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- Are you real?
- If you can’t tell, does it matter?

William meets Angela

"Chestnut" is the second episode of the first season of Westworld, and the second episode overall.


A pair of new guests arrive at Westworld; engineers debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious.



Logan and William[]

We hear a male voice telling Dolores to wake up. Dolores steps outside her home in the middle of the night, dressed in a nightgown. She walks across the yard. We hear a male voice saying "Do you remember?" and the nighttime scene fades into two men sleeping on a modern train.

An attendant wakes them, saying that they're about to arrive at their destination. William sits up, and the attendant takes his glass. As she leaves, Logan says that where they're going, she's only a "two." William tells Logan he's being an asshole. Logan responds that he's only being himself, which is the whole point of the trip.

William is engaged to Logan’s sister, and he and Logan work at the same company. They arrive at the terminal where the guests are greeted by more attendants, male and female, all dressed in white. Logan tells William to have fun. "It's not like my sister didn't ride her share of cowboys when she was here," Logan says. Then Logan puts one arm around a male host, as if they are lovers, and he also holds a female host's hand as they walk away from William.

William arrives at the Westworld Mesa Hub to prepare for his visit to the park.

William is greeted by another female host, Angela. She leads him away from the train and asks him some questions because it is his first time in Westworld. She asks if he has any medical conditions, mental illness, panic attacks, or social anxiety. She tells William she needs this information in order to customize his visit to make sure they don't give him anything he can't handle. She tells him the center of the park is safe, the further out he goes the more intense the experience. She takes him to a private suite. The walls are lined with appropriate period Western style clothes, all tailored for his exact size. In the center of the room are display cases with various knives and pistols. He asks about the orientation. She tells him there are no formal guidebooks or instructions, and that "figuring out how it works is half the fun." She can tell he wants to ask her something. She encourages him.

"Are you real?" William asks her.

"If you can’t tell, does it matter?" she replies.

She directs him to the clothing options. He asks if there's a changing room. "I can help you or, if you prefer, I can step outside", she says. He asks what most people do. She tells him he doesn’t have to worry about what most people do. She starts to undress him. He says he understands. She asks if he really understands and seductively tells him that the hosts are there for him, "myself included." She suggests they can stay in the room and have sex. He declines. She then politely leaves him to change on his own. She tells him to take his time.

Elsie Hughes and Bernard Lowe[]

In Westworld's control building, the Mesa Hub, Elsie Hughes is working on a tablet. Her boss, Bernard Lowe, enters and asks her how she's doing with "the builds for the new narrative". It is clear Elsie is not working on that problem. She says she'll get around to it. Instead, she's working on the problems Peter Abernathy had after finding the modern photograph. She makes some interesting comments. She says they assumed Abernathy's breach was triggered by the photograph he found. But she has "reviewed every dissonant episode" she could find. "The reaction is immediate every time," she says. Still referring to Peter, she says, "This guy makes it all the way back home. It's like he's mulling it over." Her comments suggest she doesn't understand why Peter brooded on it all night.

Bernard asks her if she thinks Peter had an existential crisis. She responds that she thinks there's something wrong with his cognition, and thinks Bernard feels the same way she does. He asks her if she knows when the error originated. Elsie suggest that it was Robert Ford's addition to the update and that Bernard covered for him. She says she wants to rebuild Peter to figure out what caused the problem and make sure this is not something more serious. He tells her no; that isn't policy. Then she requests that he at least let her recall the hosts that had contact with him, like Dolores. Bernard seems irritated now. He asks why. "Because if this is not a dissonant episode," she says, "then whatever Abernathy had could be contagious." He looks at her, surprised and amused. He tells her that Dolores was examined and cleared. The look on Elsie's face suggests she's not persuaded.


Sweetwater is bustling and everything seems normal. Dolores Abernathy crosses the street just as she does every morning. Halfway across, she pauses and looks puzzled. She hears a male voice say, "Remember", and turns towards it. As she looks down the street she sees a very different scene than moments ago: corpses and wreckage are scattered throughout the street and a cart is burning. She hears the sound of screams, but faintly. She sees a wolf loping across the corpse-strewn street. She is standing alone.

