Grab your cutest cowboy booties, curl your bangs, mount the nearest robot, and just pretend it makes sense that basically every guest in Westworld is a guy or a guy's wife because women don't have base desires, because we're halfway through Westworld's first season!
The fifth episode begins with what's likely a skip back in time, because Anthony Hopkins is having a chat with the robot he decommissioned all the way back in Episode 1. They're talking about “the saddest story ever,” which, according to AH, is one about a greyhound killing a cat and then feeling confused about it. If we're measuring sadness by way of pure confusion, then this show is the most depressing shit I've ever seen, amirite ladies?!
Speaking of depressing, here's Dolores, standing in a graveyard outfitted with bells in case the corpses crawl out. (Good idea, though.) A voice — Arnold? — tells Dolores to “find me,” and she's like, “Show me how ... or, like, can you just find me? How about that? Because you know where I am, so.” Forlorn-Looking Rich White Guy and Douche Friend and the guy they've essentially bounty-hunted suddenly appear, and FLRWG is like, “Dolores, you good? You're talking to yourself.” Bro, Dolores is a robot.
The foursome arrive in the white-trash version of Eyes Wide Shut, where everybody is fucking in dirty carriages and wearing cheap skull makeup from the MAC sample counter. DF and FLRWG have a boring business chat about how DF is trying to buy out the park, then stumble upon the Confederados, a group of (fake) bored men who scam people as a (fake) career and who are the “key to the [fake] game” in that they lead to (fake) war. Dolores gets scared because her #daddy told her about them, and I'm still wondering why we are going to have to watch this entire fiction-within-a-fiction-within-a-fiction story line play out. Somebody get me my flammable whiskey.
Lawrence and the Man in Black are dragging each other through the woods for a change. This time, they're also dragging a near-dead James Marsden, who the MIB now believes will “lead him straight to the Big Bad Wolf.” Considering he's known James Marsden for 30 years, this story line really could have been a lot shorter. Instead it will be 10 seasons. It's fine. The Robot Boy from a few episodes ago who may or may not be a simulacra of a Young Anthony Hopkins asks the dudes if they're lost, and the MIB is like, “Yes, please help me, I am stuck on a middling HBO prestige drama and I can't get off.” Robot Boy wanders off to get water because nobody knows how to stop this particular train, and the Man in Black kills Lawrence because he's no longer useful.
Over at the Naked Robots Lab, a bunch of low-level employees are being depressing. They're looking at Thandie Newton's naked bod — in a cool fun twist, Thandie Newton is naked and mostly unconscious this entire ep — and wondering about her many robot injuries. One of them, Felix, is scarred from the last time Thandie jolted up off the table and is trying to experiment on a robot bird to confirm his fears. The other guy is being a prick about it. How many types of faux-complex good cop/bad cop male relationships can this show explore in a given episode? Let's find out together!
I just feel like this show would be a lot better if Barbra Streisand were somehow involved.
James Marsden and Man in Black are chatting beneath the tree Lawrence is hanging from. James Marsden is fixed now because he's full of Lawrence's blood. Same. MIB has a little monologue about how James Marsden used to be beautiful but now he's human, but James Marsden is still hot as fuck, so IDK what you're saying, my man. In order to motivate James Marsden to move in the general direction of whatever the fuck he's looking for, MIB lies and tells him that Wyatt's kidnapped Dolores. It works, and the two head off on another horse journey. I wonder what will happen on this horse journey???
Back to Dolores, one of perhaps four genuinely compelling characters on this show (like Donald Trump, I will leave you in suspense as to the others until Election Day). She's having strange flashbacks again, this time to visions of Lawrence's daughter running away in a pink dress, a guy who looks kinda like Paul Dano but definitely isn't standing upright in a wooden coffin, and a bunch of other dead fuckin' robots lying around. FLRWG asks her, again, if she's OK. FLRWG, let her live!!! She is going THROUGH some shit.
