Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead.
I can remember the first time I saw the trailer for Westworld and being very intrigued by what I saw.
However, nothing I saw could have prepared me for the colossal mind screwer that was this show.
Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy and based of the movie by Michael Crichton, Westworld is a non-stop thrill ride of twists and turns from start to finish that never ceases to amaze and has me eagerly anticipating season two, which will air on the 23rd.
So, I decided in anticipation for the second season I would count down all the episodes in season one from weakest to greatest.
10. The Stray – Episode Three
The weakest episode of the series so far, The Stray is still a great episode that mostly serves as setup for future episodes.
It is in the Stray that we get various hints towards the future reveals of Bernard and The Man in Black.
The main storyline though is centered around two side characters Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) and Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) as they hunt for a stray host, hence the title of the episode.
The scenes between the two are fairly funny, with great banter between them and a comedic tone… at least until the host in question bashes his head in with a rock.
There are many other great scenes this episode, like when Anthony Hopkins’ Robert Ford has a conversation with host Teddy Flood (James Marsden) about how they never bothered to give him a backstory.
This scene also serves to build up Wyatt.
Many other scenes build up future events as well, with the first mention of the Bicameral Mind and the beginning hints of Bernard being based off Arnold.
There is also the scene where Evan Rachel Wood’s Delores first shoots a gun, which is fun to watch because we get to see her break through her code.
Overall, this was a pretty good episodes but the thing that stop it being higher is how a lot of the scenes between the hosts feel slightly receptive due to the loop they are on.
9. Chestnut – Episode Two
The Stray may have had a lot of hints but it was in the episode prior, Chestnut, where I realised how great Westworld was at foreshadowing future events.
Subtle details like the fades to black every time it would cut back to William (Jimmi Simpson) hinted at the multiple timelines being presented and was the start of the whole William is The Man in Black theory that turned out be true.
There are many great scenes to accompany this foreshadowing like Ford’s conversation with Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright).
This particular scene has a great quote with Ford saying, “you can’t play god without being acquainted with the devil.”
The real scene stealer though is Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay.
Maeve is currently my favourite character in Westworld and this is the first episode where she was given time to shine, experiencing creepy flashbacks and then waking up from sleep mode to witness the depraved things that happen to the hosts.
However, even though this episode is very dark it is not without its funny moments.
The scene where Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) lays out his grand plan for a future storyline, only for Ford to just shut him down with a no was hilarious to see.
Chestnut was a great episode that really made me appreciate the subtle hints the show puts forward.
8. The Original – Episode One
The episode where it all began, The Original really draws the viewer into the series by showing how Westworld works and the horrors that the hosts have to experience on a daily basis.
Right from the opening shot you know this is going to be something, with the fly crawling over a seemingly comatose Delores’ eyes.
From there the episode sets up how Westworld works through Delores and Teddy’s horrifying interaction with the Man in Black (Ed Harris).
After this the loop replays, only events play out differently due to the guests’ interference, once again showing how it all fits together, for example Teddy will just completely forget about Delores in order to give some guests a tour.
Once again, there is humor to be seen here with Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) being shot in the neck before he can deliver Sizemore’s speech.
Finally there are the creepy final minutes of the episode, which sees Ford interrogating Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum) only for the tables to turn and the closing shots of the Man In Black leaving on his horse with a scalp and Delores’ swatting a fly on her neck.
It is this final action by Delores that shows the hosts are capable of hurting living things, despite what they claim, and left me shocked.
The Original was a great first episode for the series that succeeded at drawing me and others into Westworld.
7. The Adversary – Episode Six
The Adversary was a great lead up into the fantastic episode seven, which we will see later.
This episode introduced us to Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and her arrival really sets events into motion, with Bernard later discovering Ford’s host family that Arnold built for him.
This later leads into another creepy scene where the kid host Ford tells the real Ford why he killed his dog, showing once again that the hosts are capable of killing things and calling back to a story from Ford’s youth we learnt in episode five.
We also see have the “supposed” death of Elsie this episode, although it remains to be seen if she is really dead.
Another highlight of the episode was the great shootout with Teddy and The Man in Black, where Teddy used a Gatling gun to kill all of the soldiers.
Finally there is one of the best moments in all of Westworld, where Felix Lutz (Leonardo Nam) escorts Maeve through the facility and she sees how Westworld works, how she was created and what is done to her and the other hosts on a regular basis.
This scene was just fantastic with great acting by Newton as Maeve and an excellent soundtrack to go along with it.
The Adversary was an episode that really prepared you for the shocking episode seven.
6. Trace Decay – Episode Eight
After the shocking reveal that Bernard is a host in episode seven, we got to see his reaction to killing Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen).
This was a very emotional scene with excellent acting from Wright and more hints from Ford that Bernard and Arnold are one and the same.
There were many other highlights to this episode, like Teddy knocking out the Man in Black after remembering what he did to Delores and the Man in Black then revealing his past and how he discovered The Maze.
This also tied into Maeve’s story arc this episode, with the flashback to her reaction to her daughter’s death at The Man in Black’s hands.
Just like Bernard’s reaction to Theresa’s death, this scene was also very emotional and made me hate Ford and the others for what they were doing to the hosts.
We also got more hints of the William and Man in Black connection, with it being left open ended as to whether William killed the confederate soldier he and Delores came across and when the Man in Black saw the host Angela, who William saw when he first arrived at Westworld.
Overall, Trace Decay was a very emotional episode that made me care for Maeve and Bernard even more and gave some great hints to the future Arnold and Man in Black reveals.
5. Dissonance Theory – Episode Four
It is from this point forward that the episodes have gone from great to excellent.
