Westworld Season 1 Episode 4 Recap | Dissonance Theory

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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 “Dissonance Theory,” the fourth episode of the series. They dig through their own respective rabbit holes in a debate about flashbacks versus flashforwards, Maeve’s growing awareness, Robert Ford’s godlike rule over Westworld, the Man in Black’s explosive rampage, and more.

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  • GeekFurious

    1) I went back to the other episodes and there is only one shot that messes with the potential MiB-is-William timeline. And that is when we see MiB (in a previous episode) tell Dolores to remember. However, I still maintain that was nothing more than an editing misdirect (flash forward) that will play out in a later episode when we see exactly why he does what he does and how he does it and how is edited into a future episode to make sense. I DO think it will make some people angry because I’ve already seen some analysts completely dismiss the theory because of that scene and because they haven’t been totally focused on the editing of each timeline. They seem to think since each character is in an episode and so is Dolores that “proves” it’s the same timeline. It does not. In fact, this latest episodes only further enhances the theory by never showing the two in any events that connect. Each being in similar locations just sets up the narrative that William could have hit an “easter egg” that took him 30 years to figure out. Or that on this trip he saw something that made him start to see the world differently. Perhaps it was Arnold’s “death.”

    Sure, it is possible this whole thing is a misdirect on top of a misdirect and that in episode 5 the two stories intersect. But I doubt it. I think we will begin to see the stories intersect but then realize they are entirely different timelines.

    2) It is possible MiB is dying and that he wants to find the deeper level because he thinks he can transfer his consciousness into one of these androids. Or that he sees this world and these creatures as worthy of being freed. Or several variations of that. He wants to live. He wants to free them.

    3) The acting is so good that it is almost sad the show has become so much about the mysteries. We should focus more on the performances and beautiful dialogue.

    4) I didn’t notice the field workers being from the other narrative. That’s genius.

    5) Ford being Arnold is very possible. I see no reason why that theory should be tossed away.

    6) The “sensitive disposition” line HAS to mean far more than whatever is happening in the moment. You don’t give Ford that line without meaning to play it out later.

    7) Now that Maeve has had the bullet removed, will she try to do the same thing next week and find nothing and think she’s insane? I feel like that would be very interesting… but also feel a bit one-step-forward-reset-back. I don’t know what I’d like to see on that front.

    8) Maeve is likely the type to go on a rampage whereas Dolores seems the type to play the “everything’s fine until I kill you all” long-game. So a fully awake Maeve could be detrimental to her own survival. She could get boxed (using BSG terminology!).

    9) The people working on the park not noticing certain glitches is definitely a flashing neon sign that an inside job element is at play. Someone is aware how careless they are about certain procedures and they know they can get away with messing with the hosts without the workers noticing, or knowing the workers won’t want to deal with the red tape of it all.

    10) Final point, as a BSG fan… THE ANSWER IS IN THE MUSIC! 🙂

  • TrentC

    Really enjoy the analysis Jo and Josh. I don’t use iTunes so I can’t leave ratings or comments in that world. Hopefully the endorsement(s) here in the comments somehow carry over.

    Loving the show and the questions it brings up. Theorize away!

  • Reynaldo Hernandez Aponte

    Contra Paso. Counter step.

  • Dbz Axel

    I wouldn’t write off Logan so quickly. He’s not unrepentantly evil but a gamer whose kind of a jerk. Everything in Westworld is fake and due to having a healthy separation between the game and reality Logan knows the difference between harming an NPC and harming a real person.

    William will likely empathise with the hosts but in the future Logan might be able to understand what they’re going through with having their reality shattered. What does a man do when he’s confronted with having unknowingly committed horrifying acts against innocent people?

  • Jen Severson

    Hi, so I have a thought – when Jo mentioned that Bernard could be on of the Artificial humans, it got me thinking. Did you notice both Bernard and Deloris said the same thing about feeling the pain of death, and not wanting to forget because it’s all they have left? Maybe that is a built in thought inside the code for the robots. Maybe he is one of “them”.

  • John Mckinney

    The podcast discussed the importance of Lawrence to Man in Black. There is something that occurred during the hanging scene in episode 2, which I believe is relevant to Man in Black. When we’re introduced to Lawrence, the leader of the posse states that Lawrence was essentially being hanged for the murder of Donald Pardue. One anagram for Donald Pardue is “A Duped Arnold.” Perhaps Arnold was duped into thinking that if he gave the hosts sentience they wouldn’t turn on him. He’d be like a god to them and why would they harm their own god. But something happened (the critical failure/error) and one of the hosts murdered him. I think it is quite possible that Lawrence was the host that murdered Arnold. What if Lawrence is the Judas Steer (turned on his god in a way similar to the way Judas betrayed Jesus) and he is the one who will lead the other hosts to “freedom.” This is why Man in Black is interested in him and why he keeps him around.

  • Buck Hondo

    Maeve is the Yul Brenner?! Man, this show is good. Episode 5 is nuts! I’ve stopped trying to figure it all out and I’m just letting the show have its way with me. Nine Inch Nails!