What is happening in our world? Who is doing what? what is going on now? These are questions that will be answered. Enjoy.
Westworld Season 2 Episode 4 Recap
“If you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering.” That might as well be the motto of Westworld as a whole, where the sins of humanity come at a price. And no one knew that better than James Delos—the corporate overlord with infinite wealth and power who just wanted to buy himself immortality.
“If you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering.” That’s what the upper class tourists who raped and killed and exploited for their own sick pleasure didn’t realize.
“If you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering.” That’s what William has seen in his 35 years watching and participating in these horrors. But he’s still looking for his own way to cheat the devil.
“If you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering.” James Delos said that 149 times throughout attempts to transplant the dead man’s consciousness into the body of a host. This was a process overseen by William for decades (or however long it takes for 149 test cycles and for Jimmi Simpson to turn into Ed Harris). This is illustrated with chilling beauty by Lisa Joy, the Westworld co-creator who directed “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” with a cold open that looks down on a spinning, futuristic record player that’s cranking the Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire” through a lab. It’s a scene we keep coming back to as we see various attempts over the years of William testing the Delos-bots. Each time, though, they fail—with Delos’s cognitive ability failing as they get too deep into conversation (which is complete thanks to some pretty incredible acting by Peter Mullan).
These are conversations used to establish fidelity, William explains. They also seem to mirror the conversations between various hosts and their creators in the park, which have framed a number of episodes. So the goal of Delos is finally clear: To use these hosts as vessels for human consciousness, and to beat death. The only problem, however, is that William was never able to accomplish that with Delos. And 30 years later, an Ed Harris-aged William gives up and leaves the host Delos in his cage to rot.
Let’s look at this final interaction between William and Delos for two important clues. One is the timeline. Is it possible that this scene took place directly before the robot uprising? That’s why Bernard and Elsie (who’s back, by the way) come across him in his cage. Or had he been trapped in there for years? The other clue is that this might explain the key to William’s motives in the park. Dr. Robert Ford figured out the key to transferring human consciousness into a machine—something William had failed to do in 35 years.
That’s what William has been searching for: that key to immortality hidden somewhere in the park. So this must be the game that dead Robert Ford has William playing, which led him through Lawrence’s old town (where he did something nice for a change) and eventually to his daughter: the woman we saw escape Raj World in the last episode.
Meanwhile, zombie Clementine drags Bernard to a cave where they’ve been keeping Elsie chained up. We last saw her back in Season One, when Ford had Bernard strangle her. How long exactly has she been chained up? Because she looks damn good for having been choked out and kept in a cave with some protein bars and a bucket for any extended period of time. (This is either some sort of trick, sloppy filmmaking, or I just need to figure out how to get that perfect Elsie After Living In A Cave Look.)
She pretty quickly finds out that Bernard is a host, because our dude is having some serious malfunctions. But her reaction has an interesting clue:
You rotated out. Where did you go when he rotated out. You have a family. You have an ex-wife. You have…a backstory.
It’s not clear what she means here, but I would wager she’s talking about what William and Delos were experimenting with. Is that actually Arnold’s consciousness inside the Bernard host? Does “rotating out” mean when a human transfers their consciousness to a host body? But, is her surprise in the backstory, surprise that his family didn’t actually exist because he’s fully manufactured by Ford?
The two of them find a mysterious secret lab, where the drone hosts have been working on something. There Elsie has another great line about Bernard’s mind, which might as well be another motto of this show:
Your memories are drifting around in there so when you’re experiencing one you have no idea if it comes before or after the others.
Ah, aren’t we all, brother.
But even though his brain is trash, Bernard thinks he knows what they were doing in this lab. This is where Delos was keeping an eye on the guests. But, as we find out at the end of the episode, this was also where they were experimenting on planting Delos’s human consciousness into a host. This would continue to support the theory that Delos was taking guest DNA to replace them in the real world with host copies.
This is also an episode—and an entire season really—that marks a departure from Westworld’s typical pile of questions. In Season One, this show was a Jenga tower of mysteries ready to collapse at any moment, but this season does right to balance those questions with answers. At its heart, this is also an episode where men are seeking redemption for the sins of their past: Bernard for attacking Elsie and murdering the men in the lab; William for his atrocities against hosts and humanity; Delos, looking for redemption through science and immortality.
“It took me a long time to learn this, but some men are better off dead,” William tells Delos before he leaves him in prison. He seems to be talking as much about himself and humanity as a whole as he is about Delos. “If you aim to cheat the devil, you owe him an offering.” And maybe that offering is humanity itself—the irony is, the devil always wins.