What a time we’ve had together in Westworld the past three weeks, boopin’ and boppin’ robots and finding ourselves.
The fourth episode begins, naturally, with our long-suffering succotash, Dolores. Bernard is mindfucking her again, asking her upsetting questions and confusing me. Honestly, I have no idea what is going on in these scenes, and trying to parse the logistics truly darkens my day. Does Bernard just pluck Dolores out of her bed every night? Does she remember these chats, or are they just sort of floating somewhere in her “consciousness”? Are they occurring in real time or is she just recalling them? What is Bernard’s long game? Is he just real bored? Is Bernard a robot? Is Bernard inputting his own consciousness into Dolores? Is she actually changing or is he just making her think she’s changing or is she making him think she’s changing? What the fuck is this maze business and how does Bernard know about it? When Dolores wakes up in the field, is it because he stole her away in the night, managed to get past Forlorn-Looking Rich White Guy, then put her back there without anybody noticing, or was she there all along and just dreaming about this tête-à-tête? Sometimes he forgets to say “Analysis Mode” and then she goes into it anyway WHAT IS HAPPENING.
At the saloon, the piano is playing a new song, because now the piano is conscious, keep up. Clementine is reaallllly stretching the sexual puns. You’d think having exclusively been a prostitute for one’s entire life would mean that one could do better than “tip of my tongue” as a punch line. Maeve is having another dissociative episode. This time, she wakes up while being operated on after getting shot up at the bar. Again, I have so many questions. Where do the guests go when the staff comes in and drags these broads off the floor? How do they clean up the saloon so quickly? How do they regenerate robot skin so quickly? When does everybody sleep? Is everyone OK? Are we OK? Maeve is placed back on the floor too quickly for the staff to remove a bullet shard from her stomach, which makes no sense, but it’s fine. Maeve, however, is not fine. Maeve is losing it. She goes home to examine her stomach for a while, sees a spot of blood on her blouse, doodles a picture of the people she saw operating on her, places it under a floorboard, sees a dozen other similar doodles, and is like, “Well, this sucks!!!!”
Back at HQ, Career Woman Theresa and Elsie are arguing over what to do about the robot that smashed its own head in last week. Elsie wants to examine the robot herself and figure out what went wrong (everything, y’all are fucked), but Theresa wants her team to do it. Both of them are Leaning In so hard that they are just leaning into each other and creating a little triangle with their heads and bodies, because Sheryl Sandberg did not tell us what to do when two of us are leaning in in separate directions. Theresa ultimately wins because her career is more important to her than anything, even boys. Elsie rants to Bernard about how “everybody around here has an agenda except for me,” except that’s not true, because Elsie’s agenda is being a grownup Juno. Bernard is like, “The robots aren’t conscious, girl. Except bye, I have to go try to make a robot conscious.”
Dolores and FLRWG and his Douche Friend are on a robot bounty hunt. FLRWG asks DF to stop “killing or fucking everything.” Pause to clap politely for HBO’s exhausted We Are Being Meta Department, which has really been working overtime on this show. DF suggests that the park sent Dolores to FLRWG because she’s the only robot he likes, and FLRWG looks even more forlorn than usual. DF says some lines about family and business that sound like they were pulled directly from a stage adaptation of Cruel Intentions.
Ed Harris is still dragging Lawrence around the desert, trying to solve Westworld. Same, Ed Harris. Now they’re looking for a snake. “I need to find out how this ends. I want to know what it all means!” says Ed Harris. [Meta Dept. applause.] The two spot a beautiful woman with a massive snake tattoo bathing topless, but with her pants on (?), in the lake. Ed Harris asks her about her tattoo, she threatens his life, he kills some of her men, and now they’re friends, going on a fun journey together.
