Westworld Season 2, Episode 4: The Riddle of the Sphinx Timelines Recap
Spoilers will be present for Westworld Season 2, so proceed at your own risk!
The fourth episode of Westworld’s second season really pulled down the covers on what Delos has been using its controlling stake in Westworld for, as well as revealing more of what Bernard was up to before we first say him laying on a beach at the start of this season. It is one of the best episodes of this young season so far, and it definitely answered a few questions while also creating many new mysteries for fans to pour over in between episodes.
Like last week’s Westworld recap, I aim to sort out what went down in each of the timelines that were explored in this episode, so you can dive into the breakdown below to find out what you may have missed in each of the timelines that got explored.
Timeline 1: Years, Months, Days Prior to the Hosts Awakening
Old Man Delos Experiment
This is a rather broad timeline, because it accounts for all events that took place prior to the hosts awaking at the end of Westworld Season 1. We learn that Young William and James Delos mostly bought into the park to try and create hosts that could house the consciousness and memories of a deceased human. They’re playing God, and James Delos is the first experiment that Young William commissioned to achieve this goal of making the ultra-rich immortal. We learn through a series of interviews that take place over the years between Young William and one with Old Bill (MiB), that they’ve tried 149 different versions of James Delos’ mind in a host, yet they all have failed.
It’s tipped off early on that the James we see in these exchanges is probably a host, which is clued in by his shaking hand, and stammering replies when his programming is clearly starting to fail. We learn that all 149 versions of the Delos Experiment have failed because the host body and the human mind eventually reach a cognitive plateau, which ultimately prevents the mind of the human from accepting its new reality of being turned into code. It’s also revealed towards the end of this plot thread that the 149th version of James Delos was left to go mad, and this version of the Delos experiment had to have taken place shortly before the hosts awake at the end of Season 1, because in another main plot thread from this episode, we see two other main characters stumble upon the experiment.
Bernard’s Lab Massacre
Trying to nail down all of the timelines that Bernard is a part of this season is tough due to his memory failing and him basically experiencing memories out of order as he tries to figure out what the hell he’s been up to, or after this episode, most likely used for by someone else. Either way, there is a recurring flashback in this episode of Bernard being in a lab like we saw him in with Charlotte during the first episode, but it’s not the same one. In this lab he’s seen grabbing a little ball that is more than likely a human’s consciousness placed into a host control unit. Who knows who’s mind may be in this unit, or if it’s a mind at all, but my guess is that it has to do with Ford. I’m speculating that like most everything else Bernard has done that may seem a bit shady, is actually due to Ford’s control over him. That’s the reason Bernard has the Drone hosts kill all of the lab techs after he pockets the control unit, as well has having them kill themselves. He’s clearly covering up his tracks, and the most likely reason why is because Ford had him do what he does to the lab staff to keep his ultimate plan of revenge against Delos a secret.
I’m pretty sure Bernard grabbed a human host control unit from this lab, because it is also revealed in another timeline and plot thread that the lab we see Bernard in is the lab that housed the Delos experiment. It seems that this locations was solely dedicated to solve the problem of human mortality by infusing a human’s mind into the body of a host.
Timeline 2: Days Following the Host Awakening
Man in Black’s Game
In this timeline, which takes place a few days after the awakening of the hosts, we got some more insights into what the Man in Black was up to. He and Lawrence get captured by the newly freed and confident Major Craddock, who is terrorizing Lawrence’s town and family as if they were park guests. The Man in Black seemingly sells out the town and Lawrence when he reveals the location of some hidden guns to Craddock, but thanks to the MiB possibly still having a heart, he does what probably should be his first good deed since he was Young William exploring Westworld for the first time. He actually kills all of Craddock’s men, then he lets Lawrence blow up Craddock himself after feeding him a shot full of nitroglycerin.
Does this mean that the MiB is on his way to redemption? Well according to Lawrence’s girl, who could possibly be channeling Ford, this one good act won’t be enough for the MiB to win this new game Ford has created for him. She basically tells him that if he’s looking forward for his answers, he’s looking in the wrong direction.
This thread then concludes with the MiB and his little band of followers setting out on horseback en route to glory. Although, they spot another rider on the horizon, and it’s revealed to be the lady from The Raj park escape from last week, but that wasn’t the biggest surprise of this scene. It’s revealed that this lady, who I believe is named Clare, is the MiB’s daughter. That fact makes perfect sense when you consider her survival skills, and her other talents we learn in her own thread that was featured in this episode. It also explains why she did the gun test with that unlucky dude last week, because clearly like her Father, she’s spent so much time in the park that she’s constantly seeking new thrills to regain some understanding of herself, or in her case, possibly to better understand her Father, who was probably a supreme asshole to be around.
As previously mentioned, we now know that the lady from last week’s episode who escaped The Raj park and a tiger is the MiB’s daughter. In this episode we got to see more of what happened to her after her tiger escape and capture by the Ghost Nation Indians. She is brought to their camp along with other captives, one of who is Ashley Stubbs, the Westworld security dude played by Luke Hemsworth. She quickly shows her skills from her time spent in the park and starts talking in the Ghost Nation’s native tongue. She then uses a distraction to free herself and gets away, leaving Ashley with Ghost Nation. We know he gets away somehow too thanks to the timeline showcased in episode one, but for now he clearly isn’t as skilled in survival as the MiB’s daughter, who seems more and more like a chip off the old block.
Bernard and Elsie
This thread is easily my favorite of this episode, because it revealed so many more layers of the mystery, while also paying off on some old open plot threads. We find that Clem is clearly working off of directives given to her by someone, because she brings Bernard to a cave and leaves him there. It’s not just a regular old cave though, which goes to show that Clem isn’t just doing random things to screw with Bernard, it feels like she’s almost keeping an eye on him for someone, or something.
Anyway, in this cave Bernard finds Elsie chained up, who clearly is startled to see Bernard again considering he’s the one that knocked her out and hid her away in the first place. Once she realizes that Bernard is indeed a host though, she comes around and starts to help him get better.
They achieve this by finding a secret door to the Delos experiment lab I discussed earlier. Bernard find this door by reliving an old memory of his, which he does throughout this episode, so much like Dolores’ thread from last season, it’s hard to know exactly when many of the Bernard moments take place since his mind is constantly reliving old memories as if they were taking place in the present.
Within this lab they see the massacre that Bernard himself played a major role in, and they also begin to realize that Delos has been up to way more than just creating a park for rich people. They find the door to the Delos experiment, and then find James himself, who has gone completely bonkers at this point due to his failing programming. Bernard puts two and two together and realizes that Delos is trying to create hosts based on human consciousness to make these humans immortal, which definitely adds many new layers to the Westworld mythos. It’s still not clear what Bernard’s full role is in all of this, but he’s clearly at the center of most of the main threads being floated this season, so don’t expect that to let up anytime soon.
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