On the scale of complicated storytelling, HBO’s Westworld just hit its high mark with episode six of season one. Titled “The Adversary” and airing November 6, 2016, the episode centered around six key players: Maeve, Dr. Robert Ford, Teddy, Elsie, Bernard, and Theresa. Maeve’s storyline in particular took a dramatic turn that elevated the character from supporting player to one who could completely alter the future of Westworld.
Episode six begins with Maeve (Thandie Newton) dressing for work and heading to the saloon/whorehouse as if it’s just any other day. She has a chat with Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) as newcomers enter the bar. She tells Clementine she’ll handle a particularly rough looking guest, taking him up to a room. She insults him, he gets rough, and then he strangles her. It’s what she wanted all along as now she’s back with Felix the technician (Leonardo Nam).
Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) are examining the satellite uplink they found in the host who killed himself. They need to figure out who he was smuggling data to, but the host had an older programming version. Bernard heads to Floor B82, a restricted area that has the software necessary to interact with the host’s old programming. Lights flicker and…nice!…Bernard’s flashlight briefly lights up The Gunslinger, Yul Brynner’s character from the 1973 Westworld movie. Bernard accesses an old computer and uploads the host’s data. He sends the info he discovers to Elsie and then he finds five additional anomalies (five other hosts that could be sending secret data out or doing something outside the norm.) These five hosts are not registered with the new system.
The Man in Black (Ed Harris) and Teddy (James Marsden) ride alone in the middle of nowhere, discussing the maze. Teddy says the maze is the sum of a man’s life and one man was able to conquer the maze after dying time and time again. Teddy knows how to get over the border now that it’s closed by soldiers, and he’s determined to track Wyatt who he still believes has Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood).
Felix explains that Maeve is programmed and everything she does happens because it’s what someone upstairs programmed her to do. Felix is human, he says, and Maeve asks him how he knows. He tells her he was born while she was made. She doubts that because they feel the same, but he tells her the processing power in her brain is more powerful than a human brain but someone can alter her behavior however they want. Felix admits he doesn’t understand how she remembers things and lets her know she was completely designed but can improvise just a little. He even shows Maeve her data and as she tries to tell him he’s wrong, she watches the words she’s saying appear on the screen. She goes into overload mode and Felix gets a system error response when he tries to bring her around.
Bernard pays a visit to Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and she informs him Dr. Ford knows they’re sleeping together. Bernard’s fine with that but Theresa isn’t and tells him it must end. Theresa thinks Ford is actually what’s wrong with the park, but Bernard disagrees – yet he doesn’t tell her about the anomalies.
Felix continues to try and bring Maeve back online and suddenly she comes to. She wants to see the area where the programming takes place, “upstairs” as Felix calls it. He leads her past hosts who are being cleaned up and repaired and she walks through this behind-the-scenes area taking everything in: all the technicians in white suits and the hosts being created from blank canvasses. They take the elevators to higher floors and see buffalo, horses, and deer being brought to life for the park. They continue, watching technicians testing hosts to make sure their programming is correct. Felix and Maeve continue further upstairs to the design floor where Maeve sees people sculpting heads. Felix asks if they can please go back so he won’t get fired and as they’re entering an elevator, Maeve sees a big screen video of ‘Westworld’ and it includes the saloon as well as a scene featuring her young daughter with the tagline, “Live Without Limits.”
Maeve and Felix return to his work area and she asks how they had videos of her dreams. He explains that she was a mother in a previous build, and then gives her the basic info on what a build is. As they’re talking, Felix’s partner Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) catches them and he’s upset Felix dressed up Maeve. Sylvester threatens to tell on Felix so Maeve grabs Sylvester and puts a knife to his throat. She says she can kill him but she won’t. Instead, she can help him because she knows what he wants. Or, she can just gut him. It’s his choice.
After a few episodes without any Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) sightings, we find out he’s been on sick leave and is currently hanging out by a pool, drinking. Theresa finds him there to tell him Dr. Ford has displaced 50 hosts and has created continuity holes all over the park. She needs him back at work now and he threatens to quit. Theresa reminds him that if Dr. Ford can’t pull off the new adventure, they’ll be looking for a replacement.
The Man in Black and Teddy look out over an encampment of soldiers, and while Teddy wants to go through them, The Man in Black says they need to stay alive. Then an opportunity presents itself as they spot two soldiers riding in alone. They kill them, take their uniforms, and as The Man in Black and Teddy head into camp, they see that Wyatt’s victims have been brought in to be taken care of by the soldiers. Wyatt’s victims are alive but maimed with missing body parts. Just then a soldier recognizes Teddy and a gunfight breaks out. The soldiers overpower The Man in Black and Teddy.
Lee spots a gorgeous park visitor at the pool bar and hits on her, introducing himself as the head of narrative. She asks what his favorite ride is in the park and Lee admits his artistic freedom is restrained, letting it slip the robots can go off script. The guest is surprised and he says it’s just little things. Lee’s cut off by the bartender and told to get back to work. He answers by grabbing a bottle and announcing, “F**k this job.”
