|“||Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, I choose to see the beauty.||”|
"The Original" is the premiere episode of Westworld, and the first episode of the first season. The episode was co-written by series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. It was also directed by Nolan.
|“||As another day of fantasy plays out in Westworld - a vast, remote park where guests pay top dollar to share wild-west adventures with android "hosts" - top programmer Bernard Lowe alerts park founder Dr. Robert Ford, about incidents of aberrant behavior cropping up in some recently re-coded hosts. Meanwhile, in the Westworld town of Sweetwater, a rancher's daughter named Dolores encounters a gunslinger named Teddy in the street - but their predictable narrative is upended by the appearance of a ruthless Man in Black and, later, by a supporting host's unscripted encounter with an artifact of the outside world.||”|
We hear a man's voice say "Bring her back online," and then see a nude Dolores Abernathy seated upon a stool.
The unseen man asks if she can hear him and Dolores replies that she can. She also admits that she's not “quite feeling herself". The man then tells her she can lose the accent she is more accustomed to, before asking her if she knows where she is. Dolores replies that she's in a dream. The man agrees that, yes, she is, and asks her if she'd like to wake up - Dolores replies "Yes, I'm terrified.", but shows no sign of emotion.
A fly lands and crawls from her forehead, down her nose and up to her left eye, yet Dolores doesn't react and remains motionless. The man assures her that there is nothing to be afraid of, as long as she answers his questions correctly. He then asks her if she understands his commands, and after she replies yes, the fly moves to the center of her unblinking eye. The man starts his questions: "First, have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” For which she answers, “No.”
Our view switches to Dolores waking in her bed, her voice over guiding us through her normal morning loop. The questions continue: "Tell us what you think of your world." We watch as she walks downstairs, fully dressed. She answers him by saying: “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days. A purpose.” Dolores eventually makes her way out to the porch and says good morning to her father Peter Abernathy, as he sits in his rocking chair. After a brief conversation, Dolores tells her father she is going to leave to do some painting.
We hear Dolores continuing to answer the unseen man in voice over. He asks about the guests and what she thinks of them? As she starts to answer our viewpoint switches to a train carrying guests to Sweetwater. There are guests talking upon the train, as one man mentions his previous visits to Westworld. His first narrative was a family vacation, with fishing and hunting. His second trip, he admits to going “straight evil”, and that they were the best two weeks of his life.
Dolores continues to speak to the man. She says that she likes to remember how her father had taught her that everyone was once new to this world. She says that the newcomers are looking for the same things as everyone else.
Dolores time loop soon begins again. She comes out onto the porch and asks her father if he's slept well. She informs her father she is going to run some errands before heading off to paint. He reminds her to return before dark because of a bandit that has yet to be captured. They tease each other, talking about his stories of when he was "a lawman", showing how close she is to her father. She then promises to be home before dark.
Dolores is painting by the river when a family walks up. They watch her and the horses while she is painting. She shows the little boy how to feed her horse. Out of the blue he questions if she's "one of them". Dolores does not reply and says she needs to go, as should they.
Back at the Abernathy Ranch, Dolores’ father watches some men herding cattle into an enclosure. It is then he notices something strange, a modern photograph on the ground. He picks it up, looking at it carefully. When Dolores returns home her father shows her the photo, yet unlike Peter, she is not bothered by it - Peter becomes more fixated on the image, unable to understand how it fits into their world.
As always with her loop, Dolores wakes again in the morning. Her father is still sitting on the porch, having grown increasingly disturbed by the photograph. Frightened for her father, Dolores yells out for her mother - Peter tells her to leave, to go, that all the devils of hell are there. Scared her father is sick, she quickly rides to town looking for the doctor. Teddy is in town and sees her. As he nears, it is obvious she is happy to see him. She requests he returns home with her to check on her father.
It is dark by the time they return to her farm, and as they approach they hear a gunshot and see the flash within the house. Teddy pulls out his rifle and tells her to wait, while he rushes toward the house. At the house a man with a mustache and bowler hat is tormenting Dolores' father Peter, who by now is lying on the ground in front of his house. Peter remains defiant and sadly the man shoots him. The man's partner, Walter is on the porch, complaining that Dolores' mother was killed before they could have any fun with her, though Rebus says she's still warm enough.
