HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 2, “Chestnut” Recap

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2, Dolores and Maeve

[Image via HBO]

Welcome to my recap of HBO’s latest offering, Westworld. Here’s what I thought of Episode 2 of Season 1.

Well it seems that Dolores’ (Evan Rachel Wood) may have a sneaky little glitch in Episode 2 of Westworld. A programming glitch, because a male voice commands her to wake up in the middle of the night and go outside. The result of this programming is not discovered until the very end of the episode though. However, throughout Episode 2, it seems her small anomaly might not have gone unnoticed by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) who has a little private moment with Dolores where he questions whether she has been programmed by anyone else since the last time they spoke. What is most interesting about this encounter is not only the fact that it is clandestine (indicated by Dolores still wearing clothes) and that he then asks her to completely wipe all traces of their conversation from her activity log. Righto, so is Bernard trying to outdo Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) already in the God complex department?

Speaking of Ford, he is busy dipping his own toes into the immersive aspect of Westworld. Entering, he immediately finds a small boy. After a chat and a walk, Ford sees a structure that looks like a black church and instructs the boy to leave. Once again, it is the end of the episode before we find out anything else about this building.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2, Ben Barnes as Logan and Jimmi Simpson as William

[Image via John P. Johnson/HBO]

So, just to make it fair, Episode 2 of Westworld tries to get the audience to not hate the humans as much. Enter Regular Participant (Ben Barnes) and Total Newbie (Jimmi Simpson). Regular Participant is an arsehole. A product of what happens when you get to live your fantasies over and over again in Westworld. Total Newbie, on the other hand, seems like he might be a nice guy so long as Regular Participant Arsehole stops dragging him away from the nicer storylines. Oh, and it looks like Total Newbie might have the hots for Dolores now even though he turned down a whore because he has someone at home waiting for him. Hmmm… maybe not a total nice guy.

Now, Dolores, in between being quizzed by Bernard is playing a pretty cool game of Chinese Whispers. Except the phrase she uses; “These violent delights have violent ends,” seems to pass on whatever it is she and her old father has. So now the town madam, Maeve (Thandie Newton), has it but her version doesn’t seem to be as refined as Dolores’ and she glitches out just enough that she is taken off the floor and tinkered with a bit. Going back on the floor, she not only has some apparent memories of her with a small child and an apparent slaughter between cowboys and Indians but an upped aggression. Because nothing with go wrong with that.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2, Thandie Newton as Maeve and Jasmyn Rae as Homestead Girl

[Image via John P. Johnson /BO]

Behind the scenes at Westworld, they are still trying to work out if the anomaly from last week is gone or not. Elsie (Shannon Woodward) is concerned the anomaly might actually be contagious and wants to pull in Dolores for questioning or decommissioning. Bernard says no. Of course he does, he must be worried Elsie might find traces of whatever the fuck it is he is doing with her. But he does try to deflect by suggesting that maybe Dolores’ dad was sabotaged.

Another piece of nice work on Bernard’s behalf we find out after he and Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) have an intimate moment, is that he programs the hosts to have conversations among themselves — even when there  are no humans around. He claims it is so they can learn from it, whatever the fuck that means. But is does open up some interesting questioning between a techie and Elsa when he asks if hosts can actually dream. For the record, apparently not, but they do know of the concept of dreams, in particular, nightmares, and that is a fail-safe just in case the full wipe between participants isn’t complete. Which is why we hate the humans so much.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2, Elsie and Maeve

[Image via HBO]

However, for Maeve, it seems like she might be actually dreaming. Or remembering, or something. Whatever it is, when Teddy (James Marsden) gets killed right next to her (by a first time homicidal human giggling with glee) and she scores some shrapnel, she not only dreams during the process (and dreams of the horrible Man in Black (Ed Harris) but wakes up during the surgery. Understandably, she freaks the fuck out and runs through the other side of Westworld trying to make sense of everything she is seeing. She finally freaks out just enough for them to recapture her and put her back into sleep mode (which the techie swears she was already in before the surgery).

Now, that reminds me: the Man in Black. He is trying his hardest to get to the game within the game. He is still carrying around the scalp of Kissy (Eddie Rouse) that has that strange maze image on it. He also tracks down a guy, Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), who might be able to help. When Lawrence isn’t as helpful as he thought, he threatens his family and it is eventually Lawrence’s daughter, who lets on about the game within the game. She warns him, “The maze isn’t meant for you.” When the Man in Black disagrees, she also tells him, “Follow the blood arrow to the place where the snake lays its eggs.” And so, the Man in Black continues his search. Interesting to note is something the Man in Black said. We know he has been playing the Westworld game for 30 years, however, in Episode 2 he says he was born there. So, is the Man in Black a human or a host who thinks he’s a human? Because he sure looks older than 30 years-old.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2 the cross structure

[Image via HBO]

Now, as for Westworld, it seems that new storylines, plots and characters are always needed to keep the world fresh for the humans participating. So resident arsehole, Lee (Simon Quarterman) has invented a new storyline that he totally loves involving, amongst other things, self-cannibalism. Thankfully Dr. Ford also thinks this idea sucks, but hang on, he knows of this church structure and a cool storyline he has been working on that just might work. Something else to notice in this scene is the fact one of the Indians kind of resembles the one seen in Maeve’s memories. So, if Bernard is not fucking with the hosts core programming, could Lee be?

And that leads us to the other reveal that waited until the end of Episode 2 of Westworld: Dolores gets a gun. As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, Dolores is now a considerable threat: “First the fly, and now she’s armed.” In other words, Episode 1 of Westworld showed the audience that Dolores could now hurt living creatures and now Episode 2 has placed a weapon at her disposal. Considering she remembered Sweetwater full of dead people, perhaps it is not a memory of hers but a sneak into the potential future of her now she has a gun and probably a raging case of PTSD.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 2, Dolores and the gun

[Image via HBO/Father Son Holy Gore]

What did you think of Episode 2 of Westworld? Let us know by commenting below!

Episode 3 (entitled “The Stray”) of Westworld will air on HBO on Sunday, October 16 at 9:00 PM. The synopsis is below.

“Elsie and Stubbs head into the hills in pursuit of a missing host; Teddy gets a new backstory, setting him off in pursuit of a new villain; Bernard investigates the origins of madness and hallucinations within the hosts.”

[Featured image via HBO]

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