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“Dear boys, we’re going to have some fun, aren’t we?”
Maeve (Thandie Newton) speaks to her new accomplices in this moment, but in reality, she’s speaking to the Westworld fans who just emerged on the other side of “The Adversary,” the sixth episode of the HBO series. As teased at the end of “Contrapasso,” Maeve is wide awake with full awareness of the nature of her reality — if not fully aware of who’s responsible for her awakening. Maeve’s discovery of her artificial existence is at once heartbreaking, exhilarating and deeply troubling for anyone foolish enough to cross her in the future.
In addition to Maeve’s massive leap forward, here are the other key moments from the episode:
1. The Mole Stands Revealed
It’s Theresa (Sidse Babbett Knudson), head of operations at Westworld, the park’s liaison to the Delos board, and the woman who was sleeping with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) right up until this week. Her reasons remain unknown, but Elsie (Shannon Woodward) calls Bernard with the news during the most awkward moment possible: Bernard in Theresa’s headquarters, about to deliver some crucial evidence against Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Good timing with that call, Elsie. As for what’s next for Theresa and why? That’s a story for another week.
2. Sizemore, Party Less
Let’s turn toward another of Westworld’s more important behind-the-scenes players — at least, he considers himself an important player; jury’s out on whether anyone else agrees. Narrative director Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) disappeared from the screen after episode two, and it seems he’s spent his days off with a poolside margarita or eight. After some ribbing from Theresa, Sizemore gets so pissed off that he quite literally pisses on Westworld — and once again, it’s a case of awkward timing, given the arrival of a new power player.
3. Charlotte’s Web
The episode introduces Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), executive director of the Delos board, now visiting Westworld to make some high-level reassignments. Sizemore meets Charlotte by the pool and does his drunken best to charm her, not knowing her true role in things. But the conversation tells Charlotte everything she needs to know about Sizemore — and one could argue that she knows a little too much about the man, based on his public urination display later in the day.
4. The Ford Family
In what’s easily one of the more unsettling scenes of the episode, Bernard discovers that Ford possesses five unregistered hosts in an area called Sector 17. Not just any hosts, either, but robots modeled after Ford’s own family — including Ford himself as a young child (Oliver Bell), the same one who joined him on a walk back in episode two, and helped out the Man in Black last week. Bernard is understandably disturbed by the revelation, and nearly tells Theresa all about it, if not for the whole mole of it all.
5. The Ghost in the Machine
Ford reveals that Arnold built the hosts based on Ford’s family. Young Robert later kills the family dog, lies to Ford about it, then confesses who told him to murder the pet: Arnold, long since dead, his voice still alive inside the minds of certain hosts. Later still, Elsie discovers that someone besides Theresa has been messing with hosts, causing the park’s older models to break loops and change their prime directives. As best as she can tell? The culprit is none other than Arnold — “a prolific programmer for a dead guy,” she suggests, moments before she’s captured by an unseen assailant. (Arnold? Is that you?)
6. Flood Warnings
Forget Arnold. Remember Wyatt? (Again, they’re probably the same person.) Teddy Flood (James Marsden) certainly does, as he and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) get captured by a group of soldiers. They accuse Teddy of a violent history fighting alongside Wyatt, and Teddy backs up their claims by shooting every soldier in the camp with a gatling gun. Even the Man is shocked at Teddy’s level of violence. But why is he suddenly remembering murdering innocents alongside Wyatt? Is someone altering his narrative once again?
7. Wide Awake
Maeve owns the heart and soul of the episode. She convinces technician Felix (Leonardo Nam) to not only tell her what lies behind the curtain, but to show her behind the curtain. Maeve takes a brutal tour through livestock, design and other departments, gaining a full appreciation of her true existence. What’s more, she sees a commercial that depicts a previous life for Maeve — the same one we saw flashes of back in episode two. It’s a lot to process, and even causes Maeve to briefly deactivate at one point. Good thing the Sweetwater madame knows how to work a bad situation to her advantage.
8. The New Oldest Profession
Felix’s scumbag livestock colleague Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) discovers the secret about Maeve, and nearly turns her in, but instead gets suckered into a partnership with the host. “I can help you or I can gut you like a trout,” she tells him, making the choice quite clear. Instead, Maeve cuts Sylvester in on a deal to help him develop his own brothel of sorts for Westworld employees. What does she want in exchange? Oh, nothing too over the top…
9. All the Way to the Top
Maeve convinces Sylvester and Felix to adjust some of her core attributes, including a decrease in loyalty and sensations of pain, as well as turning her bulk apperception (“your overall intelligence,” Felix explains) all the way to 20, the high point of the scale, where she already ranked at 14 — as high as any host is ever permitted. “We’re going to have some fun, aren’t we?” Maeve says after the updates take hold. But it seems like someone’s already having fun with Maeve: Sylvester and Felix discover that someone has already been altering Maeve’s programming — someone with “a f— ton” more privileges than them. (Arnold? Is that you again?)
10. Paranoid Android
Finally, notice the music in Sunday’s episode? Once again, Westworld draws on Radiohead for inspiration — specifically “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” from the band’s second and fourth studio albums, The Bends and Kid A, respectively. In episode two, the player piano produces a rendition of another Radiohead song, “No Surprises,” during Maeve’s failed attempts to seduce her clients. Is it at all telling that so far, Westworld is only breaking out the Thom Yorke of it all when Maeve’s at the forefront? At this point, Maeve certainly has every reason in the world to be a paranoid android.
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