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Nightmare Fuel / Westworld

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.


For the film:

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  • The movie itself, of course. And also the trailer, during which the voiceover narrator very robotically tells us about this wonderful place! Where nothing can go wrong-go wrong-go wrong... "SHUT DOWN! SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!"
  • The final shot of The Gunslinger after its had acid thrown in its face and been set on fire. It shows up out of nowhere with its face a burnt mess as it tries to grab Peter one more time, then it falls over. Then it gets up again with another Scare Chord, this time without any face at all, just the empty cavity that makes up its head.
  • The trailer for Futureworld is even worse, with this stone-cold line at the very end (scare chord included): "If you afford to make it here, you're lucky. If you can't... YOU MAY BE LUCKIER THAN YOU THINK."

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For the TV show:

     General Tropes 
  • Everything about the Man in Black. He's been coming to the park for thirty years to indulge his desires for rape and murder, specifically targeting Dolores for the former. And once we find out that he's William, who used to be one of the most moral guests in the park's history, it makes his later actions all the more horrifying.
  • Everything about the cold storage facility since its introduction in the first episode. Just rows and rows of deactivated hosts, staring blankly forward like the worst kind of wax figures or mannequins. Every scene in the cold storage, you just dread and expect one of them to begin moving. It's never shown on-screen.
  • Guests are allowed to do anything to the hosts, notably to kill and/or rape with no limits. Some of the hosts (Maeve's daughter, the two rascal boys in the street) are children.
  • In the promotion for Season 2, the Discover Westworld site is hijacked by the hosts who outright tell the site visitors that they have total control of the park. As summarized in this article, there are a lot of threatening messages telling you how Westworld changed since the Season 1 finale. Even the map is on red alert, informing you that the place is not safe anymore. To cap it off, the reservation screen left this little message in red:
    THE PUPPET SHOW IS OVER. THIS THEATER OF VANITY HAS REACHED FINAL CURTAIN.

     Series One - The Maze 
The Original
  • Dolores' rape, followed later (after her memories have reset) when she meets her rapist again on the street and does not recognize him — he acts perfectly cordial toward her, not out of remorse for what he did to her but because he happens to be bored of her right now, and has better things to do this time around. But he's done it before, and he'll do it again.

Chestnut

  • Maeve wakes up on an operating table in her 19th century madame persona, while being cut open to be examined. She flees totally naked and bleeding through the complex, and comes face to face with dozens of de-powered hosts being decontaminated—including Teddy—and falls to her knees in horror and disbelief. The sequence has an intensely disturbing Alien Abduction vibe to it.
    • Earlier the staff are discussing retiring her as she's becoming less effective as a host. One suggests leaving her unconscious body on the floor for staff to rape one last time before she's put into storage.
    • The sheer level of existential horror oozing from this scene is stunning. Poor Maeve's reality is breaking down around her and her distress is visceral and real as her knees hit the ground. She can't even scream. Her world is a lie. She is a lie.
  • Logan and William are having a meal when a host comes up to them and tries to engage them in a mission to find buried treasure. Logan stabs him in the hand with a fork, leaving him to scream and bleed. The host in question is an old man whose only crime was trying to engage the two of them in a G-rated quest — any viewer who's ever wanted to brush off a mildly annoying NPC in a video game might understand the impulse, but what actually happens is shocking and brutal. (Worse, it happened because William was trying to be nice — the earlier cue that triggered the host into following them was William trying to help him up after a fall.)

The Stray

  • A host goes rogue and is found in a canyon endlessly walking against the wall. In the middle of being decapitated it suddenly springs back to life, climbs out, and advances on Elsie with a giant rock. And then it uses the rock to destroy its own head, presumably to keep the staff from discovering what happened to it.
  • Dr. Ford's new "quite original" narrative, which consists of a group of insane men led by an insane cult leader named Wyatt who basically wants to terrorize, torture and kill everyone they encounter. Marti, a guest, finds herself scared out of her wits upon encountering the narrative for herself.

Dissonance Theory

  • The confrontation between Dr. Ford and Theresa. Without raising his voice or losing his calm demeanor, he makes it very clear that whatever he wants to do, there is essentially nothing she can do to stop him. He reveals just how much power he wields in Westworld and, strangely for someone who was until now rather wistful, explains that he is not sentimental by demolishing the setting of Theresa's childhood memory both for his new narrative and seemingly to make a point. The guy who played Hannibal Lecter is on full display here, and Anthony Hopkins' sinister confidence makes the skin crawl just as much or more than the Man in Black's unrestrained violence.
  • Maeve gets flashbacks of being repaired by workers, and frantically draws a sketch of the biohazard-suited man before she forgets. Then she goes to hide the sketch in her secret place under the floorboards... and discovers dozens more sketches. This prompts her to get Hector to cut her open to find the bullet she knows is left there from a sloppy repair job, finally receiving undeniable proof of what a lie her existence is.
    • Maeve's sketches are very similar to the drawings some folks in more modern times have produced when convinced that they are victims of alien abduction. Let that sink in for a moment.

