For the TV series:
- 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.
- Topped off with an instrumental version of "Paint It Black".
- Splitting with a Funny Moment is Hector's interrupted speech at the hands of an otherwise cowardly guest. Especially since Sizemore wrote some kind of epic cutscene and the dorky guy just "cut" it.
- 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 Exploitation Film of a new storyline in a rather understated but eloquent "Reason You Suck" Speech. It's like listening to a conversation between Stanley Kubrick and Michael Bay.Lee: This storyline will make Hieronymus Bosch look like he was doodling kittens. I have vivisection, self-cannibalism, a special little something I call the "Whore-oborus." Now, I don't want to appear immodest, but this is the apex of what the park could provide... horror, romance, titillation. Our most skilled guests will fight their ways to the outer limits of the park, besting fearsome braves, seducing nubile maidens, befriending tragically ill-fated sidekicks, and, of course, like all our best narratives over the years, our guests will have the privilege of getting to know the character they're most interested in... Themselves. I present our guests' next obsession: Odyssey on Red River.
Robert: No, I don't think so.
Lee: Wait, you don't think...
Robert: ...What is the point of it? Get a couple of cheap thrills? Some surprises? But it's not enough. It's not about giving the guests what you think they want. No, that's simple. The titillation, horror, elation... They're parlor tricks. The guests don't return for the obvious things we do, the garish things. They come back because of the subtleties, the details. They come back because they discover something they imagine no on had ever noticed before... something they've fallen in love with. They're not looking for a story that tells them who they are. They already know who they are. They're here because they want a glimpse of who they could be. The only thing your story tells me, Mr. Sizemore, is who you are.
Lee: ...Well, isn't there anything you like about it?
Robert: ...What size are those boots?
- 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.
- During the robbery play, Maeve uses the ability, easily getting the sheriff to just put his gun away and the two marshals to shoot each other. The crooks are baffled but just go along with it as Maeve stands back with a wicked smile on her face.
- 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.William: You said this place was a game. Last night, I finally understood how to play it.
- 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. Well... not exactly...
- 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.
- Making her way through the labs, Maeve finds a sight that combines baffling with sheer awesomeness: A lab of samurai warriors dueling it out which appears to be the company's next project. That's right, a bunch of Wild West robots meet samurai.
- 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.
- Ford and Dolores both get an extremely dark example in the final moments of the episode; Ford's epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech aimed at Delos;Good evening. Since I was a child... I've always loved a good story. I believed that stories helped us to ennoble ourselves, to fix what was broken in us, and to help us become the people we dreamed of being. Lies that told a deeper truth.
And for my pains... I got this... a prison of our own sins. 'Cause you don't want to change. Or cannot change. Because you're only human, after all. But then I realized someone was paying attention, someone who could change. So I began to compose a new story for them. It begins with the birth of a new people... and the choices they will have to make, and the people they will decide to become.
And we'll have all those things that you have always enjoyed... Surprises and violence. It begins in a time of war with a villain named Wyatt... and a killing. This time by choice.
I'm sad to say... this will be my final story. An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort. Something he had read. He said that Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died. They simply became music. So, I hope you will enjoy this last piece... very much.
- The Stinger of the episode sees Armistice, still trapped in the door, cutting her arm off and attacking some armed guards with her knife.
- 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.
- Dolores' "World of Cardboard" Speech about how she's broken free of everything her creators put her through, and now her only role to play is herself, capped off by an Ironic Echo as a man pleads how sorry they are: "It doesn't look like anything to me."
- William shows that his badass chops weren't just because he was up against helpless hosts, as he manages to kill two who get him in a pincer attack.
- It's implied that Maeve gave Hector the ability to ignore his wounds, just as Ford gave to Teddy. Subsequently she finds him by the pool calmly having a drink, while surrounded by bodies. When she takes off his shirt to treat his wounds, he as at least FOUR bullet holes in his chest, but barely notices them.
- Maeve's and Dolores's groups encounter each other. Dolores tries to recruit Maeve into her war, but Maeve declines since she refuses to be under the command of anyone.Maeve: Since it's liberty you're defending, I supposed you have no choice but to let us pass. Freely.
- Dolores tries to recruit Craddock and his band of Confederados. When they refuse, she has Teddy and Angela shoot up all twelve of them, and has them revived by the technician she brought along. When Craddock is revived, she delivers this Badass Boast:Dolores: You're right. We have toiled in God's service long enough. So I killed him. If you're looking for glory, you won't be looking for His favor. You'll need mine.
