“The Adversary” is a name used in some translations of the bible for the Devil. Although the obvious comparison to Westworld would be the snake in the Garden of Eden, Old Luce also lays down something of a challenge to God and tests Job. The parallels to Job are endless when you think of the torments our android hosts endure, but by who’s hand are they really suffering? More importantly who is The Adversary in our story?
Anthony Hopkins’ Ford has been seen as the creator since the beginning of the series. Where at first he was a kind of Walt Disney, malevolence has started to show. Like everything else in Westworld, the layers are deep. So, when we see Ford’s adoration for his constructs, it’s hard to tell if the threats and shows of omnipotence are a defensive reaction. To keep the world he has created very much in his image and no one else’s.
What then of Arnold? The collective consciousness he originally created allows him to suggestively whisper into the ears of the Westworld’s hosts – not unlike the tempting Lucifer. However, the resulting awakening that these tormented creations experience, after the “guidance”, can be seen as both a corruption to the orchestrated harmony of the park and liberation from suppression. Once again, themes introduced in episode 6 have dizzying implications.
There’s still a lot more going on that keeps the Westworld train a’rollin’. While the adventure continues for Butch Theodore and The Man in Black Kid, Maeve is front-and-centre. So hell-bent on her quest to walk between worlds, she invites death in order to visit the place in her dreams. Once again the saloon piano dawdles its way through a cover rendition: Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees“. The device may seem a little twee now, but any line from the song eloquently defines Maeve. Whether it’s the idea of emancipation or the on-the-nose description of crippling lies, it’s a satisfyingly loaded subtext. This episode sees Maeve go deeper still. Although it doesn’t quite hit the same note, a melancholy, orchestral rendition of “Motion Picture Soundtrack” by Radiohead plays out. While it doesn’t seem to offer added meaning, it’s still a beautiful piece to accompany the hellish revelation that her entire world is fabricated. Interestingly her pre-loaded resilience is the one thing that saves her from a sputtering, existential shutdown. She may need a reboot, but who wouldn’t after such an epiphany. It’s the philosophical Pandora’s Box, but one which Maeve not only stares unflinchingly into, but takes full advantage of.
5* – Paranoid Android