"These violent delights have violent ends."

Maeve Millay clears her throat while standing behind Dolores, bringing her back to the present. She tells Dolores not to stand in front of the saloon because she doesn't want her potential customers to assume that Dolores represents the kind of prostitutes the saloon has to offer. Dolores stares at her and, not fully recovered from her bad memory, quietly says, "These violent delights have violent ends." Maeve looks momentarily perplexed. She scoffs. Dolores closes her eyes and breathes deep. She opens her eyes and smiles; then she turns and walks away.


William changes into his Westworld clothing and is met by the host, Angela, again. "Hello cowboy," she says. "There's one final touch." The camera pulls back and they are in a room with many different western style hats hanging on the walls. Some are black and some are white. She offers him a Black Hat or White Hat. He chooses a white one. Then, he walks down a corridor and through an old-fashioned wooden door to find himself on a replica of a 19th century train, with other people also dressed in 19th century clothing.

William orders a drink and looks around at the people in the bar car. Logan enters, from the same door that William came from, zipping up the fly on his pants. Logan is dressed in black, with a black hat. "So, how do we get into the park?" William asks. The train lurches forward and rumbles. The glasses on the bar shake. The train emerges from a tunnel. William and Logan gaze out a window, taking in the spectacular scenery of the Westworld landscape. Logan tells William he can't yet comprehend what he's about to experience. "This place seduces everybody eventually," Logan says. "By the end you're going to be begging me to stay because this place is the answer to that question you've been asking yourself... who you really are." Logan then adds that he can't wait to meet that guy.

The Man in Black[]

A man is surrounded by a five man posse and is about to be hanged for the murder of someone named Donald Pardue. The gibbet is improvised and the man is balancing on the handle of a small railway handcar. Sheriff Reed gives a short speech and asks that God have mercy on the man's soul. Then the Man in Black (MiB) rides up. The Sheriff appears surprised by the interruption. The MiB asks Lawrence if he's helping these men "straighten out their rope again." The MiB says he wants to talk to Lawrence. Sheriff Reed says they can talk after Lawrence's neck is broken. The MiB and Sheriff Reed exchange several more threats. Then the MiB kills everyone except the condemned man, who flinches at the sound of each gunshot. It is clear that the MiB is a human while everyone else is a Host. He has no trouble killing them all but he is completely unharmed. Larence removes his blindfold to see the dead men and then the Man in Black. "Do I know you?" Lawrence asks. "Your pal Kissy sent me your way. Sends his regards," the MiB says and tosses Lawrence Kissy's scalp. Lawrence looks at the maze on the inside of the scalp and asks what it is. "You know exactly what it is," the MiB says. "It's the maze, the deepest level of this game. You're gonna help me find the entrance." He binds Lawrence's wrists but leaves the noose hanging from his neck. The Man holds the other end of the long rope and rides off, forcing the rescued man to stumble after the horse.


Back in the Mariposa Saloon, Maeve is giving her standard introductory speech about the little voice in her head to a new guest. While she speaks we see her remember being attacked by native Americans with an axe. She's dressed in farmer's clothing and is with a girl, presumably her daughter. She's about to tell him what the voice in her head told her. The new guest sees she's distressed, makes his excuses and leaves. Maeve appears frozen and doesn't notice him leave.

We cut to the Westworld Mesa Hub. Maeve is being interviewed in Analysis Mode. She sits naked on a stool. "All right, Maeve, what did it say?" a technician asks. "This is the new world," Maeve says. "And in this world, you can be whoever you want to be." The man examines her and doesn't see any problem with her attractiveness. Another technician says the guests don't want anything to do with her. They don't understand why her 'success rate' at the brothel has dropped. One of them comments that Sizemore is introducing a new story line and wants to lose the dead weight. If they can't "get her numbers up" she will be decommissioned. They decide to double her "aggression." "She's a hooker, no point in being coy."

