Westworld Season 1 Episode 4: Dissonance Theory Review

Chapter 4 of HBO’s hit show Westworld was a breakout episode. It was a breakout episode for Dolores, Maeve, the Man in Black, and especially for Ford. A show that had turned procedural the last few episodes has now taken a new and exciting direction and it’s only a matter of time until things really start to escalate.

At the center of this episode is the Man in Black’s hunt for the maze. He continues to follow the clues given to him by Lawrence’s daughter which lead him to the bandit Armistice, and specifically her tattoo. The long snake tattoo that extends the length of her body is used to remember her family. Every time she kills someone responsible for the death of her family she adds to it. The last person on her list? Wyatt.

He isn’t the only one looking for the maze, though. In Dolores’s most recent meeting with Bernard, he tells her to find the maze. He says to her, “if you find the maze, maybe you can be free.” To her, this information came in a “dream” or is just a faint memory, but it has clearly given her a new direction. The most intriguing thing is what kind of freedom the maze represents. Is it simply just an untold story from countless narratives in the park (like the Man in Black may believe) or is it literal freedom, something meant for the hosts and not the guests? Even though Dolores has yet to become fully aware of what’s going on, this week was another giant step in that direction.

Someone who is also remembering things and is even more aware than Dolores, though, is Maeve. This week she continued to have haunting visions of past events, specifically her time spent in the bowels of the Westworld lab. One of best scenes this week was of her discovering multiple sketches she made of the Westworld “doctors” who were operating on her dressed in hazmat suits. This traumatic event has left her wanting answer as she continues to question what her world really is. This time when Hector came to rob the safe she corners him for answers. He tells her it’s a deity that visits people after their death and is worshiped by the native people. This explains why a little native girl walking through town had a doll of one, but she is nowhere near satisfied with this explanation.

Knowing she was shot in the stomach, Maeve then cuts herself open to find a bullet still inside her even though there was no wound. It’s one thing for Maeve to have haunting memories of waking up to “futuristic people” operating on her, but to actually cut herself open is frightening. To her these memories are no longer “dreams”, they are a reality. She is clearly the most aware host and no one at the control center seems to know.

If we learned anything this week, though, it’s that Ford is even more mysterious and intimidating that we originally thought. In a meeting with Theresa, he flat out tells her, “don’t get in my way”. He is committed to his new storyline and doesn’t care what the shareholders think. While meeting with her, Ford freezes all hosts he has working and serving him on his compound. This not only makes the scene tense and intimidating, but it shows how powerful he really is. As the creator of the park, he sees himself as a higher power to both the hosts and the park employees. Only an actor like Anthony Hopkins could seem this scary and calm at the same time.

Ford even went as far as to sit Theresa in the same chair she sat in when she visited the park as a little girl with her family. This was not only to intimidate her but remind her who he is. If Ford knows she came to the park as a kid, what else does he know? Does he know about Bernard and Dolores? Does he know about Maeve or the Man in Blacks quest to find the maze? Whatever he knows, he is clearly more aware than we originally thought. As far as we know, he’s behind it all.

Chapter 4 of Westworld was an important episode because it finally gave us a blueprint for what’s to come. The numerous storylines that at one point seemed far apart, are coming together into something epic. We are starting to get some answers but are also being left with even bigger questions. This was such a satisfying episode because we finally saw what this show can be. It’s not just about a robot revolt, but instead something much more tantalizing. Every character has an intriguing story to tell and we’ve only scratched the surface.

Score: 9/10

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