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Westworld Season 1 Episode 3 Recap | The Stray


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Welcome to Westworld! Every week, Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Jo Garfein (@jopinionated) will discuss the new HBO series about an old west theme park built in a futuristic world, populated by robot hosts and human guests. Theories, analysis, and overall madness is sure to ensue.

This week, Josh and Jo talk about “The Stray,” not to be confused with “The Strain.” (STRIGOI!) They go through the looking glass and come away with some very out-there theories about the true nature of Dolores’ programming, Bernard’s motivations, the mysterious Arnold and dastardly Wyatt, and much more.

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Send your questions and theories in through our feedback form, and ping Josh and Jo on Twitter.

Read Josh’s THR Pieces on Westworld:
** James Marsden on Westworld S1E3

  • 2dog


    I thought you may see Ashley Stubbs as a host because I also caught the line about “my back story”

    Also the host can’t attack humans yet the wood cutter attacked Ashley

    But destroyed himself before smashing the rock over Elsie head (a human)

    Enjoy listening to you guys thx.


    • Buck Hondo

      I too think that guy is a host. It would be ironic to have a guy who’s so suspicious and wary of the hosts’ potential for violence to also be one. Kind of like Saul Tigh on Battlestar Galactica.

    • J-me not Hi-me

      Good catch. I don’t love the idea of hosts who know that hosts exist but are not aware that they are hosts because it’s so Blade Runner. But it would explain the physical perfection of H-3.

    • Brendan Fitzpatrick

      I took the line “it’s in my back story” as a joke or sarcasm, cause that’s the way the actor delivered the line. I think that one is a redherring/non-starter of a theory.

  • Jaxicat

    On the first episode, Dolores was able to kill the fly and I don’t think she was directed to.

    With the gun, she probably has a lot more safeguards in place to keep her from using it. Trying to use the gun for target practice, she wasn’t able to pull the trigger. When she finally was able to pull the trigger, she had a strong emotional need, a human like response. I feel like she was able in that moment to overcome her own programming just as she was with the fly.

    • harriet robbins

      This whole episode PROVES that taking GOD out of school has messed up the USA!!! Those parents need TO BE COMMITED!!! Those KIDS are NOT capable of making such decisions!!!!! Kids brains are NOT fully developed until age 25!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THIS WORLD!!!!!!!!!!

  • Buck Hondo

    This comment contains a potential SPOILER THEORY. I don’t have any inside information at all, it’s just a guess.

    About the gun…the impression I got was that the gun Delores digs up from her yard, the gun she finds wrapped up in her drawer, and the gun she uses to shoot Rebus…are all the same gun. Dun dun dunnnn!

    She first gets the gun when she takes it from Rebus, falls in the hay, and then shoots him. Later she will wrap the gun in cloth and put it in her drawer. Then at some point she will bury the gun in the yard, only to dig it up many years later, when she’s told by the voice to “Remember.”

    We’re seeing all of these events out of order. The things taking place while William and Logan (the white hat and black hat duo) are visiting Westworld happened long before the events involving The Man in Black, Kissy (the blackjack dealer), and Lawrence (the guy who was going to be hanged). So if we’re really flashing back and forth like that, then it changes a lot of things we thought were true.

    • 2dog

      I think you have something because the gun in the drawer was weird.
      One moment she opens the drawer and its there the next moment she opens the drawer and it gone?
      I didn’t understand that scene and was confused.
      But what you are saying would make sense.

      • J-me not Hi-me

        I think the gun was in the top drawer and D didn’t know what to make of it, so she put her nightgown in an empty spot in the second drawer instead.

      • Buck Hondo

        Right, seeing the gun in the drawer was a memory flash of the gun being there, before she buried it but after she took it from Rebus and shot him.

        The same thing happens later when she gets shot in the stomach. It’s a memory flash of her being shot in that situation, and because she remembers it happening she’s now able to escape before the host fires at her.

        • 2dog

          wow you are good!

          • Buck Hondo

            No, just unemployed. :)

          • 2dog

            : )

    • GeekFurious

      That is my EXACT theory too. We are seeing an unreliable edit of events. These are not “memories” exactly, but scenarios in the system, and that MiB shot is our present, not her past. William is the MiB. We are seeing his origin story and hers.