Dolores launches into a monologue about choices and changing her life. FLRWG is like, “Wait ... wait ... you wanna change your life?" FLRWG, where you been? Dolores says, “Doesn't everybody?” FLRWG is like, “Yeah, that's probably why so many people come here. You can be whoever you want. There's no rules or restrictions. You can become someone else, nobody will judge you.” I die and become a ghost. I enter the TV and float over them. I whisper in FLRWG's ear, “Who wrote this dialogue? I must find them and haunt them for eternity.”
Dolores — who now seems to understand when FLRWG and DF start talking about her being a robot but, as such, is also now appropriately bored by their chatter — wanders off, wondering if she can find a human lover who doesn't sound like he's only read Mitch Albom books for the duration of his life. Instead, she spots her doppelgänger throwing major side-eye in a crowd of skull-painted hooligans and chases after her. Anthony Hopkins's voice — is he in the crowd, or hovering above, like me, the ghost? — implores her to shut down, and she does. OK, let's all take a brief nap, too.
Anthony Hopkins and Dolores are having — you guessed it — a chat at HQ. Dolores is — you guessed it — naked. Anthony Hopkins is trying to discern whether Dolores has been speaking to Arnold “again,” and holding her hand while doing it, for some reason. Dolores is like, “Arnold and I haven't talked in 34 years, and this stool is hurting my li'l butt.” Anthony Hopkins asks her a series of rhetorical questions that she somehow understands are rhetorical. She does reveal that Arnold wanted her to help him “destroy this place,” but also asks Anthony Hopkins if they're old friends. Anthony Hopkins is like, “Honey, I don't even watch this show.” Anthony Hopkins leaves, and Dolores speaks aloud to, theoretically, Arnold. “He doesn't know,” she says. “I didn't tell him anything. Except that Kidnapping Mr. Heineken looked bad from the trailers.”
Felix is doing his bird experiments in the Naked Robot Lab. Prick Friend catches him and gets mad about it. Is he really angry at Felix, or is he angry at ... himself? Really makes you think. He disses Felix by telling him he's neither an ornithologist nor a coder (way harsh, Tai) and that “personality testing should've weeded you out in the embryo.” In other words, these crazy kids are either robots, or Westworld takes place in a dystopian future where embryos are tested and discarded for being unchill about robot surgery.
Back on the Dusty Remix of Eyes Wide Shut set, DF and FLRWG and Dolores are wasting their time and also all of our time. They meet up with Alonzo, a.k.a. Lawrence, a.k.a. this is either taking place in a separate time period or somebody's already found Lawrence, cleaned him up, and put him back in his original loop. They return Slim (his name is Slim, please keep up) to Lawrence in hopes that he'll intro them to the Confederados, I don't fucking know, this is so boring, help. Dolores has another disturbing flashback and tries to connect with Lawrence over the fact that they're both “seeking something.” Lawrence asks them to steal some nitroglycerin so he and the Confederados can blow shit up later. Save some for me to drink!!!
The only positive thing to come out of all of this is that Dolores gets a cute new outfit.
Dolores and her dull bros confront another group of dull bros who are transporting nitroglycerin. I really feel like these long “adventure” sequences are just designed to placate the old white dudes who watch this show and are like, “I thought this was supposed to be a Western!!!! Whatever happened to good ol' shoot-'em-ups and desert-set homoeroticism?” Things go awry during the nitroglycerin robbery, as they are wont to do, and Dolores saves the day by going into temporary Terminator mode and killing everyone. Everybody is impressed. I'm impressed and relieved that this scene actually moved the larger story along. Today, we all win. Except for the nitroglycerin salesmen.
Lawrence accepts the nitroglycerin and, as a reward, introduces FLRWG and DF to the Confederados. All the boys talk about blowing things up and how fun it will be. But first! Prostitutes coated in gold paint.
At HQ, Elsie is trying to fix a robot who got real bad at whiskey-pourin'. But then she sees Robot Who Smashed His Own Head In being wheeled around and is like, “Whoa, fuck this.” To get access to him, she has to blackmail a robot surgeon by the name of Dustin, a skinny nerd who likes to fuck sleeping robots. (But, like, what is the big deal, fucking robots is the point of the park?) Elsie discovers, by way of her beepy-boopy tools, that there's a “laser-based satellite uplink” stuffed inside the head-smashing robot, and he's been beaming data up to what's ostensibly a third-party satellite, smuggling data out of the park. Now this is actually interesting. Let's do this stuff more.
