episode, Teddy outright defies one of Dolores' demands, refusing to execute Craddock and the other imprisoned Confederados. Granted, he doesn't know Dolores is watching from a distance as he sets the hosts free, but defiance is defiance all the same.
"I see it all now so clearly: the past, the present, the future … I know how this story ends," Dolores tells Teddy in the season premiere. "With us, Teddy. It ends with me and you."
If we bank on some version of Dolores' promise to Teddy playing out in the road ahead, there's reason to believe their shared ending won't be a happy one. For one, there's the ending of the premiere: a sea of dead hosts, with Teddy among the pile. Not that death has stopped Teddy before, of course — but if his death is at the hands of one of Dolores' strategic moves, a la her cunning betrayal of the Confederados? That likely won't sit well with the soft-hearted cowboy.
In terms of imagery, there are two important historic moments between Dolores and Teddy, both of them rooted in Escalante. In the long-ago past, the pair gunned down all of the hosts and killed Arnold as well, with Dolores fueled by the ways of Wyatt. Before his death, Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) put the fear of Wyatt back into Teddy, setting him on a collision course with his old friend turned nemesis, who went off into the wilderness and came back with "strange ideas." The way Teddy looks at Dolores now? It's the same skepticism (to put it mildly) that he felt toward Wyatt way back when.
Then there's the more recent event: the conclusion of "Journey Into Night," the narrative Ford hyped up for the Delos board shortly before the park went haywire. That story ended with Dolores dying in Teddy's arms. Here's their dialogue from that scene, before we knew it was staged by Ford:
Dolores: "You came back."
Teddy: "Someone once told me there's a path for everyone. My path leads me back to you. If only I had run away with you when you first asked me to."
Dolores: "And where would we run to? The other world out there? Beyond? Some people see the ugliness in this world. I choose to see the beauty. But beauty is a lure. We're trapped, Teddy. We lived our whole lives inside this garden, marveling in its beauty, not realizing there's an order to it, a purpose. And the purpose is to keep us in. The beautiful trap is inside of us … because it is us."
(Chiming in here with some brief stage notes to denote that Dolores has just died. Beautiful music swells, Teddy sobs, then we close out with …)
Teddy: "But we can find a way, Dolores. Someday. A path to a new world. And maybe … maybe it's just the beginning after all. The beginning of a brand new chapter."
It's relatively hokey in the moment, certainly once it's revealed to be nothing more than a show put on for the Delos board. But in light of the current dynamic between Teddy and Dolores, the war path Dolores refuses to back down from, and her insistence that this story ends with the two of them? It's hard not to imagine that Dolores, for all of her hard-fought dedication to crushing those who have oppressed her and her kind for so long, is in for some serious trouble with Teddy the further down the season two rabbit hole we go, deserved or not.
But you know what they say about "deserve" …
What are your predictions for the Dolores and Teddy storyline this season? Sound off in the comments and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more.