Dissonance Theory was the first perfect episode of Westworld for me that had some really great standout scenes, the main one being Theresa Cullen and Ford’s conversation.
Watching Theresa slowly begin to realise that Ford has sat them at the exact table she and her parents sat at years ago was truly unnerving, all heightened by Hopkins’ terrific performance as the-man-with-a-god-complex, Ford.
This episode also gave many thrilling sequences like the Man in Black freeing Hector from prison and Hector later robbing Sweet Water again, only this time for Maeve to hold him at gunpoint.
Watching Maeve’s slow realization that she had experienced waking up to the “gods” before was interesting and the payoff was great.
The final moments of the episode with Maeve and Hector retrieving the bullet from her stomach and then being shot off screen was intense to watch and really set up Maeve waking up to talk to Felix at the end of Contrapasso.
Dissonance Theory was the first truly excellent episode of Westworld and it was the first of many to come.
4. Contrapasso – Episode Five
Before Maeve became my favourite character it was Delores and this episode really highlights why because she has so many great scenes.
There in the very intense and interesting scene between Ford and Delores, in which both Hopkins and Wood give great performances.
What really cemented her as my favourite for the time being after this episode though was the scene where she saved William by shooting the confederate soldiers.
Her line, “I imagined a story where I didn’t have to be the damsel”, was absolutely fantastic.
Another standout this episode was the Man in Black as we saw just how ruthless he is, even considering murdering a child host to revive Teddy, before settling on Lawrence.
Then came the scene between the two sociopaths, the Man in Black and Ford, where we really got a sense of how the Man in Black sees himself.
Once again, there were even some somewhat funny, yet creepy moments, like when Elsie blackmails the necrophiliac.
I am really glad they killed that character in the finale, by the way.
Contrapasso is an episode with so many standout moments that it makes it instantly memorable.
3. The Bicameral Mind – Episode Ten
The season finale of Westworld ended season one with a bang… literally, as Delores shot Ford and various members of the Delos board, after achieving consciousness.
The way this episode was structured was amazing, with it beginning with Delores waking up for the first time and ending with her achieving consciousness.
If you pay attention to the music at the beginning and end of the episode you will notice it is the exact same music Arnold said was his son’s favourite before his death.
This episode also had some great reveals like that the Man in Black had been William the entire time and the events seen with William and Delores were actually in the past.
This reveal had been a huge fan theory for a while so I already knew about it when the reveal happened but I wish I didn’t because it would have been amazing to see that without knowing what was happening.
Still, even though I was pretty certain that William was the Man in Black by the time the reveal happened, it was still really well done.
The Bicameral Mind also had the attempted escape by Maeve from Westworld, where they kill multiple Westworld employees, thankfully including the “creepy necro-perve” as Elsie called him.
However, here we encounter the one problem I have with this episode that stops it from being higher, which is the plot hole of why none of Westworld security shoot Maeve and her allies?
They consider the hosts to not be alive so they would have no problem with shooting them but they just keep screaming “freeze all motor functions” and getting shot.
Other than that though, this episode was fantastic.
Plenty of great reveals, exciting moments and even contemplative moments like when Delores achieves consciousness.
This episode sure has me hyped for what is to come in season two.
2. Trompe L’Oeil – Episode Seven
Trompe L’Oeil, the seventh episode, had the second best twist of the entire show, we will get to the first in a minute.
The entire reveal that Bernard was a host all along was expertly done, with multiple hints throughout the episode.
The most apparent was Bernard asking, “what door” when Theresa asked him what was behind it.
To those who realised the implication of this question, they would spend a solid tense minute before the actual reveal took place.
What followed was a gripping conversation between Ford and Theresa, with Ford calling back to Charlotte’s recommendation for “a blood sacrifice”.
Theresa’s death at the hands of Bernard, who loved her, was sad to see and what he did would weigh heavily on him in the coming episodes.
The episode also had its fair share of action, with Lawrence blowing up the body of his dead friend and the ensuing chase sequence that followed.
The episode also opens on the hints of Bernard being a host version of Arnold by having Bernard dream about his son.
This raised the question that if Bernard was a host then was the dream real?
There was also various other hints toward the Man in Black twist, where Lawrence told William he has a “knack for killing,” hinting towards his future turn to darkness.
Trompe L’Oeil was an episode of full of hints towards future reveals as well as having its own massive one.
It left me speechless when I first saw it.
1. The Well-Tempered Clavier – Episode Nine
If the twist that Bernard was a host left me speechless, then the twist that Bernard was a host made in the image of Arnold left me speechless and with my jaw on the floor.
True the signs were there and had been since the beginning, but they were expertly hidden and going back to look at these hints makes a second viewing of Westworld a delight.
The twist itself is expertly delivered, with the entire episode building to Bernard’s revelation after his conversation with Maeve.
The scene where Bernard has to let go Charlie’s memory to realise who he is, is a very emotional moment and a great lead up to the reveal.
However, it was not just Bernard that went through a great amount of change this episode but William as well.
This episode was the perfect transition episode for him, making the twist of him turning out to be the Man in Black, in The Bicameral Mind, much more believable.
Just seeing the aftermath of William having killed and quite obviously mutilated the confederate solider hosts is very haunting.
As well as this, The Well-Tempered Clavier had a lot of intense moments as well, like when Maeve convinces Hector to help her and the Man in Black nearly being hanged by a horse.
The Well-Tempered Clavier is my favourite episode of Westworld because of it delivers the best twist in Westworld, has insightful and intense moments and makes re-watching Westworld to check for hints a blast.
Westworld is a fantastic show. It is insightful, contemplative and full of explosive twists and turns. I am eagerly anticipating season two, which I will be reviewing every episode of, starting with episode one when it airs on Monday.