Westworld: “The Adversary” Season 1 Episode 6 Review

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Now we’re talkin’. Though it rushed some significant narrative leaps, “The Adversary” was the episode of Westworld I’ve been waiting for, and it’s all thanks to Maeve. Conscious and in control behind the scenes, and manipulating Felix and later Sylvester, Maeve learns a whole lot in this episode. In fact, she learned pretty much everything.

While I didn’t totally buy that Maeve would be able to just walk around the whole Westworld factory, even with Felix as her guide, the music and Thandie Newton’s performance came together and pushed this sequence to greatness. This was Westworld‘s best moment yet, as the host was made aware of her purpose and the other species that forced her into a form of slavery. The show has been building to this all season, and even if it came a bit out of left field and far faster than the rest of the season, it made Maeve into a character to root for, something Westworld desperately needs.

As the episode closes, she gets Felix and Sylvester to adjust her personality to her liking. I love how she felt she had been taken advantage of by being loyal. More importantly, of course, she upped her intelligence higher than that of any human likely. Now it’s time for Maeve to have some fun as she puts it, but just what does “fun” mean to her? I can’t wait to find out.

The rest of “The Adversary” didn’t far quite as well, but how could it? The behind the scenes politics of Westworld’s staff felt more at home on any CBS crime show than on HBO. Bernard and Theresa’s breakup scene was clunkily edited and flat-out poorly written. We also learn that Dr. Ford has been keeping a family of hosts that represent his own childhood, making for a half-baked attempt to deepen his character. Then there was of course the obvious setup of Lee embarrassing himself in front of a woman he thinks is on vacation, only to later find out that she’s really important to the company. Charlotte (the wonderful Tessa Thompson) is here to oversee the park’s narrative, which means she could butt heads with the likes of Lee or even Ford in upcoming episodes. Whether that’ll be interesting or not is up to Westworld. So far, the characters behind the scenes haven’t provided much value to the show, aside from Ford of course, but even he now seems more like a one-note villain.

The only other storyline we visited this week was the Man in Black and Teddy’s continuing hunt for the maze and Wyatt. There was more violence to fill the air, as hosts killing hosts still has zero narrative impact, but we did learn that Teddy is programmed to think he’s a killer. Let’s just say Teddy’s storyline is a far cry from Maeve’s in terms of quality.

Still, I have to commend Westworld for taking a big leap this week. One host learning the true nature of her existence will likely lead to others. Maeve’s discovery was artfully done and maybe the most emotional scene on the series yet. The rest of the show’s storylines have a lot of catching up to do, but “The Adversary” is a big victory for the show. Now it’s hopefully time to finally start having some fun. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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