We are finally starting to get some answers! Episode 9, “Vanishing Point” spends a lot of time with William filling in some blanks. However, we are given answers in true Westworld fashion; deliberately leaving us with more questions. It was a good episode that touched on a few interesting things, but it was also wasn’t entirely clear (another staple of Westworld). William is probably one of the most confusing characters in the show (Bernard might be close though). There are nothing but questions surrounding him and it seems as if every time we get one answer, we get two more questions. This episode was a good example of that.
The episode opens with him and his wife at a party, we later find out that this is the night that she killed herself. We then cut to him and Emily in the park. She is trying to patch him up. Most of the episode is spent here and the continuous back and forth between the two is nothing short of incredible. They discuss why Juliet killed herself. Emily blames herself because of the way she handled her mother’s alcoholism, she also seems to be trying to salvage a relationship with her dad, which seems odd. William seems suspicious of her pretty much the entire time but really loses it when Emily wants in on his “project”. He thinks she is a host (as do I) and the evidence is pretty high in his favor. There was the conversation by the fire several episodes ago when a memory was misremembered (she made him think he was wrong). There is also the fact that she was able to find him in the park and that she wanted to relive the night Juliet died (which does seem a bit random). Lastly, he said that the real “Emily” wouldn’t ever want in that “project”. Emily thinks he has a psychotic break, which the evidence is also strong for her. He looks crazy at this point, he continuously shouts at Ford and he thinks his daughter is a host. This situation is both the beauty and the frustration with this show; both storylines could be true. The pacing, while deliberate, lends to speculation. You watch the episode trying to figure out if one or both of them are a host and what is going to happen next. Both Ed Harris and Katja Herbers give incredible performances, which adds to the speculation. Their scenes are riveting and are full of tension.
The flashbacks to the party had me a bit torn. While Sela Ward is absolutely killing it, I just wasn’t overly invested in these scenes. They are providing answers to some questions but I felt like it deterred from what I was really interested in finding out. I want to know if William or Emily is a host, I’m not all that interested in why Juliet killed herself. They were good scenes but I felt myself wanting to get through them and back to William and Emily. When we do get back, their conversation had built to the moment we knew was coming; one of them was going to act on their suspicion. William was the one to act, convinced that all of this was apart of Ford’s game he attacks the Delos agents that showed up to help them and eventually shoots Emily. While this should have provided a concrete answer as to who is a host and who isn’t, it doesn’t really. I am confident that Emily is a host and apart of Ford’s game. We see the Delos agent’s reader when it scans William and it tells us that William is ‘clear’ but we don’t see the results when they scan Emily. I think that Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan want us to think that William is a host, which is why I think he isn’t. When he goes to cut open Emily’s arm, we don’t see what he sees. There is also the fact that Ford does have a game for William, an incredibly manipulative one that is meant to break him. No better way than to use his daughter. The final scene with William, he seems to have broken and starts to cut his own arm open and we don’t see the results. I read this scene as him being broken by everything Emily said to him and I think this is exactly where Ford wants him.
The episode featured William and Emily but there was some other things thrown into the mix. There was some Bernard and Elsie stuff, Delores and Teddy stuff and more revelations about what Delos was doing in the park. Most of this felt shoehorned into the episode, most especially everything involving Delores. I have been a strong supporter of the Delores storyline all season. I love what Evan Rachel Wood has done as a performer and I personally find the revolution storyline is more interesting. In this case, I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel organic to the episode and the most important part happening at the end after what felt like a great ending had already taken place. Delores and Teddy have a “come to Jesus” conversation, where Teddy basically says he remembers everything and can’t ride with what Delores is doing anymore and shoots himself. This seems to break Delores, which could lead to interesting things in the future. I may have said this already but this was the scene that secures an Emmy nomination for Evan Rachel Wood. Her performance throughout this scene is breathtaking and the only reason why it works at all is because of her performance. The other plot lines come off as an afterthought in this episode. The Bernard plot line is incredibly confusing; I honestly don’t know what is going on or where it is going. As for Delos, this also feels like an afterthought because it is treating it as such. This is a huge revelation and it is dropped into a conversation rather casually. They were scanning guest’s brains through their hats, that’s crazy and the implications of this are huge. We now have all the pieces we need to understand how they were going about doing what they were doing, which is important because we rarely get all the pieces to anything in Westworld.
Overall this episode was great in all the ways that Westworld is great; incredible performances. This show is acted so well and that’s what really carries it. There is so much going on at this point and so many questions left unanswered that it could be frustrating but the performances are so good, making the show still so enjoyable.
Questions from Episode 9 “Vanishing Point”
- My biggest question at this point is who is a host? Am I wrong, is it William? Or was it Emily? Odds are that it is William but I’m still going with Emily. Either way is Ford’s game still on? Is this a part of it? What happens next?
- Without Teddy, what happens to Delores? She clearly broke at the end of the episode but what does that mean for her? Does she become more ruthless? Or does this flip her the other way now? This was a surprising move but one that will have a huge impact on Delores’ storyline.
- Everything involving Bernard is a question at this point. What does Elise do now? What impact does she have on everything?
- I know Maeve gets off that table but how? And now that Clementine seemingly has the same powers (code?) as Maeve, what happens next? Do they team up? Are they foes?
- Lastly, can anyone tell me what Tessa Thompson is doing on this show? She is an incredible actress and she just doesn’t have anything to do, it’s very frustrating.