Episode 5, “Contrapasso”, of HBO’s Westworld, had a lot going on. Almost too much at times. More mysteries, more theories, there was so much. Writing this after taking a three week break from this blog is difficult. So I’m going to keep this recap/thoughts/blog/whatever-you-want-to-call-it brief. I won’t offer theories, won’t do a full recap, I’ll just quickly write down a few thoughts and describe my favorite scene so I can go back to reviewing and writing and reading.
The fifth episode mostly focused on Dolores, William and Logan on their continued journey to the outer limits of the park. And man, do they see some freaky things. There is an all out orgy, massive gun fights, imprisonment, bodies filled with nitroglycerin. This is definitely the part of the park where the kids are not allowed.
The most fascinating parts of the episode didn’t belong to the development of William or Logan, or to the revelation that Arnold wants Dolores to disrupt the park’s fabric, but to the conversation between the Man in Black and Ford.
Even though we know next to nothing about The Man in Black outside of whatever Ed Harris brings to the table and the little backstory the writers are willing to give the us. But his love and respect for the park came out during his conversation with Anthony Hopkins’ Ford. The Man in Black doesn’t view the world solely as a form of escapism, he views as it a place of opportunity. He searches for the park’s hidden, deeper meaning. He wants to claim it, to understand it. If Ford is the god of this world, then the Man in Black is searching for the Meaning of Life.
“If you want the moral of the story, you could just ask,” Ford says to the mysterious man. But the Man in Black doesn’t. He knows more than any other guest. He knows about Arnold and Arnold’s bigger mystery, hidden even to Ford. That the Maze, as created by Arnold, could show something greater than anything Ford could give him.
It’s a tense conversation filled with double talk and unspoken threats. A wonderfully acted scene, reminiscent of the scene in Heat, where Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro discuss their jobs and their similarities. When you have two massively talented actors like Harris and Hopkins, no action is required, just solid dialogue and impressive acting to make a scene wonderful. This will probably go down as one of my favorite scenes of the season.