Robert Ford[]

Dr. Robert Ford and Bernard Lowe are watching a host being manufactured. Dr. Ford seems to spend a lot of time watching the hosts being made. Bernard appears sullen. Bernard tells Ford that the two hosts in question have been retired. "You taught me how to make them, but not how hard it is to turn them off," Bernard says. "You can't play God without being acquainted with the Devil," Ford says. Ford asks Bernard what else is bothering him. He also tells Ford that the photograph was not enough to cause the failure to host Peter Abernathy "without some other level of outside interference." They discuss the possibility of sabotage. "Do you think someone's been diddling with our creations?" Ford asks. Bernard says that's the simplest explanation. Ford thinks it's more likely to be something just going wrong. He theorizes that what they do, creating lifelike machines, is so complex it is unlikely there is sabotage.

Logan and William[]

The train (the "Black Ridge Limited") arrives at Sweetwater, and the guests disembark and walk into the town. The tall cowboy who bumped into Teddy Flood by the station does the same to William; this host is on an obvious loop. William apologizes, and Logan chastises him for being too polite. They walk past a union soldier recruiting people to join the army. William comments that the park is bigger than he thought it would be. Logan tells him this is just Sweetwater, "wait til you see the rest of the park." William asks how big the park is. Logan says he has no idea, he's never reached the end.

Clementine is standing outside the saloon. She tries to tempt them into coming inside the Mariposa as they pass, but Logan tips his hat and walks on. A man is thrown off the back of a passing cart as they cross the street. He lands face down in the mud. William helps him up. The man is older with an eye patch. He thanks William. Logan chastises William for helping, telling William the man will only try to rope him into the narrative of a treasure hunt. Logan's obviously come across the man. Logan tells William "it's all a come on," the old man, "the girl next door" (pointing to Dolores leaving the general store and loading her goods into her saddle bag), "the town drunk. They all got some big adventure that they want to sell you on." Then he tells William, "They're not going anywhere."


While she's packing her saddlebags after walking across the street from the store, she sees her reflection in a window and pauses, troubled by something. We hear a voice tell her to "bring yourself back online." We are now in a room with Dolores and Bernard. Dolores says, "Hello" to Bernard and smiles. He asks her if she remembers their last conversation. She says she does. "And you haven't told anyone about our little talks?" Bernard asks. It is clear this is not a normal session with a programmer. She is sitting on an ordinary chair and she's fully clothed. Bernard is dressed differently than when we have seen him previously; he's wearing all black clothing. "You told me not to," Dolores says.

He tells her to go into Analysis Mode. He asks her how many interactions she has participated in since their last talk. She tells him 138, including this one. He asks if anyone else has updated or altered her core heuristics (her deep programming) in that time. She says no. He brings her back into character and says it will be best if she doesn't mention their talks to anyone. She asks if she has done something wrong. "No," Bernard says. "But there's something different about you, about the way you think." He tells her he finds it fascinating, but others may not see it that way, suggesting that others may want to decommission her if they found out. This causes her to ask if he has done something wrong. He doesn't answer. Instead, he tells her to turn off her event log and to erase this entire interaction. She confirms that it is erased. He tells her to go back to the park, "before someone misses you."

Maeve awakens on the operating table.


Maeve is back at the saloon, again giving her standard introductory speech about the little voice in her head to a new guest, this time a woman. This time Maeve is significantly more aggressive. She tells the woman that the voice told her that in this world she can be whoever she wants to be. But Maeve just makes the guest even more uncomfortable. Maeve walks to the bar for a drink where she finds Clementine leaning on the bar yawning. Clementine says she didn't sleep because she's having nightmares again. Clementine tells her they are sometimes real bad. Maeve shares her trick on how to wake from a nightmare - close your eyes, count backwards from three, and wake yourself up.