Teddy finally arrives and shoots both men. As we see Teddy kneel down by the body of Dolores’ mother, a frantic Dolores arrives and kneels by her father's body. We hear the unseen man ask his last question: What would she think if he told her there were no "chance encounters", that she, and everyone else, were built to fulfill the desires of the newcomers. Before she answers another man appears...it is the Man in Black. He menacingly stands over her and says hello before hurling insults toward her father. Dolores reaches for a gun on the ground, but before she can attempt to shoot him he knocks it out of her hands. It’s during this time he reminds her that he’s been visiting for over 30 years, and yet she still doesn’t remember him.
Teddy comes out of the house and challenges him, the Man in Black knows Teddy and seems bored with the challenge. He torments Teddy, letting him have the first shot. The bullets have no effect on the Man in Black because he is a newcomer, and by park rules cannot be killed. The Man in Black continues to taunt Teddy, before he finally drags Dolores off. Teddy shoots at him in vain. Dolores begs for Teddy's life, but the Man in Black turns to kill him with a single shot before dragging her into the barn kicking and screaming.
As Teddy collapses and Dolores is dragged away screaming, we hear Dolores answering the unseen man, saying that every new person she meets reminds her of how lucky she is to be alive and how beautiful the world can be. In a reflection on Teddy's motionless eye we see the barn door closing on the Man in Black and Dolores.
Bernard tells Theresa that one of the hosts, Peter Abernathy has become a problem. He takes her to see the Host for herself. Stubbs and Elsie bring a naked and distressed Dolores back online. Stubbs "calms" her by turning off her display of emotions. She says that she's not feeling quite herself. She thinks she's in a dream. Stubbs is the unseen man, not Bernard, she is terrified as we see him ask her more questions. He asks about her father and about the picture. The answers she gives satisfy him that she's not damaged like her Host father was.
Theresa wants the problem host "put down", and Dr. Ford wants to find out what went wrong. Dr. Ford sits with the Peter Host to examine him. The Host quotes Shakespeare, having learned it in a previous "role". Dr. Ford takes him back to a "save point", making Peter calm and Ford begins to ask him more questions. Peter runs into a bit of trouble, as his concern for Dolores breaks through and distresses him. This causes Peter to go back to his current build prompts where he once again starts to quote Shakespeare. He admits to Dr. Ford that he wants to meet his maker. Peter somehow appears to threaten Ford. He takes hold of Dr. Ford but is quickly restrained and disabled at once. Ford explains some of the behavior. The Reveries are allowing Peter to access his old memories.
In another area, Stubbs asks Dolores what her father whispered to her and she tells him, "These violent delights have violent ends", a quote from Romeo and Juliet. She says she doesn't know what it means. She says that she's never lied and would never hurt a living thing. Stubbs is satisfied with her responses.
Peter undergoes an unknown procedure that looks very much like a lobotomy. Peter and Walter are taken to Cold Storage by Bernard to be retired indefinitely. Bernard whispers something into Peter's ear, and Peter takes his place in the hall of silent hosts.
The train stops at the Sweetwater station and the passengers unload. He walks past a couple who are visiting for the first time and are looking at Sweetwater in wonderment. Teddy walks through town, he passes the Sheriff who is briefing a group of men about searching for a criminal called Hector Escaton. The sheriff asks Teddy to join them but he declines, saying "not today" and politely tips his hat before walking on. Instead, Teddy makes his way into the Mariposa Saloon. In the bar, he orders a drink and turns down an offer of company from Clementine. He says he’d prefer not to pay for a woman's affections. Another woman, madam Maeve Millay, is listening and says that he has to pay in one way or another, whatever he does. He's not listening however, as he’s transfixed on Dolores Abernathy through the saloon window, coming out of a store. Teddy leaves the bar without speaking to anyone, and rushes across the street to see her.
The questions and answers continue in voice over: "Do you ever feel inconsistencies in your world? Or repetitions?"
"All lives have routine, mine's no different." she says.
Teddy crosses the street and picks up a can Dolores has dropped and gives it back to her. It is soon obvious that they know each other, as she is pleased he's come back. He asks to escort her home, and she challenges him with a smile, saying yes - if he can keep up. She gets on her horse and rides away, leaving him to quickly find a horse and catch up.
