REVIEW: Westworld – “Contrapasso”


The following is a spoiler review of the fifth episode of Westworld – Developed by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy

In the fifth episode of Westworld, the Man in Black (played by Ed Harris) says goodbye to one of his companions, Dolores (played by Evan Rachel Wood) and the boys – William (played by Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (played by Ben Barnes) – go on a mission for someone called ‘El Lazo,’ and Dr. Robert Ford (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins) meets with one of his guests.

“You wanna know the saddest thing I ever saw? When I was a boy, my brother and I wanted a dog. So our father took in an old greyhound. Never seen a greyhound have you? A greyhound is a racing dog. It spends its life running in circles chasing a bit of felt made up like a rabbit. One day, we took it to the park. Our dad had warned us how fast that dog was, but we couldn’t resist. So my brother took of the leash, and, in that instant, the dog spotted a cat. I imagine it must’ve looked just like that piece of felt. He ran. Never saw a thing as beautiful as that old dog running. Until at last, he finally caught it. And to the horror of everyone, he killed that little cat. He tore it to pieces. Then he just sat there – confused. That dog had spent his whole life trying to catch that thing. Now it had no idea what to do.” – Dr. Robert Ford.

That was a great story to open the episode on. I’m thinking we’re supposed to take his brother as a metaphor for Arnold, and the greyhound as a metaphor for one of the aggressive hosts who might’ve killed some guest. But that’s just speculation. In any case, it’s just a really cool story.

“No, I wouldn’t say friends, Dolores. I wouldn’t say that at all.” – Dr. Robert Ford.

Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores is easily the best character in the show, and her story arc got to some interesting places in this episode. Sure, she risked it all to save William, but that’s not the important part. She knowingly lied to Ford’s face, and said that she hadn’t communicated with Arnold. This is getting weird.

I liked seeing William – the white hat – show his true colors, so to speak, in Contrapasso. Sure, he grows weary of the game during El Lazo’s huge orgy, but I really liked seeing him refuse to help Logan.

“The man I’d be asking died 35 years ago. He almost took this place with him, almost but not quite. Thanks to me.” – The Man in Black to Dr. Robert Ford.

Okay, so this was definitely the most important conversation on the show thus far. I’m sure there are so many clues in here that will seem obvious in just a few weeks. Now, one thing that’s starting to bother me is that we don’t have the Man in Black’s name yet.

I mean he had a conversation with Ford? One would think he would’ve used his name maybe just once, considering he is a returning costumer that Ford knows of. Another thing that I found interesting is how quickly Lawrence – or El Lazo – appeared in Pariah after the Man in Black killed him. This is the first time I’m starting to believe the theories about there possibly being multiple timelines.

The ‘thanks to me’ part of the quote above is throwing me off. We know that Arnold died in the park, and, earlier in this very episode, Logan said he supposedly killed himself. But that part of the quote is making me think that maybe the Man in Black actually killed Arnold. On the other hand, though, maybe he just donated some money to the park after what happened with Arnold.

“Hello Felix. It’s time you and I had a chat.” – Maeve.

I loved this episode, but there were some scenes that didn’t work all that well for me in Contrapasso, and most of these scenes took place behind the scenes of the park. I like Elsie Hughes (played by Shannon Woodward), but the reveal that there is someone who’s trying to smuggle out data via the hosts didn’t feel all that important.

Maybe it’s because characters like William and Dolores are the ones you’re drawn to at this early stage in the series, their story arcs are what matters to viewers right now. The other scenes I didn’t love were the ones with the guy who Maeve called Felix. I just don’t care about him or the guy he works with.

But I’m enjoying every minute of this show, and this was a fantastic episode, for me. But if one is jonesing for more than relatively minor reveals and some pretty solid clues every week, then I could see why you might be a little bit disappointed by this episode.

See, the thing is, we’re already halfway through the season, and I’m not even sure what to make of Bernard or Ford’s motivations. I’m sure they’ll get to everything in due time, but it’s not unacceptable to want more at this point in the season. Until next time, shall we drink to the lady with the white shoes?


– Jeffrey Rex

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