The Rolling Stones’ “Play with Fire” is heard as HBO’s Westworld season two episode four begins in what appears to be a very clean and organized apartment. James Delos (Peter Mullan) is its sole occupant and he exercises and does other daily chores before William (Jimmi Simpson) arrives. They discuss when Delos can leave this place. William assures him he’s being observed but needs to finish the interview before he can exit. Delos reminds him he’s dying of the same disease that he defunded the research to cure 15 years ago. He doesn’t have much patience left.
Delos believes he’s in Carlsbad, CA in an office park. He’s grown tired of staying in this place, but William explains they need to establish a baseline. Delos has a hard time accepting the fact they’ve had this conversation multiple times, so William hands him a letter.
Flash-forward and the Man in Black/William (Ed Harris) and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr) ride past where guests are being used as logs for the building of a railroad. The tracks are heading the wrong direction and will detour through Las Mudas where Lawrence has family. William realizes Ford is arranging a special reunion.
Elsewhere in the park, Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) drags Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) through the dirt to the edge of a cave and leaves him. There’s a rifle nearby and Bernard grabs it, and then looks for the source of a noise in the cave. He finds Elise (Shannon Woodward), but she’s not happy to see him. She’s chained up and Bernard frees her. She then turns the table, grabs the gun, and claims he choked her and left her there with just protein bars. He blames that on Ford forcing him to do it and it’s all just one big game. He warns her the hosts are free as he begs for his life.
She doesn’t shoot him, and he follows her out the cave. He’s in Cognitive Lock and his system’s on the verge of shutting down. Elsie promises to fix him, but reminds him he has a lot to pay for.
Bernard comes to, bound and with the gun inches from his face. Elsie says he has cortical damage and needs cortical fluid or he’ll shut down. She attempts to leave him when he trots after her revealing no one is coming for them. He explains Delos won’t rescue them until the company gets what it needs from inside the park.
Bernard then has a vision of himself walking through the cave. He believes he’s been dumped in this specific location by Clementine because there’s a facility nearby. Elsie doesn’t agree, but Bernard thinks it’s hidden somewhere nearby. He has the vision of himself once again and this time he follows it to see a hidden handle in the wall. An elevator is revealed but he doesn’t remember where it will take them if they enter it. Nevertheless, they ride it into the building with Elsie holding her rifle at the ready.
They arrive in a lab splattered with blood and with dead bodies laying around. Elsie spots something that looks like a skinless host and shoots it, while Bernard reveals he believes the company was watching the guests. Before giving him the cortical fluid, she wants assurance he’s not part of this project and that Ford isn’t with him now. Bernard informs her Ford is dead.
In the park, guests are tied up and walked through the Lakota tribe. They’re then tossed to the ground near members of the security team who were also captured. A woman confesses she isn’t looking to escape.
William and Lawrence arrive in Las Mudas and it’s nearly deserted. Lawrence isn’t happy about being back in this town and as the bartender pours them a drink, his hand shakes. Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) and his soldiers get the drop on William and Lawrence, forcing them into a church with the rest of the townspeople, including Lawrence’s wife and daughter. The soldiers want food, whiskey, and ammunition before they’ll leave.
Craddock knows the townsfolk are rebels, and Lawrence realizes they’ll kill all of them as soon as they get what they need. He wants William to help him get the weapons which he reveals are in an unmarked grave out back. His plan is to make a run for it when the soldiers are drunk, but William spoils that plan by making a deal with Craddock. William also confirms he knows Craddock is heading to Glory and tells Craddock he knows the way.
Another flashback to Delos in the same facility listening to music and exercising. He stares at himself in the mirror and then William arrives. They go through the same conversation once more. And once again William places a letter in front of Delos. The letter is a transcript that matches what they just said minutes ago. Delos laughs after reading it and then realizes he’s dead. It’s been seven years since he died and now Delos is unsure he’s still in California.
Delos wants out of this facility and claims he’s ready to get back to his life. When he mentions his wife, William informs him she’s dead. He then learns his daughter is fine and his granddaughter’s smart.
Delos asks again to leave but William says he’s not ready yet. He’s been fidgeting and shaking, and then his speech becomes jumbled. William promises to come back the next day.
James Delos is actually in the laboratory where they work on all the other hosts. This host version of Jim is terminated.
