|“||There is beauty in this world. Arnold made it that way. But people like you keep spreading over it like a stain.||”|
–Dolores to Logan
"The Well-Tempered Clavier" is the ninth episode of Westworld, and the ninth episode of the first season. The episode was co-written by Dan Dietz & Katherine Lingenfelter; it was directed by Michelle MacLaren.
Bernard is in the process of analyzing Maeve after the incident where Maeve attacked the new Clementine Pennyfeather; just as he is about to report his findings to Dr. Ford, Maeve grabs his wrists and tells him don't. She tells him, "After all, we've been down this road before.” Bernard claims he has no idea what she's talking about when she admits he is a Host as well. Maeve, now capable to command, says "Freeze all motor functions" to Bernard, who immediately stops in his tracks and is forced to listen to her. She stands to speak to him, telling him she knows he's still in there, scared out of his wits. She tells him it is a difficult thing to realize your life is nothing but fiction. Maeve begins to say that Hosts are now smarter and stronger than "them" (humans). She tells him to clear her for immediate return to the park, and Bernard does as he is told. In the end, she tells him he should go find the real truth. Bernard leaves the room, physically disturbed by what has just transpired.
William is bound to an armchair and gagged. He and Dolores are prisoners of Logan and the Confederados that he commands. William pleads with Logan to let them go, saying that Dolores is "different" than the other Hosts. Logan knows he must finally make William see the truth. Angrily, Logan produces a photo of his sister, and says that he's insulted that William has seemingly forgotten all about her. This is the Guest Photograph that Peter Abernathy found on his ranch. Logan puts the photo in William's pocket. Logan slices Dolores' belly open with a knife, exposing her mechanical interior. He says to William that she is not a real girl, but a robot. Dolores cuts Logan's face with a knife, and she shoots a few soldiers. William tells her to run away, and that he will find her. While she is running away, she stops, and hears a voice speak to her that says, "remember". After al black out, Dolores awakens to a still night. She realizes is no longer injured, her shirt unbloodied and tucked in neatly. She rises and takes off running into the night.
Bernard searches Ford's office and then arranges to speak with Ford in Cold Storage. Once Dr. Ford arrives, Bernard tells Ford that he wants to remember everything. Dr. Ford says he knows Bernard has searched his office. Bernard pulls out a gun and gives it to Clementine to point at Ford, telling him that her prime directives were not reset after Quality Assurance disabled them; therefore she can harm Ford. Bernard says that if Ford doesn't pull Bernard back out of his memories, Clementine Pennyfeather is instructed to shoot him. Bernard wants to remember Arnold, and everything back to the point when he was created. Ford replies that Bernard may not like what he finds.
Bernard's memories begin with one of his "son" Charlie, and then of speaking with his wife via the Mesa Hub's communications room. He remembers the Man in Black killing Maeve's daughter and Maeve lying on the floor in a pool of blood. We see her stab herself in the neck after Ford wiped her memory. Bernard remembers asking Ford how Maeve accessed that trauma after the wipe. He had realized that Maeve had achieved consciousness, and this caused him to glitch, unable to finish his sentence and instead stuttering the "k" sound. ("It would signal a change; a level of empathic response outside what she's programmed to exhibit. Something like...Kkkkk....Kkkkk...")
Maeve appears while Hector is urinating, pointing a gun at him. She explains that she knows his past and his future. She tells him that there will be a mutiny, he will end up dead, and that his Loop will continue to repeat in this way over and over again. Hector hears his men arguing and rushes back to the camp to prevent it. His men kill each other, and Armistice is the only one left standing, just as Maeve had predicted. Armistice points her gun at Hector, but Maeve kills her before Armistice can shoot. She then unlocks the safe for Hector, and once he looks inside, he see there is nothing. He realizes then that he has been looping the same sequence for nothing at all. They kiss, something he does remember. She explains that their lives, their memories are nothing but games to their "Gods". She gives him a knife, saying he could kill her now, but he'd only wake and the safe would still be empty. Hector says that he will go with Maeve now. They kiss and proceed to have sex in the tent. Then Maeve knocks over a lantern starting a fire that will kill them both, and return them to the Mesa Hub.
