TV Review: Westworld, Season 1, Episode 4: "Dissonance Theory"
This recap/review of Westworld is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!
EPISODE: Season 1, Episode 4: Dissonance Theory
PLOT: Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) finds herself an unwilling participant in William (JImmy Simpson) and Logan’s (Ben Barnes) manhunt, while Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) vision for the park’s new story-arc becomes more-and-more elaborate.
REVIEW: Just when I start to think I have “Westworld” figured out, something happens and then I’m right back to square one, enjoying the ride but sometimes puzzled - in a good way - over what I’m watching. The stuff in the park itself isn’t that tough to grasp. Many of the most often brutalized hosts, specifically Dolores and Thandie Newton’s Maeve, are becoming more-and-more self-aware, but that’s par for the course for what we’ve seen so far. What’s puzzling, but arguably even more intriguing, is what’s happening outside the park, in the control rooms as Ford and Sidse Babett Knudsen’s Theresa fight over the park’s future.
Their conflict stems from Ford’s epic new plotline, which prominently figures the dreaded Wyatt into the proceedings, but also includes the destruction of huge parts of the park. Ford is shown to be hellbent on making this story a major achievement, and one wonders if the host’s new awareness is part of his plot twist. It would certainly be in keeping with the work of his former co-founder, who was talked-about last week, and seemed obsessed with making the hosts achieve singularity. Ford’s also shown to have near God-like powers in the park, able to shut hosts down without any clear prompt.
Meanwhile, Ed Harris’s The Man in Black comes back into the fray in a big way. Many viewers have taken to Twitter hoping that Ingrid Bolso Berdal’s tattooed bandit would come back, and they get their wish this week, with her being part of the Wyatt story, which Harris also seems to be a part of. Interestingly, he’s recognized by some other guests, with one mentioning his humane foundation saved his sister’s life, something which doesn’t amuse him at all, with him threatening to slit their throats if they disturb his vacation. He also breaks Rodrigo Santoro’s Hector out of jail in a particularly bloody showdown, with the latter getting his own moment of self-realization with he tangles with Maeve.
As for William and Logan, it appears as though Logan has some ulterior motives in his visit to the park, with it revealed his family is involved in the park’s finances, and this is his way of integrating William into the clan. Simpson’s character still seems ill-at-ease with the callous way Logan kills the hosts, and he tries to protect Dolores throughout, who’s once again becoming a pawn in a violent story, but very well may prove to be a particularly deadly traveling companion for the pair once she becomes fully aware of how badly she’s been used over and over.
An action packed episode, “Dissonance Theory” continues to show that “Westworld” is the real deal for HBO, with my only complaint being that the season’s overall arc still seems a bit obscure to me as we’re already almost half-way in. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating ride to take and certainly a show that needs to be delved into carefully, something which fans seem to be doing en-masse with the ratings growing from week to week. It’s a great piece of work, but I’ve yet to really get a handle on what’s going-on, although I also think that’s the point.