And just like that, it all starts coming together. Kind of. This week's episode of Westworld finally gave us some very important, big answers and left some breadcrumbs to clue us in as to where this is all actually going. At the same time, the show is still slow to show its hand and raised quite a few more questions in its continuing quest to make a layer cake of a show built of nothing but mysteries and violence. Let's dig into The Riddle of the Sphinx, shall we?
What we come to find out by the end of the episode is that this week's Westworld almost entirely has to do with Williams' (Jimmi Simpson and Harris) father-in-law Jim (Peter Mullen), whom we've only recently become acquainted with. Before digging into why, I will say that his performance was excellent and stood out in a show riddled with great actors providing excellent performances. Aside from the great performance, it turns out dear old Jim is quite important to this season's plot and, as it happens, the history of the park in general.
Throughout this episode, we weave back between William in the present (or at least what we think is the present) and William at different periods in the past working with his father in law's mysterious disease in an isolated setting. At least that's what it seemed like at first. The massive reveal here is that Jim, who was dying of some disease which we learn in this episode that he defunded research on at one point, was actually turned into a host. Not just any host mind you, but one that they were actually trying to transfer Jim's actual mind into. And, based on what we see, it almost worked. This, for a time, was a slightly confusing bit until it paid off. But when it paid off, it paid off big. This is why we put up with Westworld's never ending series of mysterious nonsense. Because when it turns out not to be nonsense, it's brilliant.
As for what the older William, aka The Man in Black was up to this week, he was taking a ride with his trusty buddy Lawrence and as fate would have it, they found themselves face to face with the remaining Confederate soldiers that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), or Wyatt, betrayed. Their leader, Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker), isn't the least bit amused and is looking to lead his remaining men to a place they call Glory. He takes a town hostage, the one that happens to hold Lawrence's family, in order to get guns, whiskey and explosives. William cuts him a deal to lead him to the place he seeks and it turns into a bit of an amazing pissing contest between two of the most violent and ruthless men we've come to know during the course of this series.
This episode, via conversations with Jim mostly, revealed quite a bit of William's tragic backstory and made him a bit more of a sympathetic character. This dude has demons. At one point, he's watching Craddock, who may well be (or have been) the most despicable character in Westworld history up to this point, torturing the townsfolk. Craddock seems to think death favor's him and William, rightfully so, puts him in his place. The conversation between Craddock and William, along with the ensuing violent bout, which concludes with Craddock exploding to death, was for my money the best scene in this episode and possibly the season so far. Bless the fact that Ed Harris is on this show.
Elsewhere in this episode, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) looking more messed up than ever, came across Elsie (Shannon Woodward) of all people, who we thought was totally dead. Instead, she was just stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a pee bucket and energy bars since she knew a bit too much. Elsie was obviously not cool with Bernard at first, but when she realized how bad his robot brain was, she fixed him up in the secret lab that shouldn't be there. We come to find that Bernard can't figure out if he's remembering something or if it's actually happening. So that should make for some confusing happenings in the future.
As for the now, he and Elsie are trying to figure out what was going on in this secret lab. For one, they were building special control units here, like the kind that were used to make Jim happen. Oh and this is also the place where those conversations with Jim took place! See, it all comes together. He is bloody and violent when discovered, leading to Bernard having to kill him. Elsie discovers, and Bernard rediscovers, that they are actually getting close to having the technology at hand to transfer real human minds into hosts. The key to immortality. Oh, and Bernard murdered like, a ton of people at the lab in the past but convinced Elsie he's totally fine now and wants to help. We'll have to see how that goes.
Dolores and Maeve didn't show up this week, so sorry to those of you who are only in this to see what's going on in Shogun world. We'll get there very soon. What's also clear is that Ford's games are still going strong, as William learned when Lawrence's daughter pretty much turned into Ford for a moment. The child offered to William, in regards to his new game, "If you're looking forward, you're looking in the wrong direction." So we've got that to chew on. Oh, and the cool tiger lady from last week? No big deal, but she is totally Williams daughter! Naturally, HBO left us with that massive reveal with no additional information to sit with until Westworld returns next Sunday. It may make for a long week.