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Recap / Westworld S 01 E 01 The Original

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Teddy and Dolores, two romantically linked android hosts of theme park Westworld, are attacked by the Man in Black, a mysterious park guest. When the hosts begin behaving strangely, head programmer Bernard Lowe traces the problem to errors in park founder Dr. Ford's reverie code and requests the affected hosts be removed from service. Theresa Cullen, the park administrator, orders an attack on the town to be brought forward to help cover for the removal of all the affected hosts. Dolores' father Peter finds a photograph that a newcomer left behind and malfunctions. When Dr. Ford interrogates him, Peter quotes Shakespeare and vows revenge upon his creator. Peter is retired from service. Dolores is interrogated and found to be functioning normally. She is wiped and relives her day with a new father, but unknown to management breaks her programming to casually kill a fly.


Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Abandoned Area: The deactivated hosts are stored in the lower levels, now dark and dripping water, but from the look of the multi-level atrium with elevators and globe statue it was clearly once a public area.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: A female guest comments on how handsome Teddy is, but her companion disagrees and states her preference for the bad boys. Later they're shown checking out Hector Escaton with approval.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When Ford is trying to get to the bottom of Peter Abernathy's glitch, is Peter just reciting buried fragments of previous 'builds' or showing glimmers of self-awareness? He starts to glitch when saying "I wouldn't have it any other way", and talking of how he has to warn Dolores of "The things you do to her!" Then he does a creepy Mood Whiplash to another build (a lunatic cult leader) who looks Ford in the eye and says he wants to meet his Maker.
    Ford: Well, you're in luck. And what do you want to say to your Maker?
    Peter Abernathy: A most mechanical and dirty hand... (Evil Laugh) I shall have such revenges on you... (looks at Bernard) ...both. The things I will do, what they are, yet I know not. But they will be the terrors of the Earth. (grabs Ford, causing guards to rush in) You don't know any more, do you? You're in a prison of your own sins!
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Peter is unable to resist when he's ordered into cold storage after his confrontation with Dr. Ford when he "glitches."
    • The Man in Black says he's been coming to Westworld for thirty years, subjecting Dolores and other Hosts to his sadistic attentions the entire time, with their memories wiped to begin the process all over again.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Or in this case, in milk.
  • Body Horror: The theme being Wild West, scalping is not uncommon.
  • Bookends: The episode opens with a fly crawling over Dolores' eye, signifying her inhuman nature. The episode ends with her swatting a fly off her neck, showing how she's evolving beyond her parameters.
  • Cannibal Clan: One of Peter's previous incarnations was as the leader of a cannibalistic religious cult.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The pilot establishes that hosts cannot harm living creatures, and as such, they aren't bothered by flies — a fly might be walking on a host's eyeball and the host will not react. When a host reacts to a fly, it is a symptom of a malfunction. At the end of the pilot, Dolores swats a fly that landed on her neck.
    • "You don't have kids at home, do you, Bernard?" There's a noticeable pause before Bernard answers in the negative.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Theresa asks Lee how he can be in charge of the hosts' dialogue when he's so shit at small talk himself.
  • Deceptively Human Robots: Bill, an early model host that Ford is using for The Confidant. Its movements are noisy and jerky and it repeats phrases,. Ford comments that "even a simple handshake would give them away." The latter may be a Mythology Gag to the original film, where the hands were the only way of telling a robot from a real person as they couldn't get them quite right.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Hector expresses this opinion to Maeve almost verbatim during the big shootout.
    Hector: I know we both believe the same thing... No matter how dirty the business, you do it well.
  • Glamour Failure: There's only one thing that gives away the hosts' artificial nature: they cannot cause any serious physical harm or kill living things. When it's said they that they "couldn't hurt a fly", it's shown to be literal, with a fly landing on a host's face and crawling across their eyeball. One of the first signs that Dolores is growing beyond her programming is that she swats at—and kills—a fly on her neck.
  • Gun Twirling: The guest who shoots Hector does an inept version after doing so.
  • I Love the Dead: One of the bandits who killed Dolores's parents complains that they killed the mother before they could have a turn. The other tells him to have fun while she's still warm enough.
  • Insult Backfire: When Maeve calls Hector Escaton a "low-down son of a bitch," he replies "I know."
  • Invisible Holes: Walter drinks a bottle of milk that spurts out his stomach, revealing that he's still marauding and defying a fundamental piece of programming: killed hosts should stay dead.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence:
    • Hector is shot through the neck mid-speech by a guest. Lee is annoyed by this, as he worked hard on that speech only to have it wasted.
    • Dolores' father is Defiant to the End, but the same happens to him.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: And not just the guests; one of the female programmers waits till her boss has left, then kisses a deactivated female Host.
  • Little Useless Gun: Averted; a derringer is effective enough when a hooker shoots you at point-blank range.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: In-universe, Lee Sizemore brags about the epic speech he wrote for Hector at the climax of his saloon robbery scene. Then, when the big moment arrives a random guest walks up and shoots Hector before he can finish it.
  • Off the Rails: Minor improvisations are allowed as they add veracity, but Walter glitching and killing six hosts when he wasn't supposed to causes every modified Host to be withdrawn and examined for faults.
  • Pygmalion Plot: Bernard says that it's the little gestures that make the guests fall in love with the hosts. After he leaves, Elsie strokes Clementine's hair before kissing her.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: The "terrors of the Earth" line is from King Lear.
  • Slashed Throat: The Man in Black cuts Kissy's throat to collect his blood, but doesn't let him die.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance / Anachronism Stew: An instrumental version of Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones plays during the excessively bloody saloon robbery.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Bernard boasts that there hasn't been a critical failure in thirty years. Theresa doesn't let this go unnoticed.
    "Then we're overdue."
    • After Kissy is caught skimming by the bartender, he threatens to cut his throat. Seconds later the Man in Black cuts his.
  • Theseus' Ship Paradox: Dolores is actually the oldest Host in Westworld, her parts replaced so many times she's practically new.
  • Tomato Surprise: The first fifteen minutes follows Teddy who arrives on the train while Dolores's narration describes the "newcomers", turns down a story line about hunting a bank robber and then a prostitute's advances, before picking up Dolores. They go back to her home to discover bandits have killed her father, and he gets revenge. Then the Man in Black turns up and Teddy can't harm him; he's a robot himself and this was all just part of someone else's story. It's effective at building our sympathy for the hosts, as the audience has all the sympathy they feel for Teddy as a human automatically transferred to the robots.
  • Trigger Phrase: "A deep and dreamless slumber" is used to deactivate Bill and Dolores.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Maeve and Hector don't even look at the safe crashing down next to them from the gallery above.
  • Wham Shot: After stressed by Bernard throughout the pilot that the hosts do not and cannot kill any organic beings - re-enforced further visually with shots of both Dolores and Teddy having flies crawl across their eyeball — after Dolores is re-deployed following the recall, she swats and kills a fly that lands on her neck. Roll credits.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Both as a theme and In-Universe; Sizemore says it might be better to make the Hosts less human, because guests can indulge their fantasies without feeling guilty about it.
  • White Sheet of Death: Hector's "Wanted!" Poster and the punched paper reel on the pianola.
  • You Got Spunk: The Man in Black enjoys it more when Dolores resists him, and so rejects her Please, I Will Do Anything! plea.
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: An early model Host does this to himself.


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