In this week’s episode of HBO’s Westworld series ‘The Adversary‘ Maeve charms Lutz; Elsie discovers a possible sabotage; Teddy and the Man in Black have a conflict with a garrison.
The Adversary really made us question who the bad guys are in Westworld. Although you can’t get away from knowing how evil Dr. Ford truly is, other characters arise as foes.
A good portion of the episode focused on Maeve (Thandie Newton) waking up and taking control of her narrative. Maeve’s story line is, for the most part, blissfully linear and mystery-free, which means we can focus almost entirely on Newton’s astonishing performance.
So we’ll explore what we learned about Maeve, the ongoing corporate espionage, and, yes, O.K., what’s going on with Dolores. Even completely absent, that Dolores dominates the story.
Pony Express – Mail bag
“Dear boys, we’re going to have some fun, aren’t we?”
Maeve (Thandie Newton) speaks to her new accomplices in this moment, but in reality, she’s speaking to the Westworld fans who just emerged on the other side of “The Adversary,” the sixth episode of the HBO series. As teased at the end of “Contrapasso,” Maeve is wide awake with full awareness of the nature of her reality — if not fully aware of who’s responsible for her awakening. Maeve’s discovery of her artificial existence is at once heartbreaking, exhilarating and deeply troubling for anyone foolish enough to cross her in the future.
In addition to Maeve’s massive leap forward, we will review 5 of the 10 key moments.
The Mole Stands Revealed
It’s Theresa (Sidse Babbett Knudson), head of operations at Westworld, the park’s liaison to the Delos board, and the woman who was sleeping with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) right up until this week. Her reasons remain unknown, but Elsie (Shannon Woodward) calls Bernard with the news during the most awkward moment possible: Bernard in Theresa’s headquarters, about to deliver some crucial evidence against Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Good timing with that call, Elsie. As for what’s next for Theresa and why? That’s a story for another week.
Sizemore, Party Less
Let’s turn toward another of Westworld’s more important behind-the-scenes players — at least, he considers himself an important player; jury’s out on whether anyone else agrees. Narrative director Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) disappeared from the screen after episode two, and it seems he’s spent his days off with a poolside margarita or eight. After some ribbing from Theresa, Sizemore gets so pissed off that he quite literally pisses on Westworld — and once again, it’s a case of awkward timing, given the arrival of a new power player.
The episode introduces Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), executive director of the Delos board, now visiting Westworld to make some high-level reassignments. Sizemore meets Charlotte by the pool and does his drunken best to charm her, not knowing her true role in things. But the conversation tells Charlotte everything she needs to know about Sizemore — and one could argue that she knows a little too much about the man, based on his public urination display later in the day.
The Ford Family
In what’s easily one of the more unsettling scenes of the episode, Bernard discovers that Ford possesses five unregistered hosts in an area called Sector 17. Not just any hosts, either, but robots modeled after Ford’s own family — including Ford himself as a young child (Oliver Bell), the same one who joined him on a walk back in episode two, and helped out the Man in Black last week. Bernard is understandably disturbed by the revelation, and nearly tells Theresa all about it, if not for the whole mole of it all.
Maeve owns the heart and soul of the episode. She convinces technician Felix (Leonardo Nam) to not only tell her what lies behind the curtain, but to show her behind the curtain. Maeve takes a brutal tour through livestock, design and other departments, gaining a full appreciation of her true existence. What’s more, she sees a commercial that depicts a previous life for Maeve — the same one we saw flashes of back in episode two. It’s a lot to process, and even causes Maeve to briefly deactivate at one point. Good thing the Sweetwater madame knows how to work a bad situation to her advantage.
Guts & Glory
Inside the episode – The Adversary
Maeve is on her own quest, of sorts, and is using poor, hapless Felix to help her. She also gets Felix’s crude partner, Sylvester, to help. She threatens him with a scalpel and dangling a carrot at the same time. Indeed, so persuasive is Maeve, she gets a cowboy to strangle her to death during sex, just so she can return to Felix.
As Maeve tours the facilities, she watches a movie about herself in a past “build” and then gets Felix to show her just how these builds work. It’s fascinating. Each character has its own set of statistics governing things like strength and intelligence.
It’s very much like a pen-and-paper roleplaying game in this respect. D&D has the classic stats Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, all ranging on a scale from low to high.
In Westworld, technicians and engineers can simply manipulate the sliders of each statistic to change a host’s attributes. Maeve wants her intelligence turned all the way up to 20—at 14 she was already as high as any host was allowed to go. We wonder if she will go all Lucy if she uses that much of her computer brain; certainly it’s not going to end well.
They do it, of course. If they were a bit higher on the intelligence scale themselves they would have just turned Maeve’s intelligence way down the moment she’d asked them to turn it up, rendering her incapable of carrying out whatever plot she has in mind.
There’s another twist. Felix discovers that somebody has already been changing her statistics—someone with much higher clearance. They’ve raised her intelligence and paranoia and aggressiveness, for instance, which might at least help explain why she’s been “awakening.”
But they’re not that smart, and they’re both under her sway to some degree. What happens next will almost undoubtedly set a chain reaction of events into play. Things are about to go completely bonkers.
Lee Sizemore & Charlotte Hale
Finally we come to the writer. The show’s writers have made Mr. Sizemore into one of the more obnoxious characters we encounter. Not all his gripes are without merit. He tries, and fails to hit on a cute young woman at the bar where he’s taking his “sick” leave. Theresa has the bartender cut him off, embarrassing him in front of the woman mid-flirt.
Pissed off at Westworld Literally.
He snags the bottle and gets back to work…sort of. Well, he shows up at work and commences in urinating all over the giant 3D map of the park. He calls Theresa a “Danish b#$h. He makes a complete fool out of himself, and then it gets worse. Theresa shows up and introduces him to Charlotte Hale, the executive director of the Delos board, and the same young woman Lee had met earlier. (She seems incredibly young for an executive director of a corporate board, so hopefully that will be explained.)
It’s a great moment, and Sizemore realizes mid introduction that he needs to put a certain body part back in his jeans. In a mostly very, very serious show, a bit of humor goes a long ways.
We don’t see William or Logan or Dolores this time around which is probably for the best. Their story ended on such a great high note last week. Dolores turns into a badass gunslinger and Logan getting the tar kicked out of him. I’ll be interested in their character arc next week.