      • Buck Hondo

        If that’s right it’s going to take something pretty major for William, who right now seems like a heckuva guy, to become The MiB, who seems like a psychopath. But it sure looks like that’s what we’re getting.

        • GeekFurious

          I don’t think the MiB is a psychopath at all. I think he’s trying to make her remember what caused her initial glitch. I think that sequence when he appeared to drag her away to “rape” her was nothing more than him recreating what happened that caused her to run into him 30 years earlier.

          • Buck Hondo

            I get that, but he’s been murdering hosts left and right and he seems to take a certain pleasure in it. I think Arnold left the clue about the maze under that guy’s skull, so he had to cut it off but he didn’t have to drain 3 quarts of blood from the guy before he did it. There’s definitely some bloodlust there.

          • GeekFurious

            Well, he’s already suggested that emotional trauma seems to jar something in these AI. So, I think that’s what is happening. He’s creating horror to force them to remember.

    • TrentC

      I believe Jo and Josh mentioned the same thing about multiple timelines last week. We’re seeing scenes out of order, sometimes by years.

      Totally agree on the flashes of memory coming back, causing ‘glitches’ in the scenes. My pet theory is that Ford has developed feelings for the hosts, thinking that they really are a viable life form, and he’s the one encouraging the memories to help the hosts evolve.

      I agree with GeekFurious about the man in black. I suspect were going to see his agenda is quite different to what they’re implying right now.

      And BIG kudos to AJ and Josh for making the call that Teddy is Kenny from Southpark. Until last week, he pretty much had no backstory and was set up to be a lead-magnet in each episode.

      • Buck Hondo

        I think Bernard has figured out that the hosts’ new Reveries programmed by Ford are what is causing them to have access to the old code programmed by Arnold, allowing them to experience their “bicameral mind.” Examples are when Bernard asks Delores what she would do if there were two versions of her, and also it seems that the memory flashes, or glitches, coincide with the host seeing their reflection (although that could just be an artistic visual cue for the audience).

        • TrentC

          How about an obvious prediction. Bernard is onto Ford like you mention, then at the end of season two we find out Bernard is a host.

          I enjoyed the reimagined BSG for this reason. At one point we had no idea who was a cylon, because it could be literally anyone.

          Perhaps Westworld goes down this rabbit hole with hosts? Part of me likes the idea, part of me says it’s too much of an out for the writers.

          • Buck Hondo

            The Final Five on BSG…those were some heady days! I don’t know about Bernard, but “many people are saying” Triple-H is a bot.

            And although the voice Delores and Maeve are hearing sounds like Bernard, it might actually be Arnold. The video of the malfunctioning baddy pouring milk on folks had him in a one-sided conversation with “Arnold,” and Ford told Bernard that they removed Arnold’s code except for the voice command function. So maybe Arnold is still alive somewhere, either hidden in the park or just his consciousness as a “ghost in the machine,” and he’s giving commands to the hosts.

          • TrentC

            On another forum I wrote a post (thread actually) on where BSG went wrong, beginning with their final five selection. Digression alert!

            Back to virtual reality. You gotta think Arnold is Chekhov’s Arnold, just by virtue of the fact Hopkins engages us with the backstory saying his partner wanted to develop consciousness in the hosts, not to mention the fact that the hosts are hearing Arnold.

            Or more simply put – Arnold has to be much more than just a quaint anecdote Ford gives the viewers. My non-ground breaking theory is that sentience will happen, or be encouraged by someone. Arnold set up the code and Ford is trying to activate it? Ford loved the idea when reminiscing about Arnold’s creativity.

            This show, within only three episodes, gives us so much depth to explore…coupled with the phenomenal actors and production values…once again shows us that TV can be great in the right hands.

  • J-me not Hi-me

    I don’t think anyone “paused” the scene to prevent Dolores from getting shot. Moments before when she was in the barn she saw a flash of Ed Harris while Steven Ogg was threatening her, which seemed to be a memory of the last time she was in the same situation. So when she thought that she was shot, I took that as a memory of another time when that had happened.

    Speaking of the specificity of names: “Dolores” is Spanish for “sorrows”. She was literally created to suffer.

