In the video above I talk about why Episode 9 of Westworld turned out to be one of my favorite episodes of the series so far, because of these fantastic performances. It really epitomizes why this series is so different from any other series, because these actors are so great and so fantastic. Yes, Westworld is very much based on that mystery, that wondering what will happen next, that plot twist, but not more so than the amazing performances that we’re seeing from Jeffrey Wright playing Bernard, and Anthony Hopkins as Ford. Just watching these two actors go at it and perform and really wrestle with such internal conflict as they’re thinking about what it means to be human, as they’re thinking about the nature of reality and why things are important to us and how memory affects us and then steers us moving forward and sometimes holds us back.
Watching Jeffrey Wright struggle with these concepts in the series has been remarkable, more so than any plot twists having to do with Bernard. I know that’s why we’re going to see a lot more of Jeffrey Wright moving forward. Even though his character as Bernard has died, at least from what we’ve seen, we know he’s also Arnold and that shadows of Arnold and memories of Arnold still exist. We will be getting those shadows, those memories, and maybe even some kind of AI form of Arnold moving forward.
Jeffrey Wright is just so remarkable in this episode, as is Anthony Hopkins. Unlike a lot of shows that really traded heavily on the mystery element, whether it’s Battlestar Galactica, which certainly had great performances in it, or Lost. Unlike Lost, which really was all about the mystery, Westworld is all about these performances and these much larger ideas, these much larger concepts of who we are, what it means to be human, what it means to be sentient.
“He told me to follow the maze, that it would bring me joy, but all I found is pain.” – Dolores
I think this episode really epitomized all of that. Now, we did get into Episode 9 something that has been telegraphed a lot and just about everyone has basically guessed this plot point far before it’s going to drop in Episode 10, I would assume, unless there’s going to be a major twist that no one sees coming. As you noticed, William, who was hanging out with his very evil, soon-to-be brother-in-law … shows him a photo of his sister, which is going to be his future wife, and it is the woman who is sitting there on the very modern street corner. This is the exact same photo, only it’s more weathered, obviously, and torn up, that is shown in Episode 1.
That exact photo appears in Episode 1, and it’s the photo that causes Dolores’s father at the time to completely freeze up. This is even more confirmation that William will eventually become the man in black, that, and the fact that, William kind of loses his mind and starts chopping up robots like crazy. I really hope that’s not a big plot twist at the end of Episode 10 that everyone’s seen coming, but if it is, again, I really don’t care. These performances are just remarkable and I love the questions that this show asks.