Westworld: “The Well-Tempered Clavier” Season 1 Episode 9 Review

Photo Credit:http://comicbook.com/popculturenow/2016/11/28/westworld-recap-with-spoilers-the-well-tempered-clavier/

“The Well-Tempered Clavier” starts with some narrative jumps. Maeve has been brought in after her self-designed narrative went awry, but of course Bernard is the one talking to her. She can see right through his human flesh into what he truly is, which Ford erased from his memory just last week. Maeve aims to undo that, even if she’s currently unaware as to who her true adversary is. Regardless, the penultimate episode takes a lot of time right at the start to quickly, and clumsily, reverse Bernard’s storyline from last week. After he’s brought back up to speed, he re-confronts Ford about his existence, which is when the episode is finally allowed to take off. Then on, we learn just how Bernard came to be, which leads to another would-be major twist for the character, had it really uncovered anything other than narrative trickery.

Turns out, Bernard was created in Arnold’s likeness after his death. Ford is using Bernard as his partner, giving him a different name simply because, despite their identical surface physique, they’re different beings. Through this, and a joint montage with Dolores’ own discovery, we learn some key details to Arnold’s demise. As has been pretty much outwardly hinted at in previous episodes, though perhaps never fully said, Arnold was pushing the hosts into sentience rather than theme park attractions. He saw the same life in them that the Man in Black did before he killed Maeve. We learn that Dolores was the one to kill him, another answer that has been not-so-subtlety teased (Will next week’s big reveal be that Dr. Ford had her do it?! If so, what a shocker!). This gives us more context into Dolores private conversations with Bernard, as we now know they were really with Arnold. I’m not sure that really changes anything about how we were supposed to watch the show, however. It feels like Westworld kept too many doors closed, and now that it’s opening them, season two might feature an actual plot instead of just smoke and mirrors.

Perhaps most frustratingly, just as Bernard readies himself to live up to the likeness he embodies, finishing Arnold’s work and setting his species free, Ford has him shoot himself, presumably erasing all of the knowledge he gained. Again. If we have to watch Bernard realize what he is for a third time next week, it will be my last episode of Westworld.

Luckily, for the all the frustration going on behind the scenes, Dolores’ half of these revelations marked a creative surge in her storylines. After escaping Logan’s camp, and leaving William there in the process, she stumbles back into the town she overwhelmed herself in last week. Upon reaching the church and stepping into the confessional, she’s lowered into the private room where she and Arnold used to have their chats. With that, Dolores seems to be much more aware of who she is, especially after seeing what her skeleton looks like thanks to Logan’s brutality. It’s likely a new day for Dolores going into the finale, but one she’ll be spending with the Man in Black. What connection they share moving forward could be fascinating, especially if he’s revealed to be Will in the finale.

Speaking of, Will seemed to be making strides in becoming more like his black-hatted counterpart. After Logan passes out once Dolores has escaped, William brutally “murders” every host riding with his former friend. If this isn’t an indication that he’s got a future in black, I don’t know what is.

So with just one more episode left in the season, Westworld continued to trickle out answers, though ones the show seemingly already answered with heavy subtext. The questions that remain are large and their answers could alter the show. Or they could amount to the same nothingness of Bernard’s continually reset consciousness. We’ll only truly know after the finale, which should be a big moment in determining Westworld’s longevity as a series. Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes:

  • Charlotte needs the Man in Black’s help. He also looked like the third person in the photo with Ford and Arnold (which could damage the William theory), meaning his role in this whole thing could go a lot deeper than we thought.
  • Maeve is seemingly taking Hector back behind the curtain with her this time. Should be a fun finale.
  • So Elsie is…dead? That was unclear. If she is, what an unceremonious sendoff.

By Matt Dougherty

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