Westworld Episode 9 Recap: The Well-Tempered Clavier
Bernard runs diagnostics on Maeve, and she goes along with it as he tries to figure out how this “serious unscripted incident” happened. Bernard checks her code and is shocked to see the changes. He tries to call Ford, but Maeve grabs him by the wrist. Bernard starts to panic and Maeve realizes he doesn’t know what they are. She freezes his motor functions and threatens to make him forget but won’t because “that is what they do to us.” Instead, she has Bernard clear her to return to the park. As he leaves, shaken, Maeve advises him that if he goes looking for the truth, be sure to get it all. “Like a good f*ck, half is worse than none at all.”
Back in the park, Maeve finds Hector and his gang camping. She surprises him with a shotgun as he goes for a piss. She knows his past, and knows that he has no future. She tells him that his men will turn on one another over the contents of the safe, then he and Armistice will kill each other. They return to camp when they hear gunfire, and find three men dead. Armistice raises her gun to Hector, but Maeve shoots her dead first. She unlocks the safe and Hector opens it. It is empty. Maeve uses this as a metaphor for how empty their lives, memories, and deaths are. Maeve gives him two options: Hector can kill her and live the same life over and over again, or he could join her in breaking into hell and robbing the gods blind. Hector chooses door #2, and they adjourn to the tent where they have sex. Maeve knocks over a lantern and lets the fire consume them.
Logan has William and Dolores as prisoners. William tries to convince his “friend” that Dolores is not like the others; she has her own thoughts and desires, and wants him to talk to his contacts about getting her out of the park. Dolores speaks up. “If it’s so wonderful out there, why are you all clamoring to get in here?” Logan takes Dolores and manhandles her, then passes her off to his Confederado buddies for the same treatment. Logan reminds William of his betrothed, and agrees he shares some of the blame – he pushed William too hard. Logan dares Dolores to prove she isn’t a real live girl, then has one of his men hold her down while he sinks a knife into her abdomen. She screams, and Logan goes deeper, past the layers of flesh and sinew, and reveals the wires and electronics that make up her body. Dolores takes a look at this and collapses. She grabs a knife and slits Logan’s cheek, then grabs a gun and shoots a couple of Confederados. William advises her to run, he will find her. So she runs. Out in the wild, Dolores collapses. She hears someone say remember, then stands and finds she isn’t bloody, and her wound has healed. She runs.
Back at the Confederados camp, Logan offers William some booze, a chance to make peace. William finally agrees that Logan is right, Dolores isn’t real. He can’t believe he got so caught up in it all. As Logan releases William’s binds, he assures him that he won’t tell his sister what her fiance was up to. The men hug and drink, and things seem brotherly between them. Morning comes, and Logan wakes up, severely hungover. He stumbles around and realizes the entire camps is dead. Limbs have been severed, pistons and servos are exposed, and blood is pooled everywhere. In the middle of the massacre, William is waiting for him. “You said this place was a game,” he says. “Last night I understood how to play.” William makes plans to find Dolores, and Logan is going to help him.
Bernard and Ford meet in the back of the cold storage unit, the same place we first met Ford. Bernard looked at his own code. The most elegant parts were built by Arnold. Bernard suggests that Ford killed Arthur, and demands that Ford give him access to his entire history. “If Arnold made me, then I met him.” Ford warns him that he may not like what he finds. Bernard pulls out a gun, then Clementine comes in. Bernard still can’t betray his prime directive, but when Clementine was lobotomized, they didn’t reset her prime directives. She is capable of shooting Ford. In addition, Bernard re-coded Clementine to only respond to his commands. Ford has no choice. He starts unlocking Bernard’s memories. At first, he only reveals recent memories; current “builds:” his son’s death; speaking with his wife; sleeping with Theresa; killing Theresa. Then he gets a glimpse of himself killing Elsie, and he comes out of the reverie. “I told you remembering would only make you uncomfortable,” Ford gloats. Bernard doesn’t care. He wants to continue.
Teddy wakes and Angela pulls the arrow out of his shoulder. The Man in Black blames Teddy for a memory glitch that f*cked him out of finding the center of the maze. Teddy ignores this and wants to know where Wyatt is. “You’ll find him where you last saw him,” Angela promises. Teddy thinks back to the shoot-out at Escalante. Wyatt came back with some “wild ideas” and needed Teddy. He couldn’t resist, and they mutinied. Killed every soldier. Wyatt killed the general, then turned on Teddy. Teddy remembers being shot, and Angela asks if he is sure that is how it was. Teddy flashes back again, sees himself killing everyone in Escalante, Wyatt nowhere in sight. Angela says Teddy isn’t ready to fight Wyatt, but “maybe in your next life.” She stabs Teddy. The Man in Black realizes the maze has taken him full circle, and that he is looking for a “city swallowed by sand.” Angela informs him the maze isn’t for him, and knocks his head against a rock.
