TV Review: Westworld Season 1, Episode 3: The Stray

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 3: The Stray

PLOT: Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) investigation of the hosts unusual behavior leads to an unsettling revelation from Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Meanwhile, Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) go looking for a missing host.

REVIEW: More-and-more, “Westworld” is proving to be exactly the kind of show HBO was obviously hoping for - a profitable franchise with depth. Like their best efforts, including the recent “The Night Of”, it’s becoming a conversation piece and a good water-cooler show, but at the same time it also has the potential to be a major breakout hit if given time to really build an audience - although so far the ratings are apparently quite good.

Episode three lives up to the high barometer set by the last two outings,taking a bit more of an exposition-heavy approach that gives us some much needed depth on our non-host leads. Most significantly, we learn that Ford had a partner who went crazy trying to make the hosts “more human than human”, which even lead to a CGI-enhanced appearance by a MAGIC-era Anthony Hopkins. Although Ford says he’s dead, who’s to say if he’s lying or not. Cue what will no doubt be multiple fun theories about his co-creator’s identity. Could it be the Man in Black (Ed Harris)?

We also learn a lot more about Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard, who has a wife back home (“Firefly’”s Gina Torres) and is also grieving the recent loss of his son. It also becomes clear he has a bizarre bond with Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores, which I sure will pay nifty dividends. Elsie and Stubbs also get a little development as they bicker through a search for a missing droid, which winds up gruesomely committing suicide in front of them, even though Stubbs would have done the job himself with his trusty bone saw.

All this is great, but the most interesting bit, for me anyways, has to do with James Marsden’s Teddy, who’s finally given a thought-out back-story by Ford, involving a psycho named Wyatt who, in a switch, may not actually be a host but rather a guest - or at least his men are. Jimmi Simpson and Ben Barnes are mostly off-screen this week with them only getting a quick scene at the beginning and a part at the end where they run into Wood’s increasingly unpredictable host.

As for her, despite being programmed as a non-threat, we see her finally able to kill one of her attackers, as well as begin to remember multiple assaults by the Man in Black. Obviously, she’s the key to the whole mystery, and it’s moving along faster than I thought, as HBO shows tend to adopt a deliberate pace. Will the “West” aspect only run a season long before opening up to another world (don’t forget - the film WESTWORLD had a FUTUREWORLD sequel)? We’ll see, but it’s damn intriguing and one third of the way in I’m totally hooked.

Source: JoBlo.com



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