Westworld: “The Stray”

This week’s episode answered a million questions and asked a million more as we are sent diving head first deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.


Arnold. Arnold is the key to this whole story; I’m almost sure of it. In a conversation with Bernard, Dr Ford talks about Arnold who he created Westworld with. Arnold became completely obsessed with Westworld and of unlocking the consciousness of the Hosts and when asked where Arnold is currently, Ford quickly responds that he died in the park. It is unclear as to whether Arnold was created by Ford but it is most certainly an interesting theory to pursue. If Arnold was a Host, created by Ford, then his fascination with the conscious mind is the first clue that the Hosts are beginning to develop free thought and we’ve already learned that that is dangerous.

Ford tells Bernard the story of Arnold because he fears that Bernard is using the Hosts to deal with the death of his 5-year old son. The innocence of Dolores and the inability to access conscious thought makes her the ideal conversationalist for the grieving man. He gives her a book that he once gave to his son and he makes her read aloud a passage about change. He tries to teach her things, much like a father would to his son. He has grown attached to her.


Meanwhile, Teddy is given a new narrative and a new focus.  Ford  is responsible for  the narrative. He fed Teddy the story of Wyatt, this changing his loop with Dolores. Now, Wyatt is the focus and he is a villain that must be stopped.  That sends him off on an alternative tangent, leaving Dolores’ story open to being massively changed without Teddy being there to help her when she discovers her home being ransacked by bandits. This resulted in her arriving back at her ranch and having to face the bandits alone. She is shot in the stomach and dragged into the barn. She steals the gun from her captor and pulls the trigger, shooting him twice in the neck. As we saw previously in this episode, she was completely unable to pull the trigger on a gun when she and Teddy were goofing around together earlier in the day. Perhaps something in her subconscious told her not to, but this has changed now (because of the more-than-a glitch problem) as she was now able to shoot another Host in the neck. She climbs on her horse and rides off where she discovers some guests camping out. She joins them and passes out in their arms. Teddy meanwhile is ambushed by a mob of masked bandits who take every kind of weapon to him in an unrelenting attack.


This episode has been largely focused around the the subject of memory. Every time Westworld is reset for the next train load of visitors, the Hosts memories are wiped so they can start out their day in the same was as they always do, without any knowledge of what happened to them the day before. Ford and Bernard have emphasized in this episodes that the Hosts are not conscious. They are living out their own narratives that have been carefully constructed to allow for improvisation and emotion but without deferring from their own loop. However, some of the Hosts are starting to remember things that have happened before. Dolores in particular, the oldest host in the park, is able to tap into random memories that are being triggered by the repetitive nature of her existence in Westworld. Or is it more complicated than that? Is Dolores beginning to become conscious? She killed a fly, her story has changed and Bernard has been feeding her the idea of change. When she is out of Westworld and with Bernard he asks her a question about being two different people and how he wants to return her to how she was before, she responds saying that she is not two people, but she is one person and she is yet to discover who that one person is. When he questions her response, she says she doesn’t know where it came from. She created an answer from original thought and she didn’t know how to reference it because she probably has no idea where the idea came from in the first place.

The thought processes of the Hosts is something that has felt like a ticking time bomb since the beginning. When the creators take the Hosts out of narrative mode and into analysis, they are doing it via voice control. When in analysis mode, the programming information can be accessed but when it is done by voice control, how secure can it be? Bernard can ask a question but if the Hosts are beginning to become conscious, how reliable are their responses going to be?


With Dolores potentially going to sleep in a different location and waking up in the arms of another man, who knows how she will continue to change. Bernard is encouraging her to change and is almost just wanting to see what will happen without realizing that the lives of the guests are very much in danger if Hosts are becoming conscious. The stray Host, who is seen wandering aimless through the desert is tracked by Elsie and Stubbs who find him stuck in a ravine. While trying to rescue him, he lashes out and hits Stubbs. When he climbs to the surface he grabs a large rock as if he is about to murder Elsie with it and instead ends up killing himself. We know that the Hosts are unable to kill Guests, but who’s to say they don’t want to kill them? Perhaps fighting this urge leads them to self-destruct?

This weeks episode was extremely interesting and is solidifying the show as a thought provoking and challenging dramatic piece that raises some questions about humanity’s relationship with technology and the desire to conquer and control artificial intelligence. A notion that is terrifying to most is moving closer to becoming a reality.

Excited for next weeks episode? Check out the trailer below to whet your appetite and feel free to give comment too!

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