Another week, another Westworld. After a highly successful premiere, the sci-fi/thriller/western is back this week with “Chestnut”. As you may remember from my last recap, things were not going so well when we last left Westworld. The western theme park had a little bit of trouble with some of its robot hosts, specifically Dolores (portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood) and her father. Both of whom had a bit of an issue with their A.I., causing them to remember previous days and memories that they aren’t supposed to.
As you might expect, the situation only worsens in episode 2, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start off with the beginning of the episode. “Chestnut” begins by giving us a look at what the entrance to Westworld looks like. We see two eventual Westworld patrons on a train; Logan (Ben Barnes), who seems to have been to Westworld before, and his friend William (Jimmi Simpson), who has never been to the theme park.
Logan leaves with two robot hosts (most likely to get into some X-rated activities], and William leaves with another host to prepare for his first time at Westworld. The female host asks William a series of questions, such as if he’s had any previous physical or mental issues, and then takes him to a room where he can change into some more Western attire.
The design of the Westworld lobby is incredibly futuristic, nothing like the rest of the park. It also makes it pretty clear how wealthy you have to be to visit Westworld, with attendants arriving in classy business suits on a bullet train – there’s no way normal families could afford it. Of course, you have to wonder how the Man in Black, portrayed by Ed Harris, has been able to go to Westworld for so long. But more on that later.
After we see the lobby, we venture into Westworld, where we see Dolores, seemingly unaffected by her father’s odd breakdown during the last episode. That is, until she starts to remember a previous day’s memory and recites the words her father told her to a confused Maeve Millay. Millay herself starts to go a bit wonky as she begins to remember some memories of her own.
We head back to William and Logan, as the two hop aboard the steam train to Westworld. Looking out the window, William is mesmerized by the sight of the rocky mountains and open fields of the park. Logan tells him that he has no idea what he’s heading into, and that Westworld “seduces everyone eventually”.
Speaking of people getting entranced by Westworld, the next scene follows the mysterious Man in Black, who frees a man about to be hung by killing the cowboys around him. However, he’s not doing it out of the kindness of his heart. Upon freeing the man, Man in Black ties him up and takes him to his hometown. Upon getting there, Man in Black shoots up the town, taking out several gunmen, before turning his gun towards the tied up man and his family, asking him about the mysterious maze that he’s been looking for.
He eventually gets his answer from the man’s daughter, but not before killing his wife. That’s the thing about Westworld. You would think that the fact that everyone who has “died” in the show so far is a robot who can’t actually die would make thing easier, but seeing their deaths actually still evokes emotion.
Meanwhile, things are going bad elsewhere in Westworld. Logan is on a bit of a power trip, using his status as a guest who can do whatever he wants to…well, do whatever he wants. William is noticeably uncomfortable with this, but decides to ignore his co-worker’s erratic behavior.
Maeve Millay is only getting worse, as whatever virus that caused Dolores and her father to retain their past memories has spread to her. Not only does she vividly remember past programming (specifically a moment where she’s apparently saved and then attacked by the Man in Black), but she also wakes up during a routine cleaning in the Westworld lab.
Upon waking up, she freaks out and runs away, venturing deeper into the lab. She sees a lot of scarring stuff, including her friends and fellow robots being cleaned and packed away, before she’s sedated and shut off by the two workers who were cleaning here.
Elsewhere, Dolores hears a voice that tells her to dig in her backyard, where she finds a gun hidden in the dirt. Something tells me this gun isn’t like the others, the one’s that can’t be used to kill the visitors of Westworld.
All in all, “Chestnut” provides a lot more questions than answers, but in the good way. Why are the robots going so crazy all of a sudden? What is Dr. Ford’s plan for Westworld? What in the hell is the Man in Black up to?
Much like the actual park itself, we’re going to have to spend a lot of time with Westworld to get to the bottom of thing. I’m definitely ready to uncover more secrets within the western-themed park. If you feel the same, make sure to tune in next week for a new episode of Westworld and a new recap!