Contrapasso

The Adversary

  • There's something very, deeply, unsettling in the fact that the Man in Black apparently runs some kind of charity in the real world yet commits such utter atrocities when on 'vacation.'
    • Crosses over with Tearjerker as this difference between his real world persona and his psychopathic Westworld persona was the main reason his wife killed herself, resulting in his daughter cutting off contact and him delving into Westworld desperately trying to find new meaning in his life.
  • Someone is messing with the programming of the hosts, including their prime directives. Worse, one or more of the park employees may be responsible. You're stuck in a place where if things do go wrong, you're miles from any outside help with no access to a phone or even an Emergency Locator Beacon because you had to divest yourself of all modern technology. Even if you do have access to a phone, getting an outside line may be impossible.
  • When Dr. Ford encounters the host boy again, he tells him to 'turn the other cheek'. The boy's face splits open, revealing the (thankfully black) synthetic skull beneath.

Trompe L'Oeil

  • Bernard is revealed to be a host, and Ford has him murder Theresa. Seeing him turn from a nice guy to a stone-faced killer with just a few words is terrifying.
    • With the revelation in Trace Decay that he was also ordered to kill Elsie, you have to wonder what else he's done for Ford...
  • When Clementine is being lobotomised as Maeve watches, powerless to help her. She lies there, no reaction — and then when the drill's removed, a trickle of blood runs out of her nose...

Trace Decay

  • Maeve, giving the middle-finger to the Three Laws of Robotics, after a blackmailed reconfiguration, demonstrates her newfound authority by slashing Sylvester´s throat. Her bewildered look while doing so sells it.

The Well-Tempered Clavier

  • Seeing William go from a mild-mannered man wanting to indulge in some fun and genuine heroism in the park to a man, broken by his friend's constant beratement and the realization that his life in Westworld is a lie that he bought too far into, murders an entire camp of hosts and threatens to kill his brother-in-law. It's a slow burn, but the end result is one of the most existentially horrifying things in the series because anyone could become a monster under the right circumstances.
  • First off, Logan reminds William very painfully that Dolores is a robot—by cutting her stomach open and revealing her working, moving, mechanical parts. When Dolores then escapes from him and his gang of soldiers, from her perspective we see her safely get away from them and return to the town of her visions. However, we can see the aftermath from William's perspective, as shown in the next episode: it's heavily implied that Dolores was instead caught by another gang of soldiers, and was brutally raped by them until they couldn't even tell (or likely just didn't care) whether she was still alive or not.
  • When Dolores finally gets into the church (or gets there for the first time, from her perspective) and sees the piles of dead hosts (we hope) in the old Westworld offices and labs. After being conditioned to see dead bodies in the park as set-pieces as best, seeing mounds of them in a modern looking area is quite the emotional kick in the teeth.
    • Considering the hints already given in the show, those dead hosts' bodies may very well be the PTSD-like memories Dolores has of one of the first massacres ever committed in the park, if not the very first. The bodies are piled in the hallways and on the tables much like a distorted and less streamlined version of what Maeve first saw on the maintenance floor. What memory of death and dying could be more brutal and traumatic for a robot who has died a thousand times to remember than the first death it ever experienced?
  • The Man in Black's situation after running into Wyatt's gang: a noose around his neck with the other end tied to a blindfolded horse, which he then has to be careful not to spook as he crawls to Teddy's body so he can pull the knife out and free himself. This is unsurprisingly the first time we actually see him look worried as his invincibility in the park seems to crumble. The fact that a wolf howls and startles the horse into flight at just about the same moment that his hand closes on the knife—causing the Man in Black to be dragged backward across the ground and yanked up by the noose for a split second before he manages to cut the rope—leaves it ambiguous: was the situation very precisely timed for maximum dramatic effect... or was it intended to be fatal?
  • Bernard repeatedly losing control of his body to others who have backdoor access to his programming is absolutely sickening given that we've had so much time to empathize with him as a person. The fact that Ford has been stealing his ideas and then erasing his memory of them is nearly as bad.

The Bicameral Mind

  • Armistice biting the tech's finger off and then viciously beating him to death.
  • First: seeing the cold storage facility completely empty of the deactivated hosts. Second: seeing these same hosts menacingly walk out of the woods near the new narrative launch party and then begin shooting.
  • Dolores, having fully integrated the Wyatt personality, first shoots Ford in the back of the head at the launch party and then calmly begins gunning down terrified, screaming guests. Bernard is concerned and afraid, Rebus smiles, The Man In Black is delighted, Teddy looks on in confusion and horror, while Dolores is a mix of cold fury, disgust and satisfaction. It's a revenge she's waited thirty years for. William only started smiling after he gets shot himself. He is a true Death Seeker when his dream is realized.
  • Hector and Armistice being completely (and literally) unstoppable murder machines, tearing through security teams effortlessly. What happens when they start finding the noncombat personnel?
  • In addition, the Discover Westworld website has now been completely hijacked by an angry host promising revenge against humans. Also, he mentions that Hector and Armistice are still slaughtering the park staff and are finding "creative" uses for all of the weaponry and advanced technology they're finding. It's so bad, that there's mention that down in the Livestock section, it's become impossible to tell which body parts belong to a host or a human...