We see him catch up to her outside town on a trail. She's not too much in a rush and they stop to admire the vista of Westworld. She teases him for not knowing about cattle, and teaches him about the Judas Steer. She also reminds him that her father won't be pleased to see him. It is then the events of the night with the Man in Black transpire.
Teddy wakes on the train, he too on the same loop. There are two female guests who are discussing him, remarking on how lifelike and perfect he appears. One of the women says that perfect is boring, and that she's more interested in the bad guys.
A view of the landscape pulls back and we see that we're looking at a circular display in a control room.
The couple, Craig and Lori, who joined the posse are on horseback, while he's having a great time, she not so much. While riding, they find a body and Craig looks at it with Sheriff Pickett, it’s then that the android begins to malfunction, repeating himself and mimicking a human stroke. Not knowing what to do, Lori insists they go back at once, so they leave the sheriff standing there, immobile now.
Westworld Mesa Hub
In a large hall, figures dressed in white "clean room" clothes are assembling an android horse and a woman is "exercising" a completed horse. In another area people are testing humanoid androids, some clothed, some not. A prostitute, a gunfighter, and Dolores. The unseen man is revealed to be Bernard who is sitting with Elsie as she questions a naked Clementine.
Bernard notices that one of the Host's gestures is subtly different. He tells Elsie that a new class of gestures has been added to "the update" by Dr. Robert Ford. The gestures are altered by being able to refer to previous experiences, which have been purged from the Hosts memory but not yet overwritten. "Reveries", the gestures, access this unconscious memory. He says that it's the tiny things that make the guests fall in love with them. While he leaves to answer a call, Elsie looks closely at Clementine. She pushes her hair gently back over an ear, then leans forward and kisses her. Clementine doesn't respond and Elsie sits back down, amused at herself for kissing an android.
In the control room, Theresa Cullen and Bernard Lowe are talking to Stubbs. She says that there's unscheduled android activity on one of the sub-levels and sends Stubbs to sort it out with a security team. Bernard elects to go as well. Stubbs is worried and Cullen says it's because of the recent update and the possibility of a critical failure. Bernard doesn't believe there's any likelihood of that happening, and says so. Cullen is unimpressed, as is Stubbs.
Stubbs, his armed team and Bernard go down to the sub-level in a large lift. As the door opens a large volume of water floods in. Stubbs says it's a weeks old coolant failure. They go into a large badly lit area and then into a hall full of quietly standing androids.
At the back of the hall is an office with a large glass window. In the office Dr. Robert Ford is sitting and drinking with one of the earliest androids, a depiction of Wild Bill. The android's movements are slightly jerky and unnatural, it's words somewhat halting but it's clear that Ford feels some sort of affection toward it. They talk about how people don't make anything like they used to, and about the showdowns Bill has seen in his time. Ford gives the command to have him in a deep and dreamless sleep and Bill freezes, his glass partway to his mouth. Ford then turns and talks to Bernard, mentioning to him about the old style hosts and their limitations. Bernard mentions Clementine’s new gesture and compliments Ford on them. Eventually the android Bill puts himself away on a shelf and into a zipped up body bag for safekeeping.
Eventually, the malfunctioned Sheriff Pickett is taken back to the Westworld labs and is analyzed, Lee Sizemore is berating Bernard and demanding to know what happened. The Host’s behavior seems to be very unusual, as failures don't normally occur in this way. Theresa presses Bernard about the failure, talking about the update as being the likely cause. Bernard is noncommittal, but does allow that it might be the update. After all, it was Dr. Ford’s update.
Theresa says they should recall the updated hosts and rollback the update, Sizemore complains that the number of hosts, 10% of the population, about 200 hosts, will wreak havoc with his narratives. Theresa is unimpressed, she tells him that he cannot record it and brings him back to the safety issue of it: 1,400 guests and a possible problem with aberrant behavior from the hosts. He reassures her, and she relents, agreeing to the diagnostic being run before any action is taken. She leaves instructions and implied threats in her wake as she leaves.
Later, Lee Sizemore ambushes Theresa Cullen at Mesa Gold when she's trying to relax at the end of the day. He tries to apologize for being rude earlier that day, and tries to justify his behavior. Theresa doesn't accept his apology. He says that the work to make hosts more lifelike is inappropriate - that the hosts are too lifelike already. Lee hints that there is something bigger and more important that the board of directors is interested in, other than the usual park operations. He continues to spout off before she corrects his grammar and won’t listen to him further. She also puts down his clumsy attempt at office politics before walking away.
