Westworld 1×05 recap. “Contrapasso” aired Oct 30, 2016
HBO is a wonderful premium cable network. From Oz, The Sopranos, and Sex in the City of the past to Veep and Silicon Valley of present day, it has been entertaining us for decades. Oh yeah, that Game of Thrones thing is pretty popular too.
For my money, the best show to ever grace HBO (and the best show I’ve ever seen) is The Wire. For five season the viewer is taken inside Baltimore’s drug culture, port authority, school system, and media in a way that no show on any subject has ever matched.
Now imagine my delight when I got not one but TWO callbacks to The Wire during Westworld 1×05! The first is pretty inconsequential right now, but drug kingpin Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) is back. He’s simply a man who greets William and company into a lawless town in this episode, but with the way HBO recycles its actors I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he came back later with an important role.
The second callback is a much bigger deal to our story. And it has to do with one of the most beloved characters from The Wire — Bubbles.
On the surface, Bubbles is a dope fiend. As the show progresses, however, we get to know him better and come to find him endearing as can be. Bubbles, like many of the main characters from The Wire, has a ton of great scenes and one-liners. The one that always stuck out to me was the way he would say thank you to people:
That’s a pretty unique way to say “thank you,” right? He’s the first person I can remember who said it that way consistently, and there aren’t many people around using the phrase. Now, as if seeing Avon again wasn’t enough, Wire fans also get a one-liner from The Man in Black to a boy who brings him water after he uses poor Lawrence as a blood bag:
The scene was gruesome and The Man in Black is still the worst, but I got to scream “BUBBLES” at my TV, so I was OK with it.
Cut to William, Logan, Dolores, and Slim’s Nitro heist. While Logan is directing traffic at the front of the carriage, William is making sure the Union soldiers are out of the back and unarmed.
He politely asks the soldiers to get out and take a few steps back. What a great guy William is. It looks like he’s even going to thank the soldiers as they follow his orders! Oh, that’s a tight camera shot on William. It almost seems like he’s looking right at me, the viewer, and trying to tell me something here:
WILLIAM AND THE MAN IN BLACK ARE THE SAME PERSON, Y’ALL. We just continue to get more evidence of that in Westworld 1×05.
Beyond the parallel dialogue, we also get some quality scenes that get us closer to William being revealed as the MiB. For starters, Lawrence is in two places in this episode that are way too far apart not to be different timelines. My guess is he was the outlaw in the past and Ford didn’t like however the story we’re following ended. That’s when he changed from El Lazo the outlaw to Lawrence the family man, and Dolores from imagining a story where she didn’t have to be the damsel to within her loop for good.
Second, we may have gotten the beginnings of White hat William flipping to The Man in Black. After the crew is found out to be switching Nitro with tequila the Confederados want a piece of Logan. William’s co-worker, who really just bullied William at work (I got something right about my Man in Black original theory!), asks for help, the white hat shrugs him off and moves on with Dolores. That, combined with killing unarmed Union soldiers, is plenty to start the transformation.
By the way. Remember how people can’t be killed in Westworld? And The Man in Black wants to get to the center of the maze to find if that’s true in the entire park? It looked like Logan was getting his face beat pretty good there. It could be random; but it could also signal William and Dolores are getting closer to the center of the maze, which is exactly what Dolores is looking for.
Westworld co-creators and co-hosts?
Speaking of Dolores and her journey, we may have also gotten a big hint about Arnold in Westworld 1×05. Ford is the one chatting with Dolores this time around rather than Bernard, and he’s irked. The park co-creator can feel something is off, and he thinks the only host left who was “there” when Arnold’s accident happened is at the root. Then Dolores Turing tests Ford’s ass, tricking him into thinking she hadn’t had contact with Arnold since his incident, only to say “He doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him anything” outloud to seemingly no one.
Except Dolores and Bernard just have consciousness conversations now. You can assume everything she does comes from Bernard’s voice in her head.
So, did we just learn Arnold and Bernard are the same person?
Probably not. But I’m not sure Arnold is actually dead, and I think there is a chance that somehow Bernard is just a robot acting in Arnold’s place. Also, Ford wonders if Dolores remembers the man he used to be, meaning Ford could just be a host as well, acting as a park creator.
Bernard and Ford are the only two people in Westworld who can control things seemingly with just their mind. Plus, The Man in Black “wonders what he would find,” if he opened Ford up. Would it not just be his guts, you jerk?
It’s pretty far-fetched, but it’s clear now Arnold and Ford weren’t friends. Something weird happened there, and the reveal could be just as crazy.
Wait but Maeve woke up again. What’s going on with Maeve!?
I have no idea what to make of Maeve’s storyline at this point. I’m open to any and all suggestions. The end.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO
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Image credit: HBO