‘Westworld’ Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: The Stray

Westworld season 1 episode 3 James Marsden and Bojana Novakovic
Bojana Novakovic and James Marsden in ‘Westworld’ episode three (Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)
HBO’s Westworld season one episode three provides an answer to one of the key questions surrounding the hosts who populate the park. Airing on October 16, 2016 and titled ‘The Stray’ after a host who’s wandered off by himself, the episode begins with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) engaged in another private chat. She assures him she hasn’t told anyone about their conversations and he gives her Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, suggesting she read one specific passage. Dolores says it’s like the other books they’ve read; they’re all about change. She asks after his son and Bernard doesn’t want to talk about it. She returns to reading more from the book and ends with the sentence, “Who in the world am I?”

Back at home in Westworld, Dolores discovers the gun she dug up at the end of episode two is in one of her dresser drawers. It was the gun the Man in Black dropped while dragging her to the barn and she only found it because Bernard told her to remember its whereabouts. She begins to cry as she has a vision of the Man in Black, and then she opens the drawer again. This time the gun is no longer there.

William (Jimmi Simpson) wanders down the main street of Westworld, observing the citizens. He sees an outlaw’s just been brought in and is about to be turned over to the Marshal for the reward. Suddenly the outlaw makes a break from the jail, shooting his way down the street. Jimmi watches all this but doesn’t act until one of the prostitutes is taken hostage. Jimmi’s about to shoot the outlaw in the back when the bad guy turns around and shoots him first. Even though he’s knocked down by the bullet, he shoots the outlaw dead and Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) gives him a juicy kiss for saving her.

Logan (Ben Barnes) waltzes up and is happy William got shot (or “popped his cherry”). William can’t believe he was shot and it actually hurts, but Logan reminds him the bullets can’t kill him. William decides what he really wants to do is go on an adventure and track down a wanted outlaw for the bounty.

At headquarters, Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is nervous about the upcoming launch of the new narrative, telling Bernard that Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) has carved out a huge area of the park for whatever it is he has planned. She also tells him that if there’s still a problem with the hosts, he needs to let her know now.

Elsie (Shannon Woodward) is questioning Rebus (Steven Ogg) about why Walter changed his program and killed fellow hosts rather than being the victim. Walter went off script and was talking to someone he couldn’t see while killing hosts who had killed him in previous storylines over the years. Elsie gets an alert that a stray host is roaming around in the park and Bernard tells her to go find it.

Elsie and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) team up to find the stray host. Stubbs is armed and Elsie jokes he could play cowboy if he wanted to, but Stubbs says he’s not taking any chances around the hosts. He even sleeps with the gun.

On Westworld’s main street, Teddy (James Marsden) and Marti (Bojana Novakovic) mow down a wanted man, handcuffing him to a pole while they have a drink at the saloon before collecting the bounty. Teddy pays off Maeve (Thandie Newton) because she complains about the body outside, and she has a flashback to seeing Teddy at the administration building, naked, with other hosts being washed by technicians.

Teddy looks up from his drink to see Dolores passing by outside. She drops a can of food again, and they take off for a little private time away from the rest of Westworld. It’s a quiet moment for the two hosts, and Dolores wonders if there’s something more out there. She asks if there’s anywhere else they could go and he says there’s a place down south where the mountains meet the sea. They could get a fresh start there and Dolores says she wants to be with him there. Teddy promises someday he’ll take her. Dolores latches on to the word “someday,” saying it’s what people say when they mean never. She wants to go right now. They kiss and Teddy says he has reckoning to do before he can be with her. He doesn’t deserve her right now, but he hopes he will soon.

Night falls and they ride back to Dolores’ home, and once again we hear gunshots ring out. It’s a replay of the events from episode one but we only hear the gunshots this time around and never see the action.

Back at headquarters, Dr. Ford tells Teddy he’s died 1,000 times and Ford asks if there’s anything he aspires to. Teddy says maybe soon he and Dolores will have the life they deserve. Dr. Ford tells him that will never happen. Dr. Ford asks if he’s ever thought about running away with Dolores and Teddy says he can’t yet because he’s not worthy. Dr. Ford remembers Teddy wasn’t given a backstory and finally decides to give him one. He uploads a new narrative to Teddy that involves a villain named Wyatt. Wyatt is truly evil and claims to have been able to hear the voice of God. Teddy recalls that Wyatt has some pretty strange ideas.

Back in Westworld, Dolores is walking down the street when she’s harassed by three men (one of whom is Rebus). She tells them she needs to get home and is finally saved by Teddy. The guest with Rebus decides he wants something easier and they walk away without a shot being fired.

Teddy and Dolores are once again outside of town by themselves, but this time he’s teaching her how to shoot a gun to defend herself. She tries to squeeze the trigger but can’t. He tells her some hands weren’t meant to pull a trigger just as the Marshal and his men ride up to tell Teddy they might know where Wyatt’s hiding out. Teddy is the only man who’s ever taken him on and lived. He says goodbye to Dolores, promising he’ll come back. Another kiss (this episode is a romantic one for Teddy and Dolores) and he’s off with the Marshal to track down Wyatt.