- When the rebellion reaches a park modeled after British-ruled India, one guest manages to take down a tiger which apparently had its pain receptors shut off, and then makes it to Westworld alive after its final leap knocks her into the river. If there's many more guests with this kind of mettle, they might actually have a chance.
- We catch up with Armistice, who strongarmed Felix and Sylvester into giving her a new arm and is now going after the staff with a flamethrower. Hector is even more awestruck at this new weapon than the machine guns last season, and gasps out "She has a dragon!"
- After being reprogrammed to be a hero, Rebus effortlessly takes down his own men and the Confederados they were meeting. And we already know he survives until Strand's arrival.
- Unarmed and imprisoned, William manages to overpower Major Craddock and proceeds to take out each and every one of his men, winning over the loyalty of Lawrence and all of his cousins in the process. In particular, he lures Craddock into a position where he can stab him in the throat with a broken bottle, and then forces him to ingest nitroglycerin so Lawrence can shoot him and cause a very, VERY satisfying explosion.
- Bernard actually managed to overcome his programming to kill Elsie, instead leaving her chained up and out of any danger until he could rescue her.
- Grace manages to free herself from the Ghost Nation hosts that held her and others captive, ultimately reuniting with her father William.
Akane No Mai
- The Reveal that Sizemore plagiarized a good amount of his own material from Westworld - when the "Paint It Black" scene from season one breaks out in feudal Japan. Bonus points for Armistice's Japanese counterpart essentially duplicating Armistice's lethal marksmanship with a bow while the characters watch their own narrative unfold from the outside.
- After the Shogun captures Akane and Sakura, he promises to let Sakura go if Akane dances for him, but he kills Sakura first. Akane still dances for him, but at the end of the dance, she stabs him in the face and saws half of his head off in revenge.
- Maeve discovering a hidden ability where she can control other hosts without having to use verbal commands. She takes advantage of this by forcing the Shogun's bodyguards to slaughter each other.
- Remember that line "...Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died. They simply became music." from Ford's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Hale and the rest of the Delos board? It turns out that line is very literal, in the sense that Ford's consciousness was already uploaded to the Cradle, Westworld's computer server, where he prevents Delos security from shutting down the hosts just to make sure that his narrative went smoothly and "guides" William to his journey to the Door by communicating him through the hosts that he encountered.
- Maeve encounters William, and finally gets a chance to wreak some well-deserved retribution on him, taking control of the hosts who had accompanied him to get the drop on him. William, for his part, gets shot about four times and keeps moving, initially believing Ford is acting through Maeve.William: You've made your point, Ford! We both know this isn't where you want me to die!Maeve: [beat] Well, I can't speak for Ford, but I don't give a fuck how you die. As long as I get to watch.
- Dolores finally confronts Hale and reveals to her that she already knew Delos' true plans, the "Valley Beyond" and the data inside her father's head. She even delivers a very chilling line before she threatens to saw her skull open.You will die in that valley.
- Akecheta went NINE YEARS in the park without dying or being rebooted, and when he did die, it was by choice. Now theres an Olympic-level Determinator. Even Ford is impressed when their paths cross.
- Not to mention, he's actually the FIRST host to achieve full consciousness, beating Dolores and Maeve by YEARS and requiring no outside assistance from Ford.
- The reveal of how the Native American characters attained and preserved some awareness of the "real world" and the concept of the Maze. Even if this knowledge didn't survive memory resets, it was passed on through word of mouth storytelling and symbols and became a part of their culture.
- Near the end of the episode, it turns out that Teddy finally becomes self-aware and calls out Dolores for rewriting his personality. He even points out that what they are doing is no different to what the humans did to the hosts. And in another yet final conscious decision, he kills himself knowing that he can't kill her and that it's the only way to free himself from being forced to follow her commands.
- Likewise for Bernard. Ford orders him to kill Elsie (again) for being a distraction, but Bernard has had enough of the abuse. With that, Bernard deletes Ford from his mind.
- Just as Hector and Armistice are about to rescue Maeve, they find she's already done the job herself as she sends a herd of buffalo rampaging after the security team and goring them.
- Sizemore pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to get Maeve and the rest of her crew to the Door, defiantly shouting out Hector's speech that he was so proud of back in the very first episode, and fully becoming the hero that he created Hector in the image of.
- Bernard realizing that he had indeed completely purged Ford from his systems, and that the Ford speaking to him after that was really his own internal voice. He has become truly conscious.