Westworld Recap: Season 1, Episode 4 – “Dissonance Theory”

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The Monday Westworld Recap: "Dissonance Theory"

Welcome to our official Westworld recap. Every Monday, I’ll be writing up a synopsis of last night’s Westworld, complete with a storyline, puns, and bad conspiracy theories. Here’s what you’ve missed so far: Westworld is a theme park where humans can spend $40,000 a day to live out a western surrounding by AI robots, or “hosts,” whose memories are wiped every night to make them forget the horrors they live through every day. The park was created by two guys, Ford and Arnold, who were interested in creating conscious artificial intelligence. The park has been running for at least 30 years, but at this point, Ford decides to introduce “reveries,” or ways for the bots to access memories, as well as a new storyline involving a religion for the park and a villain named Wyatt. We primarily follow two hosts, Dolores and Teddy, two guests, William and Logan, and a long-time guest referred to as the Man In Black, who’s on a search to find the deeper level of Westworld. As the hosts start to have memories and make autonomous choices, we’re left wondering if they’re beginning to develop consciousness, or if this is all part of a bigger plan. Only time will tell. But now, let’s dive into episode four: “Dissonance Theory.”

The episode opens with Dolores being questioned by Bernard, one of the park’s programmers. As he asks her about her parents’ murder, Dolores understandably begins to hyperventilate. Bernard tells her to cut it out, and just like that, Dolores becomes cold and robotic. Honestly, where was this feature when I was being dumped or when my childhood pet died? Forget sentience, Dolores seriously has no clue how good she has it as a bot. Dolores, however, tells Bernard she wants to keep the pain to remember them by. While I’m getting more and more impressed with her sentience, I also think this is kind of a dumb move on her part, but let’s continue. Bernard and Dolores continue talking, and through her improvisations and declarations about her newfound confusion over the world in which she lives, we become more and more convinced that she’s transitioning into an autonomous being. Welcome to the real world, Dolores. However, if I were you, I’d keep the bot act up a little longer – I don’t remember the last time a robot had to pay an electricity bill in the winter.

Bernard lets Dolores in on the Westworld secret we’re all dying to know about – the maze. Seriously, if this turns out to be another one of these “escape game” scenarios I see all over my Facebook wall, I’m going to be pissed. He lets Dolores know that if she finds the center of the maze, she’ll be free, and Dolores decides this is something she definitely wants. What’s at the center of the maze is anyone’s guess, but the last time I watched something similar, Voldemort appeared and Avada Kedavara’d Cedric Diggory, so I think Dolores had better be prepared for some scary shit to come. Dolores awakens back in Westworld with the gun discovered in a previous episode next to William. We’ve discovered in previous episodes that under no circumstances can hosts kill guests – the weapons have sensors that won’t harm a guest, but still, there’s something suspicious about this gun that we’ll just have to wait to find out about.

We go to Maeve for the first time this episode, a host playing the role of a whore who’s also beginning to have reveries. Maeve is concerned that as she tries to remember something that’s almost there, it slips away right before you can grab onto it. Yeah, Maeve, that’s called getting old. I don’t remember the last time I walked into my living room while not forgetting what I went in there for. Sucks to suck in the real world, doesn’t it? Anyway, Maeve starts to seriously malfunction and has a reverie of one of her employees, with whom she was just speaking, laying dead on the ground and herself getting shot alongside her. If I were Maeve, this would probably be slightly alarming. To make matters worse, Maeve remembers the repair process of herself in modern-day surgery getting repairs to be shipped back out to begin her life over again in Westworld as if nothing had happened. Coupled with her waking up during surgery in last week’s episode, Maeve probably thinks she’s going absolutely insane. Again, welcome to adult life, Maeve. Hope you don’t have a high deductible on your health insurance because these repairs are getting out of hand.

Maeve draws a picture of the hazmat suit putting her back together and goes to hide it under her floorboard when she pulls out a stack of a dozen of the same drawing. She’s had this memory before, over and over again. She’s horrified at her string of forgetfulness, which is honestly pretty similar to mine when I started realizing I was actually an adult. Seriously, how many times do I have to get home from the grocery store, only to realize that I forgot to purchase toilet paper again?

We get a view of Westworld’s upper management analyzing a bot who, in the previous episode, went completely rogue and smashed his own head in. Ouch. Not that I don’t feel that way sometimes, but after seeing his mangled bot body, I’m glad I refrained. The least hot Hemsworth brother, whose role in the series still confuses me, smolders in the background. The maintenance tech analyzing the host gets fired from the project by upper management and tries to fight it by telling her boss how shitty her coworker is. Wrong move, sister. Better hope they still let you file for unemployment and provide you with a good reference after that one.

We’re brought back to the western adventures of William, Logan, and Dolores. Logan, who’s quite honestly been a huge asshole most of the time, gets really meta all of a sudden with a conspiracy theory that the park is watching their every move and mood. In doing so, he reveals that the family has a stake in the company, leading you to realize that there are more connections here that meet the eye. Great, something else I have to scroll through Reddit to figure out before next week’s episode.

