Westworld is continuing to slowly reveal itself like the sweet, complicated sci-fi lady that it is. Last week in the premiere episode, HBO decided to go with a slow burn and just open the door a little bit to let us peek in and see what this world may have to offer. This week with "Chestnut," they didn't swing the door open, but they did open it a bit more and made us realize there is seriously so much going on here. Let's dig in, shall we?
At the very end of last week's episode, we realized that not all was well with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), given that she, unlike Norman Bates, was willing to harm a fly. This week, we are continuing to suspect that she is going to be the match that sets off the inevitable powder keg that is Westworld. That being said, she simply planted a couple more seeds week. What is perhaps most interesting was the idea that was presented by Elsie (Shannon Woodward) when she suggested that the malfunction Dolores' father experienced could be "contagious," so to speak. Given that little, cryptic interaction that Dolores had with Maeve (Thandie Newton), we should probably start thinking that is the case. More on Maeve in a minute.
Last week the mechanics of the park from a visitor's perspective were left fairly mysterious. This week, we got to see just how expansive, free and debaucherous Westworld really is through the eyes of William (Jimmi Simpson). He and his more depraved buddy Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), who has visited the park before, are having themselves a little vacation. It is William's first time, so we are sort of getting the first timer experience via William's experience, which is extremely effective. What is interesting is that unlike Hector, William is fairly unwilling to treat himself to the sinful delights that Westworld has to offer, which kind of makes the character more relatable. Or at least we would like to think we relate to him more. Maybe that's the point. The most interesting part of William entering the show is that he appears to be developing something of a crush on Dolores. Personally, that is one of the storylines I am most interested in following in the weeks to come, because it is probably not going to be all sunshine and rainbows.
Westworld is full of all sorts of delights, depending on how far the visitor is willing to push themselves. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) essentially has made Westworld his home and in the thirty years he has been visiting, he has discovered a deeper "game" as he calls it. He is going to some depraved and violent places to get there. This week, after a lot of killing and all manner of messed up behavior, he was able to discern the whereabouts of the entrance to the mysterious maze he is so desperate to find. Even though this is an amusement park full of potentially killer humanoid robots, The Man in Black remains the most mysterious and creepy character. What is in that maze? Your guess is as good as mine. A fine bottle of sarsaparilla, perhaps?
We all knew heading into this series that Anthony Hopkins was going to be an asset to the show, but this week he really proved it. While Dr. Robert still remains a fascinating mystery (is he good? Is he bad? Is that boy/robot supposed to be him?), we got to know him a little better in episode 2 of Westworld and even if he turns out to be evil, he is kind of impossible not to be fascinated with. The big reveal is that he is working on a very mysterious new storyline for Westworld, which we came to realize at the end of the episode after he rejected Lee's (Simon Quarterman) hollow story. But really, what was with that cross on that tower? And how great was that line about the magic not being magic to the magician? We love you, Anthony.
Alright, so back to Maeve. As it turns out, has had something of a troubled past for a robot, which we learned from the nightmare she had. Seriously, they give the robots nightmares. That is some next level kind of messed up. Also, she apparently has some ties to The Man in Black, which should be interesting to explore. A hooker nobody wants to bang does Westworld no good, so Maeve was getting some fine tuning to try and make her more bangable. That didn't go so well. Outside of her obvious (we presume violent) malfunction, she woke up on the operating table, stole a knife, threatened some employees and saw some of her own kind being manufactured. Our best guess is that this will end in bloodshed.
Lastly, we need to talk about Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Not only is he the heir apparent to Dr. Robert, but he is also sleeping with the boss lady Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen). That is all good and sexy and whatnot, but did we mention that he also seems to be allowing Dolores to explore this subtly violent malfunction of hers in secret? There is absolutely no way that is heading to a good place. At this point, it kind of seems like the robot uprising is going to be Bernard's fault. Get it together, Bernard! Or don't. It'll probably make for better television if you don't.
It kind of seems like HBO decided to take every actor that we kind of liked who hasn't got a chance to shine and put them in Westworld alongside some seasoned veterans we all know and love. It is going very well so far. Unless you're Teddy (James Marsden), whose only job this week was to get gunned down for no good reason. Is he going to be like Kenny in South Park and just die every week? We'll have to wait till next week to find out. "Chestnut" raised a lot of questions we want answers for, like what was up with that gun Dolores found?! Let's see if she shoots somebody with it when Westworld returns next week.