‘Westworld’ Season 1 Episode 4 Recap: Dissonance Theory

Westworld stars Ben Barnes and Jimmi Simpson
Chris Browning, Ben Barnes, and Jimmi Simpson in ‘Westworld’ (Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)

HBO’s Westworld season one episode four finds Dolores carving out a new path for herself and the Man in Black still obsessed with figuring out what’s actually going on in this twisted theme park world. The episode begins with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) asking Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) if she knows what happened, and she remembers her parents being killed. She believes everyone she cared about is gone, but she doesn’t want the feeling of hurt and pain to go away. It’s all she has left of her loved ones. She also tells Bernard she’s adapting her thoughts from previous scripts and wants to know if he can help her because there’s something wrong with this world. Or, there could be something wrong with her. She thinks she might be losing her mind. Bernard tells Dolores about a special game called the Maze. She can be free if she can find the center of it.

Dolores wakes up next to the campfire with the gun in her hand, with William (Jimmi Simpson) nearby.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) is having weird thoughts when a guest shoots up the saloon, killing all the hosts. She remains cognizant of everything that’s going on when she’s brought into have her gunshot wound fixed. But wait, the shooting is just a memory she’s experiencing. She feels her lower stomach where the gunshot entered. She heads home and has more flashes of memories, quickly drawing a picture of a technician before she forgets the vision. She opens a hidden place in her floor to find more of the same drawings.

Elsie (Shannon Woodward) tells Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) about the host smashing its own head in. Elsie doesn’t know why it went off its loop in the first place, and the host is sitting there nearly headless unable to give any answers. Theresa’s team is taking over the investigation, which doesn’t sit well with Elsie.

Elsie is sure there’s a pattern of behavior here and she’s not sure why Bernard doesn’t want her to tell anyone. He tells her she’s reading things into the hosts’ behaviors.

William tells his future brother-in-law Logan (Ben Barnes) and their host guide, Holden, that they have to take Dolores back to town and that she shouldn’t be with them on a bounty hunt. Logan doesn’t want to take the time to return her and suggests just killing her and leaving her there. William’s not happy with Logan’s desire to kill or f**k everything, but Logan has figured out that Dolores is there to give William someone to care about. Logan thinks those running the show know exactly what William needs and have supplied it, and Logan also believes the company should bump up their stake in Westworld. William didn’t know this was a business trip and Logan says, “In our family, everything is business.”

The Man in Black (Ed Harris) still has Lawrence tied up and is continuing with his pursuit of the meaning of this place. He’s searching for a snake that lays eggs so that he can find the maze. Then they spot a woman tattooed with a snake, Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), washing herself in her river. Lawrence warns him away from the woman just as a group of men arrive and pull their guns on the Man in Black and Lawrence. They’re going to use the Man in Black and Lawrence for horse food before retrieving something of great value from a prison. The Man in Black kills two of Armistice’s men and offers to take their place on search.

Back at headquarters, Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) is told Dolores has broken from her narrative. The problem is bigger than just Dolores because of the new storyline Dr. Ford is introducing.

Dolores accompanies William and Logan into a little town where she spots Lawrence’s daughter. The daughter has drawn a maze in the sand and Dolores has a flashback as a sheriff walks up and asks if she’s the missing girl from Abernathy Ranch. Dolores has more visions from the past and tells the sheriff her father is dead and she’s not going back. William walks up just then and the sheriff leaves Dolores alone. She decides to continue with William to find Slim, the man with the bounty on his head.

Night falls and Dolores apologizes to William and he tells her he thought they kept the hosts on paths. She recalls bringing the herd down from the mountain in the fall and gets emotional talking about her father. William seems touched by her story and Dolores still isn’t sure where she’s supposed to be heading but thinks there’s a place for her beyond all this. She stares up at the moon and it dissolves into a scene of technicians working on her dead family at the ranch. She nearly faints again and William catches her.

The Man in Black and Lawrence are sitting among their newfound friends when two of the guests approach the Man in Black and thank him for the wonderful work he does with his foundation. The Man in Black does not take this well and threatens to cut their throats. He says he’s on vacation, meaning he does not want real life to intrude.

Lawrence has figured out Armistice and her gang are looking for something that’s hidden in a prison. The Man in Black doesn’t have time for this and tells Armistice he’ll get what’s hidden for her if she tells him the story of her tattoos. He then talks about Arnold, the original settler of Westworld, and the rule about the hosts not being able to die. Arnold died in the park but the Man in Black believes Arnold had one last story to tell and he’s honoring his legacy by following clues to the maze. He thinks the tattoo is the next piece of the puzzle. The Man in Black will take Lawrence with him to take out the 20 men in the prison. He’ll also need one match. The deal is struck.