Next, we catch MIB following snakes around, looking desperately for the starting line for the Triwizard Tournament. After getting his rocks off chopping the heads off of numerous robot snakes, he comes across a naked woman covered in a giant snake tattoo. As of my first viewing, it’s unclear if he’s more aroused by the naked lady or the promise of Westworld fame. To be continued.

Dolores meets with a little girl and asks her where she came from. This kid gets super creepy and responds, “I’m from the same place as you. Don’t you remember?” Dolores has reveries of a church Ford gave us a brief glimpse of in episode 2, and sees the maze Bernard told her about drawn in the dirt. William meets Dolores and she begins talking about hearing a calling. Is this part of Ford’s new religion-based narrative, or is it a call to a higher level of sentience? Hopefully the latter, because while I certainly respect religious rituals, I don’t respect my Sunday brunch schedule being tampered with. Dolores gets caught in a reverie of one of her own deaths and being retrieved by the park maintenance staff. No wonder she’s panicking all the time.

An MIB fangirl goes up to MIB and starts blabbering about his foundation, giving one more tidbit of credibility to the popular Reddit theory that William serves as the origin story for MIB. MIB sets off on a mission for the Girl With The Snake Tattoo in exchange for a bit of information – the next key to unlocking the maze. MIB sets out on his mission to jailbreak some park villains, and through lighting a match to blow open the jail cell, we see that the park management has to approve this action and has been watching MIB’s every move. Is he really a host gone rogue? Possibly the first one to develop consciousness? With the show’s misdirection hinting that this might happen to Dolores first, this is a delicious twist. MIB succeeds and Snake Tattoo lets him know that he has to find Wyatt to continue to the next task in the Triwizard Tournament.

We get back to Maeve, and as some people are walking through town, a little girl drops a toy statue – the toy is of the man in the hazmat suit that Maeve’s been drawing over and over again. Another robot in the park informs her that it’s part of a religion, and here we really start to get some answers as to what’s going on. Ford wants the robots to remember what’s been going on and seek out the truth about the real world in a supernatural setting. 10/10 would skip brunch for this.

Theresa meets with Ford to discuss the changes he’s making in the park, and through a conversation, we learn a little more about his history with Arnold. We find that Arnold didn’t really care for humans, but instead, preferred the hosts. I’m hoping this isn’t referencing his sexual preferences, because that’s a little TMI, but moving on. While we’ve seen him previously control a snake, Ford now uses his freaky mind control powers to freeze everything in the park, making us wonder what the hell is going on here. Ford decides to tell Theresa to shove it, and that his storyline will be completed whether she wants it or not. At this point, Theresa is at least as freaked out as any of us on a Tinder date gone wrong, so she quickly escapes, and we’re left knowing who holds the true power in the park.

MIB and his host guide Lawrence continue on their search for Wyatt, when they find Teddy, bloodied and bruised, strung up to a tree in the wilderness. It’s unclear where they’re planning to go with this, but regardless, Ford has programmed Wyatt to be a badass mofo and I’m really excited to see where this storyline goes.

As William and Logan continue on their adventure, Logan begins a narrative convincing William to ditch his good boy nature and go “black hat” with him, exploring the park as a villain. William tries to stand his ground but gets dragged along, and honest to God, if this isn’t confirmation that William is the origin of MIB, I’m going to freak out.

Snake Tattoo and her newly released mongrels unleash mayhem on the town, and Maeve comes face to face with our new villain, demanding answers. He responds to Maeve, saying that the hazmat suit is a native legend, called a shade, or a man who walks between worlds, sent from hell to oversee Westworld. Maeve asks the new man in black to slice her open and cut her in the spot where she remembers being previously shot to figure out what’s going on. She says that before she thought she was crazy, but girlfriend, asking to be cut open makes it sound like you’ve actually lost it. The outlaw refuses, but tells Maeve that the Dreamwalker (who the hell is this??) knows that some can see shades, and it’s a blessing to see the supernatural figures.

Outside the saloon, Snake Tat gets shot to hell, while inside, Maeve skewers herself with a knife. The outlaw reaches into Maeve in the least sexual way possible, and pulls out a metal fragment. The hosts finally know that something’s up, but the question remaining is – are they figuring it out on their own? Or is it part of Ford’s new religious narrative that he planned for them to figure it out all along?

That’s a lot to digest, but that’s it for this week. Are the robots becoming sentient, or are they merely part of a bigger storyline? Where is the entrance to the maze, and what’s at the center of it? Is MIB still the guest we thought he was, or something else entirely? I’ll be coming up with conspiracy theories until next Sunday at 9, but join me next week for another recap of our new favorite HBO show – that is, until Game of Thrones begins again.

Image via YouTube

The Recruitment Chair is a mid-level employee with a low-level salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include lounging around in leggings and an oversized sweatshirt with a bottle of $14 wine while binge-watching episodes of Game of Thrones and Mad Men, as well as....well, that's really it.

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