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Westworld recap: Season 1, Episode 5, Contrapasso

A nudity-stuffed hour revealed major clues — and we have new theories

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John P. Johnson; HBO

Westworld

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
09/25/16
Producer:
Jonathan Nolan, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk
broadcaster:
HBO
genre:
Sci-fi

The world of Westworld is getting bigger and naked-er. Episode 5, “Contrapasso,” expanded the theme park map to a new town, Pariah, an outlaw desert outpost of sex and violence — it’s like Las Vegas meets Mos Eisley via Eyes Wide Shut. Plus, Dolores further embraces her inner gunslinger, the Man in Black has a meeting with Dr. Ford, and we get major new clues about the identity of the mysterious Arnold.   

The change in scenery starts with the opening shot, where for the first time we don’t begin with Dolores, but rather with Dr. Ford. He’s down in the basement chilling with Old Bill. He recalls a story from his childhood about an adopted racetrack greyhound that he let off the leash and killed a cat. “That dog had spent its whole life trying to catch that thing and now it had no idea what to do,” Ford says. The metaphor seems clear: Ford’s saddest memory is giving freedom to one of his pets and then watching helplessly as disaster struck. Keeping the hosts in their loops — running in circles like a greyhound on a track — is not just good business, Ford believes, but kinder, too.

And speaking of getting off loop, Dolores is far from home. She’s going with William and Logan to the decadent Pariah. Dolores has been listening to a voice in her head, somebody telling her to find him. Presumably the same person who told her to dig up that gun a few episodes back. We’re starting to get the feeling that this voice is the mysterious Arnold. But how, when Arnold died 34 years ago?

Along the way, Logan drops another detail about Arnold, noting he’s a complete mystery, that there’s not even a photo of him. This makes me think that whenever we finally see Arnold, his face is going to be a familiar one.  

William makes a reference to the “real world” and Dolores asks what he means by that. William is startled as the hosts are supposed to blank out whenever guests say anything that challenges their reality. I wonder how open Dolores’ system is at this point. If William decided to point-blank explain she was a robot in a theme park, could she understand him?

Dolores spots a vision of herself and follows it into a Day of the Dead-like parade. She hears Dr. Ford giving a voice command to sleep and suddenly she’s being interviewed by him underground. We’ve been getting the sense that these Analysis Mode interviews are sometimes being conducted without the hosts physically leaving the park. How, exactly, remains unclear. Ford notes she’s gone far off her “modest loop” — like his pet greyhound.

Then Ford says something that could be a huge reveal: “Tell me Dolores, do you remember the man I used to be? … I’m sure you remember him — Arnold, the person that created you?”

This is dropped so casually that it’s unclear how literal we are meant to take it. Because Ford quickly resumes talking about Arnold in the third person: He wants to know if Arnold has been speaking to her. She lies and tells him that Arnold hasn’t said anything to her since he died. Dolores also reveals that before he perished, Arnold wanted her help to destroy the park. Then she hears what we assume is Arnold’s voice in her head, and says, “He doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him anything.”

Okay. It’s time for some major speculation on my part…

NEXT: Theories that might be embarrassing in a few weeks

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