Lawrence and the Man in Black are handcuffed and riding in a stage coach with a sheriff. The Man in Black asks for a light for his cigar. He’s denied, and the sheriff takes the package of cigars for himself. They pull up to the prison and are greeted by marshals who claim Lawrence is the most wanted man in the territory. As he’s taken away, Lawrence tells the Man in Black he’s going to kill him. The Man in Black is put in a cell with Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) while Lawrence is placed in front of the firing squad. The Man in Black describes Hector’s loop and wants to know his world view. Hector says only the truly brave can look at the world and understand it will all end badly. “No one will be saved,” says Hector. Hector’s waiting for his friends to break him out but the Man in Black says he doesn’t want to wait and they’re breaking out now. As Lawrence is tied to a pole outside, inside the prison the Man in Black lights his cigar and then sets off a charge that blows open the cell door. The Man in Black and Hector save Lawrence from the firing squad just in time, taking out all the marshals.

He brings Hector back to his gang and the tattooed gunslinger recalls she was seven when masked men killed everyone in her town. She’s been tracking them down and using their blood to paint her skin ever since then. There’s only one man left and it’s Wyatt.

A group of Indians walk down the main street of town, with a child dropping a toy that looks like Maeve’s drawing. Maeve chases the child asking what it means when a stranger tells her that thing is part of their religion and she’ll never gets an answer.

Bernard’s in bed while Theresa is getting dressed after they have sex. Theresa says she must talk to Ford because he’s creating chaos in the park.

In the park, Dr. Ford oversees an area where the new narrative he’s creating will take place. Theresa notes it’s a massive endeavor and they walk past hosts working in the fields. Theresa says everyone wants to protect his legacy and they’re concerned about the changes he’s making. They take a seat in an outdoor restaurant where Dr. Ford tells Theresa he doesn’t think she likes the place. She reluctantly admits she admires it, but that she realized she wouldn’t enjoy it once she started working there. Dr. Ford said he and Arnold made a bet on storylines, creating 100 hopeful ones that no one actually wanted. Arnold had a dim view of people and liked the hosts better. He also had no liking for business people involved with this world. As he’s explaining that, all of the hosts stop working and freeze. Dr. Ford says Arnold lost his perspective and went mad, but he himself hasn’t. He says he sees things very clearly. Theresa remembers that where she’s sitting now is where she sat with her parents when they visited the park, and Dr. Ford says they know everything about their hosts, their guests, and their employees. He even warns her to be careful with Bernard because he has a “sensitive disposition.” The hosts begin moving again as he asks her nicely to please not get in his way. Theresa says the Board will agree with her and will send a representative. He says they already have. His new area will be completed on time and it won’t be a retrospective as everyone feared, claiming not to be the sentimental type.

William tells Dolores to hang back and be safe as they take on Slim. Holden tells Logan and William to be careful because Slim’s got his gang with him. Inside the farm house, Logan, William, and Holden take on the gang. A wild shoot-out goes down and Logan runs out of bullets, beats one of the men, and takes his gun.

Lawrence and the Man in Black are on their own again, searching for Wyatt. Lawrence thinks they’re crazy doing it. They ride up on a man tied shirtless to a tree. It’s Teddy (James Marsden) who begs the Man in Black to be put him out of his misery. The Man in Black cuts him down but doesn’t kill him.

William, Logan, Dolores and Holden have Slim tied up on the back of the horse. As Holden goes to gag him, Slim says the man he works for will pay them double. Logan takes out Holden, because Slim’s led them to the best ride in the park, a hidden Easter egg he wants to pursue. Dolores wants Logan to let Slim go and William sticks up for Dolores. Logan wants William to go black hat with him, and William says Logan has turned into an evil prick in the park. Logan wants William to join him on the dark side for this upcoming adventure.

Meanwhile back in town, Hector rides down the main street accompanied by the Man in Black, another guest, Armistice, and the rest of his gang. Hector goes through his normal ritual of robbing the saloon when Maeve puts a gun to his head. She wants to talk and takes him up to the room with the safe. She’ll give him the combination in exchange for answers and she pulls out the drawing of the technician. Outside on the streets it’s a bloodbath, but at headquarters they decide to jam the guest’s weapon and take him into jail for fighting alongside Hector.

Hector tells Maeve about the drawing, saying it’s part of sacred native lore. He says the “shape” walks between worlds and was sent from hell to oversee their world. Maeve says she thought she was crazy when she got shot and there was no wound. The shape was standing over her and now the gunshot wound is gone. She wants Hector to cut her in the same place but he won’t. Hector says the dreamwalker said it’s a blessing to see the masters who pull your strings. Maeve prepares to cut herself and says the dreamwalkers don’t know what they’re talking about. She cuts herself and screams, and Hector pulls out a bullet from her abdomen, asking what it means. She says it means she’s not crazy after all and that none of this matters. They kiss passionately as the marshals fire through the door.