A woman we’ve never seen before tells Wonk Hemsworth that Dolores is way off her loop. New Woman is like, “IDK if this is fine or not because Anthony Hopkins has fucked shit up with his new narrative and now everything is as wonky as you.” Wonk says to “file her with Behavior.” Moments later, Dolores is walking around Lawrence’s town. She comes across Lawrence’s daughter, who is doodling in the dirt. Guess what the doodle is? It’s Dolores’s curly bangs, which are VERY conspicuously missing from this episode! Most suspicious part of the whole episode, if you ask me. Does a girl really wake up and just stop curling her bangs one day? I don’t think so. Shit takes years to break. No, ugh, it’s the goddamn maze.
Lawrence’s daughter, a.k.a. Trinity from The Matrix, asks Dolores if she “remembers,” which sends Dolores into a never-before-seen reverie about the White Church and kneeling before a grave, meaning that Anthony Hopkins has uploaded some of his new shit into Dolores or she’s remembering a past iteration or Trinity is jumping joyfully onto the Fuck With Dolores train. Lawrence’s daughter disappears into the ether (perhaps confirming the latter explanation), and a dude from Behavior shows up to retrieve Dolores. He is rude about it for no reason and FLRWG is like, “Bro. Brooooo. Bro.”
Ed Harris and Snake Gal are riding around on horses, wasting all of our time.
Now back to Dolores, my favorite character, and FLRWG, who is fine. Sitting around a campfire, the two are talking about nothing less than life itself! “I used to think everyone had a path,” says Dolores. “Then I realized life is meaningless and chaotic and everything is random, including animal slaughter, which I used to engage in, except I didn’t, I just think I did, because somebody put a fake memory of it into my brain, ya know?” “Totally,” says FLRWG. “Same.” HBO draws an aggressive parallel between corralling animals for the slaughter and whatever the fuck is going on in Dolores’s life, and FLRWG starts to cry.
Dolores ruins the romance by going all Maeve for a second and staring at the moon, which becomes a spotlight in the operating room, which becomes a flashlight from a staffer cleaning up bodies at Dolores’s ranch, which becomes her falling helplessly into FLRWG’s arms, so everybody wins, really. Side note: The moon kind of looks like the wood carving made by the head-basher before he bashed his head. Was he bashing his head because he saw some pattern in the moon that indicated his entire life was a lie? Really makes you think!
Snake Gal and Ed Harris & Co. are sitting around a fire of their own now. A fanboy approaches Ed Harris and is like, “I loooooved you in Pollock.” Ed Harris is like, “One more word and I’ll cut your throat. This is my fucking vacation. I am here with my family. Can’t you see that I’m just trying to have a nice dinner? What is it with you people?” Ed Harris finishes his barramundi in a fit of fury, then walks over to Snake Gal. Bored by how slowly everything is moving (same), Ed Harris explains that he’s going to break the dude she's looking for out of prison all by himself in exchange for tattoo intel, and then tells her the story about Arnold that we already know. Come on, let’s move it along, my man!
Now we are in the movie The Hateful Eight, except it’s just three people in a stagecoach and two are robots and it isn’t snowy. So, never mind. Ed Harris tells Lawrence he’s gonna set him free, which is like the fourth time somebody has talked about freedom in this episode. My theory as of right now is that the middle of the maze has some switch or something that removes the robot’s core coding and allows them to become self-aware and kill humans (which is how Arnold initially died, when he was creating this option in the first place) and then the robots take over the park and then the show ends. Just kidding, there will be 10 more seasons. Anyway, Ed Harris frees the hot guy from Love Actually from his jail cell by exploding a cigar, which I’m really confused about — how did the people at HQ know that was about to happen? Who made the request? — and they gallop off together into the distance to find Laura Linney and fix the bad ending of that movie.
