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Westworld Recap: Season 1, Episode 6 – “The Adversary”

Westworld Recap: Season 1, Episode 6 – “The Adversary”

Welcome to our official Westworld recap where every week, I’ll be writing up a synopsis of the previous episode of Westworld, complete with a storyline, puns, and bad conspiracy theories. If you missed the first four episodes, you can check out our recap here. Last week’s episode was a busy one, full of questions about what’s at the center of the maze, as well as just how conscious these supposed robots actually are. Now let’s dive into episode 6 – “The Adversary.”

We open back in the salon with Maeve awakening to face the drudgery of everyday life in the whorehouse. Ugh, Mondays, amiright? Anyway, Maeve takes a suspiciously rough-looking newcomer back to her room and insults him enough so that he chokes her to death, causing her to black out and wake back up at HQ where she can ingeniously continue her interrogation of the surgery techs. She wakes up to continue her conversation with the techs where we left off last week while, of course, still leaving us in suspense. Great.

Bernard, the almost definite robot, and Elsie continue their examination of the data uploader that was recently discovered in a host’s arm. Elsie, the conspiracy theorist like myself, believes that the only logical explanation for the implants in these hosts is that it’s an inside job, and she’s determined to figure out who’s behind these data uploads, and just what kind of information they’re after anyway. Bernard explains to Elsie that because her host was an older model, the information about what he was transmitting is still around, but they’ll have to use a much older system on another level of HQ to access it. Bernard logs onto a computer with a significantly different logo – hello, alternate timelines verification – and in the hunt for data on his host, Bernard runs into an anomaly. Five anomalies to be exact. Five off-the-radar hosts are hanging out in an off-the-radar area of the park, so Bernard sets out to find out what exactly is going on here.

After referencing Ford’s planned narrative expansion and giving us a few more teases of the maze’s existence without giving us any new information whatsoever, we catch back up to MIB and Teddy’s journey to find the center of the maze. Teddy explains the maze to MIB as a native myth explaining a lifetime’s worth of choices, where at the center lies a man who has died innumerable times but was able to come back to life again. Sound familiar? For advocates of the joint theories of alt. timelines and that the maze is a path to AI enlightenment, this could be seen as a big win – or as a programmed story within Teddy meant to send us down the wrong path. Honestly, at this point, all bets are off, and I find myself becoming more and more exhausted with trying to keep up with each new theory. After finding their path to Pariah blocked, MIB and Teddy set off on a new route that will almost certainly make for better television viewership than the simple road into town.

Back at HQ, our surgery tech tries to explain to Maeve the nature of her programming, and that they’re different because, although they feel and look the same, one is human and one is not. If this doesn’t lead to the revelation that all of the techs are more advanced AI later this series, I swear I’m quitting the show. Anyway, the tech explains that the primary difference between the robots and the humans is that the computing powers of the robots exceed what humans are born with by far. To try to explain Maeve’s conversational configuration to her, he pairs a behavior tablet with her, and Maeve is understandably confused AF when the tablet predicts her conversation patterns and shows the physical process of coding her language. Of course, this is how we know we’re in the future, because currently the predictive text on my iPhone thinks I’m likely to say, “I’m going to haha drink wine lol let’s go to go wine haha.” Maeve, of course, breaks down from the confusion as she becomes aware of her own status as a robot.

Theresa and Bernard meet up, when Theresa dumps Bernard because their relationship has been observed by HQ. The phrase “don’t dip your pen in the company ink” exists for a reason, but Bernard is still caught off-guard by Theresa’s request that they don’t see each other anymore. Bernard does what the best-intentioned of us would do in this circumstance and decides to throw himself into his work, setting off to explore the undocumented hosts in the park.

Meanwhile, our second-least-favorite surgical tech manages to bring Maeve back online, and she demands to see where she was produced. As viewers, we finally get an answer to one of our most pressing questions – how the “robots” are currently made. Maeve witnesses one of the milky-based figures getting an injection of the blood we know they need to survive, and as he does, his skin fills with color and his heart starts to beat. While this isn’t life as we currently know it, it certainly seems like a form of life regardless, bringing the ethics back into the conversation of the inner workings of the park. As Maeve sees elements of her world coming to life in this futuristic, sterile environment, it starts to dawn on her that her existence is nowhere near what she thought it was. The final straw comes when what Maeve had thought were her memories all along were broadcast on a screen as part of a promotion for West World and she realizes that her backstory, the most important and painful memories of her existence, were just created to get people to spend money to visit the park.

While Lee, our dickhead writer, is downing happy hour margs at the WW Mesa Resort, Theresa shows up and calls him out on his use of sick days, which is all of our worst fears come true. Lee apparently doesn’t value his job as much of the rest of us, because he ignores Theresa’s demand to get back to work and starts hitting on bikini-clad women at the bar instead. Power move.