Back in the park, William and Lawrence watch the soldiers go through the supplies. Craddock is cruel, killing without any provocation.
Night falls and the Lakota warriors escort their prisoners to see the first of them who will decide their fate. The prisoners are made to kneel before Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon). The woman who didn’t want to leave this place escapes. The warriors vanish and leave the prisoners kneeling.
Bernard wakes after the cortical fluid injection and thanks Elsie for saving him. She claims she did so because she needs his help. The system has an encryption scheme that she hasn’t seen before, but he’s seen it in Peter Abernathy’s head. Bernard can’t remember everything, and Elsie explains his memories are just drifting around and he has no way of knowing the timeline for anything from his past.
Bernard realizes he’s been to this lab recently and knows they weren’t using this facility to build hosts. Elsie finds a closed door and is determined to see inside. She believes the purpose of this place might be revealed in the locked room. Bernard tries to remember what they were making and flashes back to a room full of techs.
Craddock continues to terrify the town and Lawrence. William doesn’t care about any of this and listens as Craddock explains he died recently but was sent back here. He dances with Lawrence’s wife as she watches her husband being beaten outside the tavern. She’s told to take Lawrence a drink and begs with her eyes for help from William. He ignores her plea. William assures Craddock death doesn’t favor him. “You think you know death, but you don’t,” says William.
William makes his move and shoots Craddock’s men after slicing Craddock with a broken glass. He then forces Craddock to drink before handing Lawrence his rifle. When Lawrence shoots Craddock, he blows up.
Delos is in the lab and William visits, again, but this time it’s the Man in Black version of William. Their chat ends with William telling Delos he’s hit a cognitive plateau. They believed it was his mind rejecting the new body, but it’s actually that his mind is rejecting reality (rejecting itself). Delos can barely speak in sentences and this is the 149th time they’ve brought him back. In another year, the problem might be solved but William’s just not sure anymore.
William admits this was all a mistake and that people shouldn’t live forever. Delos is angry William’s running his company and living in his house, and worst of all sleeping with his daughter, Juliette. William reveals Juliette killed herself. He’s now aware some people are better off dead.
William leaves and Delos begins destroying his residence. Instead of burning him as they’ve done the others, William wants this version saved so they can observe him.
Elsie and Bernard make it into the locked room and discover the lab where Delos was being kept. It’s in tatters and then they spot the blood on the floor. The lab tech is dead and Delos is seated on his exercise bike. He stands when Elsie says hello and his face is covered in bloody slash marks. He’s been cutting his own face with shards of glass.
Delos advances on Elise, but she doesn’t fire. Bernard comes to her defense once Delos disarms her. Bernard knocks Delos down and then holds his head for a minute. Delos states there was only ever the Devil and then Elise initiates the termination process, lighting him up like he’s burning in hell.
When Elise asks if that was a host or human, Bernard says it was both. They copied his mind onto a control unit, and Elise understands this means they were experimenting with the goal of letting rich people live forever.
Bernard realizes he printed a control unit for another human, but he can’t remember who. He claims he’s now in control of himself and can decide who he wants to be. He begs to be given the chance to do the right thing. Elsie agrees, saying, “I always trusted code more than people anyway.” She makes him promise he’ll never hurt her and he won’t tell any more lies.
Bernard has a vision of sticking a circuit unit in his pocket and then commanding the skeleton hosts to kill all the technicians before killing themselves. Bernard killed the final injured tech himself.
Lawrence’s wife thanks William and Lawrence reveals the men of the village want to ride with them. Once William’s alone for a minute, Ford speaks through Lawrence’s daughter, assuring him one good deed doesn’t change anything. She also teases that if he’s looking forward, he’s looking in the wrong direction.
William, Lawrence, and the men come across the woman who escaped from the Lakota warriors. It turns out she’s William’s daughter.
More on Westworld:
- Recap of Westworld Season 1 Episode 10 “The Bicameral Mind”
- Recap of Westworld Season 2 Episode 1 “Journey Into Night”
- Recap of Westworld Season 2 Episode 2 “Reunion”
- Recap of Westworld Season 2 Episode 3 “Virtù e Fortuna”
- Recap of Westworld Season 2 Episode 5 “Akane No Mai”