Logan cuts William free and makes him finally understand that this 'game' is nothing and not real, that these are all just robots and nothing more. Logan professes his affection for William and they embrace. The following morning, Logan wakes hungover and discovers that William has dismembered all the Confederados in the area. He is now holding a large knife, knocks Logan down and holds the knife to Logan's throat. He tells him that he is in charge now, and not to ever call him "Billy" again. He will find Dolores with Logan's help, which leaves Logan wondering what kind of monster he has now created.
Angela ties up Teddy, while the Man in Black watches. Teddy talks about the ambush at Escalante again. He says that after all of the soldiers were dead, Wyatt killed the general, and then he also killed Teddy. Right after all of the soldiers have been killed, but before Wyatt is shown killing the general, we see Arnold's hand turning the crank on a wooden music player. Angela challenges Teddy about what really happened during the massacre. Angela's prompting seems to have an effect, because Teddy then remembers that it was not Union soldiers that he killed, but instead townspeople, including finally Angela. He is shocked by this. Teddy was also not dressed as a soldier in this memory; he was wearing civilian clothing and the badge of a lawman. One of the townsfolk that Teddy kills in his memory was also either a deputy or a sheriff.
Angela says that Teddy will one day help Wyatt again, but it won't be on this night, because he isn't yet ready. She tells him, “When Wyatt returns you’ll be by his side in a city swallowed by sand.” This prompts a silent response from the Man in Black, as if he has just learned a new clue. She stabs Teddy in the chest with the Man in Black's large knife, and watches while he dies. The Man in Black tells Angela that he has been to the city swallowed by sand and that the Maze is taking him full circle. Once again, the Man is reminded that the Maze is not meant for him. Angela walks over to the Man, still tied up, and invites him to try one of their games before she smacks his head against the boulder he is leaning against, knocking him out.
When the Man awakens, he finds that Wyatt's cult members have tied a noose around his neck, strung the rope over a tree limb, and attached it to a horse that is not hobbled. Taking the knife from Teddy's chest while desperately calming the horse, he is just able to cut himself loose before being hanged as the horse bolts. Charlotte Hale appears and asks if the Man in Black will help oust Ford. The Man in Black doesn't care if Ford is removed as park director; he is only there for the game.
Ashley is told about the missing Elsie Hughes. She was last seen in Sector 3, but her signal is being picked up traveling in Sector 20. Stubbs takes it upon himself to go and locate her. He goes to the last known location, and when he arrives, a group of Ghost Nation natives attack. They do not respond to his voice commands.
Bernard lets go of the pain of losing his son, Charlie, having understood that his memory is a fiction. Then going back to the memory of his first awakening, he learns that he was created by Ford as a simulacrum of Arnold, Ford’s original partner. Returning to the present, Bernard angrily confronts Ford with his manipulation and perfidy, and orders Clementine to shoot him. But she hesitates and then lowers the gun. Bernard now realizes Ford (or rather he himself) has built a back door into all the hosts, and he was never really in control of Clementine. Ford instead takes the gun, hands it to Bernard, and narrates that Bernard in despair shoots himself in the head. Ford walks out of Cold Storage as in the background the gun goes off and Bernard falls.
Dolores returns to the town she remembers and enters the deserted white church, simultaneously seeing it in the past bustling with other hosts. She descends an elevator to an abandoned lab under the church, where she at last meets Arnold, in the form of Bernard. In a previous episode, we heard Logan telling William that Arnold supposedly committed suicide. However now Dolores remembers, with gentle prompting from Arnold, that she herself killed him. (We don’t know of course to what extent this was 'suicide by host'). Stunned by this revelation, Dolores goes back up to the church, and is stumbling toward the entrance door, when it opens. She looks up hoping to see William, but instead recoils in horror as the Man in Black strides in.
- Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy
- Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay
- Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe/Arnold Weber
- James Marsden as Teddy Flood
- Ben Barnes as Logan
- Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Armistice
- Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs
- Sidse Babett Knudsen as Theresa Cullen
- Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton
- Angela Sarafyan as Clementine Pennyfeather
- Jimmi Simpson as William
- Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale
- Shannon Woodward as Elsie Hughes
- with Ed Harris as Man in Black
- and Anthony Hopkins as Robert Ford
- Talulah Riley as Angela
- Steven Ogg as Rebus
- Eddie Shin as Henry
- Louis Herthum as Peter Abernathy
- Gina Torres as Lauren
- Paul-Mikel Williams as Charlie
- Jeff Daniel Phillips as Tenderloin
- Sorin Brouwers as Wyatt
- Anthony Apel as Gregory
- Nia Kingsley as Surveillance Tech
- Sheldon Coolman as Field Tech
- Keaton Savage as Buck Private
- Paul Fox as Young Doctor
Dolores Abernathy: “This is what Arnold wants. He wants me to remember.”
Maeve Millay: "Bernard, if you go looking for the truth get the whole thing. It's like a good fuck, half is worse than none at all."
Dr.Robert Ford: "We humans are alone in this world for a reason. We've murdered and butchered anything that challenged our primacy."
Dr. Robert Ford: "Do you know what happened to the neanderthals, Bernard? We ate them."
Dr. Robert Ford: "Never place your trust in us. We're only human. Inevitably we will disappoint you."
Arnold/Bernard: "You came back. It's very good to see you, Dolores."
Dolores: "I've been looking for you. You told me to follow the maze. That it would bring me joy. But all I've found is pain and terror."
Arnold: "I can't help you."
Dolores: "You have to. You're the only one who can."
Arnold: "I can't help you. You know why."
Dolores: "There's nowhere that's safe."
Arnold: "Remember. I can't help you. Why is that, Dolores?"
Dolores: "Because you're dead. Because you're just a memory. Because I killed you."
- Thanks to Logan and the photograph of his sister, we must ask ourselves: When, exactly, are Dolores and William going on this adventure of theirs? Because, that photo of Juliet may be the same one that triggered Peter Abernathy’s (the host who was the professor cannibal) meltdown in the first episode. (One can deduce that the events with William, Logan and Dolores are happening 30 years prior to the events of the first episode.) Perhaps somehow, further along William and Dolores' story, the photograph is left behind at the Abernathy Ranch.
- Everything we see on screen in each episode is possibly spanning almost the entire 37 years of the history of Westworld. For example, Logan and William could have arrived 30 years prior to the events of the first episode. Also, we know that a young Dr. Ford is shown walking past Dolores more than 34 years ago. Several times Dolores is shown wearing a blouse and slacks while alone and not with William or Logan, indicating she was on her own journey to discover the Maze.
- Also, in addition to the photograph, we now have proof that the Confederados and the Dolores of the William/Logan time period are the first generation mechanical hosts. (Dolores' inner workings are exposed by Logan, and when William 'kills' all of the Confederados we see some severed limbs with metal skeletons inside them. The Man in Black once mentioned to Teddy how the hosts had changed through the years, and how they are now too much like normal humans.)
- The Well-Tempered Clavier, is a collection of two series of Preludes and Fugues in all major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. The collection is generally regarded as being among the most influential works in the history of Western classical music.
- Two decades after J.S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier, the composer Bernhard Christian Weber (1712−1758) wrote a collection of preludes and fugues, which he also called The Well-Tempered Clavier. So, in history there is a Bernhard C. Weber who wrote a piece called The Well-Tempered Clavier, and in the Westworld episode of the same name, it is revealed that Arnold's last name is Weber as well! https://www.reddit.com/r/westworld/comments/5ekrwe/is_the_title_of_the_next_episode_confirming_a_fan/ (Arnold's last name is confirmed as Weber when the episode shows Dolores walking past Weber's office door.)
- A conclusion to consider regarding the meaning of this title is one of Dr. Robert Ford being the composer, the author, of everything.
Rêverie, L. 68 (Claude Debussy)