Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to knowDon't Miss It

Article

'Westworld' recap: 'The Well-Tempered Clavier'

Posted on

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

Poor Bernard! First his mind was blown a few episodes back when he learned he was a host. Tonight his mind was blown all over again by re-discovering he’s a host. Then his mind really got blown when he figured out that he’s the host embodiment of Arnold, the park’s co-founder. Then Bernard literally blew out his mind via a gun to the temple. It was glitch, glitch, glitch, boom

I don’t think Bernard Lowe is really gone, and for a couple reasons. Plus, that Bernard revelation was only one of the revelations that confirmed our prior theories in tonight’s penultimate episode of Westworld, titled “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” because there were three huge clues that pretty much gave nearly all the confirmation you could want about the William-Man in Black theory. 

First thing’s first: We opened with Maeve, who was brought into backstage jail for killing New Clementine. Bernard wants to know why she did it. Maeve should just explain that viewers hate it when TV characters are replaced by a different actor and she was doing us a favor. But once Bernard gets a gander at Maeve’s off the charts Attribute Matrix stats, any attempt to fool him is over. She grabs him and is apparently able to control him with voice commands. 

Jeffrey Wright does a great mannequin challenge while she lectures to him, noting “it’s a difficult thing realizing your entire life is some hideous fiction.” She orders him to send her back to the park and advises him to seek out the truth about his existence, which he promptly does.

Bernard hunts down his boss and gathers Lobotomized Clementine to stage a complex intervention on himself. Bernard has hacked Clementine to use as a weapon to threaten Ford. He then accuses Ford of killing Arnold (something we’ve been assuming for awhile) and wants him to unlock all the levels of his mind so he can escape Ford’s fictional matrix and know what’s really going on. “You may not like what you find,” Ford warns, but quite honestly what Bernard finds is all pretty good — he didn’t really have a poor son who died (so he can let that go) and he was once a brilliant human (so he’s not as artificial as the rest of the hosts). 

At one point during his memory lane trip, he sees Theresa Cullen freeze while she’s in bed and for a moment I wonder if this is meant to suggest that she was a host as well, but I think it’s just a visual device while he’s navigating his memories. I think. 

Bernard wants to go all the way back to his first memory. This means nude Bernard butt, among other things. We realize that the photo of Arnold we never saw clearly on Ford’s desk is of, yes, Bernard (or rather, it’s of Arnold, before he was killed and revived as a host years later). Ford basically invented a host version of Arnold just like he made host versions of his family. As I pointed out a few episodes back when Bernard killed Theresa, we never saw the name on the corner of the sketch of his model like we did with Dolores — that’s because the name in the bottom right-hand corner that was cut off was “Arnold.” Also, Bernard Lowe rearranged is “Arnold Weber” (your anagrams are showing, Dr. Lecter!).

NEXT: A lot of things are still happening [pagebreak]

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}

p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}

Bernard orders Clementine to kill Ford, but of course she can’t. His fail-safe protections go very deep. Bernard wants to know why Ford let him just learn all this stuff then if he’s only going to wipe his hard drive again, and Ford explains he was hoping Bernard would choose the blue pill and want to wake up back in his old life. But since Bernard opted for self awareness, murder, and mutiny, Ford has no choice but to get rid of him. 

Bernard is ordered to shoot himself in the head, which he seemingly does. And that could be the end of his character, but I suspect it’s not. So much of this season has been spent setting up the story of Bernard and the story of Arnold. Now that we know they’re one and the same, sort of, it seems really unlikely he’d just go away. 

So back out in the park: 

1. Elsie is still missing. This is getting downright weird. It’s like when in a show is on its third season and an actress is on maternity leave and they awkwardly write her out for a bunch of episodes. She’s just gone. We know Bernard throttled her, but suspect she’s still around. Stubbs goes looking for her and gets captured by some Ghost Nation natives who don’t respond to voice commands. 

2. Maeve is still seducing Hector. She wants him to “break into hell” with her and give us the backstage robopocalypse mayhem we’ve been waiting for. He’s game. She tips over a lantern and they have sex as the tent burns around them. I’m starting to think that death-sex is the only way Maeve can get aroused now.  