Back at Eyes White Shut: Literally Filthy Redux, everybody is having an orgy except Dolores and FLRWG and DF and the main Confederado, because contracts. This is probably that scene HBO made everybody sign that crazy disclaimer for. Doesn't really seem worth it, but I do hope it was fun for all involved. The Confederado says war is better than sex, and that's why he's not having sex. He tries to convince DF and FLRWG to join his (fake) cause. DF and FLRWG have a manly spar about who has the better white-collar job, and FLRWG shoves DF because he calls him a — shudder — middle manager. Dolores, who at this point is as bored as I am, wanders off again. At the end of a long Fuck Hallway, she encounters herself again, but with better makeup.
Dolores pulls a card from her witchy doppelgänger's tarot deck, and it's emblazoned with The Maze. Dolores asks, “What is this?” The Craft Version of Dolores responds, “The maze. You must follow the maze.” Dolores is like, “Yes, bitch, I know, I'm supposed to go to the maze, thanks. Jesus Christ.” Dolores looks down at her wrist and realizes she's unraveling, à la the head-smashing robot, and begins pulling a piece of wire through her own flesh. Turns out it's just a vision again. Still, fucked up! She runs into the night.
Dolores accidentally stumbles upon more Confederados drama, because neither one of us has actually died of boredom yet. This time, Lawrence is pouring the nitroglycerine into corpses and replacing it with whiskey. Classic! Frightened, Dolores runs to find FLRWG and is like, “We gotta go, Lawrence is pouring nitro into corpses and Scandal is on in two hours.” FLRWG is skeptical, but then she smooches his head off, and he's like, “Done, I'll bring the merlot.” It's too late for DF, though. He gets caught and punched a lot.
Dolores and FLRWG are caught in an alley with the Confederados, who are mad about the corpse nitro. Dolores goes into Terminator mode again and everybody dies. FLRWG is like, “How?? A girl?? A gun??” Dolores says, “I imagined a story where I didn't have to be the damsel." I love it. If only HBO would stop making me watch people shoot each other over explosive chemicals for 60 minutes straight, I, too, would feel empowered to reimagine my life story. Dolores and FLRWG hop a midnight train back to town, where they bump into Lawrence, who's not happy, nosireebob. Dolores saves them again by threatening to blow up the nitro corpse. Dolores! Lawrence submits, and they all drink whiskey together. Dolores spots a drawing of the maze on a coffin and tells Arnold she's coming. Don't get too excited. We still have five more episodes of this Lost-ish chicanery.
A robot is playing “Clair de Lune” at the bar where the Man in Black and James Marsden have decided to take a load off. Anthony Hopkins shows up to engage in some mutual masturbation with the MIB. Just two men with separate motives, meeting in a room to talk about those motives over whiskey. Wow. If only this show weren't so afraid to do things like this more often. Very brave, groundbreaking stuff.
The Man in Black questions Anthony Hopkins about Wyatt. Anthony Hopkins questions Man in Black about what he's even doing. James Marsden stares blackly into the distance. The Man in Black asks if Anthony Hopkins is keeping him from the maze. Anthony Hopkins asks the Man in Black why he ripped off his name from the hit Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones vehicle. Both occasionally say something to James Marsden that will make him feel bad about himself. The Man in Black pretends to try to kill Anthony Hopkins. It's a good joke. Anthony Hopkins implies that the Man in Black is really looking for ... himself. Anthony Hopkins also says, “If you're looking for the moral of the story, quite simply ask.” OK. I'm asking. I'M ASKING, ANTHONY.
In the Naked Robot Lab, Felix is trying his hand at his bird experiment again. This time it works: The bird flies into the air, flutters about, and lands on, oh shit, Maeve, who is awake — dang, she really played you this time, Felix. The camera zooms back just to give us a full-bod shot of naked Thandie Newton.