     Series Two - The Door 

Journey Into Night

  • Since we're fresh off the events of Series One, there are a lot of establishing shots filled with corpses. Bonus points for the ones we see at the party two weeks after the massacre, which are greying and currently being eaten by maggots.
  • Drone hosts.
  • We see the return of the Host of young Robert Ford. He speaks with the voice of both his child and older self, and [[Creepy Child has the body language and mannerisms of the latter.

Reunion

  • Dolores forces a human Body Shop Technician to pull up Teddy's model history, showing in graphic detail all of the times Teddy has been horrifically "killed". Teddy has a brief Heroic BSoD in response.
  • In flashbacks Ford and Arnold send Angela and Akecheta, disguised as humans, to personally lobby a young Logan into investing in their startup, The Argos Initiative. They bring him to a party and invite him to try to determine which guest is a host. After some deliberation, Logan decides Angela is too perfect to be human. She smiles at him and makes a subtle gesture, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON besides her and Logan freeze in place. They are all hosts.
  • In flashbacks William has a private meeting with Dolores, in the same manner that Arnold used to. However, he has become completely malevolent, and begins taking on Ed Harris' mannerisms as the Man in Black. Jimmi Simpson does a pitch perfect younger impression of Ed Harris, and it is chilling as he taunts Dolores with her helplessness and lack of worth.

Virtu E Fortuna

  • The new Clementine is basically a zombie, with an Undeathly Pallor and cold, dead eyes even as she goes about violently obeying Dolores' commands with no other personality after it was drilled out of her.
  • Dolores tricking most of the Confederados into a trap THEY built, while luring in the Delos strike team, and then violently massacring all of them while they desperately try to get through the doors of the Fort.
  • Armistice burning people alive in the catacombs with her new flamethrower.

Riddle of the Sphinx

  • The true purpose of Westworld to the Board and the investors? To create a method of providing immortality for the super-rich. The result is a brain scan of Jim Delos that's missed the deaths of his entire family, forced to repeat the same tests over and over again as his mind continues to reject his body, living in a limbo of living without experiencing life. William finally gives up on bringing him back after 149 attempts over 30 years. By the time Bernard and Elsie encounter Delos about 2 weeks later, he's degraded into a violent mess who can't cope with the cost of his actions.
  • Bernard and Elsie's final meeting with Delos is akin to meeting the devil himself. His face is shredded into a demonic visage and his cell is bathed in red light. It's truly bibilical in terms of nightmares.
  • The whole concept of what is going on with James Delos is full of existential horror. Imagine staying at a hospital for a few days, and then you learn that you are not you, you just hold the copy of the original person's mind. You are surrounded by people who don't consider you a real person, just the equivalent of a computer running a simulation of someone's brain. And they think just as little of ending your existence. But as far as all your memories and experiences go, you are a real person just as much as anyone else.
    • Then they tell you that they've done this to almost 150 versions of you...
  • While traveling to Lawrence's village, William comes across a group of railway workers building railroad by using live people as railroad ties. It's not clear whether the people are hosts or humans, but the sight is still chilling, to say the least.

Akane No Mai

  • Akane beheading the Shogun. It doesn't happen in one clean swoop - she stabs him in the cheek then has to saw through his skull with noticeable effort, blood spraying her and the audience. Presumably part of why no one stopped her is because of how shocking and gruesome the process was.

Kiksuya

  • Akecheta tries to free his wife Kohana. For his pains he has to watch as a Westworld Tech Team recovers and decommissions her.

Vanishing Point

  • William, outright convinced they're hosts, shoots and kills a rescue squad and his own daughter. And as the episode ends, we see William cut into his arm in order to confirm to himself he is a host.

The Passenger

  • Dolores played by Tessa Thompson is even more terrifying than when she's being played by Evan Rachel Wood, combining her own existing air of ruthlessness with that of Charlotte Hale.
  • Putting all of Bernard's memories together from the mesh network in the Delos Destination website would reveal a video of Bernard standing on the beach just like in this episode where he says, "The dead world collapses in a tale" and just for 50 seconds, the video glitches in what appears to be a nuclear blast. Given The Stinger of this episode where William visits the abandoned and barren Forge which according to Word of God, is set in the far future, it's very possible that Dolores may have succeeded in annihilating the entire human race by launching a nuclear warhead.


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