We see Maeve again remembering something traumatic involving the native Americans. She reaches down to take hold of a little girl's hand. Then Teddy asks if she's alright. She's back in the saloon. She looks at her hand. She tells Teddy to stop gawking at her.

In the Control Room a technician is monitoring her performance. The technician tells Stubbs that they have a problem. Maeve is on probation but her performance has continued to decline. Stubbs tells the technician to re-task Clementine as the role of Madame, "she's done the job before."

We see a shot of Maeve in the foreground and Clementine in the background. Clementine perks up having just received the new program assignment. Maeve receives her new assignment and appears distressed. Stubbs tells the technician to leave Maeve on the floor for one more night and then in the the morning they will bring her in to be decommissioned. The technician plugs the orders into his tablet where we see Maeve's picture and the words "marked for recall."

Bernard Lowe and Theresa Cullen[]

Theresa Cullen is pulling out a cigarette in a hallway overlooking the dais and Bernard joins her, though he doesn't smoke. He reminds her that she will be fined if she's caught smoking. "And that woman in charge is quite formidable." It is clear that Bernard is referring to Theresa as "that woman." He lights her cigarette. It is obvious Theresa is upset. Bernard concludes that she's been talking to corporate. She then snaps at him for his "character analysis" of her. She wants assurances that his department will be ready for the launch. She then tells him that she's heard his department is still asking questions about Abernathy and the update. She is clearly not happy. She thought the questions had stopped. Bernard tells her he's not concerned. "All the hosts are back to normal," he says. "Good," she says. "Wouldn't want anything disturbing our guests from their rape and pillage."

Logan and William[]

William and Logan are eating a meal in the hotel dining room. William wonders how to tell the hosts apart from the guests. Logan pulls his gun and points it at the back of another diner. William pulls down Logan's arm and stops Logan from shooting. Logan tells William that William's problem is he is afraid to make a mess. They're joined by the old man William helped in the street. The man offers William "the opportunity of a lifetime." The man tells William that "across the river and beyond the savage lands there is a treasure." Logan tries to get rid of him, but the man ignores Logan. The man continues, "I have in my possession a map." Before he can continue, Logan stabs the man through the hand with his dinner knife, pinning him to the table, shocking William. The other diners don't appear to notice. Logan tells William it's time to go.

We cut to Logan having sex with a woman while a man and another woman join him on a bed.

Then we cut to William in his room talking with Clementine. They can hear Logan. She tells him that it sounds like his friend is having fun. William says that's not the term he'd use. "Fun?" Clementine asks. "Friend," William responds. She tempts him with sex. He says he's not interested. He says he has someone "real" waiting for him at home. Clementine says she understands and "real love is always worth waiting for."

Lee Sizemore[]

In the control room we see people working on Lee Sizemore's new story. They are literally creating the characters and dressing them. Lee is not happy with the size of the nose on one of the hosts. He berates the designer for not doing it correctly. He tells her to start over. She asks if they could just shave it down. Lee becomes enraged and smashes the host's face with a metal tray.

Theresa watches him. She says she received his request to retire an additional 50 hosts. He says he needs room for his new storyline. He says he can't have a "savage horde" with only 20 savages. Theresa tells him that he only gets 20 additional hosts, not 50.

She asks if Ford has even approved his new storyline. Lee says Ford hasn't approved a storyline in years. Lee suggests that if the corporate board wants to cut costs, then Ford might be a place to start. Theresa turns and leaves without comment.

Robert Ford[]

We see Ford in an underground tunnel getting into an elevator. Then he's outside in an isolated part of the park. He walks through the desert and meets a Little Boy of about ten. The boy asks Ford if he's lost. "No," Ford says. "Just strayed a bit too far from where I'm supposed to be. Same as you, I imagine." The boy says he's on vacation with his parents and it's boring. His father told him to do as he pleases. They talk about the concept of boredom, then take a walk together.

Ford seems unbothered by enticing a boy away from his parents, as though he has known him for quite some time.