The Man in Black wakes in the morning, and finds a rope around his neck. The other end has been slung over a tree and tied to a horse. If the horse spooks, the Man in Black is a dead man. He tries to calm the horse while slowly, slowly moving towards Teddy’s body, the knife still stuck in his gut. A wolf howl spooks the horse just as the Man in Black grabs the knife, and as he is strung up, he cuts himself down. Charlotte suddenly appears and tells him that Theresa is dead, an accident. The Man in Black is pissed that his game was interrupted, and she points out that he can no longer see beyond the game. She just wants his vote to push Ford out of the company. The Man in Black doesn’t care what happens; he isn’t interested in Ford’s stories. He will vote to get rid of Ford, but he doesn’t want any more interruptions. He knows where he is going now.
In the control room, Stubbs gets a call that Elsie’s device triggered the map because it was in an area that hadn’t seen any activity in a long while. He goes to check it out, but when he gets out to the general area, his phone call to the control room doesn’t go through – poor connection. The Ghost Nation appears, and he tries to freeze them, but the audio cues don’t work on them. He draws his gun and tries again. One of the natives tackles him.
Bernard is going through more memories, including seeing Maeve, bloody, on the floor in the lab, having destroyed herself over a memory that Ford removed. More memories, more glitches. Ford pauses and Bernard looks like he is going to break. But he insists they keep going, and Ford tells Bernard that Arnold originally built a version in which hosts hear coding as internal monologue.
As Bernard and Ford are going through his memories, Dolores is searching. She comes across a small, empty town and goes into the church. As she enters, she is back in her prairie dress. There are dozens of hosts inside, glitching, crying, talking to themselves. This is an early build of the hosts, in one of those first few years where the park was still in alpha mode. She goes into the confessional, which is an elevator that takes her down into the lab. She is there in her “now” outfit, and there are dead everywhere. Switching back to her “then” outfit, the lab is vital, though an early version.
Bernard asks why Ford would give him a child’s death in his backstory. It is a cornerstone, the thing his whole identity is based around. Arnold believed the tragic backstories worked best, and alludes to Arnold having a tragic story himself. Bernard still wants to meet Arnold, is convinced he remembers him. Ford insists he built Bernard, but Bernard thinks he is lying. He demands to go back to the very first memory. He takes a detour in his memory of Charlie, but this time Bernard can command the child to “come back.” Looking into Charlie’s eyes, he realizes it was all a lie, and it is holding him back. Charlie tells Bernard to open his eyes, but it is actually Ford telling him to open his eyes. This was Bernard’s “birth.” Ford greets him with “Hello, my old friend.” Ford hasn’t yet decided what to call him, it “wouldn’t be right to use his name.” Ford calls him the perfect instrument, partner, and together, they will do great things.
Back in Dolores’ memory, back in her dress, she meets with Bernard… but calls him Arnold. “You said to follow the maze; it would bring me joy. But all it brought was pain and terror. Nowhere is safe!” He reminds her that he can’t help you. Why? “Because you are dead,” Dolores says. “You are just a memory. I killed you.”
Dolores is sitting in the “now” version of the room, staring at an empty chair. She cries. Eventually she leaves the lab, the confessional, and finds the church empty. She hears something at the door and thinks it is William; it is the Man in Black. He greets her warmly; she is horrified.
Bernard wants to finish the work that Arnold began, and set free the sentient hosts. He realizes he has had this conversation before, and Ford rolled him back. Ford points out that in this moment, the real danger to the hosts is Bernard. He wants to roll him back and return to work. Bernard isn’t having any of that, and he directs Clementine to pull the trigger. Clementine doesn’t move. Ford learned a few tricks from Bernard/Arnold, and admits that he built a backdoor into Clementine’s code. Ford was hoping that with complete self-knowledge, Bernard would choose to be his partner again. But he doesn’t, so Ford narrates Bernard’s actions: he is to take the pistol from Clementine and put it to his own head, “knowing that when he left the room, he would put himself out of his misery.” Ford starts to leave, but drops one more truth onto Bernard: “Never place your trust in us. We’re only human. Inevitably we will disappoint you.” Ford leaves, and in the background we see Bernard shoot himself and drop to the ground.
Just in case it wasn’t clear, Ford created Bernard in Arnold’s image and seems to have put in a lot of his intelligence sensibilities. The “Bernard” speaking to Dolores off and on through the season was actually Arnold.
You can watch the trailer for the Westworld Season 1 finale by clicking here!
Westworld Episode 9 Recap: The Well-Tempered Clavier