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Westworld Season 1 Episode 9 Recap | The Well-Tempered Clavier

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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 Well-Tempered Clavier,” the ninth episode of the series. If you thought the Bernard reveal in episode seven was the biggest bombshell surrounding the character, think again. Season one’s penultimate episode flips the script once again with yet another major Bernard twist, likely blindsiding many viewers — but hopefully not those of you who listen to this podcast and have been on #TeamBernardold for weeks and weeks now. Josh and Jo talk at length about the twist now that it’s out on the show, what it could possibly mean, whether or not we’ll see Bernard again after what Ford makes him do, the various possibilities surrounding Arnold’s death and true motives, and much more. Also, Josh gets very worked up about The Dark Knight. Curse you, Two-Face!

Check the links below for Josh’s latest Westworld interviews published on The Hollywood Reporter:

Michelle MacLaren (Director of Episode 9, among countless other television highlights)

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

BONUS: Josh and Jo will appear as guests on the Westworld with Jay, Jack and Mike podcast this week, making predictions about the finale. Subscribe to their podcast to make sure you don’t miss out!

  • Judy W

    Hi Josh and Jo, Amazing podcast as always. I was intrigued by Jo’s thoughts on the center of the maze being an exit door for the hosts. Do yo think that the maze, could be, all part of Dr. Fords new narrative, and the center of the maze, is an exit door for the hosts, but also a trap, being set by Dr. Ford. To catch, or round up, all the sentient hosts. Then he could do with them whatever he chooses, destroy, reformat, retire, or wipe and start the loop over? The hosts may think they are finding freedom, or some escape, but in actuality, they are still under the watchful eye of Dr. Ford, and completely under his control. Also, perhaps the man in black knows this, and he is “the good guy”, and his mission is in some way to shut down, or change, the maze, so that the hosts would be able to find some sort of freedom. I wonder what freedom would like for the hosts? Where, when, would they live their “lives”? So much to ponder……….

    • J-me not Hi-me

      My latest thought is that the center of the maze is an exit and that William/MIB knows it isn’t for him: he wants it for Dolores. What if he’s been in love with her for 30 years and has been trying to get her out of Westworld this whole time?

      • Judy W

        Interesting, I like that idea. So many theories and possibilities running through my mind. Can’t wait for the finale!!

      • Christine Larivière

        I like this theory!

    • Buck Hondo

      I think you’re absolutely right about the MIB being a good guy. When he and Lawrence are handcuffed in the army stagecoach on their way to jail, MIB says to Lawrence: “What if I told you I’m here to set you free?”

  • GeekFurious

    First, let me say that I don’t watch this show for the answers. I didn’t watch LOST for the answers. I didn’t watch BATTLESTAR GALACTICA for the answers either. Hell, I read A Song of Ice & Fire and watch GAME OF THRONES for the same reason I’m watching WESTWORLD:

    Setting, dialogue, characters, and acting.

    There is no way a mystery show could hold me for long anymore. There are 100,000 people over-analyzing every ounce of every moment these days. There is fun in that, sure. Lots of fun in that. But if that’s why you’re watching, you will inevitably grow out of it because it takes an intense amount of investment and modern-day viewing cultures seem to lack that stamina.

    GAME OF THRONES survives not on the mystery but on the anticipation of the payoffs fans figured out ten years ago. That, I believe, is how one will have to approach this show in the future if they’re going to continue making it about mysteries. We will figure them out quickly and then we wait for the payoff and to see if they execute it well.

    And here is where I have a major problem with the show and have since pretty much episode 2. Whenever the writers give a character exposition dialogue, it does not feel organic. Sure, there have been a few moments where it feels like it fits into the scene, but for the most part, the dialogue comes off as part of pick-ups done after all the episodes had been shot. Like they assessed the show’s direction, decided on a new direction, and had to shoot new scenes which added to the plot of the show, and then shot brand new scenes just of exposition to explain it all.

    It feels out of place. And I am trying to remember an exposition scene that doesn’t. If anyone can come up with one, please direct me to it and I will check it out and see if I agree.

    In any event, that is my one major complaint. Maybe even my one complaint. The things I’ve seen people complain about regarding character choices etc, don’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me that a host is walking through a secure facility giving orders to a tech… I’ve worked in high security environments and no one cares when the pizza guy, who shouldn’t be there, is walking through with a food delivery because a security guard didn’t understand he needed high level access to get into the room. Because if you’re walking through there, people expect you have permission.

    Anyway, I watch for the things that work so well. And that’s virtually everything apart from the exposition scenes.

