Westworld’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier” Gives Us Big Reveals with Zero Emotion

Huge Amount of Spoilers Ahead

Westworld Poster

The Well-Tempered Clavier Plot Summary:

Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) confronts Ford (Anthony Hopkins) about his programming and the identity of Arnold. William (Jimmi Simpson) and Delores (Rachel Evan Wood) are held captives by the Confederaos and Logan (Ben Barnes). Maeve (Thandie Newton) begins her plans for escape.

I have made no bones about my love for Westworld. It’s a smart, daring, visually dazzling, and overall compelling series.

However, I fear this for this series.

Two weeks ago, Westworld delivered a massive reveal — Bernard, the right hand man of Dr. Ford and one of the top scientists at the park, is actually a host created by Ford.

That was an unabashed jaw-dropping moment. It was also the perfect moment to end the first season on. Our minds are collectively blown — everything we know about this series has changed. Now, we gotta tune into Season 2 and find out how everything is going to go down.

But it didn’t happen that way because this happened in episode 7 of 10. And honestly, the series has yet to deliver an episode that stands on the same ground as that one. In fact, the series has partially lost its way, straying away from this excellent balance of character and mystery, and instead opting for more big “OMG” moments. However, without a solid narrative and character-driven base, these moments ring hollow, and the big moments are more like big let downs.

Let’s break them down…and again, please note spoilers are coming.

Photo Credit: HBO
Photo Credit: HBO

1. Who Is Arnold, and More Interestingly, Who Killed Him?

When we found out Bernard was a host, it was absolutely shocking (to most). However, when we find out Bernard is a replica of Arnold…can’t say the same shock washed over me. Maybe it was because we just had a massive reveal for this character already? Maybe because we needed more of a build up? No, I think the reason it wasn’t a hit-you-upside-the-head moment was because they delivered it in a Matrix sequel-esque manner — there was way too many things happening and too many people speaking obtusely for you to really get what they were building to. The whole scene in the hospital with Bernard and his “son” was a little off, and the whole “open your eyes thing” was a bit rushed.

Maybe these complaints aren’t the most fleshed out, but I feel like the revelation of who Arnold was should’ve been such a bigger, and more dramatic moment. This moment lacked the punch it needed because it was too overloaded with scientific jargon, and lines cut from the first draft of Inception.

The bar is continuously being raised, and if the series does not ground some of the mystery in further character development then it’s just being done for hollow shock value — and don’t we have The Walking Dead for that?

2. Maeve Can Control Everything

So she can assert her will over humans, and now she can control the hosts — including Bernard. Okay, we’re getting into the realm of the super silly with Maeve. Why can’t anyone just dial this crazy woman down while she’s not looking? Why not come up with some way to derail her and get her placed in storage? Wouldn’t it be more compelling if one of the techs tried to do this, and she surprised them and killed them? Wouldn’t that make her more than dangerous than her just saying, “You’re not going to do that!”

3. Delores Killed Arnold

The reveal that Delores killed the original Arnold was, again, was told in a way too arsty, disorienting, and Matrix sequel-esque manner. The whole scene with Delores’ clothes changing, and then talking to maybe Bernard, maybe Arnold was just not working for me. Again, revealing that the character we think is our heroine, is actually a massive moment that seems to be rushed and crowbarred in so the episode has another “reveal” or wrinkle to the mystery.

Remember the whole thing about hollow shock value I talked about? This was the perfect example. No suspense, no build-up, no emotion — just a big reveal. There was no shock. No sense of terror or awe — it was just a moment. Again, if this had the reveal at the end of the season it would’ve been huge, but instead it’s tacked onto an episode where we revealed the huge mystery behind the identity of Arnold.

A moment wasted indeed.

But there is a glimmer of hope…

There’s a rampant fan theory that this story is being told in two separate timelines. The William-Delores storyline is from 30 years ago, and the Bernard reveal/Maeve escape is taking place now.

The theory really got kicked into high gear last night when Logan pulled out a photo of William’s fiancee — the same photo that Delores’ father found in the ground on their farm and drove him insane.

The theory is further complicated by the idea that William may indeed be Ed Harris’ Man in Black. The shoe does seem to fit. William is part of a company that wants to buy the park, and Harris’ company does own the park. The knife William uses to kill all the Confederados is the same the Man in Black uses. Now you could say anyone could use that knife, which is highly plausible. Also, Westworld has really unleashed William’s evil side, much like The Man in Black said it did.

I really hope this happens. It would be a reveal that has been built up over the series, and would really mess with everyone’s brains.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites