Title: Westworld: “The Well-Tempered Clavier” Review
Air Date: November 27, 2016
Check out our reviews of previous episodes of Westworld:
- Episode 1: The Original
- Episode 2: Chestnut
- Episode 3: The Stray
- Episode 4: Dissonance Theory
- Episode 5: Contrapasso
- Episode 6: The Adversary
- Episode 7: Trompe L’Oeil
- Episode 8: Trace Decay
While last week’s episode, “Trace Decay,” moved the pieces into place, tonight’s episode knocked them all down. “The Well-Tempered Clavier” answered a lot of our questions, but still left a lot of room to ponder just what all we will see in the final episode next week. Big moments, a character’s identity better revealed, and a true gaze into how much power Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) really has.
Maeve (Thandie Newton) did not have a ton to do this week, but she played a big role in what transpired. Her programming glitch got her a sit-down with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), and she set him on his quest that was ultimately the big reveal of the episode. She shows off her godlike powers, freezing Bernard and forcing him to send her back into the park. She also convinces Bernard to seek the whole truth, and not just to stop halfway. We will come back to Bernard’s big reveal, confirming a popular theory that we brought up last week, at the end of the review. Maeve also got to open the eyes of everyone’s favorite dreamy outlaw, Hector (Rodrigo Santoro). Predicting his future, showing him the empty safe, and burning down the tent with them both inside is the start of her final move to escape, and I imagine we will find out next week if her alliances hold up.
The other big players this week were Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), William (Jimmi Simpson), and Logan (Ben Barnes). Logan thought he had finally leveraged his friend by gutting Dolores and showing the robotic inner workings (and does this mean that Dolores can do the thing with her face, like Ford’s robot family?). It seemed like Logan’s plan worked, briefly, until he woke up surrounded by body parts. Apparently William, who does not like being called “Billy,” went berserk, and dismembered every host in the camp. He also has some new plan for Logan, but first they need to find Dolores, who ran off into the wilderness.
This scene seems to suggest the other most popular fan theory: William is the Man in Black (Ed Harris) but from years ago. A few things suggest this. William tells Logan that he “taught him how to play the game.” The Man in Black is obsessed with the game. He is also obsessed with “unlocking” Arnold’s creations, of which we know Dolores is one. If he can maybe solve the clue to a host gaining sentience, he could maybe save Dolores from the park. We also know that he has married into Logan’s family, who has a huge stake in the park. If something were to happen to Logan, it seems that William might be in a position to gain a lot of money and some valuable connections at the park. Just something to think about…
Speaking of the Man in Black, he got into some more trouble with Teddy (James Marsden) this week. Teddy apparently butchered the town from his memory under the control of Wyatt, which he remembers as being controlled by the Devil. There was also a music box playing, and we have seen music being used to manipulate hosts in the past. We also learned that Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) knows the Man in Black, and he in fact is a board member who has a voice in whether Ford stays on as the chief creative agent. The scene with his neck tied to the horse with his knife in reach was a pretty brutal and effective way to show that Ed Harris can still rock a pretty intense physical scene.
Dolores also found the center of the maze, it seems, with the confessional booth in the town. She also said “William!” as the door opened when she came back out. Guess who walked through?
Finally, back to our big reveal with Bernard. Who likes anagrams? Because “Bernard Lowe” is an anagram of “Arnold Weber,” which we learned is the name of Ford’s fellow Westworld creator. We also got to see the extremely tense reveal that Bernard is a host based, in fact, on Arnold. The reveal took much of the episode, with various cutbacks to previous episodes showing all the hints the show has dropped about Bernard’s true identity. Westworld is proving itself to be a masterfully crafted show – there are still a ton of mysteries to unravel, and it appears more and more that it will be a great show to rewatch. There have surely been tons of hints of the various reveals, and with so much more to come… director commentary would be welcome. Also, watching the tragic end of Bernard (for good?) was a fitting demise, as Ford has shown that he has total control over his creations. Although Maeve has that now as well.
We still have a lot to unpack in the final episode of the season. What is Ford’s narrative going to do? Is it just another loop that’s going to start the park over? What’s happening with the Ghost Nation (the painted-white Native Americans)? Just how many times has Dolores “broken out” of her loop? What is the board’s plan? And just how many people are actually hosts? “The Well-Tempered Clavier” was a great episode of Westworld, and having to wait seven days to see how it ends feels like absolute torture.
Ford is totally a host too, right? He was created by Arnold, then gained sentience and betrayed him? Sort of Satan rebelling against God? That’s what I think. What about you?
- Intense reveals of big mysteries
- Bernard and Ford's standoff
- Dolores discovering the truth
- William's freakout