Title: Westworld: “Contrapasso” Review
Air Date: October 30, 2016
Check out our reviews of previous episodes of Westworld:
“Contrapasso” had some absolutely chilling moments. There were a few different stand out scenes in this episode of Westworld, most of which involved Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). The series still suffers a bit from “too many questions, not enough answers,” but it seems like many of the storylines are progressing in a satisfying way. Regardless of the shortcomings, Westworld has quickly evolved into must-watch television. The acting, cinematography, and mystery are all top-notch, and anyone with access to HBO (or a friend with HBO) should be making this part of their weekly TV watching.
The opening scene of “Contrapasso” featured a great moment that could be applicable to many of the characters in the park. Ford sat drinking with his favorite malfunctioning host, telling him the “saddest thing he’s ever seen.” In the story, Ford speaks of getting a retired racing greyhound as a child – a creature that runs in circles its entire life, finally let free. He speaks of watching in horror as the greyhound outran and killed a cat, tearing it to pieces before looking around, horribly confused. This idea, of the hosts craving an escape from their loops, but not knowing what to do if they ever got there, could apply to so many of the different storylines currently taking place on Westworld. Dolores, Maeve, and Teddy are all hosts that fit Ford’s greyhound story, and many guests/park employees also could. Everyone on the show seems to be seeking something, but only Ford seems like he has the ability to pull the strings to get (or keep others from getting) the answers.
Speaking of Ford’s string-pulling, how great was his confrontation with the Man in Black (Ed Harris)? Just having these two titans sharing a bottle of whiskey would have been good enough, but the tension of their conversation was amazing. Ford is obviously not too concerned with the Man in Black’s quest for the maze, but the conversation also served to remind the Man in Black that Ford is in charge. His godlike abilities were back in full effect, and the reminder that Ford is not a man to be intimidated in his own world will obviously have some serious consequences later in the story.
Ford’s last chilling scene this week involved his conversation with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood). There were so many impactful moments in their conversation. Ford asking Dolores, “Do you remember the man I used to be?” Asking her about Arnold, who she apparently spoke with on the day of his death about sabotaging the park. Ford reminding Dolores that they knew each other, but he would not call them “friends.” And, finally, Dolores speaking to a darkened room, swearing that she “didn’t tell him anything.” With all the secrets flying around this place, it’s a wonder anything gets accomplished.
Ford was not the only player this week, even if his crazy knowledge dominates everything in the park. In the town of Pariah, William (Jimmi Simpson), Logan (Ben Barnes), and Dolores met up with some scary customers, including a newly rebooted Lawrence, who was recently killed and drained by the Man in Black. The timing of this meeting may have been a little too convenient, and it will surely be propped up as evidence of the “W = MiB” timeline theory, but it definitely injected some adrenaline into Westworld. And it makes the alternative timeline theory more plausible, as now William will start to learn who Lawrence is, and the Man in Black obviously knows him (and Dolores) very well. It was great to see both William and Dolores get a little fire under them. It was also great to see Logan finally get a little of what has been coming to him, although the name of the town he’s caught in might be a bad indicator for how the rest of his vacation goes.
Speaking of Logan and William, what is this other company they work for? What is the real world of Westworld like? What the hell is going on with Dolores seeing these new visions of herself? And how will solving the maze help anything? As said: so many questions.
The other big reveals of the episode took place in the headquarters of the park. The first involved the two repairmen who Maeve (Thandie Newton) awoke to the other week. One of them is working on some forbidden technology, and it seems that Maeve wants to use that to her advantage. The bigger reveal for the week involved what Elsie (Shannon Woodward) found hidden in the arm of the woodcutter who tried to kill her during “The Stray.” It seems that someone is spying on Westworld, and using satellite GPS to gather data on the park. The most obvious culprit is Logan, who seems to be a higher-up in a rival company. It could be the Man in Black, something put in place by Arnold, or some other unknown entity. Regardless, Ford may not have the absolute control over the park that he thinks he has.
“Contrapasso” was an excellent episode of Westworld. Although the mysteries are far from being wrapped up, the excellent acting and intrigue make for an awesome hour of television. It will be interesting to see if the fan theories pay off, or if everyone is just grasping at straws right now. In the meantime, getting to watch Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins dominate every second of screen time they get is well worth the price of admission.
- Ford becomes even more menacing
- Ed Harris + Anthony Hopkins
- Dolores becoming more self-aware
- Danger and tension are rapidly increasing