A bunch of men are sitting around a campfire arguing about who should chop some wood. They are put on pause as Elsie and Stubbs walk up, talking about how these hosts have been on a loop since the host they’re looking for went missing. None of these men can even chop wood for the fire because none of them are authorized to handle a weapon. Elsie and Stubbs check out the tent belonging to the missing host and find figures he’s been carving, each with some special design carved into it.

Teddy and the bounty hunters are discussing Wyatt and how he makes masks out of the faces of the men he’s killed. Teddy recalls how he wasn’t always a bounty hunter and that at one point Wyatt was his sergeant and his friend. Wyatt disappeared and came back with twisted ideas. He told Teddy the land belonged to something that was yet to come, which didn’t make sense to anyone.

Teddy and the men come upon hosts tied to a tree and covered with flies. Wyatt killed these people and left them there to rot. And then suddenly one of them coughs – he’s not dead and it’s an ambush! Teddy, Marti, another guest, the Marshal and the Sheriff are in a fierce gun battle and the sheriff volunteers to take the guest back to town as Teddy, the Marshal, and Marti advance toward Wyatt’s men.

Elsie and Stubbs are hot on the trail of the missing host and Elsie’s still trying to figure out what the carving on the figure she brought with them means. Stubbs figures out the markings on the figure look like Orion.

Westworld Season 1 Episode 3 stars Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright in ‘Westworld’ (Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)

Dr. Ford is working with a host when Bernard asks to speak with him in private. Bernard wonders if maybe they misdiagnosed the original problem because there’s more going on than just flashbacks to previous adventures. Bernard explains that the hosts have been talking to the same imaginary person named Arnold. Dr. Ford doesn’t seem too shocked by the news, telling him they worked there for three years before the park even opened. He had a partner named Arnold during those early years as they worked on creating Westworld. (A flashback shows a digitally created younger version of Hopkins.) He remembers Arnold telling him he wanted to create consciousness based on the theory of the Bicameral Mind. Arnold built a version of their cognition in which the hosts heard thoughts as an inner monologue but he didn’t consider that there would be hosts who thought the voices were the voices of the gods. Ford said his partner didn’t fully understand what the world was meant to be, and Bernard says some of the hosts are accessing fragments of Arnold’s code. Arnold died in the park after his search for consciousness consumed him. He only spoke to the hosts, seeing something in them that wasn’t there. Arnold’s death was called an accident but Dr. Ford believes it was suicide. He reminds Bernard the hosts are not real or conscious, and tells him not to make Arnold’s mistake.

Bernard talks to his wife via something like Skype. She says it still feels unreal that their son is dead and Bernard says there are mornings that he forgets when or where he is and expects to find their son in bed between them. She wants to know if he wishes he could forget and Bernard says the pain is all he has left of their son.

Elsie and Stubbs are still searching for the missing host and she’s wondering why he would ever carve Orion. Stubbs jokes about it and Elsie gets pissed. She walks away, hears a noise, and finds the host is stuck in a crevice.

Teddy tells Marti and the Marshal to shoot and don’t stop shooting if they see something. They are attacked by hooded men and try shooting their way out. The Marshal is killed. Some of the men have hatchets, some have knives, and they all fall on Teddy as Marti escapes.

Elsie calls in and leaves a message for Bernard, telling him the stray got an idea in his head they didn’t program. She doesn’t think he went missing by accident.

Bernard tells Dolores he needs her help deciding what to do with her. He wants to restore her to the way she was before because the place she lives in is a terrible place. She asks if she’s changed and he tells her to imagine there are two versions of herself. Does she want to be the one who asks questions or the one who is safe? She doesn’t understand, saying there’s only one version. When she discovers who she is, she’ll be free. She doesn’t know why she said that and asks if she did something wrong. He tells her how he taught his son, Charlie, to swim. He eventually had to let him go to try it on his own, because that’s what parents do. He’s not going to change her back and instead will see where this path leads. She’s once again made to promise she won’t say anything about their conversations.

Back in town, Dolores learns the sheriff has left Teddy and the Marshal up in the mountains to fend for themselves. That means Dolores has to ride back at night to her home by herself. She hears the gunshots, runs to her father, and she sees a vision of the other version of her father as Rebus grabs her and takes her to the shed while the rest of the men stay at the house. Suddenly the gun appears in her hand and this time she can fire it, flashing back to the Man in Black. A voice tells her to kill him and she does. Racing from the barn Dolores hears her mother screaming but before she can do anything, she’s shot. Oh, but then there’s a 10 second rewind of the action and this time Dolores escapes before she’s shot. She rides off.

Elsie and Stubbs work on rescuing the stray host who’s now in sleep mode. Stubbs uses a saw to cut off the host’s head since that’s all they need. As he’s slicing away the host wakes up and attacks Stubbs. He goes after Elsie too but instead of dropping a heavy rock on her heard, he bashes his own head in instead.

William and Logan are by themselves around a campfire when Dolores rides up. William catches her as she passes out by their campfire.