We all know that an eventual downfall is coming to “Westworld.” In fact, the foreshadowing on the park’s inevitable robot uprising is almost deafening. Between the multiple references to the park’s critical failure 30 years ago, these reveries sending multiple hosts off-script, and the increasing anomalies across the park, it’s not a matter of if… But when.
Sunday’s (Nov. 6) episode of “Westworld,” “The Adversary,” further confirmed our expectations that something bad is coming. But while our attention, for the most part, has been on Dolores’s (Evan Rachel Wood) own growing sentience and the Man in Black’s (Ed Harris) motives to find the maze — and destroy the park — we’re more and more curious about the part Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) will play.
Over the first five episodes of the season, we’ve followed the glamorous madame as she slowly discovered her nightmares held a lot more meaning than mere dreams. Haunted by remnants of previous narrative loops, and finding old shrapnel in her abdomen, has pushed her to act out in some dangerous (and life-altering) ways. Having discovered her “Matrix”-like existence within the park’s world, she’s out to take full control of the situation.
With that notion in mind, her destructive actions have some logical — but not practical — merit. And in Episode 6, we watch her plan start to get traction. First, she has a random guest of the park choke her out during sex until she’s dead, putting her back in the Delos tech area. And once again, she regained consciousness to learn and explore: Another look behind the curtain.
Maeve’s pre-programmed personality traits and skills help Maeve take charge within her narrative loop — and this week, she’s able to use those wiles on Felix (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum), our bottom-rung robot techs. As we know, certain employees relieve their own dark sexual tendencies with the hosts when they think no one’s watching — so, taking the upper hand, Maeve convinces Felix to show her around the facility, and then blackmails the two techs to help alter her code.
Amping up her abilities is one thing, but discovering that her preprogrammed code had already been altered adds to the bigger picture that has been playing out in another part of Westworld: Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Elsie (Shannon Woodward) have been on a mission to track down the anomalies in the park, and the signal that’s been broadcasting Arnold’s message to the hosts.
We knew someone was leaking secrets from the park, but now there are two larger questions: Who altered Maeve’s code? And are they the same person guiding the hosts to act out against their original narrative programming?
Whatever the case, we are closer to learning the real motives behind the park’s mole — if it really is Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) — and as for Maeve, her growing awareness continues to put her miles and miles ahead of her fellow Westworld hosts.
If we are seeing a story play out in two different timelines, which would find Dolores attempting to break from her own loop 30 years in the past, it’s quite possible Maeve is the one who will lead the park to another critical failure now. And from what we’ve seen, there’s no better host to do so: Her influence runs deep at the brothel, and the pain and betrayal from her previous narrative may fuel her need for revenge. How can one little tweak to her programming stop her command from extending from her little home loop to the vast worlds beyond it?
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.