Episode 3 The Stray of Westworld moves forward from the two part pilot and starts to really form the plot lines of the series. We get to see a huge development with Delores. We also learn more about Bernard’s and Ford’s backstories.
The episode opens up with Delores and Bernard together as he has another questioning session with her. He once again asks “And you haven’t told anyone of our conversations” which leads me to believe that he thinks Delores is capable of over riding is command for her not to. It’s subtle but this show is full of subtleties.
Delores’ response “You told me not to” is also pretty vague. Although Bernard does accept it. They then continue their conversation with Delores reading a passage of Alice in Wonderland that Bernard gives her. She shows her self awareness by making connections with texts he gives her using the theme of change.
Her story then progresses to her apparently agonising over her possession of a gun. We also see her having more flashbacks. It’s surprising how quickly her story is developing. At first I thought her gaining more consciousness would be a large part of the main plot line. The developments this episode leads me to believe we’ll be seeing more of the impact on other robots. This would make her almost like a red herring to the viewers.
She does eventually use the gun, although against another robot. The question as to whether the gun can harm guests has still be unanswered. The voice she hears that commands her to pull the trigger is a new plot point. So far no humans have been killed.
The episode is named after the stray robot that wanders into the dessert. Ashley Stubbs the security guard and Elsie Hughes of the programming division go after him. Elsie is one of the most observant members on the team and makes most of the connections between malfunctioning hosts.
The duo find carvings made by the stray in his tent. They show sketches of the Orion star constellation. This is an interesting point, as the robots are not programmed to care about the stars. Observing the stars is one of the oldest sciences in human history. Humans have given many meanings to stars, attributing them to Gods, as well as using them for navigation.
As yet the show hasn’t shown us what the night sky looks like in Westworld. We don’t know if it’s programmed to show the star system exactly as it would be over America, or anywhere else. We don’t even know if it uses the same constellations as the outside world. Could you navigate yourself from the night sky in Westworld?
Finally when they catch up with the stray he is caught in a ditch. Ashley climbs down and starts to saw off the robot’s head to bring back to the lab. The robot wakes up, the second one to do so, and does not respond to the computer controls by Elsie. We see the robot climb out and grab a giant boulder.
Rather than kill Elsie who is on the ground, it proceeds to smash it’s own head in.
Who is Arnold?
We get a really interesting look into the making of the robots. Ford had a partner called Arnold who was interested in creating consciousness for the robots. Two malfunctioning robots are discovered to be talking to an invisible person named Arnold.
Ford explains to Bernard when pressed on the matter that Arnold wanted to teach the robots consciousness by way of a pyramid. The base is memory. The second layer is improvisation. Third is self interest and finally there’s the bicameral mind. The bicameral mind refers to the robots hearing a voice, which at first they might attribute to hearing God, before connecting the voice as their own.
In this way, we see that Delores has already reached all points of the pyramid. The robots have their memory wiped, but some have still retained them. Delores improves and acts with self interest when she takes the gun, before finally hearing a voice that tells her “Kill him” which triggers her to shoot.
The voice the robots hear could be hidden coding implemented by Arnold before he was removed from working. It’s unclear how many of the robots have heard this voice.
Where are the other characters?
William and Logan’s plot doesn’t progress much in this episode. William shoots and kills his first robot, and decides he wants to try hunting another bandit. We don’t see them again until the end of the episode when a distressed Delores runs towards their outdoor camp.
The Man in Black isn’t mentioned in this episode either. Neither is any mention of the maze. Ford’s new narrative is also only talked about briefly. We do see some new bad guys in this episode however. Near the end of the episode Teddy takes two guests and a few robots on a new narrative involving “Wyatt” and his own backstory. The group is ambushed by cloaked baddies who surround them and kill Teddy whilst the guests run away. They seem impervious to Teddy’s bullets.