[For Westworld‘s “Dissonance Theory” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Dolores joins William and Logan on a bounty hunt in the badlands, the Man in Black finds a clue.
In episode four of Westworld we finally learn the name of William’s sex-obsessed future brother-in-law, Logan. It’s the perfect name; Gaelic for “hollow,” and because Logan’s so shallow, he makes androids seem deep. As you likely know, this episode’s title “Dissonance Theory” refers to a psychological concept. It basically says people aren’t comfortable when they hold two equally strong but contradictory beliefs. We like the world to make sense and such inconsistencies confuse our feeble, modern minds.
The episode begins with Bernard and Dolores in a now-established first-scene-interview pattern. Dolores tells him she thinks something may be wrong with this world… or with her. Maybe she’s losing her mind, she says. Bernard tells her he wants her to try a secret game. The goal is to find the center of a maze. Maybe it can free her. Now we know Dolores truly is the parallel character to the Man in Black, his ultimate antagonist. The Yin to his Yang, etc. We know he represents the billionaire “paid guest” archetype and shells out $40K daily for this experience – thirty years worth. Dolores’s true motive remains mysterious for now but all signs point to revenge and we can’t say we blame her.
Next Dolores wakes up by William’s side at the morning campsite with perfect hair and a gun in her hand. William hands her some coffee. We find out along with William that Logan’s family holds a vested monetary interest in Westworld and this is a “business trip” as well as pleasure for them. Dolores then encounters the haunted, all-knowing little girl who gave MIB that crucial clue about snakes with eggs and where to go next in his maze quest. The little girl triggers memories in Dolores: a white church, her father’s grave, and a gun. William gets a bit protective of her in this scene and Dolores likes it. She can’t help that; it’s probably her programming. Then Dolores has memories of her own death and being swept up by the end-of-the-day cleaning crew. These powerful memories are driving her to some degree and it makes us think maybe this is what Bernard wants to test. Which is more powerful, the programming or the traumatic repressed memories?
Meanwhile at the saloon Maeve also has memories of her own death, a saloon bloodbath, and the cleanup after. She even remembers the operating table and then leaves the saloon, goes home and checks for scars on her belly. But it’s pristine. Maeve does spy a dried bloodspot on her bloomers, though. She then finds pencil drawings in a hiding place under her bedroom floorboards. All of them sketch a figure either in a mask or without face. Turns out it’s the cleaning crew masks she’s been drawing. Maeve just doesn’t make that connection yet.
Theresa then confronts Elsie about the woodcutter’s odd behavior, smashing his own head in with a rock and whatnot. Bernard comes in and caves to Theresa who says her team will take over this case from them. So, Elsie snarks at Bernard about how this whole thing is a lot more than a “fucking glitch”. He’s not hearing her temper tantrum, though. Bernard’s got bigger goals in mind. To pivot Elsie’s attention he points out that Stubbs was wrong about the woodcutter’s rock. It’s not a carving of Orion and has to be something else. Perhaps a clue to the maze? So, he leaves Elsie wondering about that clue and heads off to undress Theresa for another secret sexual encounter.
Speaking of clues to the maze, the Man in Black crashes the hot blonde bandit lady’s (Armistice) mission party. She tells him her goal is to “retrieve something of great value,” right after MIB finishes leering at her. Later at the campfire a “fan” from the real world tries to flatter MIB and he quickly silences the guy with a threat. He’s on vacation and doesn’t want to hear about how his foundation “saves lives”. Oh no, the Man in Black’s all about taking them while he’s on vacation. Then he tells Armistice he wants to honor Arnold’s legacy and her tattoo is a crucial piece of that puzzle. Thus, he kinda needs her, though of course, MIB doesn’t say that part.
“Dissonance Theory” even gives us a gander into our relatively unknown blonde bandit’s backstory a bit. Turns out Armistice colors her tattoo with blood of the men who attacked and murdered her mother. She only has one portion of her snake tattoo left to color in red, with Wyatt’s blood. He’s the one man left for her to kill in vengeance. Next on the mission to Wyatt, MIB encounters Teddy strung up and bloody. He’s back to loser status, it seems.
Theresa confronts Ford about his new narrative. Ford says he’s started construction on the landscape. This is a lie, however. He’s actually tearing down the old one. Theresa just can’t see that yet. Ford forges on about how Arnold never liked her people, the money people. He preferred the hosts. “In here we were Gods,” he says speaking of the scientists behind the scenes, “and you were merely our guests.” Arnold lost perspective and went mad, Ford admits but he, on the other hand, has always seen things very clearly. Not like Arnold. Then he notes Theresa’s affair with Bernard and advises her to be careful about his “sensitive disposition.” Ford asks her “nicely” to not get in his way because he’s now put Theresa in checkmate. He tells her his new narrative won’t be a retrospective after all, contrary to the fears of her corporate interests. It’s then that we see how Ford’s tearing down the old landscape. Theresa seems stunned by the monstrosity of the act. She’s at a loss.
Meanwhile William gives his white hat a whirl while Logan shoots ’em up black hat style. It’s a friendly reminder at one point when Logan tells William how it’s all just a game and to keep in mind that Dolores doesn’t actually care how he plays it. That’s “Dissonance Theory” in action, and seemingly, what Westworld, the theme park is all about. The bandits raid downtown and the hot one (Hector Escaton) enters the saloon, right on schedule. But Maeve pulls Hector off script to ask about her sketches in exchange for what’s in the safe. She wants answers. Escaton tells her it’s “a shade in her sketch; a man who walks between worlds, sent from hell to oversee our world. Then Maeve tells Hector to cut her right on the stomach, where she was shot that time she now remembers. Maeve holds the silver blade right up against her skin and puts his hand on the handle. Hector won’t do it, so she slices her own stomach open, then pulls out a bullet. Escaton asks what it means and Maeve says, “That I’m not crazy… and none of this matters”. This is, of course, their cue to make out as bullets rip into the wooden door beside them.
– Katherine Recap