WESTWORLD 1.06 ‘The Adversary’ Review
WESTWORLD Season 1 Episode 6
Episode Title: “The Adversary”
Writers: Halley Gross & Jonathan Nolan
Director: Frederick E. O. Toye
Previously on Westworld:
Episode 1.05: “Contrapasso“
There are spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of Westworld, but don’t pretend that you didn’t know that!
Credit where credit is due: Westworld has successfully shifted Thandie Newton’s Maeve from a supporting character in her someone else’s story to the lead of her own tale. That transition happened slowly in the previous episodes, but “The Adversary” was the first time that the show has treated Maeve like the main character, and she could be the key player in the inevitable android uprising. Surprisingly, Dolores didn’t even appear in this episode, but Maeve’s plotline easily filled the void with numerous standout moments. It was particularly effective during Maeve’s backstage tour of Westworld, where she had the unfortunate experience of seeing her dreams used as a part of the park’s highlight reel.
Watching Maeve bend Felix and Sylvester to her will was also a treat. Essentially, they helped Maeve turn into a better Frankenstein’s Monster with a massive increase in her intelligence and perception. It’s likely that the alterations to Maeve’s paranoia by an unknown programmer is linked to the Arnold effect spreading through the park. We’ve assumed that Maeve was acting beyond the scope of her programming, but even these acts of rebellion could have been planted by Arnold. When faced with the reality that even her dialogue wasn’t her own, Maeve briefly went catatonic. It should be interesting to see how the rest of the androids react when they have their own moments of realization.
Newton carried this episode, and the subtitle horror on her face was sublime as she went through the upper levels. Maeve may be the only host who could potentially survive outside of the park…assuming that there is something directly outside of the park. For all we know, Westworld could simply be one part of a much larger theme park, just like the original movie.
The episode also offered up a significant change for Teddy, when he mowed down the Union soldiers who had captured him. Our theory is that it’s not just the new backstory that changed Teddy, it was the code phrase that Robert Ford gave him in the last episode. It’s also intriguing that the Man in Black isn’t quite so invincible on the outer edges of the park. That may also be by Ford’s design or possibly Arnold’s plans. The in-park mythology behind the maze was finally delivered this week via Teddy, which wasn’t the smoothest way to give us an exposition drop. But it was effective, so it’s hard to argue with it.
Even Ford seems to be losing his god-like control of the park. As theorized in many places, the young boy/host that Ford keeps talking to is essentially a younger version of himself. It was a gift from Arnold, who left another “gift.” The boy murdered his dog, and now we’ve finally seen Ford become unnerved by his own creations.
The corporate espionage plotline is beginning to become more interesting, but Bernard is still the only character worth caring about. Elsie’s descent into a horror movie cliché was the worst part of this episode. Seriously, if there’s a spy in the park, why not drag along Stubbs for backup? The show may be making a point about its human characters feeling invincible in the park. If so, it’s going to become a really bloody affair by the time the season is over.
If there was anything that didn’t work in this episode, it was the increasingly unbearable Lee Sizemore, whom Simon Quarterman played like a giant cartoon when he literally pissed on the Westworld map and acted like a drunk jackass. Adding Tessa Thompson to the cast as Charlotte Hale is a welcome touch, and it even made her scene with Lee retroactively better. But this plotline feels like a dead end compared to everything else that’s happening.
Ultimately, this felt like a step in the right direction, as Westworld appears to be heading for a memorable ending. The show has created a fascinating world, and now this world needs to break.
What did you think about this week’s episode? Let us know in the comment section below!