Elsie’s close to finding the saboteur and should be able to find out who programmed the hosts and smuggled out the data. She’ll accept a promotion for bringing this information to light, potentially saving the company lots of money. She even tells Bernard she thinks Theresa’s head could roll for this. She’s no fan of Theresa or the work her team does.
Bernard asks one of the techs about the info he sent her to investigate, and she says no hosts have been to the area he referenced and no techs have been there either. He decides to check out the area in the park for himself and comes across a house. He sees a man walk out the door and grab some wood, and Bernard follows him inside. The man isn’t alone in the house; he’s there with a woman and two children – including the young boy Dr. Robert’s been talking to.
Bernard asks the host if he’s Arnold and the host attacks him. Bernard tries to stop the hosts but they don’t respond until Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) makes his presence known and freezes them. Dr. Ford calls them ghosts, survivors of the wreck of time. This family is all first-generation hosts and Dr. Ford asks the boy to open his face, showing he’s an old model. Dr. Ford’s been maintaining this family all by himself and they’re the only ones left in the park built by Arnold that are still around. An elderly Greyhound walks in and curls up by the fire as Dr. Ford explains this is actually his family and that Arnold built them as a gift. The young boys are modeled after Arnold and Robert, and the parents are modeled after Dr. Ford’s real parents. Bernard’s troubled by the fact these hosts are not registered, and Dr. Ford assures him this family doesn’t go anywhere else in the park; they continue to exist because they’re his connection to the past. Dr. Ford tells Bernard they can talk about this later.
Back at headquarters, Lee pisses on the huge map of the park. He’s doing it in front of everyone and Theresa walks up while Lee declares this place is his stage and he’ll do what he pleases. Theresa introduces the girl from the bar and she’s a board member.
Bernard’s back at his desk and doing research. He wants to know how many first-generation hosts designed by Arnold are still in the park and in rotation.
Teddy and The Man in Black have been tied up by the soldiers, and The Man in Black tries to make a deal to free them. They ignore him and brand Teddy with the maze design as he has a flashback to a murder spree he committed. That flashback spurs him to action and he says, “You’re right. I am a killer.” He breaks loose and takes out some of the men. Then he uses a Gatling gun to wipe out the rest of the soldiers. He kills everyone so that he won’t be followed in his hunt for Wyatt.
Elsie discovers the satellite is one of their own and the voices the hosts are hearing is coming from a transmitter that isn’t supposed to be working. She heads out alone to check on it and Bernard warns her to be careful.
Back in the park, young Robert shows Dr. Ford that their dog has died.
It’s completely dark outside as Elsie enters a building that’s currently being used for storage. She’s tracking the signal source and wonders where an evil genius would hide a relay. She finds a trap door and accesses a computer hidden under the floorboards, tracing previous users.
Bernard visits Theresa at her place and tells her he found anomalies at the park that he needs to make her aware of. He tells Theresa there’s something going on with Dr. Ford and she has reason to be considered. A call from Elsie interrupts Bernard’s visit with Theresa, and Elsie tells Bernard it’s Theresa who is smuggling out their data. She also says there’s something much bigger going on.
And now we catch back up with Maeve. Felix continues to explain everything in her program, including what they can program and what she’s been programmed to do. She’s told her intelligence is a level 14 which is the highest they allow hosts to go. She wants to make changes to her programming and Sylvester says they can’t, but Felix has already told her they can do that. Maeve knows that Sylvester takes advantage sexually of the hosts before wiping their memories and uses a little blackmail to convince him to alter her programming.
Bernard is back at the headquarters where he calls Elsie to find out what else it is that she uncovered. Elsie reveals someone else has been using the system to re-test hosts but she doesn’t know who. Some of the changes are to their prime directives which means that the hosts can lie to them and hurt people. She thinks it’s Arnold who is behind it.
Dr. Ford asks the young Robert what happened to the dog and Robert at first lies and then admits he killed it. Robert says someone told him to do it and the voice that told him to was Arnold’s. Arnold told the boy he could help the dog by killing it. “If it was dead, it couldn’t hurt anything anymore.” Dr. Ford’s shocked.
Elsie continues to search the relay for information and discovers even more about what’s going on with the smuggling operation and the secret reprogramming. She hears something in the building and then she’s grabbed from behind by the throat.
Maeve wants her loyalty and pain programming lowered and as Felix is doing it, he notices someone else has already been altering her program secretly. Whoever has altered the program is higher up in the company than either Felix and Sylvester, which makes them leery of doing anything that might get them in trouble. After a bit of convincing, Maeve wants her intelligence setting placed at the highest it can go. Felix does it and Maeve immediately reacts with a knowing smile, saying, “Dear boys, we’re going to have some fun, aren’t we?”
Additional Westworld Episodes:
- Episode 1 – The Original
- Episode 2 – Chestnut
- Episode 3 – The Stray
- Episode 4 – Dissonance Theory
- Episode 5 – Contrapasso