Dolores has a moment in this week's Westworld

Spoiler Alert: The following discusses plot points from Westworld episode "Contrapasso" written by Lisa Joy and Dominic Mitchell, directed by Jonny Campbell.

In short: 

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) arrive in the cesspool city deep inside the park, Pariah. Per Logan, they decide to steal a load of nitro for wanted man Alonzo (Clifton Collins) and the nasty Confederados.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) lays naked on a lab table for 99% of the episode as lab techs either work on her, or work on some other Host as she's silent just out of frame. That is, until she wakes of her own volition in the last minutes of the episode to allow a reanimated bird to perch on her hand, as well as scare the pants out of Felix, the tech who did the bird reanimation.

The Man in Black (Ed Harris) drags around poor Teddy (James Marsden) and Lawrence (Collins) until he dispatches of his neck-noosed companion in order to give the severely weakened Teddy some plasma to continue the search for the maze. Surprisingly, Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) shows up in the park to listen to MiB reveal his real motivations for chasing the maze.

Highlights

Any moment featuring Ford continues to be a highlight of every episode. This week, Ford replaced Bernard for an intimate talk with Dolores. He brought her out of the narrative not long after his weird greyhound story with the 1st gen cowboy in the Host freezer. To me, it clearly seemed like Ford trying to process when something that is bred for one thing and does it, can still feel out of place. Does that mean he's confused that as the only remaining Host of Arnold's era, Dolores is not doing what he assumed she was programmed to do by his former partner? And is he really in the dark about what Arnold has done to their Hosts? Is the deception Dolores thinks she's keeping up for the voices in her head really as secret as she thinks they are?

Dolores has been an unconventional, and difficult, protagonist to hang a TV series on, because she's basically had no agency the entire run of the series so far. She's been a perennial victim, aside from brief instances when she learned to shoot, and then discharged a weapon to save herself, or William. Tonight, she finally got a lot of agency when she shot the Confederado and his posse, then basically reworked her Teddy plea to get William to run with her, and it finally worked. It was satisfying to hear her say, "I imagined a story where I don't have to be the damsel."  Let's see where she goes from here. Will this be a completely aware Dolores, or will she fall back to Ford's updates in her code?

Lowlights

Yeesh, that was a very unsexy orgy.  If the point was to show how uncomfortable old narrative Dolores was about such blatantly prurient environs, I think we got that as soon as she was framed  on the Confederado's couch looking as pale as possible. The extra scenes of Hosts and park guests banging randomly around her did nothing to add to the story, and frankly came off like a cheap stunt when the show is finally getting to more intellectual territory. You don't have to bang us (pun intended) over the head with your themes, Westworld. The excessive repetition of specific visuals and scenes through all five episodes so far assure us that we're getting it.

I really can't with Logan anymore. He's just the worst, not only in character but execution. No villain is a villain in their own eyes, however, Logan is written and played so laughably hedonistic, impulsive and venial, there's literally no room for nuance that might make him more interesting or well-rounded. I would have left his nasty orbit a lot quicker than William did.

Things to Ponder ...

Fan theories have been pinging about since Episode 1, and the most common is that the MiB is perhaps William in a much older, bitter and less moral place in his life. It would mean the show's narrative has been playing with timelines and running them concurrently. Perhaps proof of that is William and Logan are never in the same scene with MiB.

Tonight's episode laid stronger clues about parallel timelines. The MiB admits he was there when Arnold almost brought down the whole park in its opening days. And it would certainly make sense that the history between dude-bro Logan and William unfolding is really providing context for the enigmatic and knowledgeable MiB in the now, who just wants to discover "something true."

Logan admitting that his family is looking into taking over Westworld is an interesting tidbit to process. And aside from really enjoying every time he got beaten by a Host, he's not supposed to get hurt in the park. Was he getting pummeled because Pariah allows it as higher stakes for a guest who gets that far, or is Arnold's "revolution" changing the rules the closer to the Frontier everyone gets?

So, is Dolores really into William, or did she lay that massive kiss on him to jumpstart in the past what Arnold needs MiB in the future to do in terms of finding the center of the maze?

Maeve woke up in the lab room. Was that through something she did, or was it a by-product of Felix's code for the bird also working on her too? We did hear a distinct electrical noise from Maeve when Felix got to work, so what that means for the Hosts being able to control when they wake, when they want sounds like a pretty handy ability with the "revolution" looming.

What did you think

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