Bernard is still working on the Host sheriff when Elsie tells him there's a problem with yet another host.
Walter has shot up the saloon, killing hosts left and right, and has gone totally off his narrative. Two guests are cowering in the bar as Walter strides around. He goes outside and pours milk all over a dead host. Staff arrive and the scene freezes. Bernard and Elsie discuss what's happened, Theresa appears and points out that the sheriff’s malfunctioning wasn't an isolated incident, and wants the update rolled back. When Bernard points out that it will damage a lot of narrative, she tells him that Sizemore has a contingency plan. She says that Bernard gets the job of telling Dr. Robert Ford about the problem - as he was the one who caused it. Bernard hasn't told her, or anyone, that the part of the update likely to have caused the problem was Ford's unofficial addition.
Bernard finds Ford watching a new android being created. Ford isn't angry after Bernard confronts him, but teases Bernard about not having found the problem. He realizes the mistake was his, and that Bernard doesn't want to say so. They talk about evolution and how it depends upon mistakes, Ford thinks that the evolution of humans has ceased, that no more improvement will occur.
As Teddy also leaves the saloon and is crossing the street to reach Dolores (whom he had seen through the window), he's waylaid by another guest who remembers him from a previous visit. He gives up on meeting Dolores and this time it's the Man in Black who retrieves and returns the can of food she dropped. She doesn't remember him and isn't alarmed in any way. He's charming and gives her the can back, yet puzzles her by saying that he has other plans that evening and won’t be stopping by her home. He tips his hat and walks away.
The Man in Black goes into the Mariposa Saloon and sits at a poker game.
Also inside, Maeve is leaving early, as is Kissy, the croupier who was playing cards with the Man in Black. The manager frisks him before he leaves. When Kissy gets outside the Man in Black stabs him in the throat and drags him away.
In the desert, the Man in Black has bled Kissy almost dry, saving his blood in metal buckets. He taunts the terrified host, eventually scalping him as he tries in vain to escape. The Man in Black is trying to discover the deeper levels of Westworld, what he sees as the secret.
We see Kissy’s scalp taken by the Man in Black, and underneath there is a map imprinted within it, a maze. The Man in Black rides back into town, leaving Kissy to die.
Hector and his gang attack Sweetwater
Hector and his gang, including Armistice, ride slowly through Sweetwater wearing blankets over their heads to cover their identity. They are robbing the town a week early to cope with the narrative disruption.
The shooting begins outside and the guests are delighted to see such live action as Hector is ruthless, heading inside the saloon to retrieve the safe. The safe is tied up and dragged out of the brothel. Hector and Armistice kill everyone they can. Teddy and Dolores hide outside. Maeve is unimpressed and remains calm and cool during it all. Dolores makes a run for it and Teddy gets himself injured trying to stop her and save her. Sizemore looks pleased with himself as he watches from headquarters, knowing Hector will give the speech he had programmed him with.
The gang makes good on their escape with the safe. Maeve shoots one of them to rescue Clementine. Hector starts his new speech just outside the saloon entrance, when he is shot in the neck by a guest. It is Craig, the very guest that had been on the bounty hunt for Hector when Sheriff Pickett malfunctioned. Theresa is very amused that Sizemore's new speech wasn't used and teases that maybe he'd get to recite it next time.
Outside in the chaos Dolores is distraught, not knowing how to look after Teddy as he dies. The guest Craig meanwhile, has his picture taken with Hector's propped up corpse. It’s then Elsie appears in full period-time costume and comes upon Dolores and Teddy. Dolores pleads with her to help and Elsie gently tells her to sleep, calling staff members to pick up both of the Hosts.
We see Dolores in Analysis Mode. Stubbs explains to the Behaviour Technician with him that she is the oldest host in the park. He asks Dolores what she thinks of this world. Dolores smiles and replies from her script: "This world? Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty, to believe that there is an order to our days. A purpose. I know things will work out the way they were meant to."
We see Dolores waking again. She goes out to the porch to see her father, and a different host is playing his part; Dolores does not notice.
On her porch, Dolores talks with her father about her plans for the day, looks out at the view and kills a fly that lands on her neck.
- Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy
- Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay
- Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe
- James Marsden as Teddy Flood
- Sidse Babett Knudsen as Theresa Cullen
- Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Armistice
- Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs
- Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore
- Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton
- Angela Sarafyan as Clementine Pennyfeather
- Shannon Woodward as Elsie Hughes
- Ed Harris as the Man in Black
- Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford
- Louis Herthum as Peter Abernathy
- Steven Ogg as Rebus
- Michael Wincott as Old Bill
- Eddie Rouse as Kissy
- Brian Howe as Sheriff Pickett
- Demetrius Grosse as Deputy Foss
- Ptolemy Slocum as Sylvester
- Leonardo Nam as Lutz
- Kyle Bornheimer as Clarence
- Bradford Tatum as Peter Abernathy/Bartender
- Lena Georgas as Lori
- Currie Graham as Craig
- Timothy Lee DePriest as Walter
- Jeff Daniel Phillips as Tenderloin
- Bridgid Coulter as Mother of Young Boy
- Regi David as Father of Young Boy
- Mataeo Mingo as Jacob
- Trevante Rhodes, Micky Shiloah, Keller Wortham as the Bachelors
- Olivia May, Jackie Moore, Alex Marshall-Brown as the Hookers
- Jeffrey Muller as Man on Train
- Brook Kerr as Woman on Train
- Bradley Snedeker, Patrick Quinlan as Passengers
- Bianca Lopez as Diagnostic Programmer
- Molly Schreiber as Bachelorette
- Stefanie Chin as Girlfriend
- Joshua Sawtell as Controller
- Nihan Gur as Female Laughing Host
Trivia and Notes
- "The Original" may refer to Dolores Abernathy; she is the oldest host in the park and could be said to be the 'original' host.
- It may be a reference to the 1976 film Futureworld. In this sequel to the first film, Westworld (1973), Delos have reopened the park. They collect DNA from the (rich and powerful) guests, and grow clones which return home instead of the guests themselves. The Guests themselves are referred to as "The Originals".
- Westworld is HBO's biggest premiere since True Detective, with an audience of 3.3 million people.
- This episode was dedicated In loving memory of Eddie Rouse (1954-2014) who played Kissy and who died after filming the first episode.
- The fly on Dolores's face is real. A "Fly Wrangler", put a very cold fly - too cold to fly away - on the actor's forehead and let it wander around as it warmed up. However, the fly that enters her eyes is CGI special effects
- Flies could be representative of computer programming "bugs".
- It's mentioned that Dr. Robert Ford was involved in the very early stages of the theme park's development.
- During the scene where Walter is going on a rampage with hosts in the saloon, he mentioned a man called Arnold.
- Walter can sometimes be part of the "High Sierra" narrative.
- The Man in Black mentions he believes there's a deeper level to the "game".
- The Peter Abernathy host used to be a part of a narrative called "The Dinner Party" and portrayed a cultist turned cannibal who used to quote Shakespeare, John Donne and Gertrude Stein.
- There are some similarities between The Tempest and Westworld themes.
- Oops - The Winchester shotgun wielded by Armistice. In a continuity error, the shotgun turns into a Winchester rifle in subsequent shots.
Dolores Abernathy to Ashley Stubbs: All lives have routine. Mine's no different. Still, I never cease to wonder at the thought that any day the course of my whole life could change with just one chance encounter.
Bernard Lowe to Theresa Cullen, on the hosts: It's the tiny things that make them seem real, that make the guests fall in love with them.
Dr. Robert Ford to Bernard, on the success of their work: ..."Mistakes" is the word you're too embarrassed to use. You ought not to be.
You're a product of a trillion of them. Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool The mistake...of course, we've managed to slip evolution's leash now, haven't we? We can cure any disease, keep even the weakest of us alive, and, you know, one fine day perhaps we shall even resurrect the dead. Call forth Lazarus from his cave. Do you know what that means? It means that we're done. That this is as good as we're going to get.
Peter to Dolores, whispering: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends
Stubbs to Bernard, on Hosts: You don't have kids at home, do you Bernard? If you did, you'd know they all rebel eventually.
Dolores to Teddy, on the "Judas Steer": The rest will follow wherever you make him go.
Dr. Robert Ford to Bernard, on human evolution: This is as good as we're going to get.
Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
Ain't No Grave (Johnny Cash)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
Image Gallery/HBO Episode Stills
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