Three episodes into “Westworld,” and we’re starting to see a bigger picture forming. Sunday’s (Oct. 16) episode, titled “The Stray,” not only finds Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) tracking a robot that has gone rogue, there’s some self discovery happening for the park’s oldest host, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood).
Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) secret visits with Dolores continue, and it looks like he’s trying to find consciousness in the robot — something that shouldn’t exist at all. Yet, when he hands a hard copy of “Alice in Wonderland” to Ms. Abernathy, things begin coming into focus.
Her innocent wonder and light blue dress paint an image that’s hard to ignore. Simply put, Dolores couldn’t be more Alice if she tried. It’s that programmed personality that also dictates Dolores’ inquisitive nature, when in improvisational mode. And in her meeting with Bernard, when she asks about his son, that unlikely robot consciousness begins to seep through.
She may be programmed to not inflict any sort of pain on a living creature — R.I.P. fly, from Episode 1 — but she’s beginning to acclimate to her chaotic surroundings. And while the gun didn’t work the first time she tried pulling the trigger, some newfound defensive skills kicked in during the attempted rape that played out in the barn portion of her character’s narrative.
It’s in that moment, where a residual memory seeped through — the disease that is beginning to plague the park’s hosts — that finds the Man in Black (Ed Harris) in the dirty cowboy’s place. A rape may have been in the cards this time around, but we have a feeling the dark vision is a piece of something much much worse.
And what of this quickly spreading sentience? If Bernard is the one behind this, does that make him a target for Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins)? The hosts have recently been hearing the voice of a man named Arnold, who Ford reveals used to be his partner. We learn Arnold was also on a quest to find consciousness in his creations … and he ended up dying in the park under mysterious circumstances.
We have some major suspicions about Dr. Ford, and fear his ulterior motives for Westworld are not on the up and up. If Bernard has planted a seed for revolution in Dolores, does this make Dr. Ford the Evil Queen in this “Alice in Wonderland” scenario? And if so, we’d easily peg the Man in Black as the Mad Hatter. One very disturbed Hatter, to boot.
Bringing our attention back to the flies in the park, it’s worth noting that — aside from the guests — they are the only other living things in Westworld. This little blurb, taken from the site’s terms of service, gives insight:
(d) All livestock within the Delos parks are Hosts, with the notable exception of flies. All humanoid and animal Hosts within Delos parks work to keep guests safe, even when the narrative calls for them to appear to endanger guests.
That means the horses and other wildlife are all robots. Why does this matter? Well, if Dolores can easily slap the existence out of a fly, then what’s to say the guests are safe from harm? Spoiler alert: they’re not.
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.