Warning: Spoilers ahead for Westworld Episode 2, "Chestnut."
Well HBO really pulled a fast one on us this week when it dropped the second episode of Westworld a few days early, so it wouldn't coincide with the second presidential debate.
But after recovering from the shock of being treated to a second episode so soon after that magnificent first, no doubt you were as absorbed in the world of Westworld and Delos Incorporated as I was.
After spending much of Episode 1 centered around Dolores and Teddy, "Chestnut" started fleshing out Westworld by telling us more about hosts like Maeve, as well as meeting guests Logan and William. Of course the mysteries back at headquarters became more intriguing with the continued malfunction of more hosts, and the Man in Black continued his search for the maze. However, the end of the episode was the true shock, when Dolores appeared to be being told to search for a gun — which presumably contains actual bullets — by a mystery voice in her head.
But as with any show, and especially Westworld, there's a hell of a lot of things going on, and details will be missed. So saddle up and take a look at the five things you might have missed In the Westworld Episode 2:
1. "These violent delights have violent ends" appears to be a trigger phrase
We know that the human programmers and staff of Westworld use phrases to control the hosts (such as deactivating them using the saying "until then may you rest in a deep and dreamless slumber") but now it seems like one phrase is being used by the hosts themselves to unlocked something else in each other.
In Episode 1, Dolores' malfunctioning father whispered the phrase "these violent delights have violent ends" to his daughter, and shortly after she too started acting strangely. Then this week, after having lied to the security and programming staff, Dolores started spreading the phrase to other hosts, the first of whom was Maeve. Will the security and programmers of Westworld realize that the hosts are using this phrase to unlock a heightened awareness in each other, or will the phrase soon be repeated to too many hosts for the employees to deal with?
2. Was the Man in Black involved in the last critical failure?
In Episode 1 it was established that the Man in Black has been a patron of the park for at least 30 years, and in the same episode we also learned that the park's last critical failure was also 30 years ago. Given that in the latest episode Stubbs told a security employee that the Man in Black "gets whatever he wants," it wouldn't be a huge jump to assume that the man was possible caught up in the critical fail (and possible had something horrible happen, such as the death of a loved one), and as a result has been allowed certain liberties (possibly even free entry) as some sort of compensation.
The website Delos Incorporated, which was created by HBO to give clues or hints about the series (in the series the company which runs Westworld is called Delos Inc.), has a section in their corp resources section they mention that Gold Players are given access to secret paths which lead to narratives normal guests don't have access to. This may be why the man has been able to learn about the maze level of Westworld.
Of course, it could simply be that the Man in Black is insanely wealthy and has spent so much money at the park that as the best customer he's allowed to do what he pleases, but come on - that'd be boring.
3. Don't cry over spilled milk
In the breakdown of the last episode, I talked about milk appearing to be quite symbolic in the series. Aside from the hosts being made in a milky substance, in Episode 1 all of the the killer hosts were carrying, drinking or spilling milk as well. And while you might have thought we got away without seeing any actual milk in this weeks episode, you'd be wrong. It was quick, but after seeing Dolores' dropping a can several times in Episode 1, in Episode 2 it was revealed to be a can of condensed milk.
This further enforces the assumption from Episode 1 that the milk might be a reference to Lady Macbeth's "the milk of human kindness," line in Shakespeare's Macbeth. This would also seem to fit in this scene given that William —the guest who picks up the can — is clearly much more kind and compassionate than his Lady Macbeth-type friend, Logan, who didn't hesitate to harm others during his stay.
But there's also a bit more to the milk than just a Macbeth quote...
- 5 Things You Might Have Missed In The 'Westworld' Pilot Episode
- Did 'Westworld' Creator Jonathon Nolan Unknowingly Confirm This Fan Theory?
- Violent Delights Don't Come Cheap: This Is How Much It Would Cost To Visit Westworld
4. Again with the red and white
In addition to milk being shown through both Episodes 1 and 2, we've also seen a lot of red being used. During Episode 1 we saw red and white mixing when the dead hosts' spilled blood mixed with the spilled milk, and now in Episode 2 the two colors have again been used together on the faces of the Native American hosts.
Westworld also used the colors back in the Delos Inc headquarters. It was interesting to see the areas where guests were involved were all a very sterile, bright white (the train, arrival hall and even the welcoming hosts themselves), but meanwhile the employee surveillance room had a large blood-red wall curving around it.
A few days ago, Reddit user vestigial threw out the idea that the colors red and white can't seem to co-exist together without blood shed or violence being involved, and after Episode 2 this theory seems to be stronger than ever. Though, if it's correct it does seem to imply that if and when the guests and the park employees mix, there could be absolute hell to pay.
5. There are some great art references
We already know that Westworld is all about the literary references (particularly loving the work of the Bard), but this week the art world got a couple of shout outs as well.
First of all you've probably already noticed the similarity between how the hosts are "born" and Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, but let's quickly jump explore those similarities. Basically da Vinci's sketch shows a man of ideal human proportions according to ancient Roman architect Vitrivius. So, obviously it's not a huge leap to see why the hosts are born in this manner, after all Mr Ford and the programmers are trying to create perfect specimens. And speaking of Mr Ford, I'd absolutely wager that he thinks of himself as a sort of Leonardo da Vinci figure, a sort of Renaissance man creating art, and continually pushing boundaries of what people think is possible.
Then, toward the end of "Chestnut," there was a brilliant comparison between Westworld and art when Mr Sizemore mentioned that his new storyline "would make Hieronymous Bosch look like he was doodling kittens." Hieronymous Bosch was a Netherlandish painter who lived at the same time as da Vinci, though painted very differently. In fact, Bosch was nicknamed "the Devil's painter" for his alarming works, the most famous piece of which is a triptych titled "The Garden of Earthly Delights."
The painting shows three scenes, the first of which shows God presenting Eve to Adam in paradise. The second scene shows a the garden of earthly delights filled with carefree nude figures, animals, fantastical beasts, plants and giant fruit. Meanwhile, the third panel depicts hell. The meaning of the painting has long been debated, but in regards to Westworld, you have to notice the uncanny similarities between Ford creating the park, the park being used for guests to fulfill any of the earthly desires, and now, with the malfunctioning hosts, perhaps the park is destined for the final panel - total, hellish chaos.
Bonus: Is Ford planning to introduce the idea of a Supreme Being to Westworld?
At the very end of Episode 2, Ford revealed to Bernard that he had plans for a new storyline, before showing him the beginnings of what looked to be a small chapel in the desert. Now although Ford called his storyline "something quite original," it would definitely appear as though the man who's played God over the entirety of Westworld, is about to introduce the concept of God, or some other higher power, to the hosts.
The idea of hosts being exposed to this sort of abstract thought it quite frightening on its own, after all, it's bound to set off divisions between the hosts who embrace spirituality and those that don't. I also can't help but think that the Westworld directors gave us a pretty big hint that the whole thing is destined for disaster when they literally showed us a snake — the bible's most deceptive and tricky creature — right before revealing the chapel for the first time. Yikes.
Watch Westworld when it returns with Episode 3 on October 16.