Westworld's second episode begins much like its first one did: with somebody interrupting poor li'l Dolores's life in order to force her to do something against her will. Bernard tells Dolores to wake up and walk outside in her nightgown. "Do you remember?" he asks her as she stumbles about the lawn in the goddamn middle of the night.
That's all we'll get vis à vis Dolores for a while. Now we're watching a forlorn-looking rich white guy wake up on a fancy shuttle thing. Who is this guy? IDK, another character on this show, try to keep up. His douchey friend — another character, it's fine, we're definitely keeping track of all of these characters and empathizing with each one, yes we are — says that the beautiful flight attendant is "a two, where we're going." Obviously they are going to Robotsexworld.
These two upstanding men pull up to the part of Westworld that is not Old West–y, but instead looks like it was designed by a coked-up '90s architect doodling his imaginary version of The Future on a bar napkin. A hot British woman who is maybe a robot or maybe real — I don't have TIME FOR THIS, HBO — asks Forlorn-Looking Rich White Guy if he has a history of mental illness or depression or anxiety, and FLRWG is like, "No, clearly my life and mental health are going fabulously if I am at a theme park designed for me to jizz all over."
The British Robot/Real Person shows FLRWG to his chambers, which are decorated with lots of cowboy accessories, like guns and hats and a fragile sense of masculinity. He asks her if there's an orientation. "Figuring it out is half the fun!" she says. Do you guys get it?? This show is about itself, and HBO, and all shows, and the way we respond to shows, and also life itself, oh, and the entire human experience. After this show, we won't need any more shows, because this show has figured out shows and all of modern existence forever. Just making sure you got that!
After dodging a question about whether she is a robot or a real person, Robot/Real Person (this is getting really annoying to type) hits on FLRWG by offering to dress him up in his cowboy costume and he's like, "Errr, what do most people do?" "You don't have to worry about what most people do," says the Robot/Real Person. "Do you understand?" "Yeah," says FLRWG. "DO YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND?" she asks.
JESUS HBO. WE REALLY UNDERSTAND.
Back at HQ, Elsie and Bernard are trying to figure out what really happened to Dolores's #daddy. Both agree that it was something fucked-up (robot science seems like a totes chill field) and also that it was the fault of Anthony Hopkins, but they can't do anything about it, because he's Anthony Hopkins. Elsie asks Bernard if she can at least examine Dolores, because whatever #daddy had could be "contagious," but Bernard is like, "Nah, Dolores is good, brb I'm just gonna go wake her up in the middle of the night and be shady as fuck with her again."
Dolores is doing her thang in town, i.e. shopping for cans, when she suddenly starts to panic. Bernard's voice echoes in her head: "Remember!!!" Can Bernard just pop into the robot's heads whenever he wants to? Or is she remembering him asking her to remember? Why is he all up in Dolores's business all the time? What does he want her to remember? (I, for one, want her to remember to never do her hair like this ever again.)
Suddenly, Dolores does remember. She remembers that time all of her friends and family members were lying dead in the street. She remembers Jon Snow's direwolf walking over their dead bodies — wait, what
Uh, then Maeve shows up and asks Dolores to move because her payot are scaring the customers, and Dolores angrily turns to her and quotes her #daddy's favorite Shakespeare: "These violent delights have violent ends." Maeve is like "................?" Dolores walks away calmly, having just decimated Maeve's life. It would seem that this phrase is some kind of code-altering shit — the "contagion" that Elsie was worried about. Is Bernard encouraging Dolores to spread her #daddy's existential-crisis disease around the park? Is Bernard encouraging Dolores to curl just the very front of her hair? Clearly Bernard cannot be trusted.
FLRWG is deciding between a black hat or a white hat. The Robot/Real Person is like, "Do you want the black or white hat???" WE.GET.IT.HBO.TUMBLR.COM. He picks white because he's a depressive woke feminist ally who is decidedly anti–robot fucking. He opens a door and suddenly he's in an old-timey bar with his Douche Friend. DF is wearing a black hat — yes, we get it. Next, the bar becomes a train and the train is rushing toward Westworld. "I know you think you know what this is gonna be," says DF. "Guns, tits, all that mindless shit I usually enjoy. But you have no idea. This place is so awesome and also it will answer all of your questions about life and who you really are!"
