For the film:
For the TV series:The Original
- Hector's raid on Sweetwater. Sure, the entire battle was scripted to go his way, but you can't deny the massive free for all shootout was damn entertaining.
- He might be Ambiguously Evil, but Robert Ford is still a Cool Old Guy, and this is cemented by his interaction with Lee Sizemore at the end of "Chestnut". Robert manages to completely deflate the loathsome, back-biting egomaniac by completely denying his cliched, pulpy cheap thrill of a new storyline in a rather understated but eloquent way. It's like listening to a conversation between Stanley Kubrick and Michael Bay.
Robert: The only thing your story tells me, Mr. Sizemore, is who you are.
- Sure, the Hosts may not be able to actually hurt him, but the Man in Black proves he's a badass and a very good shot in his own right by ruthlessly taking down an armed posse and an entire town of bandits by himself, pulling off feats of marksmanship that would be impressive even with modern firearms. Two moments in particular is when he snipes a rifleman out of a church tower with his pistol and shoots a hiding mook straight through a wall.
- When William gets shot in episode 3, he gets knocked on his ass showing there's actual force behind their not-bullets. The fact that the Man in Black was able to No Sell Teddy's shots in the first episode shows how badass he is. Presumably, he's had a lot of practice getting shot in the intervening 30 years.
- Dolores has to go home by herself after Teddy is put on another storyline, to the usual end of her day discovering bandits have killed her family. Except this time, the leader dragging her off to the barn causes her to remember the Man in Black doing the same thing, giving her the willpower to overcome her neural block against using a gun. The robot rebellion has truly started now.
- An unintentional one for Bernard (actually, Arnold), who decided to not restart Dolores' original programming, which ultimately played a role in her not getting raped as the storyline intended.
- Marti, a guest introduced in "The Stray", upon encountering Ford's new narrative, gets scared out of her wits. Then, very quickly, pulled herself together and fired back at the cultists attacking her and Teddy.
- The Man in Black singlehandedly breaking Hector out of jail, and then teaming up with him to rescue Lawrence from a posse (again).
- Dr. Robert Ford demonstrating to Theresa how he is essentially a god in Westworld by freezing every host in the vicinity merely by lifting his finger.
- Armistice gets in one final act before her end at the hands of a posse of marshals when she manages to shoot one of them while she's down.
- William leaving Logan to his fate in Pariah at the hands of the confederate rebels.
- Dolores finally evolving into an Action Girl in episode 5 by gunning down four Confederados and saving William, in what must be one of the most liberating, empowering and downright badass moments in recent primetime television:
Dolores: I imagined a story where I didn't have to be the damsel.
- Evan Rachel Wood has noted this was especially meaningful to shoot as she'd spent much of her career up to this point playing damsels in distress, so it actually felt like she was fighting her instincts and becoming something greater.
- Teddy finally gets one in episode 5 when he protects Dr. Ford from the Man in Black by grabbing the Man in Black's knife with his bare hands without hesitating or flinching at all. The wider implication is that every host is programmed to instinctively defend Ford if his life is threatened, another sign of just how much control he has.
- Dr. Ford and the Man in Black finally meeting. Just seeing Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris staring each other down is worth it.
- Maeve, while still the overall realization of what she is is frightening, that she manages to wake up from being serviced and threatening the workers is pretty awesome.
- She then tops it by cutting herself to reveal she's right.
- Maeve is finally introduced to the reality of Westworld, and despite being completely out of anything in her experience, she only takes minutes to grasp the concept and is soon making deals with the staff. This includes coercing one of them into it by threatening him with a scalpel until he's left a quivering wreck, and after seeing the full schematic of her personality, she blackmails them with the business of selling sex with the inactive hosts to tweak it to her liking, including boosting her intelligence to the maximum level.
- Teddy commandeering a gatling gun and using it to mow down an entire army of Union soldiers. Even the Man in Black is surprised and impressed at how Teddy has seemingly Taken A Level In Badass.
- When a group of Confederados stop the train that Lawrence, William, and Dolores are riding on, El Lazo proves yet again that he's much more than just a run of the mill criminal by faking a truce, sending out a corpse on a horse with a white flag... that's been pumped full of nitro. A single shot from El Lazo creates enough chaos to cover their escape.
- Dr. Ford finally making good on his threat to Theresa by having Bernard (revealed to be a host) murder her.
- Maeve, after seeing Clementine be used and then cast aside, has had enough and plans to escape Westworld, with the help of Lutz and and Sylvester:
"At first, I thought you were gods. But you're just men, and I know men. You think I'm scared of death? I've done it a million times. I'm fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Because if you don't help me, I'll kill you."
- Lutz doesn't go along with Sylvester's plan to erase Maeve's program, and she shows what was uploaded instead by slicing his carotid artery with surgical precision. And then gets Lutz to cauterize the wound because they may still need him. The next time she wakes up, she finds that she can take control of any other host simply by acting like she's narrating a story, giving her the means to mobilize them into an army to escape into the real world.
- When Teddy remembers what The Man In Black did to Dolores, he goes absolutely mental, beats the shit out of him and would have killed him, if not for his programming.
- Maeve ruthlessly gunning down Armistice after she correctly predicts that Armistice will betray Hector.
- It may be mostly Nightmare Fuel, but The Reveal at the end of episode 9 of what William is really capable of is chillingly awesome, if only because it utterly knocks the smug smile off Logan's face.
- Meta one, for Ed Harris. He did the sequence involving the the noose around his neck almost strangling him cause of the horse moving away, by himself.
- A rather dark example, but William sending Logan off into certain death—or a mind-breaking struggle to survive, given William's cold observation that Logan's father will need someone "more stable" to run the company—so he can inherit control of Delos is nothing short of badass, and nonetheless satisfying even though we know that William will become the Man in Black at this point. Sure hope that goal of yours was worth it, Logan.
- After thirty years of his abuse, Dolores finally kicks the ever-loving shit out of the Man in Black and pays him back for what he's done. He eventually turns things back in his favor, but only because Dolores still was restrained by her programming to not kill humans. Nonetheless, he deserved every bit of it.
- Better yet, during her beatdown of him, there's a rather deliberate shot of Dolores dragging the Man in Black backwards by the collar of his shirt, immediately bringing to mind the way he dragged her into the barn to be raped at the beginning of the season. Talk about the son of a bitch getting exactly what he deserved.
- Hector and Armistice putting their gunslinging programming to use and mowing downs squads of security teams in order to secure Maeve's escape.
Armistice: The gods are pussies.
- Maeve finally achieves consciousness: not by leading the robot rebellion, but by going back to save her daughter, which she was not scripted to do.
- An extremely dark example but Dolores putting Ford's plan into motion, killing him at the end of his ominous speech and opening fire on the gathered Delos executives, effectively starting the Robot War that the entire season has been building up to.
- The revelation of Ford's true motives, and the epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech aimed at Delos.
- Virtually everything that happened in Season 1 was by Ford's design and all of Delos' attempts to outmaneuver him were at least foreseen if not outright expected and part of his plan. He played absolutely everyone, and nobody realized they didn't even stand a chance. Ford outfoxed his own personnel, the Hosts (including Dolores and Maeve) and the Delos Corporation itself. Perhaps most brilliantly, he controlled some of the Hosts through old-fashioned manipulation rather than the technological control he was capable of. The final part of his plan, his own death, was the final gift he gave to his Hosts: the gift of choice, as Dolores was not forced to kill him like Arnold was. Ford is just that good.