Ed Harris confronts Snake Gal about her tattoo, and she explains that it’s made from the blood of the men who wronged her. Same. The head of the snake is currently colorless because she’s looking for the last man left: Wyatt, the dude who Anthony Hopkins just invented. The fuckkkkk? How would Arnold’s maze, which he made 30 years ago, be directly linked to Wyatt, who Anthony Hopkins just invented, unless AH himself created the maze as a red herring and is directing everybody to it — and purposefully inducing these robot “malfunctions” — as a goof? I wouldn’t put it past Anthony Hopkins to make everybody purposefully think the robots were becoming conscious and there was some great mystery at the center of the park that Arnold left behind, but really Anthony Hopkins was just bored and trying to get his kicks where he could, and his cool new “story” is just “create fake chaos at the park and eventually make everybody, including the robots and his own employees and the audience watching this show, feel real stupid, lol.” Maybe Arnold and the critical failure is an invented backstory. Maybe at the center of the maze is just Anthony Hopkins, naked, eating a popsicle. I would go to that maze.
Maeve is watching a group of Native American Stereotypes walk silently through town. She spots one of them holding a doll that looks exactly like her floorboard doodle and flips out. Is Maeve also part of Anthony Hopkin’s popsicle-eating extravaganza? Or is she really starting to understand the nature of her “reality”? How long till that doll is in stores? Maeve and Clementine start doing their daily thing where they talk about how the hot guy from Love Actually is coming to shoot up the saloon, except this time Maeve realizes he’ll have intel for her about the doll.
Bernard is hanging out in Theresa’s Urban Outfitters sheets after their daily bone. Bernard tells Theresa she’s stressed and defensive, and she finds this really charming, for some reason. Bernard is totally a robot, guys.
Anthony Hopkins is doing some demolition on the park. Theresa is not pleased.
Anthony Hopkins is toying with Theresa, plying her with wine and doing his best Anthony Hopkins impression. Theresa is like, “The board is not into whatever the shit you’re doing.” Anthony is like, “I could replace you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail — get it, because of Silence of the Lambs? Also I know about you and Bernard, and those sheets are unacceptable.” Theresa realizes Anthony Hopkins sat her at the same table she sat at as a child visiting Westworld with her parents and thus he is a psychotic mastermind who lives to mindfuck. Theresa didn’t sign up for this. Theresa was first in her class at Barnard and gave up a cush job at Facebook for this. Theresa lights a cigarette and wonders where it all went wrong.
FLRWG and DF do their whole bounty-hunt thing. Why are we watching this? The stakes are literally nonexistent and we already know that FLRWG is forlorn and conflicted and DF is an evil douche, so there’s no character development to be had, either. Let’s move on (I am talking to you, HBO).
Lawrence and Ed Harris again. On horses again. Wandering around again. Talking again. Bleep bloop. They stumble upon James Marsden, who has been strung up in a tree by Wyatt but is still alive. Ed Harris cuts him down rather than “put him out of his misery,” because James Marsden is destined to a life of misery and horror.
FLRWG and DF are also on horses again. Also wandering around again. Also talking again. DF spontaneously shoots the man they’ve been following around on their bounty hunt for funsies, then threatens to kill Dolores, then totally blows up FLRWG’s spot and Dolores’s reality by referring directly to the “game” they’re all playing. Dolores either doesn’t understand or pretends not to. FLRWG is like, “What is your problem, you’re an evil prick.” No, he is an evil douche. Please stay on message.
The hot guy from Love Actually and his crew are riding into town for the “floor show” portion of the evening. Everything goes down as normal — death, blood, hotness — until Maeve pulls him into a room and is like, “Something is UP, can you tell me about the secret astronaut god of the Native American Stereotypes?” Hot Guy from Love Actually explains, in exchange for the code to Maeve’s safe, that the secret astronaut god is called a shade, and he “walks between worlds” and is basically a minion of Satan. All checks out so far.
Maeve asks Hot Guy to plunge a knife into her stomach, then reach into her stomach and find the bullet she’s certain is still inside of her. He does, and there it is; the two celebrate the confirmation that their lives are utterly meaningless with a nice top-of-the-safe fuck. They bone in a blaze of blood and bullets. We’re in Westworld, baby!!!!