    • Tusk

      As was my issue since several episodes ago, that it seems they’re throwing things up to see what sticks or as deliberate misdirects, thus my issue with not seeing any discernible difference in android technology across 35 years, it’s so they can get away with lazy story telling, trick you into thinking they are telling the story linearly, or not:
      (Look it’s from different chronologies, we’re telling it from the past, future and slightly more different past!!! Aren’t we clever??!!)

      It just seems like they shot a bunch of scenes and put them together to make a story in the editing room based on cursory plot points and ‘futuristic’ ideas without thinking about the science to give the story at least some backbone.

      The Host difference from ‘now’ til ‘then’ is laughable, especially when Logan cut open Dolores and showed those HUGE pistons in her abdomen. How can there not be any discernible weight difference, at least? The science and economics of Westworld (how can they afford to run this place for over 30 years?) appear to be after thoughts in their travails of finding cogent story lines to intermingle for the purposes of misdirection.

      Fortunately for them, the cast holds up some flimsy story telling… Anthony Hopkins’ seething, his reactions to people trying to get a one up on him, only to enjoy seeing them realise he was in control the whole time. Jeffrey Wright’s acting as the man who discovers he’s not only a robot maker, but one himself is tragic in the right way. I came to the show to look at the ever beautiful Evan Rachel Wood, who is a decent actor, but every once in a while, there’s a sense of dramatic over acting, as if she’s in a stage play…but she is beautiful in every classical way.

      Thandy Newton has been around a while and a ‘name’ in movies she’s been in, which I never understood until now. She’s eating up her performance with vim and vigor, though I fear she is getting mighty close to camp in her transition to WW’s Terminator/Ultron. I agree with Josh…the plan to burn herself and Hector up just to get back to the lab has ZERO logic to it….unless part of it in Maeve’s mind is to experience ‘everything’ her senses can provide, even searing pain from being burned alive, since she lives again as soon as she wakes.

      …although, there could be a ‘logic’ to it….maybe burnt robots get sent to another part of the facility which would make it easier for Felix to get her out of WestWorld?

      If they wrap up major plot points by the 90 minute Finale, one has to wonder what is left for Season 2? Does a season 2 guarantee a bunch of cliffhangers and unanswered questions?

      As I’ve stated before, I loved the original movie, and there’s Evan Rachel Wood, reasons for me to watch the first season of WW…but if the flimsy story telling with very little disregard for science or logic continues, they have a very short leash from me for season 2

      • GeekFurious

        That’s not at all what is happening. They’ve planned it out. It just doesn’t feel like the exposition scenes are organic. There is no “seeing what works” because that’s CLEARLY not what they are doing. Everything is paying off right now. Everything has a clear design behind it.

        • Tusk

          I guess my main issue when I say ‘see what sticks’ is the reliance on misdirection by omission to make their story telling more ‘interesting’. The trick of telling from different time lines to keep us guessing would not be effective at all if they had to stay consistent within their own rules. The rules seem to matter when it’s convenient to the story.

          I have an idea the main threads of the story, synthetic humanoids gaining sentience in the midst of a power struggle between their creators, one of whom we don’t know is ‘alive’ or not, could be as interesting without using the different story time frame ‘trick’ to make it seem more clever. It’s gimmicky and lazy storytelling IMO.

          Logic should have more relevance in a SCIENCE fiction story

  • J-me not Hi-me

    Ooh, I’m all for the theory that Elsie is MIB/William’s daughter. She has the same coloring as Logan, certainly. Did we get a good look at the picture of Logan’s sister? I got the impression that she had dark hair too.

    • Buck Hondo

      I also really like Jo’s theory that Elsie could be MIB’s daughter. When I first heard it I was skeptical, but hearing her explain it made me think, “Well, maybe…” And yeah, I think Juliet had dark hair in the picture.

  • Buck Hondo

    There is something we don’t know about that I’m very eager to discover, and that is WHERE is Westworld? For some reason I don’t think it’s on a planet that rotates on its axis every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds. The way the characters talk about “rotating home” make it sound like a big deal, the sketchy communications with loved ones, the fact it never seems to rain…

    Sylvester told Maeve that everything about her “including [her] skin” was designed to keep her there. I don’t think he was referring to the C6 vertebrae explosive, so what’s that all about? If this is another planet or a moon, could the hosts have skin that is somehow vulnerable to the atmosphere outside the park? There aren’t very many “throw-away” lines on this show, so I have to think it’s something that will come up eventually (but if not, that’s okay–I can enjoy the show purely as a creative work, it doesn’t have to be an elaborate puzzle for me to try to solve).