Ford and the Little Boy have walked for a while. Ford tells the boy to look at the town with the white church and listen to its bell (there's nothing there) the boy says he can hear it. Ford shows the boy how he can control a rattle snake with gestures. At the bottom of the slope is a dark spire. He tells the boy to head home, and that he won't be back. The boy drops his stick and obediently goes - it's obvious now that he's a host.

Bernard goes back to his living quarters, Theresa arrives and we realize that they're in a secret intimate relationship. Later in bed together they talk - about how he never talks but that his hosts never stop. He tells her that this behaviour is programmed into the hosts, that they're "practicing" and she teases him, asks if that's what he's doing now.

We see Dolores lying in bed at night. She awakens and walks outside the house, passes the barn, kneels down and digs a handgun out of the ground.

Later, in a drawer, she finds the handgun wrapped in cloth. She takes it out and then puts it back again. But, when she reopens the drawer a moment later, it's not there any more.

Man in Black saves Lawrence from hanging, then drags him to his home.

As they go, the MiB questions Lawrence about Kissy. He takes Lawrence to his home, Las Mudas, and they sit at a table outside a Mexican cafe. Lawrence's Wife and daughter are there as well. The MiB tries to get Lawrence to tell him the entrance to the maze, Lawrence denies any knowledge and the Mib abruptly shoots the cafe barkeep, Lawrence's cousins who came upon the scene and then Lawrence's wife (in the head, after toying with her). The daughter is unnaturally calm and seems to be unbothered by her mother's murder. She tells the MiB that the maze isn't meant for him, but that he is to follow the Blood Arroyo (a dry creek or river bed) to the place where the snake lays its eggs. Lawrence tells him to go now and leave them alone, but the MiB answers that this time, he's never going back. The MiB leaves on his horse, towing Lawrence behind him again.

Elsie interrogates Maeve.

We see Maeve being analyzed in Behavior Lab and Diagnostics. Elsie is examining her, she doesn't approve of the extra aggression "those morons" have added. She saves Maeve's current configuration, and makes some small, precisely targeted, adjustments. Her assistant asks if the hosts dream. Elsie says they don't, but that they do have the concept of dreams as a safety precaution. She notes that Maeve has some physical discomfort and schedules a full physical examination for Maeve's next visit to the Mesa Hub with Livestock Management. Elsie passes her as fit and puts her back to work.

We see Maeve flirting, very successfully, with a guest. Elsie's adjustments have worked and she's back on form.

Maeve flashes back to a memory of protecting her daughter.

Teddy and Maeve talk about their various sins together, they seem friendly. All of a sudden a guest shoots Teddy repeatedly. Maeve shows mild disapproval but remembers a previous violent episode. In a dream she remembers being happy with what appears to be her daughter on the farm, but she becomes confused with her memory of being attacked. She runs for her daughter and locks the door of the farmhouse, getting a shotgun in the process. The door opens, and instead of it being a Ghost Nation attacker, it is the Man in Black. She tries to shoot him, but with no effect. Maeve counts backwards to wake herself, the very trick she had told Clementine about.

She wakes on the examination table, it's her physical; two technicians Sylvester and Felix are cleaning up an MRSA infection in her abdomen. She opens her eyes and looks around her - scared. They see her moving and are shocked and afraid. They try to control her with no luck, blaming each other for not having her properly in sleep mode. She threatens them with a scalpel as she gets off the table, telling them to keep their hands off her. She escapes from the room and runs, holding her abdomen together.

She finds herself in an area where damaged hosts are being stored and repaired. That's when she sees Teddy dead, with the gunshot wounds he obtained while in the saloon. While she's looking at him, confused, the two technicians retrieve her by sedating her immediately. They hide the fact that she awoke.

Lee Sizemore is performing, excited as he is outlining his new narrative to everyone, including Dr. Ford. The new narrative is called "Odyssey on Red River" and he speaks about how wonderful it will be. Ford is watching, as are Theresa and Bernard. When Sizemore has finished there's some applause, but Ford simply says "No. No, I don't think so." He says that he doesn't see the point and humiliates Sizemore in front of everyone.