    And, I’m confused, Thandie Newton’s character is MAWve (like the color,) not MAYve?

    • Andiamo

      It’s interesting that you use the word suffer to describe Dolores. It reminds me of something the Man in Black said after he shot Lawrence’s wife to try to get information about the maze.

      He said “You see the cracks after a while. That’s why I like the basic emotion. Know what that means? It means when you’re suffering that’s when you’re most real.”

      I think he knows that causing extreme emotion (fear) in the hosts helps to get beneath the code to get the information he needs. You could see that work on the little girl when she flipped a switch after her mother was shot.

      In terms of Dolores, your interpretation of her name makes me wonder if that has something to do with why she is the one who can remember the most. And it’s possible that if she was created to suffer, it was intentional that she would also be the one to lead the hosts to consciousness (be the Judas Steer.)

      • J-me not Hi-me

        First of all: !!!!! Your theory is brilliant and I’m freaking out.

        Second: Isn’t the Judas Steer betraying the rest of the herd? Though I suppose causing the rest of the hosts to remember all the atrocities that have been visited on them in the past is cruel in a sense. I think it was Ford who said that causing the hosts to forget was the least they could do.

        • Andiamo

          Thanks! This show is keeping me up at night.

          This is from Wikipedia about the Judas Steer: A member of a herd of cattle which has been trained or found to be a
          natural leader. One that the rest of the herd will follow anywhere
          especially to the slaughterhouse.

          The thing I think is interesting about the Judas steer is that it’s life is usually spared and it’s sent back to lead more animals, over and over (like on a loop.) Is it a betrayal? I don’t know if it knows exactly what it’s doing. I don’t know the mind of cows. But I think it fits because It’s not that clear yet to anyone whether gaining consciousness will be a salvation or a curse.

        • Andiamo

          I just thought about that some more. You can look at the Judas Steer from 3 perspectives.

          1) Humans would identify it as a Judas because we know that it’s mainly used to lead the rest of the herd to slaughter. Humans use the animal to work against its best interests.

          2) Cows don’t have consciousness, so they’re just following their natural instincts. They’re not making a deal to save their own lives. The other cows don’t feel betrayed.

          3) Dolores is somewhere in the middle. She wouldn’t have the concept of the slaughterhouse. She only knows the cowboy can identify the natural leader that the other cows follow to keep them corralled.

          • J-me not Hi-me

            Those are great points. Oh man, this analogy keeps getting better.

            And also, the Judas Steer is repeating a loop?! Could the writing on this show be more genius?!

      • TrentC

        I think this is so key…from your post:

        “It means when you’re suffering that’s when you’re most real.”

        “I think he knows that causing extreme emotion (fear) in the hosts helps to get beneath the code to get the information he needs.”

        If we think about what’s actually underneath this…he’s stressing out the hosts to garner a specific reaction that won’t occur during their normal programming loop. He knows they can reach another level of consciousness (?)

        Whoa, nice one Andiamo

  • Andiamo

    When Jimmy got shot it knocked him down and left a mark. The bullets didn’t just bounce off him like they do with the Man in Black. But the bullets did bounce off of the creepy attackers that Teddy shot when he went after Wyatt. I’m confused.

    Maybe that means the timeline theory is right, and they created a better way to protect the guests. But then does that mean the attackers were guests? I thought they were part of the Wyatt narrative. Teddy did say that Wyatt had been recruiting, so like the stray who tried to join them and was able to withstand a saw to the neck, maybe they and the Man in Black are conscious hosts who operate under different rules.

    Have there been any other guests who have been shot?

    • GeekFurious

      The bullets didn’t bounce off the MiB. They hit him. He just wasn’t bothered by them. If you’ve ever played paintball, the first time you’re hit, you are kind of surprised it hurts. Once you’ve been hit over and over, it barely bothers you. William fell down like a lot of people who are shot fall down… not because the bullet knocked them down (that’s not how physics works) but because of surprise and automatic body reaction to being shot.

      As for the attackers Teddy shot, they were likely wearing some kind of armor.

      • Andiamo

        Ahhh, okay I can buy that. I know nothing about guns (or paintball.) Think I may be looking too deeply into things when, you know, Occam’s Razor…