Westworld The Adversary Review
HBO‘s Westworld: Season 1, Episode 6: The Adversary deepened many of the mysteries surrounding this fledgling science fiction TV series. These mysteries included: Teddy Flood’s past, Ford’s House, and the person (or group) clandestinely sending information out of Westworld. The spotlight of The Adversary, however, was continually drawn toward back to Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton). In The Adversary, Maeve used death as a conduit out of the artificial world she had come to know as home to the real world.
It was rather impressive the way her storyline morphed from a dream of another world to actually entering her dream, existing in that world, and finding out that the opposite had always been true. Her world was the dream and the outside world was reality.
Seeing the individual pieces of her world, the artisans behind it, and all the trivial things in her life as mere rehearsed programming must have been devastating, even to a woman that was the king of the castle and whom had seen it all. Since Maeve had seen it all, all the brutality and shame that humanity had to offer in a nearly lawless western world, she handled the devastating things she saw and heard in Outside Westworld with remarkable calm and poise. What she saw and heard would have brought anyone else to their knees but Maeve was ready for the stimuli. Maeve had already been brought to her knees by the horrors of Outside Westworld in Chestnut.
Felix Lutz (Leonardo Nam) was a gullible, sex-starved fool. Maeve used the very tools that she had been programmed with to manipulate him. Felix was aware of that programming (he had access to all of it) but somehow was still susceptible to it. I didn’t quite buy that, especially from someone that was teaching himself advanced computer coding as a hobby. Maeve’s manipulation of Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) was hilarious e.g. “If you’re going to get f*cked either way, go with the lucrative version…sweetheart.” Maeve had Sylvester’s number the moment he walked into the room. She knew, by the information that Felix provided, that Sylvester had been whoring her and some of the other female hosts out when they were shipped dead and off-line out of Westworld.
Maeve twisted Sylvester around her finger quicker than she did Felix. In doing so, Sylvester’s bolster and aggression was revealed to be a facade. Underneath, Sylvester was a malleable, spineless follower and Maeve, thanks to her programming, saw it instantly.
When Maeve pulled the knife on Sylvester, it proved that the line of code that prevented Maeve and other Hosts from harming human beings was not present. That should have shaken Sylvester and Felix to their core but they were both oblivious to it because of Maeve’s manipulations. Like a good magician, Maeve had them looking where she wanted them to look.
The finale of Maeve, Felix, and Sylvester’s time together, the Bulk Apperception upgrade, was a gargantuan turning point. Felix and Sylvester made Maeve smarter than every human in Westworld, potentially the world (outside of genius like Ford). Actually, Maeve may now be as smart or even smarter than Ford. Maeve now uses 100% of her advanced brain’s processing power. Humans, even smart humans, only use 6% of their brains. That usage difference and the raw power of a synthetic mind will have devastating consequences.
Westworld Behavior Engineer Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward)’s investigation made a startling reveal but it also contained a well-tread drama / horror movie trope: a character goes off alone and is subdued or killed by an assailant that sneaks up on them. Elsie even went off to investigate a strange noise à la Scream. The fact that Elsie entered the park unarmed after a Host in the park almost killed her was extremely dubious. Why not err on the side of caution and bring a gun? Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) was right. Carrying a gun around Westworld and sleeping with one underneath his pillow were the right protocols to follow when only one line of code was protecting them.
Westworld Head of Programming Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright)’s disenchantment with Westworld founder Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was bound to happen. The only question was when. It happened in The Adversary. Dr. Ford keeping secrets was nothing new but uncontrollable Hosts roaming around a certain section of the park was something else, especially when one of them man-handled Lowe upon first meeting him. Ford said those first generation Hosts were isolated to that area of the park, away from guests, but that was not true. Little Boy (Oliver Bell) interacted with The Man in Black during Contrapasso. Bernard is now between a rock and a hard place. He can’t tell Westworld Head of Quality Assurance Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) about Ford’s House because she is the one sending out secret information from the park. Lowe can’t tell Dr. Ford what he and Elsie have found because Lowe might be giving ammunition to someone that is potentially endangering himself and others.
One of the biggest surprises, if not the biggest surprise in The Adversary, was Teddy Flood (James Marsden). No one could have anticipated that the stereotypical good man, in his past, had been a monster. Whether Teddy was under Wyatt’s spell or not in the past was undisclosed in The Adversary. What was disclosed was Teddy’s previous and current barbarism i.e. gunning down innocent soldiers. This created tantalizing questions: What caused Teddy and Wyatt to split? Why isn’t Teddy with Wyatt now? Why is Teddy against Wyatt? Can Delores love a man like Teddy Flood, now that he has killed a gaggle of innocent people to get to her?
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