As Ford continues to speak, we see Logan and William in Sweetwater. William crosses the street to pick up Dolores' stray can of food (the same as in every loop). As she accepts the can her smile fades, as if she recognised him or was expecting someone else. They don't speak but William tips his hat to her and she smiles back at him as Logan calls him away.

Ford says that the new narrative speaks more about Sizemore than about the guests. He says he knows what the guests want.

Later, in the park he's showing Bernard the black spire he was looking at with the little boy. Bernard is concerned that the board are expecting a new storyline and won't be pleased that Odyssey on Red River has not been approved. Ford reassures him. It appears that the spire is to be part of a new narrative that Ford has been working on for some time. It looks like the top of a church spire, sticking out of the ground.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]



  • Sheriff Reed (Physical Body)
  • 6 unnamed deputies in Sheriff Reed's posse (Physical Body)
  • Bartender in Catina de Las Mudas (Physical Body) 
  • 15 unnamed Lawrence's cousins (Physical Body)
  • Lawrence's Wife (Physical Body)
  • Teddy Flood (Physical Body)
  • 1 unnamed Ghost Nation member (Flashback)
  • 2 unnamed farm hosts (Flashback)


Theresa: "You're certainly a man comfortable with long, pensive silences. Although, ironically, your creations never shut up, even when there are no guests around."
Bernard: "They're always trying to error correct, make themselves more human. When they talk to each other, it's a way of practicing."
Theresa: "Is that what you're doing now? Practicing?"

Elsie Hughes: "Dreams are mainly memories. Can you imagine how fucked we'd be if these poor assholes ever remembered what the guests do to them?"

Man in Black: "No, you don't understand. This time, I'm never goin' back."

Lawrence's Daughter: "The maze isn't meant for you."

Man in Black: "It means when you're suffering, that's when you're most real."

Man in Black: "You know why this beats the real world, Lawrence? The world is chaos. It's an accident. But in here, every detail adds up to something. Even you, Lawrence.

Lawrence: "What do you want from me?"
Man in Black: "The Maze. How do I find the entrance?"

Dr. Robert Ford: "You can't play god without being acquainted with the devil."


  • No Surprises — Radiohead[1]
  • Weeping Willow Rag — Scott Joplin [1]


  • One explanation for the name of the episode is its similarity to the phrase "That Old Chestnut", which is used to refer to an old joke or saying.
    • A second possibility is that it is an allusion to La Fontaine's Fable, "The Monkey and the Cat", in which the Monkey (named Bertrand) convinces a cat (named Raton) to pull chestnuts roasting in the hearth out of the embers with the promise to split them up evenly.  As the cat begins pulling out chestnuts (singing its paws in the process) the Monkey immediately eats them -- and when a maid chases them away, the cat ends up with nothing but singed paws.  The fable is the origin of the phrase "to pull someone's chestnuts out of the fire" (with the implication that the "someone" is the beneficiary, and the puller pays the price) and the word "cats-paw", meaning someone acting as an agent, often inadvertently, for someone else.  The Fable is often attributed to Aesop, but appears nowhere in pre-medieval versions of "Aesop's Fables" which tended to accumulate additional stories as it was transmitted.  Bernard is certainly serving as cat's-paw for both Ford and Theresa in this episode.  I suppose the hosts are the chestnuts.
  • The episode was released four days early on HBO Go for free streaming, before its official premiere on Sunday Night.
  • The guests' clothes look authentic but, sensibly, have modern conveniences. Logan has a zip-fastener in his trousers, his pants, and we see him pulling it up when he enters the the bar. Zip-fastener or zippers weren't in common use until the 20th century.
  • It is mentioned that Lawrence was responsible for the deaths of Donald Pardue and his brother: the Pardue brothers do not appear in person until "Reunion."
  • It is revealed that Maeve Millay suffered from MRSA.



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