In this edition of our weekly “Westworld” recap video (watch above), Gold Derby editor and host Matt Noble was joined by contributing writer Amanda Spears and I to revisit episode 3, “The Stray,” directed by Neil Marshall and written by Daniel T. Thomsen & Lisa Joy.
In “The Stray,” we learn more about Teddy (James Marsden) and Delores (Even Rachel Wood ) and delve deeper into the labyrinthine plot of the sci-fi/western. Teddy’s backstory has been reprogrammed by Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and we are introduced to Wyatt, a dark rogue menace in the park who is terrorizing the the park’s hosts and guests. A new mysterious character, Arnold, is alluded to by Ford and others, who may be behind the mysterious new anomalies in the hosts’ behavior. Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are sent to capture a stray host, who after being trapped in a ravine, violently self-destructs by smashing his skull with a large stone. After Dolores arrives at the homestead, a bandit host drags her into the barn to rape her, but she steals a gun and is suddenly able to shoot the bandit after he suddenly and mysteriously appears as the Man in Black (Ed Harris).
It was my first time joining Gold Derby’s weekly video recap, and I shared how enthusiastically I have embraced this show as one of the best on TV. “It’s really ambitiously made. I love the performances, especially Evan Rachel Wood, who is knocking it out the park. And I really love the western aesthetic and sci-fi aesthetic and how they are melded in a really interesting way.”
We discussed some of the mysteries that were front and center this episode, particularly the references to this new Arnold character, who appears to have been Ford’s partner during the inception of the ambitious theme park. “I think he’s still alive,” Amanda guesses. “They showed a lot of flashbacks, but we never saw Arnold’s face, and we never saw Arnold’s death.”
“I’m not sure if he’s a force of good or evil yet,” I add. “I don’t know who’s on the good and bad sides and what their motivations are. I’m still trying to work that out, and that’s OK, we don’t need to have all the answers. But I am scratching my head a lot about who’s doing what, and why.”
We also drill down into the show’s chances at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, analyzing the show’s current odds in various characters, and looking back on recent SAG history to determine whether “Westworld” is a genuine contender in various categories. Matt raises the possibility that the show might do very well with voters if they embrace it like they did for previous new HBO dramas like “Boardwalk Empire,” or they might ignore it because they tend to overlook new shows in favor of the returning shows they traditionally honor each year.
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