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"Chestnut" is the second episode of Westworld, and the second episode of the first season. The episode was co-written by series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and directed by Richard J. Lewis.

William: "Are you real?"
Angela: "If you can’t tell, does it matter?"
— William meets Angela[src]

Synopsis

First-time guest William and repeat visitor Logan, arrive at Westworld with different expectations and agendas. Bernard and Quality Assurance head Theresa Cullen debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious. Meanwhile, behaviour engineer Elsie Hughes tweaks the emotions of Maeve, a madam in Sweetwater’s brothel, in order to avoid a recall. Head Writer Lee Sizemore pitches his latest narrative to the team, but Dr. Ford has other ideas. The Man in Black conscripts a condemned man, Lawrence, to help him uncover Westworld’s deepest secrets.

–Official Synopsis


Plot

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 a**hole. 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 greeting 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 his arm around a male host with one arm, as if they are lovers, and he also holds a female host's hand as they walk away from William.

William arrives

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. She 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 is 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.

Dolores

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.

Dolores Quote

"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 loses her eyes and breathes deep. She opens her eyes and smiles; then she turns and walks away.

William

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 handing 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 severalmore 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 aks 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.

Maeve

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."
Maeve awakens Chestnut

Maeve awakens on the operating table.

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.

We see Maeve being more aggressive - it just makes the guests uncomfortable now. Maeve talks to Clementine, asking if she's having nightmares. She shares her trick on how to wake from a nightmare with Clementine- counting backwards from three. We see her remembering something traumatic and Teddy asks if she's OK.

In the Control Room they're monitoring her performance and decide to give Clementine the role of Madam, and withdraw Maeve in the morning.

The train (the "Black Ridge Limited") arrives at Sweetwater, and the guests disembark and walk into the town. The big man 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. Clementine 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 and William is once again chastised by Logan for trying to help the old man. Logan's obviously come across the man before and knows he wants to take them on the narrative of treasure hunting. William notices Dolores leaving the general store and loading her goods into her saddle bag.

Later, William and Logan are eating a meal in the hotel dining room. William stops Logan from shooting another guest. They're joined by the old man William helped in the street. Logan tries to get rid of him, when he doesn't take the hint Logan stabs him through the hand with his dinner knife, pinning him to the table, shocking William. The other diners don't appear to notice the incident.

We see Logan having sex with a woman while a man and another woman join him on a bed. William is chatting with Clementine. He is uncomfortable about having sex with her because he is already engaged to Logan's sister.

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 her being told, "Bring yourself back online." Dolores smiles, and says, "Hello" to Bernard. He asks her if she remembers their last conversation. She says she does, and he makes sure she hasn't told anyone about the conversations he has with her. This is not a normal session with a programmer, as she's sitting on an ordinary chair, and she's clothed. Bernard is dressed differently than when we have seen him previously; he's wearing all black clothing.

He tells her to go into Analysis Mode and asks if anyone else has updated her core heuristics, her deep programming. She says that no one has. He brings her back into character and says that she's not to mention him talking to her. She asks if she's done something wrong no. She asks if he has done something wrong and he tells her to remove the entire conversation from her logs. He sends her back into the park.

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.

Clifton-Collins-Jr-and-Ed-Harris-in-Westworld

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

As they go, the MiB questions him 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.
Maeves-naked-interrogation-in-westworld

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 and child

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.

Bernard Lowe and Theresa Cullen

Theresa Cullen is smoking outside and Bernard joins her, though he doesn't smoke. She quizzes him about the main update and he reassures her.

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.

Lee Sizemore

In the control room we see Lee Sizemore berating a designer for not doing what he had requested. Theresa watches him and talks about his request for 50 additional hosts - he's getting 20.

Ford has still to approve the new narrative.

Robert Ford

We see Ford going into the park, he walks through the desert and meets a Little Boy of about ten, he says he's wandered off from his parents. They chat and 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.

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.

Trivia

  • 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."

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Co-Stars

Quotes

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."

Music

No Surprises (Radiohead)[1]

Weeping Willow Rag (Scott Joplin)[1]

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 https://mic.com/articles/157617/westworld-soundtrack-here-s-every-song-from-the-show-broken-down-by-episode#.sugTQWtdI

Notes

  • The episode was released four days early on HBO Go for free streaming, before its official premiere on Sunday Night.

External links

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