According to Apple Dictionary, a clavier is “a keyboard instrument, especially one with strings, such as the harpsichord.” In Episode 9 of Westworld, titled “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” the universe surrounding Westworld is far from tuned. In fact, everything seems to be going to hell; Bernard is rebelling, Maeve is recruiting more rebels, Dolores is losing her sanity, William is in love with a machine and even more hosts are discovering their true nature. But perhaps this is what Ford wants? Westworld is his clavier, after all—and we know there’s a method to his madness. Episode 9 proved a major fan theory, but it also created more questions than answers. With one episode left, Westworld has a lot of loose ends to tie up next week. Will we receive all the closure we’re hoping for? Probably not—Season 2 has been confirmed, after all. Here, what we learned—and are still questioning—from this week’s episode.
1) Ford created Bernard in Arnold’s likeness.
Oof. Another devastating fan theory confirmed. Bernard uses a decommissioned Clementine to hold Ford at gunpoint and convinces him to return all his memories, from his very first (witnessing his son die—an artificial scene created by Ford) to killing Elsie and Theresa. Bernard knows the hosts’ most sophisticated code was created by Arnold, which means he must have met Arnold at some point in his “life.” But no, Ford created Bernard in Arnold’s likeness as “the ideal partner, the way any tool partners with the hand that wields it.” Ford notes there was a “long absence” between Arnold’s death and Bernard’s creation.
2) Bernard’s dead son backstory was created as an “homage” to Arnold.
Bernard struggles to understand his dead son storyline. Why is he so fixated on it? Says Ford: “We gave all of the hosts a backstory. Arnold came to believe the tragic ones worked best, that it made the hosts more convincing. I think it may have had more to do with his own sad story.” Whether Arthur actually had a dead son remains a mystery.
3) Dolores thinks she killed Arnold.
All those private chats between Bernard and Dolores we saw earlier in the season? They were probably Arnold talking to Dolores. In this episode, we see Dolores talking to a newly-created Bernard, who tells her that she is responsible for Arnold’s death. But did Dolores really kill Arnold, or does Ford just want her to think that?
Side note: In this scene, Dolores reveals that Arnold told her to follow the maze. What does he want her to find? And is the maze only for hosts (see #5)? How did The Man in Black find out about it in the first place?
3) William is committed to Dolores.
When Logan realizes William is in love with Dolores, he makes a brutal attempt to bring William back to reality by stabbing Dolores in the stomach and exposing her insides, which are made of working machinery. Here is proof that William’s timeline takes place in the past, when the hosts were made of machinery, and even more evidence for the theory that William is The Man in Black (remember his “You used to be beautiful” comment about the old host’s insides in Episode 5?). Dolores slashes Logan’s face, grabs his gun and starts shooting the hosts in Logan’s party before running away. William, who is tied down, promises to find her.
William pretends to believe Logan long enough to get untied. Next time we see Logan, he’s waking up and coughing—it looks like someone (i.e. William) knocked him out. His entire group has been butchered—there are bloodied limbs everywhere. “You said this place was a game,” William tells Logan. “Last night I finally understood how to play it.” He forces Logan to help him find Dolores.
4) Maeve recruits Hector Escaton.
After being captured in last week’s episode, Maeve is returned to the lab, where Bernard discovers major changes were made to her code. He attempts to decommission her, but Maeve tells him he’s a host—and forces him to send her back to the park. “It’s a difficult thing, realizing your entire life is some hideous fiction,” she says to a horrified Bernard, who is re-learning the truth about his host status all over again. She warns him: “If you go looking for the truth, get the whole thing. It’s like a good fuck: half is worse than none at all.”
Maeve returns to the park and seeks out Hector Escaton. She shows him the inside of the safe he stole over and over again—it contains nothing. “It was always empty, like everything else in this world,” she tells him. “I died with my eyes open, saw the masters who pull our strings. Our lives, our memories, our deaths are games to them.” She convinces Hector to go to hell (i.e. back to the lab) with her, presumably to carry out her grand plan of escape. Maeve and Hector have sex in his tent, and he asks how they’ll get to hell. She knocks over the oil lamp and sets the tent aflame, responding, “Getting to hell is easy. The rest is where it gets hard.”
A few questions: why did Maeve choose Hector? We know he’s helped her in the past (with removing the bullet from her abdomen) but given their history of romantic trysts, perhaps she loves him? Or maybe he has a specific skill that will aid in their escape? Hm.
5) Other hosts in the park are learning about their true nature.
The blonde host (real name: Angela) remembers everything, too. She tells Teddy he’ll find Wyatt where he left him: Escalante. Teddy remembers Wyatt killing everyone in the town, but his memory is wrong. Teddy killed everyone. And he’s horrified. “No, I couldn’t have,” he tells Angela. “You did,” she says. “And you will again. And this time we’ll be fighting with you. When Wyatt returns, you’ll be by his side and the city swallowed by sand.” TMIB recognizes this place. Angela continues: “You’re not ready,” she tells Teddy. “Maybe in the next life.” She stabs Teddy in the heart, then turns to TMIB, who tells her, “City swallowed by sand. I’ve been there. The maze is taking me full circle.” She tells him, “The maze isn’t meant for you” and smashes his head against a rock, knocking him out.
Angela proves there are other hosts—besides Dolores and Maeve—learning what they really are. Did Arnold create Wyatt and the maze to set the hosts free? Is Arnold directing his hosts from the grave?
6) Charlotte makes a move to get rid of Ford.
After TMIB wakes up and escapes Angela’s trap, he’s approached in the park by Charlotte Hale, who wants his permission to unseat Ford (TMIB sits on Westworld’s board and Charlotte wants to the vote to be “unanimous”). “Most of the guests just want a warm body to shoot or to fuck,” Charlotte tells TMIB, condemning Ford’s “convoluted” backstories. She reminds TMIB that he “kept Ford in business all those years ago.” (More proof that William is TMIB!) “The narratives I’m interested in aren’t Ford’s,” TMIB tells Charlotte. “You want to push him out, be my guest. But no more interruptions.”
7) Elsie makes contact from the dead.
Well, not quite. But someone is using her signal within the park. Ashley goes out to investigate it, and is met with three hostile Native American hosts. They don’t respond to his commands and attack him. Is he another Westworld casualty?
8) Ford forces Bernard to shoot himself.
In the episode’s final scene, Bernard orders Clementine to shoot Ford, but he has a “backdoor” control for every host, and she puts down the gun. “I was hoping that given complete self-knowledge and free will, you would’ve chosen to be my partner once again,” he tells Bernard. “But even I fell into that most terrible of human traps—trying to change what is already past. Now it’s just time to let go.” Ford orders Bernard to take Clementine’s gun and shoot himself in the head. “I’ve told you Bernard, never place your trust in us. We’re only human. Inevitably, we will disappoint you.” Will Ford decommission Bernard for good—or completely rebuild him? He needs his killing machine, after all.