This review contains spoilers.
Episode 5 is the best Westworld has ever been. The mystery is still unravelling, but things are starting to progress. The show’s just hit its midpoint and it finally feels like it has a proper direction. The first half of the season was concerned with world building. While there were some moments where the exposition came a little heavy, the world that’s been created has been consistently engaging.
The show has finally come alive and feels confident with its own identity. Most of the success of the episode is down to Dolores. She goes through a transformation, breaking the shackles of her programming and removing herself from the prescribed narrative. In a moment that reminded me of Firefly’s River Tam. Dolores expertly guns down a group of hosts. It’s scary – there’s a dark side to her and we don’t know how deep it goes.
The other reveal of the episode happened during a conversation between Dr Ford and Dolores. This is the first time they’ve been in the same scene together, and Ford hints at some deeper connection between the two of them, and mentions Arnold. Dolores’s relationship with Arnold is left unclear. She’s hiding something, after Ford leaves a mysterious voice talks to her, she replies to the empty room that she told him nothing. The audience is completely left in the dark over this exchange; we’re not even given a subtle hint or scrap of evidence.
Two other key characters met for the first time on screen, Dr Ford with The Man in Black. There seems to be a long history between these two characters, and it’s interesting to jump into the middle of it. Their relationship has been very well crafted, they seem to have a rivalry where The Man in Black is trying to play through Ford’s game. In a way they seem to communicate through the game, The Man in Black playing the villain in order to draw Ford’s attention. This scene also displayed the most frightening moment of the series. Ford demonstrated the absolute control his has over the hosts, each hosts appears to have an inbuilt trigger to protect Ford whenever they smell danger. In the scene we see Freddy grab the blade of The Man in Black’s knife the moment he made a small threat towards Ford.
The unconditional obedience almost makes Ford look like a cult leader, with the hosts being his disciples. It will be interesting when they begin to turn on him and how he will react to all the fallout. We’ve just had Dolores make her own decisions and reject her role in the park, we can only assume that it won’t be long before others follow.