3. Teddy is still being killed. It’s almost like the show is parodying Teddy always being killed at this point. Last week Angela stabbed him with the arrow. This week it turns out he’s still alive, so she just stabs him again to finish the job. Before it’s over, Teddy has yet another vision of himself in the past, this time as a sheriff killing everybody. Angela teases that next time he lives, he’ll be ready to fight with Wyatt at “the city swallowed by sand.” The Man in Black raises his eyebrows at that reference, so it’s an important maze clue. Obviously, the white-church town that Dolores is always obsessing about is also covered by sand. (Except when it’s not, like tonight). 

Angela knocks out the Man in Black and he wakes up in the ol’ Western hangman’s-noose-and-skittish-horse scenario, which is played rather suspensefully even though we’re all pretty sure that the host-horse won’t really kill the MiB. Unless the host horses are glitching, too? We need one whole episode all about host-horses. 

The MiB is interrupted by Charlotte. We know it really annoys him when people break character. She tells him Teresa Cullen has died, and the MiB knows it was Ford. We learn the MiB is on the park’s board of directors and “it was you who kept Ford in business all those years ago.” Um-hmm! We’re about to talk about that very thing. 

NEXT: William paints it black [pagebreak]

So we need to talk about William. Tonight’s episode told us who Bernard really is, and came thisclose to saying who William really is, too. Unless the show is setting us up for a massive fake-out, William — likely spoiler alert for the three of you who haven’t yet read this somewhere on the internet or pieced it together yourselves — is the Man in Black, only many years in the past. There were three big clues that I counted and I probably missed one or two as well. 

So Logan is back, and wearing a Hand of the King pin for some reason (though really, even Cersei wouldn’t hire this guy). William tries desperately to convince him that Dolores isn’t like other hosts, and that he wants to take her home. Dolores notes she doesn’t actually want to leave, but they ignore her. She’s a robot enslaved by human masters, of course she wants to leave!

Logan accuses William of forgetting all about his sister, and then he whips out her picture. This is Clue #1 — it’s the same photo that Dolores’ father found in the series premiere that caused him to start glitching. And how could he have found that photo if William’s story line was taking place after that?   

Logan says he’s going to prove Dolores “is a real live girl,” which intentionally sounds a bit like dialogue from a Pinocchio porn parody. He then stabs Dolores in the stomach and we yelp. Logan reveals that inside she’s metal with pistons and stuff. You’ll recall that First Generation hosts have metal interior parts, which later became more elegant organic printed bodies. So this version of Dolores is First Generation, that’s Clue #2 we’re in the past.

Dolores slices Logan’s face and runs off. William convinces Logan to untie him and they seemingly make up. When Logan wakes the next morning William has killed everybody. “This park seduces everyone. You were just a little more enthusiastic than most,” Logan says, which is quite the understatement. William says he’s going to find Dolores and Logan is going to help him. 

Meanwhile, Dolores runs to the white-church town. Her outfits keep changing and her wound keeps vanishing. I think this is to indicate that she’s arriving in this town during two different timelines. One is a memory of the past when she knew William and she’s also arriving there now in the “present.” I think it’s possible the last time we actually saw in-park Dolores in the present is when she was at her ranch at the end of episode 3 and ran off after shooting the bandit. 

Dolores sees all the first generation hosts glitching in the church pews just like Ford told us about. She takes a ride in a confessional down to the offices. This is the first generation backstage area complete with young Ford and Arnold/Bernard, who’s been drawing her here. She realizes he’s dead and … she killed him. 

When she goes back upstairs, the church door opens. She’s expecting William. I suspect many years ago William is exactly who walked in those doors. But now it’s the Man in Black and she screams. Does she know who the Man in Black really is? Do we?

We’ll get deeper into this tomorrow when Jeff Jensen and I talk for an hour about Westworld‘s ninth episode on our SirirusXM Radio show; you can find all the currently available episodes here

Episode grade: B+

Comments