Ed Harris's Man In Black is watching a dude named Lawrence who's about to get hanged. He argues with the guys who are about to hang him, then casually murders all of them. Very on-brand. Ed Harris explains that the gambling guy — you know, the guy he scalped last week — sent him to Lawrence for more info on Westworld's "deeper game." He hands Lawrence said scalp, which he claims is a map to a maze that will illuminate said deeper game. Wow, I'm tired, can we nap for a min, Ed Harris? The two go on their merry way.
Maeve is seducing a newcomer by telling him her "story" — that old "I ran away from home because I wanted to be a hooker" chestnut. In the middle of her well-rehearsed performance, she starts remembering something, something that seems like a past Westworld trauma that was supposed to have been wiped from her robot brain but wasn't (or was perhaps brought back up by Dolores's petty-ass Shakespearean mindfuck?). Maeve starts to malfunction á la #daddy, so she's brought back to HQ, where it's decided that all she needs is a nice memory wipe and a massive aggression bump. Yes, this seems fine, everything is fine. "If we don't get those here fuck numbers back up," someone says, "she'll be decommissioned."
Anthony Hopkins is wandering sadly through his chambers. Bernard is also sad because he doesn't wanna turn off his broken robots (that he seems to have broken himself?? What is your long game here, Bernard?). "You can't play God without becoming acquainted with the devil," says Anthony Hopkins — somebody's been listening to a little too much Fall Out Boy. Bernard says he thinks somebody is sabotaging the robots. Uh, DO YOU MEAN YOURSELF, BERNARD? WYD? Anthony Hopkins launches into a long monologue about depressing things like 13th-century monks and burning people at stakes and when Pete Wentz took that hiatus from Fall Out Boy.
FLRWG and DF are finally in Westworld proper. DF is doing that classic douche-friend thing where you've been someplace — a restaurant, a fancy hotel, a play, a fuck theme park — a million times and you're so over it because you have destroyed your pleasure centers, so you keep ruining it for everybody else. "This old fuckpark? Eh, seen one fuckpark, seen 'em all. Anyway, let's get drunk."
Across the street, Dolores and her maniacal hairdo are staring at themselves in a mirror, wondering where it all went wrong. (Dolores, it went wrong when you began curling your bangs and then just stopped.) Suddenly she's sitting in a room with Bernard; again, it's unclear if Bernard just snatches her out of her life in broad daylight all the time or if she's remembering a previous interaction. He asks her if she remembers their conversation, then tells her to never tell anybody about it because "there's something different about you, and I like it, but other people probably won't" — i.e., the classic child-molester manifesto. Dolores senses that something sketchy is going down and asks Bernard if he's done anything wrong. He erases her event log and tells her to go home "before somebody misses you."
Back at the saloon, Maeve is telling her hooker-redemption tale again. Newly 'roided out, Maeve shoves a woman against a pole, and the woman leaves because women like to work a little harder for their robot sex. Maeve and her best hooker-friend Clementine have a chat about nightmares and how to escape them — Maeve just wills herself out of them by counting backward — and then Maeve starts having another disturbing flashback, something involving grabbing her daughter and running away from a violent conflict in a field. The Westworld corporate dudes notice Maeve freaking out and decide to give her one last run before they decommission her forever. There's a layer here about the way Hollywood either ignores or casts all women over 25 as grandmothers or carpets and I am here for it despite its on-the-nose-ness.
Theresa is having a career-woman cigarette in the hallway. Bernard makes a joke about how Theresa is a hard-ass and she's like "JUST SAY BITCH, I HEAR IT ENOUGH, I'M A CAREER WOMAN, GET USED TO IT HONEY." Bernard confirms that all the robots are back to normal, because he is a goddamn liar. Theresa says some stuff about raping and pillaging through her cigarette and then clomps away.
DF and FLRWG are eating and I'm bored of them. DF stabs a robot who keeps bothering them about helping him with a treasure hunt (kind of like this storyline is bothering me), then fucks a lot of robots. FLRWG says no to Clementine because he has a lover at home. Clementine's like, "Totes get it." That's really about it.
Lee Sizemore is berating a group of robot-artists for making his new robots look stupid. Specifically, he thinks one of the robots' noses is too big, so he bashes it with a tray. Then he gets in an argument with Theresa because he wants more robots for his new storyline and Theresa wants more respect, she gets no respect, she hasn't felt respected since 1981, when a salesperson at Barney's asked her if she wanted more champagne. She said no, but she did want more champagne. She always wants more champagne.
