In The Well-Tempered Clavier Arnold Is Revealed And Dolores Finds The Maze.

This is my Westworld recap of season 1, episode 9 entitled “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” This is probably the best directed episode to date with Emmy nominated Michelle MacLaren at the wheel. Viewers are taken on a complex, but well explained ride, largely while Dolores relives her past experiences. Her quest to find Arnold and the center of the maze is realized but will likely come at great cost. The Well-Tempered Clavier surpasses all other episodes to date with top notch writing that puts a couple of key theories to rest. Let’s begin.

Thandie Newton as Maeve and Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe in The Well-Tempered Clavier

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

We open in the backstage, where Maeve is being assessed by Bernard. Her keen insights and abilities are yet unknown to Bernard. She discovers that Bernard is in-fact a host, and begins to manipulate his emotions. She naturally interrupts his scripted analysis, and one again, Bernard learns he his a host. As we’ve seen before, hosts who become self-aware often fall into  a state of existential despair so profound that many of them tend to malfunction, even sputter out, like a misbehaving microwave oven. Maeve with her new found administrative powers instructs Bernard to clear her to the park. Bernard has no choice but to agree and Maeve returns to the surface. Bernard stumbles away, confused, then heads below to Ford’s office. Inside he discovers a tablet with his host profile on it, then sets out to meet Ford down in cold storage.

Out in the park, we find Dolores, William, and Logan at a union soldier camp. William and Dolores are tied up and Logan appears to be in command of the camp. William attempts to explain how Dolores is unique and why she would like to leave the park. Dolores interrupts and corrects him stating that she doesn’t want to leave. “Everyone assumes I want out.” Dolores states. However, we all know that is simply not the case. Logan will demonstrate to William why Dolores cannot leave the park.

Jeffrey Wright as Bernard and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford in The Well-Tempered Clavier

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

Ford meets Bernard in cold storage, where Bernard cautiously quizzes his master about his code. Interestingly, Bernard doesn’t seem as upset, like that last time he discovered he was a host. Bernard asks Ford to give him access to all his memories since he was brought online. Ford, at first, is reluctant, suggesting to Bernard that he may not like what he finds. Soon Ford obliges, but not because the first generation Clementine, stripped of her prime directives, is holding a gun to his head. Ford confirms yet another popular fan theory that Bernard is, in fact, modeled after his partner Arnold and that Ford has been using him to continue his expansive vision for the park. Additionally, when necessary, he has been doing the necessary dirty work of killing Theresa and Elsie for poking their noses too far into his business. Ford’s hopeful assumption is that Bernard, once given the full truth about himself, would choose to be his partner again. When Bernard rebuffs that assumption, a dejected Ford leaves cold storage with Bernard being commanded to kill himself.

Logan is upset with Williams fixation with Dolores. Words will not change Williams mind, so Logan slices open Dolores to show him her insides. Dolores injured, makes a run for it into the woods. Shortly, after Dolores picks herself up from the ground, she realizes she is uninjured putting another theory to rest. Viewers are reliving Dolores’ experiences in two separate timelines. The first is with William and Logan, some 30 plus years ago. The second is present day, where Dolores is uninjured and on a quest to find the maze. Similarly, William and Logan are at the early end of Dolores’ timeline and the Man in Black with Teddy are present day. Unlike humans, hosts can relive every detail of their memories, which is in part why their experiences are erased every day. Soon, William begins to realize how the park, the narratives and Dolores have seduced him. Like Logan has said all along, the park seduces everyone. The two, make amends, and Logan releases William from his bonds.

Thandie- Newton as Maeve and Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

Nearby, in the woods, Maeve approaches Hector and his gang of outlaws. She propositions the homicidal outlaw after giving him a glimpse of his future. A predictable narrative where he finds the stolen safe is empty, and where is band of outlaws kill themselves over their cut of the riches. Maeve explains their path to redemption with only come when they enter and take over the backstage, or hell, like she describes it. Hector, at the end of his narrative, agrees, but is confused at how the two will return to hell. Maeve explains that part is easy. But what comes later will be much harder. The two burn alive in a blaze set by Maeve so the two can wake up in the backstage. What a horrible way to go.

Across the countryside, Teddy and the Man in Black remain tied with up Wyatt’s men. Angela, who stabbed Teddy with an arrow last week aims to finish the job, but not before she enlightens him. She explains that Teddy not only took part in the killings at Escalante, but led the charge alongside Wyatt. In the end, Angela stabs Teddy and leaves him to die. She then knocks the Man in Black unconscious. He wakes the next day with a noose around his neck, tied to a horse with the rope slung over a tree. He cautiously grabs a knife from poor dead Teddy and cuts his noose only seconds before the horse fails to string him up. Charlotte enters the picture and suggests to the Man in Black that Golf would be a less stressful sport. Charlotte explains to the Man in Black that their attempt to smuggle data out of the park has failed. She also informed him about Theresa’s demise and the Man in Black commented that there are no accidents in the park. He left Charlotte, asked not to be disturbed and headed to the church at the town sunk in the sand. A place that Angela had mentioned prior to killing Teddy.

In the backstage, the control room discovers a beacon in the countryside from Elsie Hughes, who we all presumed dead by Bernards hand. Stubbs then sets off to investigate and like most poor security officers, he goes alone. After arriving, Stubbs is jumped by a group of natives when his verbal commands to stop them are ignored.

Logan awakes to find all his union soldier friends dead presumable by Williams hand. William then tells Logan that he now understands how the game is played. With a bloody hand and a knife exactly like the weapon the Man in Black carries, he tells Logan never to call him “Billy” again. William and Logan head off to find Dolores.

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

In some of the best editing all season, back in cold storage before Bernard takes his life, Ford gives Bernard access to all his memories. At the same time, Dolores relives her visit to a church in the town covered in sand. She soon realizes that she’s been there before. After entering the church, she goes below to a private research room, where she has spoken to Arnold before. She has returned home, but this time, Arnold not is not there, because he died more than 30 years ago. Dolores realizes Arnold is not there because he is dead and she killed him. She returns topside to the church.

“The piano doesn’t murder the player, if it doesn’t like the music.” Ford explains when Bernard orders Clementine to kill Ford. The master in the Well-Tempered Clavier, always seemingly one step ahead of his hosts, coded Clementine with a fail safe to prevent his possible demise. Ford, once again, proves why he’s God in Westworld, and that next week’s episode will likely end badly for all the hosts.

Next week, Westworld the 90-minute episode 10 entitled “The Bicameral Mind” debuts on Sunday, December 4 at 9:00 PM ET on HBO. Check out all the official Westworld The Well-Tempered Clavier photos in the gallery. Here’s a preview of what’s coming.