REVIEW: Westworld – “The Well-Tempered Clavier”

westworld-review

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

In the ninth episode of Westworld, Ashley Stubbs (played by Luke Hemsworth) tries to find Elsie Hughes (played by Shannon Woodward), Bernard’s (played by Jeffrey Wright) earliest memory is revealed, and two central characters reach the city once swallowed by sand.

Because of Game of Thrones, HBO has made us expect huge penultimate episodes of a season, and when I saw that one of the best television directors was behind The Well-Tempered Clavier – Michelle MacLaren – I, honestly, couldn’t be more excited for the episode. And this episode definitely didn’t disappoint.

Still, my fears from last week did come true. Most of the theories that a lot of us had come up with have essentially been confirmed these last two weeks. The timeframe theory has already been confirmed, Bernard was a host, and they’ve been hinting at the ‘William is the Man in Black-theory’ for a little while now.

In this episode, we found that out that Bernard hadn’t seen the real Arnold in the picture that Ford showed him a while back. Bernard is Arnold, which wasn’t all that difficult to guess. But the most interesting part of this episode had to have been the scene in which Logan gives William the picture of William’s bride to be.

“If it’s such a wonderful place out there, why are you all clamoring to get in here?” – Dolores to William and Logan.

It was the exact same photo that Dolores’ father discovered in one of the first episodes of the season. One might guess that William planted it there, as it has intensified the game and brought Dolores on the same path as the Man in Black. I know that we don’t know that William is the Man in Black, but that revelation almost seems inevitable at this point in time. It doesn’t hurt the likelihood of the theory that William went on a host killing spree after Logan opened up Dolores.

It’s going to be interesting to see what exactly happens between Dolores – who is now able to shoot and kill – and the Man in Black. Maybe he will reveal himself to be William. Maybe, maybe not. In any case, it’s an interesting place for this episode to leave both the Man in Black and Dolores’ story arcs before the season finale.

I was also rather surprised to see Ashley Stubbs getting more to do this season. Ashley goes to look for Elsie and her tablet, and is ambushed by the Ghost Nation hosts. Interestingly, Stubbs was unable to freeze any of them. I’m not quite sure of what this is supposed to mean, so until this is explained further I’m just going to act like a host and say that it doesn’t look like anything to me.

I criticized Maeve’s story arc last week, and those glaring issues haven’t gone away, but this episode instead chose to demonstrate just how powered up she is and it was pretty impressive. Seeing her control Bernard was scary, and I thought it was great to have her be the driving force in getting Bernard back to being upset with Ford.

I really liked how Bernard wanted to find Arnold, and it was exciting to see him use Clementine to his advantage against Ford. It didn’t lead to anything positive for Bernard, but it was an exciting scene nonetheless, which culminated with a very sad end to Bernard’s story. I do think, however, that Bernard’s memories would’ve been a lot more exciting if they weren’t just filled with scenes or locations we are pretty familiar with.

This also means we are likely saying goodbye to Jeffrey Wright, and that really is a shame. I have really enjoyed Wright and Hopkins’ scenes together, and, just like with Sidse Babett Knudsen, I’m hoping that Wright’s character won’t leave the show completely.

The penultimate episode of the season lived up to the hype that HBO builds around such an episode. It confirmed things that people like me have been talking about around the watercooler for weeks, and it put one of the most interesting characters in danger in the final episode of the season.

A

– Jeffrey Rex

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