Anthony Hopkins, still channeling Pete Wentz, is wandering around the desert, surveying all that he has created. A little boy comes upon him and the two start talking because Anthony Hopkins senses that this is the perfect opportunity for him to bloviate. Here are some things he oldmansplains to this child: the concept of boredom (being bored means you are boring), the White Church (you can hear its bell if you listen hard enough), robot rattlesnakes (they're a thing), magic (everything in this world is magic), when he should go home (now), when he will come back (never). The boy turns out to be a robot. It's not shocking anymore when this happens and it's only episode two. #Problematic.
Somewhere in some nearby desert town, Ed Harris is dragging Lawrence around. This storyline is also boring me (sorry Anthony Hopkins, I know you think that means I'm boring, but I think YOU are boring. Just kidding I love you Anthony Hopkins) because it's essentially just various excuses for Ed Harris to commit random horrific acts of violence over and over again. This time he kills Lawrence's entire family, including his wife, and everybody in his whole town. But Lawrence's daughter then directs him to the maze, so I guess this wasn't a total waste.
Bernard and Theresa are fucking. Sure, I'll buy it. It's just that Bernard has a lot going on right now. He is doing his day job, and also subterfuging, and also fucking his boss, and also encouraging Dolores to make poor hair choices. When does Bernard sleep? Is Bernard a robot? Ugh, probably.
Elsie wants to fix Maeve because she is the only humane person at this godforsaken company. Just look at her little ponytail! She scales back Maeve's newly increased aggression and instead makes her more perceptive, like a REAL WOMAN. I don't know why they wouldn't make all of the robots extremely perceptive, because like, isn't that the point...? I don't know, you guys.
Maeve's back at the saloon, this time pairing up her would-be customer with Clementine because she's soooo perceptive ... that she now knows this dude would rather fuck Clementine? K. She begins to banter with James Marsden, who's sitting at the bar forever, apparently; then James Marsden gets shot to death. This event triggers Maeve's memory again: As she falls asleep, she dreams of a time when she was playing with her daughter in a sun-dappled field, then was nearly scalped and murdered by a bunch of unimaginatively/stereotypically rendered "savages" before she was found by the Man In Black wielding a knife. In other words: Just another casual Tuesday for Dolores.
Maeve closes her eyes and tries to wake herself up from her dream, which again begs the question: What the fuck is going on on this show? Is Maeve dreaming because she's been infected by Dolores's Shakespeare virus? Is the dream just a construct? Is reality just a construct? Am I typing this right now? Are these my hands?
Anyway, Maeve wakes up back at HQ, where two jabronis are operating on her staph-infected stomach (now robots get staph infections, keep up). Naturally she loses it, as her entire concept of reality has just been broken and shat all over.
Maeve runs down the hall and outside, bleeding from her tummy all the way. (I can't believe Thandie allowed this much nudity in her contract. She seems like somebody who'd negotiate just the top of an ass cheek.) She runs into the lab, where she sees the pale, unconscious bodies of her robot pals all lined up and being sprayed down. Little James Marsden is slumped in a glass box. She falls to her knees, and the surgery bros find her and shut her down.
Back to Dolores in her nightgown on the lawn, á la Sandy from Grease except so much more depressing. We don't hear Bernard talking to her, but she says "Yeah," then bends down and pulls a gun out of the dirt. Dolores is gonna fuck shit up, á la Sandy from Grease except with way worse hair. Soon thereafter she has a brief flirtation with FLRWG, which means we are going to have to watch more of FLRWG frowning and wrestling with his own morality. Can I nap for those parts? Please tweet at me and let me know.
Lee is pitching his insane storyline to Anthony Hopkins & Co. It's derivative and stupid: cowboys and Indians, raping and cannibalism, sidekicks and hookers. Basically it's Game of Thrones, and this is HBO being like "....We know." Anthony Hopkins shuts it down. "What's the point? Cheap thrills? Surprises? It's not enough. It's not about giving guests what you think they want. They come back for the subtle details and shit. They don't want a story that tells them who they are. They want a glimpse of who they could be." DAAAAAAANG WE GET IT, HBO.
Anthony Hopkins takes Bernard back into the desert and explains that he has a better storyline that he's been "working on for quite some time, and it's quite original." O RLY? Like, two years? The camera pans to a church-y type structure painted black. Black is the opposite of white, in case you missed that #visual #metaphor every five minutes of this episode.