Tonight’s Westworld, “Reunion,” is definitely that. It brings old acquaintances together, back and forth across time and in and out of the park. The episode follows Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) as they begin their individual quests for the same goal, using her memories to show us how he infected the world Ford and Arnold created, and how she’s planning to use that knowledge to destroy the outside world.
We begin with another one-on-one session between Bernard/Arnold (Jeffrey Wright), whom I shall henceforth refer to as “Bernarnold,” and Dolores. The twist is that this time they aren’t in his little conversation bunker. They’re in a hotel room in the “real” world.
It’s the evening of a demonstration for a potential investor, and Dolores has been brought outside the park to show off what Westworld could be. Bernarnold doesn’t think she’s ready yet, so he tells Ford to send in a different girl. Instead, he takes Dolores on a little walk through the city they’re in, ending at the house he’s building himself.
He comments to her that this city, and therefore this house, is near enough the park that it should quiet his wife’s complaining that he lives in the park. He shows her the bedroom his son Charlie will have, and Dolores is overcome with the beauty of the house and the city.
More than once, she comments that the city looks as though someone cast all the stars down on the ground and wonders if Bernarnold has ever seen anything with such splendor. To her, the comments are innocent expressions of awe, but the second time she says them, Bernarnold’s face tells us that she’s glitching in a way that disappoints him.
Happily, we aren’t limited to Dolores’s memories of the past, as we get to go to the demonstration she’s been held back from. In the hotel, two people approach Logan DELOS (Ben Barnes) (did we always know that was his last name?) to bring him to his appointment to see what they’re working on.
They move into a crowded ballroom space, with Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) playing piano and a handful of other recognizable hosts mixed into the crowd. Everyone is dressed like modern party-goers, and at first Logan is angry that they’ve invited other people to his private demonstration. His hosts assure him that this is a private demonstration and challenge him to figure out who in the room isn’t human.
He zeroes in on one of the two who brought him, Angela (Talulah Riley). She laughs at his guess, and with the slightest gesture she freezes the entire room. Logan is the only human there, and he moves quickly from mind-blown astonishment to bringing a bunch of them back to his room for an orgy.
Dolores reappears in the aftermath, taking in the scene.
In the years between these early moments and the one in which the hosts are rebelling, Dolores shows us how things transitioned from horny Logan discovering the investment opportunity of the century, to once-meek William (Jimmi Simpson) usurping his role as heir to the Delos throne after his first visit to the park.
It apparently began with William luring his father-in-law, James Delos (Peter Mullan), to Westworld to show him what Logan had invested in. The senior Delos is initially unimpressed, but William explains that the guests come to the park to surrender their inhibitions. Although the guests believe they’re there without being watched or judged, Delos can collect data on them and mine it for business purposes. This speech is delivered in front of a paused Dolores, who absorbs everything.
Some time later, Dolores is one of many hosts used as entertainment and serving staff at a “retirement party” that William is throwing for his father-in-law outside of the park. By this time, William has a young daughter. James Delos seems in ill health and makes a comment to William suggesting that he’s expecting some kind of technological intervention to bring him back to wellness. He also insinuates that the party is less about his retirement and more about William’s succession.
Dolores leaves her post as pianist to admire the view of the city from the terraced back yard, and she finds Logan alone in the dark, shooting up and drinking away his sorrows. He has been deposed by William, and he bitterly sees that the machinations of William and James can ultimately lead to the destruction of the human species.
At another point in time, which I believe is after the party, William brings Dolores out of her offline state in the reconditioning area of Westworld. He tells her that she isn’t even a thing– she’s a reflection of him. He’s grown more cynical, and he can’t believe he ever thought he was in love with her. He takes her into the park to show her something he’s secretly building. It’s difficult to tell what it is, but it’s in a valley and some very big cranes are working on it.
These memories, as well as everything else she’s ever experienced, are available to Dolores now as she builds her army and moves towards her goal.
She begins by taking Teddy (James Marsden) to see the truth of what they are and how they’re reconditioned after every grizzly death. They take the humans working in the reconditioning area hostage, forcing one to give them the details of what’s likely happening in response to their revolt and taking another one with them into the park to help them show their new recruits the truth.
They begin with the Confederadoes. Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) is not thrilled that they’ve been led to him by one of his men whom he believed to be dead– a host Dolores had brought back online by her hostage. She tells the Major that he and his men will need to follow her if they’d like to see glory. He dismisses her, so she makes her point by having Teddy and her other associates gun down all of the Confederadoes where they sit.
Then she has her hostage bring the Major back online. She tells him that she’s killed God, and that he’d better look to her from now on instead.
With the Major’s men reawakened and following behind, Dolores and Teddy head to the fort where the rest of the Confederado ranks are gathered, ready to recruit more troops to their army. Teddy comments on the different ways she’s referring to what he believes to be the promised land, “the valley beyond” or “glory,” and she confides in him that they’re actually on their way to a weapon an old friend made the mistake of showing her, and it is what they’ll use to destroy the other world.
Meanwhile, the Man in Black has tracked down his old helper Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), and he plans to recruit an army of his own to get out of the park. Lawrence directs him to the outlaw town of Pariah, where a new host has assumed the El Lazlo identity that used to belong to “Lawrence.”
The Man in Black wants El Lazlo and his men to join him, promising them treasure beyond their imagination, and the truth. After some back and forth, El Lazlo reveals that William is in the game Ford designed just for him, and that he must go it alone. At that, each of El Lazlo’s men raises their weapons to their own heads and pull the triggers. El Lazlo grabs the gun William is holding and finishes himself off.
The Man in Black and Lawrence set out alone, Westworld’s Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, looking for something William built in the park a long time ago. Something he now considers his biggest mistake. (Something identical to what Dolores is looking for.)
Maeve (Thandie Newton) may not have gotten a lot of screen time in this episode, but the moment she had was significant. She and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), with Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) in tow, cross paths with Dolores and Teddy at a burning covered wagon. Dolores and Maeve recognize each other as fully awake beings, and Dolores tells Maeve that she will have to fight to keep her new freedom. Maeve asks Dolores if she believes that her way of fighting is the only way, then tells her that if she’s championing liberty, she’ll need to let Maeve and her companions pass freely. Dolores stands aside, and Maeve moves along.