“No choice you ever made was your own, you have always been a prisoner. What if I told you, I’m here to set your free?” Westworld‘s fourth episode takes its title, ‘Dissonance Theory’, from the premise that individuals will try to find consistencies in their beliefs and any inconsistencies they find will be fixed so as to make sense to the individuals mind-frame. It’s a theory that holds a lot of weight in this particular episode, with Dolores and Mauve starting to understand that there’s more to their life than they realise, and trying to come to terms with the fact that both of them are now questioning their very existence.
Dolores has the flashier example following on from last week’s ending, having broken her programming, killed another host and found herself allied with William and Logan, she’s experiencing something new and dangerous: freedom. With her family dead she’s supposed to have been reset for the next day, but now that’s not happening and Dolores is free to choose her own path, even if she’s not quite sure how to comprehend such a freedom. Considering her talk with Bernard about The Maze, there’s a clear possibility that not only will that be her destination, but that its existence is known to people other than The Man In Black.
While Dolores does take the majority of the story between her, William and Logan, the two guests do have their share as we continue to see the animosity between them, brought on by their brothers-in-law relationship and possibly how trigger-happy Logan doesn’t believe William to be the best partner for his, as yet unseen, sister. That being said, there seems a deeper issues than just family troubles in their relationship and it comes to the forefront in this episode, leaving the pair in an uncertain position but one that could be setting up something big, a popular fan theory about Williams’ future seems to be taking shape.
Elsewhere, Mauve starts having strange visions of a violent event that seems almost like a memory. Ever since discovering the body pit in episode 2, Mauve has slowly been challenging what she thinks she knows and her visions of a strange figure, one she has seen several times over but has only the one memory of, seem to have some religious significance to the Native settlers. Whether this coincides with Ford’s new narrative or not remains to be seen, but a personal guess would say no. Ford has a focus on Christianity, whereas Mauve’s vision is recognised as part of the Native American culture. However, the religious significance cannot be ignored since Ford’s narrative most likely involved the introduction of religion into Westworld. Though judging by Mauve’s final declaration at the end of the episode, that may cause more problems than he or anyone else will realise.
While Ford did get a small scene where he once again showcased his villainous side, the real bad guy of this week’s episode was The Man In Black, back again after his near absence last time. Still travelling with Lawrence as his prisoner, MIB follows the clues towards The Egg Laying Snake, finding Hector’s gang being led by his right-hand woman Armistice (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) while Hector is in prison, and the large, intricate snake tattoo across her body. The Man In Black and his quest is the biggest enigma of the show, because MIB clearly knows a lot more than he admits and his side quest – to keep in with the video-game logic – to free Hector holds hints that not only has he done this exact act before, but he’s done it enough times to have the timing down near perfectly. Speaking as an avid video-game player, one of the main aspects of playing is replaying a mission several times over until it becomes second nature, and that seems to be what MIB is experiencing, but then what purpose does his search for The Maze hold? We’ve been getting some hints as to who MIB is as the series progresses, and this episode is no different. Featuring both a hint toward his riches and that he is in fact on vacation, the most logical answer would be that MIB has never had the time to reach The Maze before and is only playing to time in order to hit each mission update correctly. If that is the case, then MIB is entering a new area thanks to the introduction of Wyatt last week, now with Armistice background tied to the cannibalistic cult leader, and MIB’s meeting with one of the Park’s main players. A new element has been introduced, which is leading MIB and his ever growing crew into pastures new.
‘Dissonance Theory’ improves over last week by taking leaps and bound with its continuing story lines. Dolores and Mauve both face their own sanity and existence with different results. One can only hope that they meet again before the season’s end, and Man In Black’s enigma keeps him and his mysterious quest under wraps, but just appetising enough to keep us invested. Harris was on top form as we saw a fury to MIB, more than just the sadistic streak he’s been carrying since Episode 1, but it was Newton who provided the episode’s MVP, and her turn as Mauve is looking to become one of the most intriguing narratives of the show. Now that she has her proof it’s only a matter of time before she, and everyone else, pieces everything together.