‘Westworld’ Episode 9 Recap: Don’t Call Him Billy

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Warning: This recap of “The Well-Tempered Clavier” episode of Westworld contains spoilers.

With the freshman season finish line in sight, Westworld gets serious about solving mysteries instead of putting new ones in motion. Season 1’s penultimate episode, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” confirms several long-held suspicions about what exactly has been going on inside this theme park for the rich and idle. Of course, as has been par for the course with this series, these confirmations were doled out in ways that some might charitably call “inscrutable.” Just so we’re all on the same page as we head into next week’s season finale, here are five things we can say with 99.9% certainty are going on inside the walls of Westworld after the events of tonight’s episode.

Arnold is — make that was — Bernard
The Internet collectively figured out over a month ago that “Bernard Lowe” was an anagram for “Arnold Weber,” making this particular plot point less of a mystery and more of a waiting game. That said, it was still thrilling to see a younger Ford’s first contact with the mechanical man he made in his friend’s image. Even more dramatic, though, is the moment where Dolores recognizes Bernard as Arnold, then admits she was the culprit behind his (first) death. So now we have confirmation from two independent sources that Lowe is the spitting image of Weber.

What had been up in the air — and still is to a certain extent — is just how much of Arnold exists inside of Bernard. Those memories of a dying son, for example, are supposedly part of a tragic backstory that Ford claims he implanted in Bernard’s brain as a cornerstone of his consciousness. (“Tragic backstories work best,” Robert wryly remarks, in what’s clearly intended as a dig at an all-too-common screenwriting trope.) But the loss of a child could easily provide the catalyst for a scientist who, by all accounts, was obsessed with creating and nurturing artificial lives in the same way parents nurture their flesh and blood offspring.

For now, Bernard/Arnold appears to be taking that particular secret to his grave. Just when Bernard thought he had the upper hand on his creator, Robert executed a fail-safe program that forced Lowe to put a bullet in his own brain, while a frozen Clementine — making a welcome, if brief, return as Bernard’s unwitting enforcer — watched impassively. Now, it’s important to note that the fatal gun blast happened offscreen, meaning that Arnold may rise from the grave yet again. And the next time, he won’t have to bother turning his name into a puzzle for Reddit users to solve.

The Man in Black is on board with Delos
From the beginning, it was clear that the Man in Black was no ordinary VIP attendee. After all, it takes a special visitor to win a one-on-one audience with Robert Ford himself, in the middle of the game, no less. But the reasons for his exalted status aren’t due to the amount of money he drops at the park or his position on a scoring leaderboard. Instead, he’s an esteemed member of the Delos board that oversees Westworld, and as such, plays an important role in the corporation’s impending decision about whether or not to uninstall Ford from the park’s creative direction. Charlotte — whose vision of Westworld as a place where people mainly want a “warm body to shoot or to f***” sounds an awful lot like the fun-seeking Logan, for what it’s worth — wants him on her side, but he’s not interested in anything besides seeing his current game through. “No more interruptions. I know where I’m going now, and don’t want to be disturbed,” he tells her before heading off to find his prey: Dolores.

Photos: HBO
Photos: HBO

William has a black future
We actually witnessed two births during the course of “The Well-Tempered Clavier”: besides watching Arnold reawaken as Bernard, we also observed the origins of William’s eventual transformation into the Man in Black. Having been recaptured by Logan and forced to watch as his robotic lady love, Dolores, is subjected to an especially violent end — one that involves her being gutted by a knife until her artificial innards are exposed — William spends the early morning hours systematically butchering all of the artificial soldiers in his future brother-in-law’s army. (Kudos to Jimmi Simpson on modulating his voice until he achieves an Ed Harris-like growl, by the way.) Technically, the show is still being coy about whether or not the William/Logan storyline is happening in an earlier timeline, but this episode reveals one small, key piece of evidence that essentially confirms this popular theory: The picture of William’s fiancée that Logan holds up is the exact same photo that Dolores’s father digs out of his field in the series premiere, at that point sporting several decades’ worth of wear and tear. At least William can take heart in knowing he’ll be better preserved than that snapshot as he ages from Jimmi Simpson into Ed Harris.

Logan shows William a picture of his fiancee in Episode 9 of 'Westworld' (Photo: HBO)
Logan shows William this picture of his fiancée in Episode 9 of Westworld. (Photo: HBO)
That same photo, several decades later, from the series premiere of 'Westworld' (Photo: HBO)
That same photo, apparently from several decades later, as seen in the series premiere of Westworld. (Photo: HBO)

Teddy has a Wyatt side
One robot’s nemesis is another robot’s Messianic figure. At least, that’s how it seems to be with Wyatt, the murderous mystery man who haunts Teddy’s dreams. But for Angela and her squad of masked goons, Wyatt is the absent leader whose return will herald great things. Last week, Angela stabbed Teddy in an effort to jog his memory out of its programmed routine. That treatment proved harsh but effective; reawakening in this episode, he starts to recount the memories that Ford installed in his mind, in which he squared off against a crazed Wyatt as he gunned down innocent civilians in Escalante. At Angela’s urging, though, Teddy suddenly remembers himself gunning down those civilians. He’s not prepared to fully recognize the significance of this version of events, though, so Angela kills him again, forcing another manual reboot. “When Wyatt returns, you’ll be by his side,” she says before shoving a knife into his gut, adding, “Maybe in the next life.” We can’t be the only ones thinking that in his “next life,” he might answer to “Wyatt” rather than “Teddy.”

Maeve and Hector are the new Daenerys and Drogo
Most of Westworld’s robot couples are paired off by the programmers. Not so with Maeve, who has chosen Hector as her regular partner in conscious crime. That dates back to the fourth episode, when she had him confirm her early suspicions about her artificial life by digging a bullet out of her stomach. Now that she’s fully self-aware, he’s the person she wants alongside her as she plans her escape. And in the clearest sign of her affection for him, she doesn’t even manipulate his settings to win his trust. Instead, she allows him to experience his own “Eureka!” moment, followed by some Game of Thrones-style flame-silhouetted sex. It’s likely that Hector, much like Drogo before him, won’t be long for this world, but Maeve is already one kick-ass Mother of Robots.

Westworld airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.