Saddle up! But beware potential spoilers in this review, which will discuss elements of the episode.
Maeve's story is the one that moves things forward for the hosts the most this week. Aided and abetted – to a slightly confounding degree, but more on that in a moment – by repair techs Felix (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum, whose name sounds like he should be one of the old-timey cowpokes in Westworld itself), Maeve not only goes on a walking tour of other areas in the underground Delos facility (leading to a tragic moment where she sees her nightmare vision as part of an ad for the park, thus further reinforcing her artificiality), but she also convinces the guys to boost her various capabilities. Looks like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the lower levels will be key players in how the robo-revolution truly kicks off. But there are some creeping logic issues here, and we don't just mean Maeve shutting down at one point, overcome by learning that her responses are programmed. While we buy Felix being fascinated by Maeve's development, did no one truly notice a repair tech walking a host around? He could've been testing her, true, but it seems suspicious that no one else in the facility or watching a security camera questioned that. And does Maeve really have such a sway over these two? We're willing to overlook that for the fun of seeing Thandie Newton wrap them around her little finger.
Elsewhere in the Down Below, we had Bernard and Elsie continuing their mission to find out who hacked the stray host and has been broadcasting the park's data to someone outside. Turns out it's... Theresa! And Elsie forgets the rules of conspiracy thrillers, horror movies and even Scooby-Doo cartoons by going off to locate the source of the signal all on her own. She ends up caught by... someone. Is everyone thinking Arnold? Well, maybe. Bernard, meanwhile, discovers one of Ford's little secrets (we'll discuss than in Dr. Ford's dedicated section lower down the page), which confirms his growing suspicions that something really is going on that no one is aware of. And before she's revealed as one of the conspirators in the data-smuggling, there's Theresa chiding a drunken, frustrated Lee Sizemore before he encounters/sloppily hits on a woman he believes to be a guest (Tessa Thompson's Charlotte Hale) and who turns out to be one of the Delos board members. Sadly for Lee, he discovers this as he's three sheets to the wind and peeing on the main Westworld map. Awkward comedy moment of the episode, thy name is Lee and his penis. But hands up who figured Charlotte would be something more than she seemed? That's pretty much all of you.
The Man In Black
There was a real switch-up from Westworld business as normal this week as Teddy's new backstory as a Civil War traitor got him and the MIB into real trouble. They ended up tied to a military wagon and nearly branded with the icon of the maze, but escaped thanks to their combined badassery. And Teddy, traditionally the one to die or be horribly maimed, turned things around by commandeering a machine gun and killing everyone in the camp of soldiers they uncover. Even that seemed to take a toll on him though, and James Marsden delivered real feeling with his conflicted emotions.
After Bernard discovered his little cottage out of the way, we learned that the boy Ford met a few episodes ago is a version of himself as a young man and a first-generation host built by Arnold as a gift to his friend. The effects on the lad opening up his face to show his inner workings were fantastic, and the moment of Bernard briefly under threat from the father of the brood, with only Ford able to control them, was a nicely tense moment. But it appears that even Ford may soon be under threat, as someone is whispering in the boy's mind – or sending data to him – that is turning him into a killer. Poor Jock the dog! Even if he can simply be repaired.
The logic issues in the Maeve story aside (though, honestly, what kind of shoddy security do they really have in the labs?), this was another great example of the show both taking its time with the story and letting some of the answers slip out naturally. It's a tad frustrating to have Dolores and William in the middle of high adventure last week and then not mentioned at all now, but with so many running plots to service, that's going to happen occasionally. The Maeve plot and Ford stuff were effectively creepy and full of techno terror and we're fascinated to see what Maeve's intelligence boost means for the future. Because, as we all know, having a hyper intelligent robot that can read and manipulate human desires in a pinch only ever leads to happy times and kittens for all. And if you're obsessed with the fan theories – for the record, this reviewer is staying away from them and letting the story unwrap naturally – take a look at this briefing on the biggest questions around Westworld.
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Westworld airs on HBO in the US on Sunday nights and Tuesdays on Sky Atlantic in the UK