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Our Biggest Questions After Westworld, Episode 6

Jeffrey Wright as Bernard. Photo: HBO

Mystified by Westworld? You’re not alone. We don’t have many answers yet, but HBO’s sci-fi brain teaser will surely offer a few from week to week. So we’re following up each episode of Westworld with a list of the myriad questions we’re pondering.

In “The Adversary,” Elsie’s curiosity may have gotten the best of her, Maeve’s quest for consciousness moves her one step closer to full control, and the Man in Black sits back to watch Teddy show him the ways of the gun, among other surprising developments. Whether this brings anyone closer to the center of the maze — or us viewers to the precipice of decrypting the show’s many mysteries — is anyone’s guess. But if you want to make a Westworld prediction of your own, give it a shot in the comments.

Who snatched Elsie?
We’ll forgive Westworld for indulging a bit of horror-movie suspense in the buildup to Elsie being accosted. The show will surely atone with a provocative reveal, and our precocious behavioral analyst is all but certain to live another day. (If not, that’d be truly provocative.) Is it too soon to rule out newly introduced Delos board director Charlotte Hale? Is it possible that whoever stalked Elsie is someone we have yet to meet? Arnold, whoever he (or it) is, probably isn’t quite as fleet as the stealthy saboteur smuggling data out of the park. As long as it’s not that necro-perv, Dustin.

Why does Teddy know so much about the maze?
“Ya think ya know someone,” indeed. It’s safe to say we all shared the Man in Black’s awe as Teddy regaled him with details of the myth surrounding Westworld’s maze — that it is both a real, impenetrable boundary put in place by a true immortal and a philosophical symbol representing the “sum of a man’s life” — and again when he summoned his killer instinct to slaughter dozens of soldiers after they outed his traitorous past. It also mirrors what we saw in last week’s episode, when William stood flabbergasted by Dolores’s show of force. If we still think William and Man in Black are one in the same, does that mean Teddy and Dolores share some historic host DNA? Is theirs more of a Leia-and-Luke relationship than Luke and Laura?

Why hasn’t Lee been fired?
Seriously, whose 3-D relief map do you have to piss on around here to get the boot? Although given what we now know about Theresa, it’s probably useful for her to keep a mimbo like Lee under her sway. He’s just as much a domesticated accomplice as the Man in Black figures hosts like Lawrence and Teddy to be.

Are we supposed to hate Theresa?
Jury’s still out on that one. It’s possible that she split up with Bernard to protect him from whatever data-smuggling business she’s caught up in. Surely, there’ll be more to come between her and Charlotte that offers clarity on all this corporate espionage. Sidse Babett Knudsen is too sharp to be a mere villain.

This is all taking place in the distant future, right?
The basement technology used by Bernard seems a lot like the sleek, sync-able, highly adept desktops that populate many a corporate office in 2016. Regardless of speculation over Lost-like timeline breaks, it seems reasonable to assume that this story is occurring a generation or so ahead of present day. Consider it a warning.

Hey, Yul, is that you?
As a little Easter egg to fans of the Westworld movie, we catch a glimpse of Yul Brynner’s stoic Gunslinger propped up in cold storage among Westworld’s first-generation office wares. The glimpse of Ford’s primitive robots is another treat for devotees of Michael Crichton’s source film, though one wonders whether these are more than just fleeting references. Have generations only just begun to collide?

Maybe Dr. Ford isn’t such a bad guy after all?
Between Dolores’s whispered debrief with “Arnold” in last week’s episode and Ford’s confrontation with his younger robo-self, it’s clear the good doctor doesn’t know everything that’s happening in his park. He’s certainly not involved with the data smuggling. The likeliest truth is that Ford’s obsessed with finishing his greatest narrative before shuffling off, which explains why he’s willing to be so recklessly disruptive. And after meeting the “ghosts” of his family — particularly a nasty, alcoholic dad — it’s fair to say that he’s fueled in equal measure by megalomania and melancholy. Without knowing his intentions, it’s awfully difficult to judge his actions.

What kind of data is being smuggled out of Westworld?
It’s an even more pressing question than who’s helping Theresa orchestrate the leaks. Or why Lee is still employed after taking one on the virtual relief map. Perhaps it’s helpful to imagine Westworld as the inevitable result of a social-media industry built on mining users for valuable data. Delos may well be recording the guests’ experience and conducting market research with the results, all subsidized by the handsome fees paid by wealthy, unwitting guinea pigs. If that’s the case, Westworld is robbing Peter to sell to Paul — another warning about how our passivity only ensures that we’ll never really be in control.

What’s this “Final Burial of Salvation” narrative all about?
Charlotte Hale’s favorite narrative sounds terribly cynical, even for Westworld. How will it figure into the larger story? Is Lee the one who holds the key to the center of the maze? Doubtful. But it seems important, and very little in this series is purely artificial. If it gets mentioned, we’re sure to see it eventually.

How does Thandie do it?
She’s discussed it with good humor, but honestly, how does Thandie Newton sit there, starkly nude, staying in character for such stretches? Granted, Maeve is a hard-ass madam who manipulates Felix and Sylvester with ease — she’s the cat and they’re the birds with broken wings, if you will — but Newton’s commitment and consummate performance has not gone unappreciated. She’s a surefire standout, week after week.

This show really likes Radiohead, huh?
We already knew that composer Ramin Djawadi’s had more interpretations of Radiohead classics in the pipeline after the recent use of “No Surprises.” Well, fans of the iconic Brits got bang for their buck tonight. First, an on-the-nose touch of “Fake Plastic Trees” opens the episode, and later, a moving orchestral ode to “Motion Picture Soundtrack” aptly tells the story of Maeve’s experience watching her and other hosts’ existence being manufactured, prepackaged, and edited into seductive images for an amusement-park trailer. It’s not hard to see why Radiohead agreed to sign off on the usage.

Our Biggest Westworld Questions After Episode 6