We flash back to Teddy and MIB at the park, where the two have to make their way inconspicuously through a camp of Union soldiers when Teddy gets noticed. Teddy turns into a total badass when confronted, killing a couple of soldiers for the first time. They fight their way through the camp in an obligatory action scene, and then we pop right back to Lee and the newest object of his desire at the Mesa bar. He tries to impress her by bragging about writing her favorite storyline, when the biggest obstacle to getting laid arises – the cutoff from the bartender who relays an admonishment from his boss. Lee swipes a bottle of tequila from behind the bar and storms off, which always, always, always leads to good things in the workplace.

Back at HQ, Elsie meets Bernard with a plan to retrieve the data from the rogue host in episode four. Between curiosity, hopes of a promotion, and just straight-up subverting Theresa, Bernard and Elsie move forward with their respective quests – Elsie to retrieve the rogue host’s data, and Bernard to locate the five unmapped hosts. Bernard pops up to the West World section in question through a glass underground elevator – thus answering yet another fan question and disproving the theory that the maze is a path back to the office – and sets off in search of the five hosts. Bernard finds a family of five hosts, including the little boy we’ve seen in previous interactions with Ford, who can function without responding to his commands. Ford is also there and tells Bernard what he’s seeing – a glimpse into his childhood life, created by Arnold, to give Ford a piece of his memory to hold onto forever. The fan theory that the little boy is Arnold is confirmed, although not in the clone sense popularly discussed; instead, he’s one of the first robots ever built, and still functions based completely off of machinery. Ford convinces Bernard to let his uncharted hosts remain in the park, which surely won’t come back to bite us at some future point this season.

Lee shows up at HQ, smashed beyond all comprehension, and while literally pissing all over the model of West World, verbally pisses over its way of management. Of course, Theresa shows up, not just to tell him to sober up, but to introduce him to Charlotte Hale, West World’s executive director of the board. Except, surprise! – Ms. Hale is actually the woman Lee tried and failed to pick up earlier at the Mesa Bar. Things really aren’t working out too well for Lee these days – personally, I’m hoping he gets fired so we can move on to a better writer with a little more depth and a less punchable face, but only time will tell.

After yet another action scene along MIB and Teddy’s journey where Teddy absolutely blasts the Union camp to hell with a giant gatling gun, back at HQ, Elsie calls Bernard to let him know that the satellite previously hidden inside the rogue bot belongs to Delos, meaning that this information upload is definitely an inside job, and Elsie’s out to find out just exactly who is behind it. On top of this, the voices the hosts are hearing are being broadcast to them through leftover technology previously installed in the park by – you guessed it – Arnold. There’s one specific relay that’s been broadcasting these messages, and Elsie is determined to find it. As she gets a warning to be careful, I get a flashback of every bad horror movie I’ve ever seen and get the horrible premonition that my favorite character isn’t long for this world. Elsie begins to explore the horribly creepy, clown-filled theater containing the transmitter and finds the hidden relay, as well as some interesting information. As it turns out, the person smuggling information out of the park is none other than Theresa – but that’s not all. The older hosts without current configurations – including Dolores – are being retasked and reconfigured to break loops and even lie to the humans, and it seems like the person responsible for this is, somehow, Arnold. Unsurprisingly, as Elsie tries to transfer the data back to HQ for further analysis, she gets snatched up like the idiot in a horror story who decided to look behind the closed door.

As Ford sets out to play ball with young Robert Ford and their dog Jock, there’s a horrible revelation that not only is Jock dead, but Robert is responsible for killing his own pet. Ford brings Robert back to his office at HQ to question him and understand why he killed Jock. At first, Robert lies, but eventually the truth comes out – after Jock killed a rabbit, Robert heard Arnold’s voice telling him that the only way to save Jock from being a killer would be to kill him himself. Whether Arnold is alive or dead, his presence is certainly still alive and meddling in the park, causing problems for staff and management everywhere.

The surgical tech whose name I still can’t be bothered to learn is explaining Maeve’s behavior configuration to her. Similar to a video game, attributes can be assigned on a twenty-point scale to adjust her temperament and her reactions. Unsurprisingly, her charm, courage, and loyalty are exceptionally high, as well as her intelligence. Currently, Maeve’s intelligence is capped at 14, the highest coding is allowed to go for an AI in the park. Maeve uses both the threat of previous violence as well as that 18-level charm to convince some changes to be made to her code. After making a few minor changes, Maeve decides it’s time to bump her intelligence all the way to 20, making her the smartest, most aware robot in the entire park. Maeve takes a deep breath, puts on a smirk, and asks the boys if they’re ready to have some fun. Of course, as the most interesting point in the episode, this is where Jonathan Nolan decides to screw us and leave us hanging until next week.

So this episode got a little trippy and a little off-base from what we’ve previously encountered, and the writers are clearly starting to take the storyline in different directions. In a move that sucks for the conspiracy theorists like me who thought they had it all figured out, the show’s writers let us know last night that there’s way more left for us to discover in West World. If Maeve wasn’t conscious before, is she conscious now? What’s up with Arnold creating a copy of Ford’s family? Seriously, what’s at the center of the maze, and just how many timelines are there anyway? Most likely we won’t see the answer to any of these questions anytime soon, but I’m still going to tune in next Sunday at nine to end up more confused than ever.

Image via HBO / YouTube

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The Recruitment Chair

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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