Westworld Contrapasso Review
HBO‘s Westworld: Season 1, Episode 5: Contrapasso saw three key characters blossom while the past of another character was explored. This all happened while a background threat grew even larger and the mystique of The Maze was enhanced.
Logan (Ben Barnes) and William (Jimmi Simpson)’s relationship had always been a begrudged one because they were forced on one another through marriage. It was obvious from the beginning that they had opposing personalities: Logan, full of bravado, imbued with an acid tongue and William, soft-spoken and compassionate. Logan had been right. Westworld made people show their true colors. When pushed emotionally by Logan in Contrapasso, smacked in the face by truths, the real William finally stepped forward with violence (or at least the one that had been pushed too far). The real William stepped forward again when Logan needed help. In that moment, William decided not to do what he was supposed to do. He decided not to play the good guy anymore, a part that he had probably played his whole life.
Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) finally shed in Contrapasso the applied shroud of woman-in-danger-needs-rescuing. She traded in those garments for pants and a six-shooter that she seemed born to use.
The conclusion of Dolores’ conversation with Westworld founder Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) showed that someone’s voice was still in Dolores’ head, either Westworld co-founder Arnold or Westworld’s Head of Programming Bernard Lowe.
Dr. Ford’s conversation with Old Bill (Michael Wincott) gave deep insight into Dr. Ford’s current state of mind. Like the old greyhound in Dr. Ford’s story, Ford had caught his willy prey in his jaws. He had created and was the God of his own world. Now that he had achieved his life-long goal, what next? What was his continuing purpose? Old Bill’s canned response woke Dr. Ford out of his reflective spell. It was unfortunate. Dr. Ford is one of the most interesting yet guarded characters on the TV series. A more insightful response by Bill might have drawn more out of Dr. Ford instead of closing him back up again.
The Man in Black (Ed Harris) / Dr. Ford conversation contained one of the best moments of the series-to-date. When Teddy Flood (James Marsden) grabbed the knife and waist of The Man in Black and slammed the knife in the table, it spoke volumes about the special programming Ford had installed to protect himself while in Westworld from human threats. Why he had to fear human assault or assassination in the park was undisclosed but Ford’s fore-thought was not. It was a preemptive and smart move.
Dr. Ford also seemed cognizant of everything happening in Westworld (a large undertaking), including The Man in Black’s “journey of self-discovery.” The Man in Black’s quest must have caught Dr. Ford’s attention. Perhaps anyone that gets close to The Maze catches Dr. Ford’s attention.
Westworld Behavior Engineer Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward)’s salacious discovery regarding necrophiliac Destin (Christopher Gerse) was entertaining while her satellite transmitter discovery inside of Woodcutter was thought-provoking. A whole new plot-line was opened up with regard to the latter discovery. Only someone with deep access to the fabrication of Hosts would have been able to implant that transmitter. Who is that person and what did they transmit out of the park? Was that why Woodcutter destroyed itself? To prevent its logs from being accessed? If the covert operative had that level of access to the Hosts, I assume they also possessed the ability to cover their tracks (deleting logs and video recordings of themselves with Woodcutter). Time will tell.
Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) waking herself up again in Contrapasso was a glorious and surprising moment. Shot to maximize its beauty and effect, Maeve’s arrival into consciousness brought with it many questions. How did she know Felix Lutz (Leonardo Nam)’s first name? Had she been playing possum on the operating table previously, listening to the technicians talking? Two things were certain at the end of Contrapasso: 1.) Maeve was not going back into Sleep Mode without being heard, and 2.) Felix was between a rock and hard place. How Maeve plays Felix and his fear / surprise will be immensely interesting in the next episode.
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