Westworld creates even more mystery with “The Stray” & “Dissonance Theory”

Now that we are four wonderful episodes into HBO’s Westworld, I’d like to run through some of my thoughts and theories on the last two episodes, “The Stray” and “Dissonance Theory”, as they double down on the mystery and ante-up the violent factor.

We lead ever closer to the inevitable take-over of the hosts and the possible downfall of Westworld, but instead of the series focusing all its strength on that alone, we’re given so much more drama and character driven side stories that, in my opinion, a simple hour a week just isn’t enough. I believe I said this about HBO’s other show The Night Of, as satisfying as that was, I just felt it could have done with a few more episodes; when a show is of this quality it leaves you salivating for more. But, I digress… let’s focus on what what we do have in front of us – and yes, there are spoilers ahead.

The beautiful innocence of Dolores starts to crack as we find out that Bernard has been the one giving her programming orders off the record, first to find and pick up a gun and second, to try and find the mysterious maze to which the great William accepts and the menacing Logan un-willingly tags along to.

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A fantastic scene plays out in which Dolores goes to shoot someone with the gun but can’t due to her programming and it is a truly powerful scene, especially when we see her overcome it and fire the gun anyway. It proves mesmerizing and scary all at once. As Dolores slowly breaks free of her daily cycle and narrative, the show becomes even more intense and intriguing… where is she going to go next? Will Dolores and Teddy work as a team eventually to escape Westworld? And if they do, what then?

As for poor Teddy, I am pretty sure the show itself is making him a long running gag. He constantly seems to be getting murdered over and over. If he is not being shot down, then he is being tied up and tortured, he just can’t seem to catch a break. It’s a little bit humorous but also a tad frustrating as I want to see him branch out more. It really does seem like such a waste. Will his luck turn?

The mystery behind Dr Ford grows deeper as we are shown that he has his own ideas for a new narrative inside Westworld, as he makes it clear in an almost threatening manner that no one is to interfere with his plans. It seems he is in control of all the hosts with a few simple words, which leads me to wonder… why? And that scene in which we see a much younger Ford while talking about his old partner Arnold, was incredible. The effects of this show surpass even some of the great high budget films of today.

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When we originally saw the shows previews, the character of Ford looked like a mentor staple for the parks designers, someone to go to for advice as the founder of Westworld. With that in mind, the turn in which the writers gives Ford is a truly deceitful one. Is he as evil as he comes across? What is his ultimate goal here?

Along with Ford’s own agenda we have to try and keep up with Bernard’s. Is Dolores the only one he is affecting with rogue programming? We already know that the simple few words mentioned to Maive (Thandie Newton’s character) has sparked her rogue programming and we see Maive grow even more as a character for it in episode four. So what the hell is Bernard up to? Is he purely doing this to spite Ford?

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We see the return of Hector and Armistace and of course it’s brilliant. The man in black breaking Hector out of prison and using him to gain more information from Armistace regarding his search for ‘The Maze’. Another scene with Harris’s character gave us a little bit more insight on MIB (The Man in Black) and possibly his true identity. During a campfire, a stranger (presumably another guest) approaches him by the fire and begins to thank him. “I’m such an admirer of yours, your foundation literally saved my sisters…” MIB cuts him off and says “One more word and I’ll cut your throat, understand? This is my fucking vacation.” The viewer can take that how they like. But my theory of MIB being another host seems to be getting much slimmer. It seems he really is another guest. If that is the case, why has he been in the game so long and what is his interest with ‘The Maze’? Why would someone from the outside be wanting to find it?

OK so my new and big, number one theory: Could this new and mysterious ex-founder of Westworld by the name of Arnold be The Man in Black? It is a long stretch, I know. Especially with how long he has been in the park for. How can he have gone un-noticed for so long? I like it though, so I’ll stick to it for now. Until the next few episodes air, we can keep soaking up more wild and ludicrous stories over the fan base of the inter-web. Bring on episode five!

Westworld airs Mondays on Showcase at 12pm AEDT – Same time as the USA, and repeats at 8.30pm.

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